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Blu-ray vs. HD DVD Round Two

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-coulda-been-a-contender dept.

218

An anonymous reader writes "A second set of four movies are now available on both high-def disc formats, allowing for another set of head-to-head comparisons — and unlike last month's first round comparisons, Blu-ray fared much better this time. In fact, in comparing Warner's four latest Blu-ray disc releases ('Firewall,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Full Metal Jacket') to their HD DVD predecessors, High-Def Digest found three of the four titles to be more or less at picture quality parity. The key difference between these titles and Warner's Blu-ray launch titles last month? On all three of the titles receiving high marks, Warner switched from using the MPEG-2 compression codec to VC-1, which the studio has been using from the start on its counterpart HD DVD releases."

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218 comments

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077445)

I have already seen "Full Metal Jacket".

Re:Who cares? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077451)

Hurry! We have to replace our media collection before the next format comes out!

Re:Who cares? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077941)

"I have already seen "Full Metal Jacket"."

Funny thing about DVDs: They're usually movies that have already been in theaters. For some reason, insta-casettes didn't make it into the digital realm.

compelling (me not to buy) (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077447)

From the article:

Both of the next-gen high-def formats -- certainly more than DVD -- are very, very sensitive to even the slightest discrepancies in hardware setup and display calibration.

Aside from the mere annoyance factor, this is either the blessing or the curse of HD (generic) DVD, and HD TV in general. It is tiresome to see a bad picture and go through the script:

  • is it the TV?
  • is it the DVD player?
  • is it the DVD?
  • is it the cable (or lack thereof)?
  • is it the video receiver?
  • is it the microwave oven?

Also, from the article:

But seeing as the phrase "firmware upgrade" is fast becoming a permanent part of the consumer electronics lexicon, it is clear Darwin would have loved this whole Blu-ray versus HD DVD thing.

WTH? "(F)irmware upgrade" is fast becoming a permanent part of the consumer electronics lexicon?!? Gosh, I hope not! That just means more "consumer support" I have to do. Aside from general consumers not having any idea what firmware is (nor should they have to), the notion of "modding" their units, even under the aegis of "fixing" something is foreign, and frightening to them.

And, now there's a battle brewing over the appropriate codec? Again, WTH? So now we have 2 competing hardware formats, and at least 2 codecs? Are the studios going to ship with a version of each codec? Are all of our players going to be compatible (sans firmware hoops)?

All of this roiling, and a missing piece of the reviews and comparisons. How do these new formats and codecs hold up to and compare with the workhorse DVD of today? Considering today's DVDs have matured quite well, no hassle, no muss, no fuss, it'd be nice to know if the new expensive, complex, and not yet settled new DVD technology is even worth the bother.... Right now, for most, I'm guessing it's not.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077465)

You forgot the most important question: Is it more trouble than it is worth?
 
I'm not going to blow a few grand on HDTV/BluRay-HD-DVD/etc. when there is real chance the stuff I buy will NEVER work properly. This while DRM crippled HDTV fiasco is more of a pain in the ass than I will ever be willing to deal with. Get treated like a criminal, and have to PAY for the privledge? - Not a chance.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077622)

You forgot the most important question: Is it more trouble than it is worth?

Maybe you should have read his entire post:

