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HD DVD vs Blu-ray Direct Comparisons

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-complain-about-artifacting-too dept.

423

An anonymous reader writes "With today's release of three movies on Blu-ray, Warner Home Video has become the first studio to release movie titles on both high-def formats, making it finally possible to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the same titles on both formats . High-Def Digest has just posted reviews of all three titles — 'Training Day,' 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and 'Rumor Has It' — comparing video, audio and extras to the previous HD DVD releases. Their verdict? Due to issues with image cropping, audio selection and supplemental features on the Blu-ray discs, the HD DVD versions win this first face-off."

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423 comments

Who the hell is buying this crap? (-1, Flamebait)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825455)

Seriously, untill there's a winner, why buy something that may be the next betamax? I guess it could be a piece of history :)

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (4, Insightful)

birder (61402) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825531)

Who buys it? People who have disposible income I guess. Time and again people buy products that get obsoleted by new models or new technology but it shouldn't be factor in whether you buy something now. How times do people buy new computers or cars? If you can afford it and you feel you'd appreciate it or get your moneys worth, go for it.

15 years ago I had a room mate that refused to buy audio CD's because he figured something was bound to replace it soon. I suppose now that iTunes is available he's waiting on the next big thing to supplant it. I never felt that was a good way to base my purchases on.

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (5, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825553)

This is different because these are two competing technologies. Not buying CDs because something better will come out is just ignorant because there is no alternative. CDs were clearly the go ahead platform, whereas blu-ray and hddvd is undecided. One will eventually go away leaving the other the winner... thus the VHS/Betamax analogy.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (5, Insightful)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825570)

The real question is this: are you happy with what you have? DVDs suit me better than VHS because they do not degrade and I can skip through them instead of having to fast and rewind. What do these new technologies bring to the table? Better image quality. Honestly I am perfectly happy with DVD quality, therefore I will be saving my money for something better.

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (2, Funny)

mabba18 (897753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825701)

Thus spoke the voice of consumers everywhere!

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (2, Funny)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825795)

And I wasn't even using my "from on high" voice! About your sig: what are the first most important things?

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (5, Insightful)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825535)

Especially since I mostly watch HD for Sports, not movies. DVD quality movies still look quite nice on my TV... Good enough that I don't have any reason to blow $1,000 on a new format that has almost no movies. It's just not a big enough jump over DVD for me to care. I've got better things to spend that kind of money on.

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825666)

The problem the film industry has it that most modern films are rubbish. Most modern 'actors' and 'stars' are nobodies who got lucky. Have you seen Brad Pitt 'acting' in Twelve Monkeys? What a joke.
Hopefully one day soon, most of the public will get a clue and stop buying this rubbish - the vast majority of good films have already been MADE, and they are almost all available on DVD. DVDs work fine for me - I can back them up, I can make copies so I can put my original on the shelf and keep a copy upstairs and a copy downstairs. My DVD player's screen is only 7 inch - I don't need the extra resolution that the new format offer.

But when it comes to PC storage - they are a good idea. I can back up current DVD movies to them, thousands of MP3s, give them to friends, back up large parts of my hard drive (i.e. all my personal stuff, pictures, music that I made, standard applications that I need every day, etc.etc.)

The movie and music 'industries' are run by idiots with no taste. I for one don't give two hoots what either of them think about the new formats - I will wait until one has died, or until all recorders and players support both formats.

Re:Who the hell is buying this crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825539)

Because until people buy them, there can't be a winner. Compulsive buyers of bleeding edge tech are needed to produce the winner in the first place.

Nobody remembers Betamax (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825615)

The VHS/Betamax war was in the early 80s. Who of the "early adopters", who are usually between 20 and 30 years old, would remember that?

Besides, don't underestimate the "ohhh, shiny" effect.

DVD+- (4, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825729)

I am guessing it will go the way of DVD+- can anyone give reasons why we wont just see players that do both? Heck when was the last time you really had to pay attention to which DVD you bought? Almost everyone has +- players so I go for cheaper disks every time. I imagine that is what the blueray and HD-DVD will come down to. In the long run no one will really care, they will look for price and packaging, consumers dont care too much about the technology behind it.

Apples to Apples? Not. (5, Insightful)

fragmentate (908035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825456)

They're using two different players. Doesn't that invalidate this test? At the end of the "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" review, he even states the cropping issue with blu-ray is "likely a player issue"...

Earlier adopters are the only ones that will see these shortcomings in either format.

Once it matures, who's going to know the difference. After reading all three of these fluffy articles, I still have no idea which format is "better" because there was no control.

I choose Betamax.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825502)

They're using two different players. Doesn't that invalidate this test?

Unless there is a player out there that supports both formats, no. Mind you, it mind be far easier to build a machine to play either format than building a VCR that could play both VHS and Beta.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (4, Insightful)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825530)

Well, if this were a truly scientific experiment, then yes, the lack of a control would invalidate the results. However, the review is ultimately going after something a little more nebulous, the movie watching experience, even if they don't explicitly say such.

Moreover, doesn't the hardware's quality speak volumes about a formats potential in the market place? If the players don't work properly, who gives a flying f#@k about how great the format is? Especially since Sony will likely keep the price of blu-ray players artificially inflated b/c they're, you know, Sony.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (4, Insightful)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825561)

Especially since Sony will likely keep the price of blu-ray players artificially inflated b/c they're, you know, Sony.


In cases of monopoly this might make sense, but Sony is trying to lauch a new format here. Keeping the prices inflated (for any reason) is going to drive consumers towards HD-DVD.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825612)

In cases of monopoly this might make sense, but Sony is trying to lauch a new format here. Keeping the prices inflated (for any reason) is going to drive consumers towards HD-DVD.

This is SONY we're talking about. They don't know how to push a new format; They think that by pushing it at a high price it'll drive the format. They haven't learned any lessons in 20 years.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (1)

elessar12 (952713) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825672)

Sony launched Betamax, Samsung launched VHS. One licensed their product to other vendors and the other didn't. Guess which? Sony hopefully learned from their mistakes in the 80's and plans to license their new technology to allow for better competition and pricing which is half the reason betamax failed. The other half is the fact that beta tapes could only hold 60 minutes while VHS tapes could hold a 2 hour movie which was a huge advantage and people flocked to VHS despite the better quality of Betamax. We'll see how this plays out.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825738)

Sony is trying to lauch a new format here.

I think it's safe to say that Sony is the worst company in history when it comes to competance in launching new formats.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (2, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825746)

In cases of monopoly this might make sense, but Sony is trying to lauch a new format here. Keeping the prices inflated (for any reason) is going to drive consumers towards HD-DVD.

It would be a perfectly valid argument except that Sony has a long track record of shooting themselves in the foot in exactly this manner.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (3, Informative)

birder (61402) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825601)

This is especially true with blu ray because they're using MPEG-2 which is what standard DVD are encoded as. HD DVD is using VC-1 (I think) which is superior. Blu ray supports VC-1 they just haven't gotten around it releasing movies with it.

codec support (3, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825761)

BluRay and HDDVD support the same three video codecs: MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), and VC-1 (WMV9).

AFAIK, all of the current BluRay titles were encoded with MPEG-2. I don't know about the current HDDVD titles.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825573)

At some point you have to expect that a comparison is between things that are different, and there aren't any players capable of playing both formats.

What's frustrating about this test, though, is that there are so many differences between the players that it would almost seem necessary to go through a calibration routine with each player to ensure that the display device was properly calibrated for the source.

It'd also be nice to take the results of the test to the respective manufacturers and ask them about the output from each player and see if they have any feedback about the problems; the fact that the Samsung player is so new and that patches and firmware upgrades are likely probably makes an early comparison like this meaningless.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (2, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825736)

In addition to the players, you have to expect differences due to the teams that put the releases together. If it's the same team and they're more familiar with HD-DVD, then they're likely to put together a nicer HD-DVD product. If it's a different team, then there might also be differences in skill level and quality control. Throw in differences in brand new, first generation players and you're unlikely to get a perfect apples to apples comparison of what the technologies are capable of.

Though this is certainly a good attempt at comparison, the real truth will only come from building concensuss over time.

TW

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (2, Insightful)

Talez (468021) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825695)

They're using two different players. Doesn't that invalidate this test?

The biggest HD-DVD supporter among the studios fucks up a Blu-Ray release? That alone should invalidate this test.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (1)

Kanasta (70274) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825730)

Indeed, VHS was initially inferior to Betamax but improved faster than Betamax. Sony also helped kill Betamax by refusing to release movies on it or sth(?)

Thus I predict BD will fail due to its Sony link.

Re:Apples to Apples? Not. (3, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825856)

One other thing to keep in mind is that the Samsung model used in the comparison has a now-known defect in one of the video chips, it is a chip for processing high-definition, it's not a format-specific chip. I would regard the video comparisons are completely moot until that gets fixed.

In the end, I expect both formats to have equivalent picture quality for movies, save for player-specific issues or mistakes in the authoring.

Even the audio feature comparisons are moot as far as I'm concerned. Except for deliberate choices (leaving out an audio track) or mistakes in the authoring, I don't expect there to be a difference because both formats generally allow the disc producer to use the same sets of audio codecs.

The whole idea of A-B comparison is interesting, but because, as you state, they haven't isolated all the variables, it really isn't sufficient.

And the winner is... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825459)

Review summary: Training Day was boring on HD-DVD, but very interesting on Blu-ray.

More concise (5, Informative)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825465)

Here are the summaries:
Training Day
Whatever its merits as a film, 'Training Day' has made history by becoming one of the first titles to be released on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. In our first head-to-head comparison, we found the HD DVD to be superior. The unfortunate cropping of the Blu-ray image, coupled with more noticeable compression artifacts and an overall darker cast, can't compete with the more consistently pleasing presentation of the HD DVD. Also a strike against the Blu-ray version is that both the Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital-Plus soundtracks have been dropped in favor of plain old Dolby Digital, and even the disc's menu navigation is more clunky and with less interactive functionality. Certainly, this Blu-ray release delivers fine video quality in its own right, but the format's backers will need to step it up if they are going to win the hearts and minds of early adopters over HD DVD.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
With our second Blu-ray versus HD DVD battle on 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' we again declare victory (although by a smaller margin) to the HD DVD verison. Most of the same problems we found with 'Training Day' on Blu-ray -- namely the picture cropping (though it is likely a player issue) and darker cast -- reappear again here. The absence of HD DVD's Dolby Digital-Plus tracks on Blu-ray is problematic, and I still find Blu-ray's clunky menu navigation quite irritating. Though with 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' Blu-ray has proven it can deliver moments of stunning high-def as good as HD DVD, it is still not delivering that level of quality as consistently. Very close with this one, but still no cigar.
Rumor Has It
I must say, our first Blu-ray versus HD DVD comparisons continue to yield surprises. I wasn't expecting to see much difference in video quality between the two formats with 'Rumor Has It...', yet the two discs did bear noticeable differences, with the HD DVD boasting better detail and a more film-like look. And Warner has again dropped the Dolby Digital-Plus option from the Blu-ray version. However, the Blu-ray is a good $5 cheaper than the pricey $39.95 list price the studio is charging for the HD DVD/DVD combo version, so at least Blu-ray has that going for it. But even with its higher list price, in this reviewer's opinion, the HD DVD release delivers overall better bang for the buck.

Re:More concise (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825706)

Based on this review, everyone should buy blue ray. In vhs vs betamax, the lower quality, larger capacity version won. If history repeats itself, we'll see that again.

Re:More concise (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825804)

Based on this review, everyone should buy blue ray. In vhs vs betamax, the lower quality, larger capacity version won.

But while this review says Blu-ray has lower quality, we already know that it has larger capacity. What to do?

Actually, I can answer that question: Keep buying DVDs. Their quality is adequate, they're cheap, and they're easy to copy (important if you have young kids).

Re:More concise (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825786)

The absence of HD DVD's Dolby Digital-Plus tracks on Blu-ray is problematic, and I still find Blu-ray's clunky menu navigation quite irritating.

Forgive me if I don't know any better, but how is the absence of HD soundtracks a problem with the Blu-ray format? Similarly for the menu structure? For that matter, why aren't the menus the same? Did the Warner Brothers pop an aneurysm and make the disks different just to be confusing???

Does the movie studio back (or prefer) one format over the other? If so, will produce either to "make people happy", but their preferred format "better" than the other?

so glad to be an early adopter (4, Funny)

bchernicoff (788760) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825468)

Hooray for the terrific initial movie titles released!!

Re:so glad to be an early adopter (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825489)

Well, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is pretty good. But yeah, the overall selection is horrible. It's almost like they're TRYING to keep people from buying these new players.

Re:so glad to be an early adopter (5, Insightful)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825583)

It's almost like they're TRYING to keep people from buying these new players.

Almost all of the movie studios are releasing the first high-def DVD's without turning on the flag that will require the encrypted HDCP connection to view the high-definition picture. So, those of us that bought large-screen TV's a few years ago (before the HDCP interface was available) will be able to view the movies without being down-rez'ed to standard definition.

My guess is they are avoiding release of popular movies without this flag. But, they risk antagonizing people without an HDCP-enabled display if they release movies with the flag. So, how long do you suppose they will wait?

Re:so glad to be an early adopter (2)

plisskin (979687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825560)

Now they can show that the new formats help fight piracy. No one wants to pirate those titles!!

So what do we make of this? (3, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825469)

So are the image problems are result of the encoding technique used on the blue-ray? You'd think with the increase in disc size that they would use a better scheme. Is this a fault of the movie producer or Sonys default encoding scheme? Anyone have any ideas???

Re:So what do we make of this? (5, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825556)

There are two problems at the moment. Firstly, it seems that the Samsung player just isn't terribly good, despite costing twice as much as the Toshiba. But by far the largest aspect is that the current batch of BluRay discs are mastered with the MPEG-2 codec, rather than the superior VC-1 that HD-DVD discs are using. This is because Sony's initial mastering software did not support the use of the more advanced codecs.

This has just recently been fixed, so discs should start appearing toward the end of the year with exactly the same encode as the HD-DVD, and the only remaining aspects will be the quality of the player, and any necessary culling of extra features or audio formats to make the film fit on a 25Gb BluRay instead of a 30Gb HD-DVD.

Re:So what do we make of this? (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825617)

wow, an informative answer. Thanks.

So here's a new one: why compare a single layer BR with a dual layer HD? Can't BR go to 50? Do the initial players not support dual layer disks?

Re:So what do we make of this? (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825704)

My reply is kind of directed at MindStalker as well, as it's essentially the same question.

BluRay does indeed go to 50Gb in the specs, but they're currently failing to manufacture dual layer discs on a commercial level, so all currently announced titles are only 25Gb at most. The first couple of batches have been more like 22Gb, because they daren't even go to the edge of that first layer, but they're starting to get braver.

Actually, the HD-DVD group recently announced that they're planning to introduce a third layer next year, around the same time that it's expected we'll be regularly seeing 50Gb BluRay discs, so capacity isn't really a big comparison factor.

Finally, it's all something of a marketing argument anyway. 2 hour movies are looking just gorgeous as 15-20Gb VC-1 files, so other than the ability to get all of the extended Return Of The King on one disc I wouldn't worry about it.

Re:So what do we make of this? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825627)

25Gb BluRay instead of a 30Gb HD-DVD.

Hold on I was sure the blueray was the bigger size?

Re:So what do we make of this? (2, Interesting)

laxcat (600727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825653)

Unless there is some problem with Blu-ray dual layer discs that I'm not aware of, your numbers are off there. Blue-ray can support 25GB per layer where HD-DVD can have only 15GB, which would make the dual layer sizes 50 and 30.

Am I missing something?

Re:So what do we make of this? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825731)

Sorry, I should probably have cleared this up in the original post. See my other reply, but _current_ disc sizes are 25 vs. 30. BluRay can and will go to 50Gb in the future, but for the purpose of comparing any discs you'll see in the next 12 months that's what we've got.

25Gb is plenty to fit a normal-length film on in VC-1 anyway, and we'll see those before we see any 50Gb discs.

disc capacity and codecs (4, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825828)

AFAIK, BluRay holds 25 GB (GigaBytes) per layer, and HDDVD holds 15 GB (GigaBytes) per layer. I have already seen 50 GB BD-ROM blanks at Frys (albeit for $39) so I know the dual layer BluRay discs are already possible. I've also heard that many HDDVD movies are shipping on 30 GB (dual layer) discs. That said, it is entirely possible that the current BluRay movies are shipping on single layer 25 GB discs to save money in manufacturing as it would be cheaper to stamp a single layer disc and "25 GB is close enough to 30 GB".

AFAIK, both BluRay and HDDVD support the same three codecs: MPEG-2, H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC), and VC-1 (WMV9).

AFAIK, the current BluRay authoring software only supports MPEG-2 at this time, so the initial discs were encoded with MPEG-2... even though VC-1 and H.264 codecs have been on the market for several years...

AFAIK, the current HDDVD authoring software supports MPEG-2 and VC-1, and the initial discs have been using VC-1.

We won't be able to see a true Apples to Apple comparison until we can compare two discs that used the exact same codec at the exact same bitrate, or even the exact same H.264 / VC-1 data.

The real losers: (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825478)

Consumers.

Terrible Age (2, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825708)

This comment is really the most disappointing thing about this new "format war." Once upon a time, we consumers could count on competition to benefit us in some significant way, be it with better technology (think automobile manufacturers) or lower prices (since VHS technically wasn't better technology) or what have you.

Nowadays, the "competition" will still probably result in "lower" prices, but only relative to the already overpriced media and price-fixing known as "region coding." And the choices of DRM are like something straight out of a Monty Python skit...

"Well, you can order the DRM HD format with DRM, that's not got much DRM in it."

I'll stick with DVDs. Probably for another decade at least.

Re:Terrible Age (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825716)

I'll stick with DVDs. Probably for another decade at least.

Same. If and when it stops becoming a valid option, I have pretty much resigned myself to not buying videos anymore.

Let's hear it for hollywood!

PlayStation 3 (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825486)

Isn't the PlayStation 3 essentially going to decide the "better" format? If* the PS3 sells in large volumes, then that means that Blue Ray will be de facto High Definition format?

*When

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825521)

Because the Playstation 3 will not achieve the type of market dominance the PS2 has. Not even in your Sony fanboy wet dreams.

Re:PlayStation 3 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825525)

you must be new here... p0rn will decide.

Re:PlayStation 3 (1, Insightful)

Talez (468021) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825543)

Basically, yes.

You may have HD-DVD fanboys carrying on and gloating over WB's shitty encoding jobs (keep in mind WB originally came out in support of HD-DVD) and Xbox 360 fanboys gloating about the PS3's insane price but there is only one way this format war is going to go.

Sony is going to sell a truckload of PS3s to early adopters while consumers will see convergence (and by extension of a logical fallacy, value) therefore guaranteeing the next truckload being sold at the first price drop. HD-DVD will die a slow and painful death as Microsoft introduce a $100+ add-on to try and salvage the fuckup that was introducing the 360 with a DVD only drive.

HTH, HAND.

Re:PlayStation 3 (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825620)

You're basing that all on two rather significant assumptions:

1) PS3s get bought in significant numbers, quickly enough to win the marketing war, by people who want to watch HD movies on them, rather than play games. Personally, I expect the vast majority of the first six month's sales to go to people who want their console to be a console.

2) HD-DVD players staying as expensive as a PS3. It's one thing to imagine that a $1000 Blu-Ray player will be replaced by a $600 model, but quite another to imagine that the $500 HD-DVD players won't drop in price before the above market-scarcity of the PS3 wears off.

By Christmas, VC-1-encoded Blu-Ray discs will be out there, and the quality argument _should_ stop (assuming that the PS3's image quality as a Blu-Ray player isn't as bad as the original PS2's was at DVDs). But it's price that killed Beta, and UMD as well.

Re:PlayStation 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825806)

Really? Who the hell watches DVD's on their PS2? Maybe 10% of PS2 owners (generous estimate) which constitute maybe %1 of total DVD users?

The main issue here is going to be the name. People are going to be confused by "BluRay" while the term "HD-DVD" is much more understandable. HD-DVD is "High Definition DVD" while BluRay is um, something, not sure what. The industry doesn't want a Sony standard anyway.

Re:PlayStation 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825715)

Much like the PSP, if there are a ton of people who buy the PS3 and do not buy (or rent) Blu-Ray movies the benefit of being a component of a popular device has been eliminated. The way all content developers work is that they will produce content for the formats which bring the best real-world return on investment; a theoritical return on investment is pointless.

Personally, I expect that 500,000 people who bought stand alone HD-DVD players would buy more high definition movies than 5 Million Playstation 3 owners; this is because very few people are going to buy a PS3 exclusively to watch movies. What this means is that either the PS3 has to become popular on a level we have never seen (that is sell 10+ Million units in the first 12 months) or people have to be willing to buy stand alone Blu-Ray Players; with the added cost of Blu-Ray players this may not be all that easy.

Anyways it is pretty pointless; after Laser Disc and Beta-Max I know few early adopters who are rushing out to buy either format; most people are going to wait until the players are under $300 and Blockbuster carries all new movies in the format.

PS3 is no longer a done deal (3, Interesting)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825769)

It's anybodys guess at this point. PS3 is so overpriced at launch that it's no longer a done deal by a longshot. It all depends on what each console has to offer to gamers next holiday season. Xbox 360 has suffered due to lack of good exclusive titles, which supposedly is getting fixed this winter. At the same time PS3s launch lineup is still very much in the dark.

PS3 may still turn out to be the biggest turkey in the universe of game consoles, or it might pwn everything. At 300$ at launch it would absolutely surely wipe floor with everything.

At 599$, with crippled version having no HDMI, nobody knows what happens yet.

My personal bet is that X360-Wii -combo will beat PS3 for the first year, until lot more games are ready, and Sony, after bleeding for a while, goes for broke and drops the price. HD DVD/Blu-ray fight will be an irrelevant sideshow, as the movies are way overpriced and offer no serious benefits unless you buy a super-expensive TV. Whoever first gets the standalone player price down and offers more *movie* features wins. Additionally, if, say, HD-DVDs DRM gets cracked first, and people can start making 'backups' of their HD content bit like you can muck with DVDs today, Blu-ray will insta-lose the fight right there unless they can counter with technical merits (none so far, the formats are almost identical) or price (not likely with sony).

Re:PlayStation 3 (0, Troll)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825779)

sn't the PlayStation 3 essentially going to decide the "better" format?

I am curious - what is it like to work at Sony?

Winnar (1)

CodemasterMM (943136) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825491)

Summary: HD-DVD beat Blu-Ray in all 3 of the movies.

Like I've been saying, it's VHS and Betamax all over again, even with Betamax losing.

Re:Winnar (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825855)

Summary: HD-DVD beat Blu-Ray in all 3 of the movies.
Like I've been saying, it's VHS and Betamax all over again, even with Betamax losing.


Except with VHS, there was no codec to speak of.

The current BluRay discs are encoded with MPEG-2, possibly on a 25 GB single layer disc.
The current HDDVD discs are encoded with VC-1 (WMV9), which is a much better codec, and are possibly using a 30 GB dual layer disc.

We won't know which is better until BluRay starts using a better codec. Which should be AnyTimeNow. Both BluRay and HDDVD support the same three codecs: MPEG-2, H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC), and VC-1 (WMV9).

Sony these days (1)

denix0 (949825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825495)

Looks like Sony is loosing it on all fronts lately. The only reason they are still alive, is that they have deep pockets (still)... The concept was great, but I guess they overcomplicated Blu-Ray technology with those extra (and useless) content protection layers that their engineers could not deliver in time and they shipped it half-baked. Too bad. Let's see if they can regroup...

What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (3, Insightful)

Grave (8234) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825496)

Early in the life of DVD, The Matrix was the one disc that really got a lot of attention. It's what convinced me that DVD was more than worth the cost - from the surround sound to the higher definition playback, it was plainly superior. Seeing it on VHS and then on DVD made me realize how much I was missing from the experience. I have yet to see either new format in action, but from all I've heard, there is no compeling reason (even when it becomes affordable) for the average Joe to upgrade from DVD to HD or Blu-ray. I highly doubt those three movies above are going to convince anyone.

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825550)

What?? Everyone was using DVD Waaaaaaaaay before the Matrix. Even my parents. Perhaps your TV is just too crappy to notice much of a differentce, or you are just slow to adopt, eh?

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825763)

Maybe it's a regional thing, but my experience was the same as the OP. DVDs existed for a long time, but only a small percentage of people actually went out and bought DVD players. In fact, I remember DVD players really kicking off for the mass-audience around 2001-2002, and everyone I knew who bought their first DVD player at that time also bought The Matrix as their first DVD.

I'm not sure I knew anyone who owned a DVD player in 1998.

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825565)

Early in the life of DVD, The Matrix

It's hard to think of a DVD that came out over 2 1/2 years into the format as "early in the life of DVD." But the first "special editions" that really got me excited were T2, 12 Monkeys, "A Boy and His Dog" (one of the first DVD's I bought), and the Brazil Criterion box set. And there was, of course, the Alien SE's (later eclipsed by the greatest DVD special edition set of all time--the Alien Quadrilogy box set)

-Eric

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825807)

(later eclipsed by the greatest DVD special edition set of all time--the Alien Quadrilogy box set)

Good god... you were actually willing to spend money on Aliens 3 and Resurrection? *shudder*

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825628)

I have not seen Blu-ray or HD DVD in action yet either. My guess is that unless you have a HD TV the difference between them and current DVDs will not warrant the expense of upgrading.

Can anyone give actual perceived results of HD DVD or Blu-ray on an 'old' TV?

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825756)

Plain DVD is already better then most cheap or old TVs can display.

Adding an even higher definition source will do nothing and may make things worse if the down-scale isn't done properly.

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825645)

To be fair, there are much better HD-DVD titles out there (I love Serenity and The Bourne Supremacy, for a start, and Sleepy Hollow came out this week too). These three are just the first where they are available on both formats, and we can A/B directly.

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (2, Insightful)

dracocat (554744) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825683)

I hope by no compelling reason, that you more specifically mean that there are no titles out yet that justify getting either format.

It doesn't take a video snob to notice the difference.

People who claim there is no difference simply have not seen the difference between DVD and a high-dev format. I don't mean pumping a DVD or cable into an HD T.V. and and stretching and zooming in on the picture. I mean actual HD programming from either an HD channel or a high dev movie format. The problem I think is people think because they have an HD T.V. that they are watching things in HD.

It is absolutely amazing--and not by a small amount. Those who say otherwise either haven't seen it, or can't afford it.

The issue with this article is that they are trying to find miniscule problems with the Blue Ray format. We don't even know if the issues are the player or not. In the end, both format have superiour quality when compared to DVD and there is no substantial difference in video quality between the two of them. So who is really going to win the "format wars"?

Whichever is cheaper and has more relavant titles.

Re:What will be the "Matrix" of this generation? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825773)

It doesn't take a video snob to notice the difference.

True, but it takes a video snob to care.

+5 insightful? Gimme whatever you're smoking, mod! (1)

Hitto (913085) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825794)

DVD format : born in 1995.
The matrix : made in 1999!

Four years later != "early in the life of DVD", dude. Are you sure you're not talking about another movie or format?

Anyway, I'm pretty much like you - I'll adopt whatever format will succeed, so no hard thoughts. But jesus christ, I couldn't stand VHS back when it was the ONLY thing available, just as I hated floppies of *any* kind. These things broke/deteriorated so damn fast and sometimes by their own damn selves that I was happy to embrace anything that resembled a CD.

For this format war - it's not going to be about the movies. It's going to be about marketing. And walk into any electronics or hi-fi store, and the same dumb "know-it-all", "you need at least two gigarams of speed to run microsoft word" clerk is always eager to sell... Sony products.

Of course, I hope my prediction is false! The biggest winner would be the hybrid/combo player that everyione can agree on. Meanwhile, I'll be perfectly happy with my divx player.

apples to apples...NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825516)

Authoring can also cause major differences.
A studio may provide more resources and time for one format and not another, causes inequalites in the final product.

Ha! My prediction comes true (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825564)

Or, at least, my prediction has further evidence. :)

I have a simple rule these days about deciding what formats to pick. I simply pick "not Sony" and I'm pretty much always right. Sony stuff seems to look good on paper, but the implementation ends up sucking.

Re:Ha! My prediction comes true (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825651)

Umm... 30 years ago this would've meant you picked Beta...

Not that I wouldn't have either...

Apples-to-apples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825569)

It's an unfair comparison. The first batch of Blu-Ray video releases are still using MPEG-2 rather than AVC or VC-1, and the only available player out there so far (Samsung) is broken.

Besides, between the two formats there's no quality difference when both are using the same encoding and resolution. Not counting Blu-Ray's superior physical characteristics (which give it greater storage capacity), it will come out the victor anyway, as it has far better studio support.

Not Surprised (4, Insightful)

Doytch (950946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825572)

This is not surprising at all.

Until Sony actually finds their brain and starts using modern compression techniques(y'know, ones that aren't a decade old), this will only continue. Really, MPEG-2? H.264 and the HD-DVD VC1 completely blow MPEG-2 out of the water with regards to quality/space. The Blu-Ray discs' extra space might make it closer when they start making dual-layer discs, but that's far away, and unless they also switch compression, HD-DVD will still be better.

And what does all this mean? Nothing of course. If the public actually sees fit to buy these clunkers in droves, then whoever has advertising wins. I do hope they both flop, but that's an argument for another day.

Re:Not Surprised (1)

csplinter (734017) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825760)

Outdated compression technolgy isn't all bad. What happens when you scratch a cd with some data on it? What happens when you scratch a disc with the same data compressed with a 3:1 ratio? You lose 3 times more information is what. All other things the same blue ray should load faster. Of course I still I wont support either medium as long as I can hold out.

US Has a History of Losing Standards (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825588)

The technically superior standard almost never wins in the US.

We chose x86 over PPC
We chose VHS over BetaMax
We chose 8VSB over OFDM (for HDTV Broadcasting)
We chose CDMA over GSM (only just now starting to change)
And now we will probably end up with BluRay because of some gaming console... (PS3)

Re:US Has a History of Losing Standards (2, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825721)

BluRay currently has greater capacity. The only reason its picture quality sucks is because Sony has been using MPEG-2, even though the format supports H.264 and VC1/WMV9.

Re:US Has a History of Losing Standards (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825771)

Interestingly, I think VHS won because it too had higher capacity (6 hrs vs 5 hrs). I remember giving that alot of weight back in the day, since blank tapes were between $10-$20 at the time. I could fit 3 movies on a tape instead of 2 - a big savings.

Re:US Has a History of Losing Standards (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825837)

That this decision was based on the lowest-quality recording mode should also say something...

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825589)

No mention of DRM and spyware...

Me I will wait until the players are $99 and the labels have "Spyware free" stamped on them. I am still causious after the Sony/MGM root kit. Let us not forget.

Zonk Is Like One Of Those WW2 Japanese Soldiers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825604)

Zonk is like one of those WW2 Japanese Soldiers who was alone on some little Pacific island years after the war was over still manning his post.

The 360 is selling dead in Japan and Europe.
The 360 is selling at a slower rate than the first Xbox in the US.
The 360 has just broke 3 million worldwide after 8 months on the market - worst selling console in over a decade.
Microsoft is demoing a huge and expensive addon HD-DVD player for the 360 that doesn't support 1080p and costs around 200-250 dollars extra.

And Zonk is still fighting on...and running out of ammo with a silly codec comparision.

Zonkybaby, the war is over. You can go home. The 360 and HD-DVD lost - a long,long,long time ago.

HD DVD Promotion Group in action! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825614)

PLEASE, WAKE UP: Warner Home Video Inc. is member of the HD DVD Promotion Group [hddvdprg.com].

So what would you expect? A better Blu Ray release?

non-sense comparisons (1)

DeGem (904883) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825616)

Let us assume that the original content was identical (odds of being the same are slim) now my limited understanding of the details of these two formats aside. but MPEG2 is still MPEG2 no mater how the data is stored on the disc. AC3/DTS audio is still AC3/DTS audio regardless of the format of the disc. It's the players responsability to convert those 1 and zeros back into a media stream that then gets processed and transmitted to the output devices. what is really being compared in the reviews is not the content but the preparation methods used

It's still apples vs oranges (1)

Quebec (35169) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825641)

How were they encoded? Which bitrates were used?
At the decoding, were there any noise-filter used?
How could the author called his monitor a HDTV reference when it's only capable of 1366 x 768 (which is not full HD but more like half-HD, full HD is 1920x1080)

coedcs (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825735)

AFAIK, all of the currentl BluRay movies were encoded with MPEG-2, even though the format supports MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 and VC1/WMV9.

VHS vs Betamax (3, Insightful)

BigNumber (457893) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825667)

I keep hearing that the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD is just like the VHS vs Betamax from the past. There is a real problem with this analogy. With VHS vs Betamax, there wasn't any existing technology that did the same thing (unless you count reel projectors, which I don't). One of those technologies HAD to win because the market demanded the technology and there was no alternative.

The Blu-ray vs HD-DVD debate leaves out the very important aspect of existing DVD players and recorders. The market isn't really demanding a newer prettier picture quality or better sound or additional features that don't already exist on regular DVDs. With DVD-R camcorders now catching on in the consumer market, there's an even more compelling reason to stick with the older technology. It's an added feature the neither new format supports.

I predict that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will go the way of DAT and SACD. There may be a new format in the future but it's too soon and not advanced enough to take over the market. There will be a niche market for them just like Laserdisc for the true videophiles but that's all.

DVD? (4, Insightful)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825669)

How about comparing both to DVD as well? I'd sure like to know why I am expected to pay 50% more for a blue-ray version of a movie than a regular DVD version.

Re:DVD? (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825755)

How about comparing both to DVD as well? I'd sure like to know why I am expected to pay 50% more for a blue-ray version of a movie than a regular DVD version.

I think that would be the fairer test -- rather than comparing Blu-Ray to HD DVD directly, compare each to a "standard" DVD. Of course, what makes this difficult is the fact that the players are all going to vary so much. You need a test rig that could take the direct output of the disk read and put it through some kind of standard processor, so that the comparison could be level.

Interesting, but still early, results (1)

dFaust (546790) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825692)

I'm a bit confused... don't the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray specs both support the same video codecs (I believe the audio codecs between the two can differ)? But Blu-Ray supports a larger stream and larger available space. I believe they just had the specs for the two in the last Videographer and that's where I'm recalling this from, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, if that is true, it makes no sense that Blu-Ray would be inherently worse quality... quite the opposite.

HOWEVER... that said, as someone else alluded to, if the ultimate output is worse, it's worse. It's the difference between theoretical and in practical. I would just keep in find that these are both first-gen players, which were probably somewhat rushed, to boot... and first-gen discs, so the art of compressing for next-gen discs certainly hasn't been mastered. In theory I would think Blu-Ray would have the edge, but we'll see how things pan out.

Wow! Sign me up! (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825719)

Training Day

What?

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Who?

Rumor Has It

Wazzat?

These are their flagship release titles? Oh, I can't wait until these formats crater.

Idiotic, pointless review (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825744)

What is there to compare here? The format of the media storage is completely irrelevant to the quality of the movie. The movie is encoded in a binary, compressed codec. The combination of the codec, the compression level, the decoder in the player, and the quality of the components in the player - these are what determine the quality of the movie.

And since both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray support the same codecs, it is almost totally dependant on the player. The disc format of the movie doesn't make any difference whatsoever.

What a stupid article. Why not write an article comparing a movie viewed in a white to a movie viewed in an black house? It would have about the same difference on image and sound quality.

no thanks (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15825754)

Unless either of these formats is scratch resistant I think I'll stick with hardrives, thanks. How they ever got people to buy little disks that get the crap scratched out of them no matter what you do is beyond me - it's a recipe for paying for the same thing twice if you ask me.

dvds will win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825809)

I don't understand the big deal for both hd-dvd and blueray. The only reason I will be getting a blueray player is because I will eventually get a ps3. And I will be using the ps3 to play _GAMES_ not watching blueray movies. I do not care about either format and will continue to buy dvds. It just doesn't make sense to me to upgrade from dvd.

I don't care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15825859)

I burn my movies to DVD... and sometimes.. if they're 700MB I even burn them onto CD...
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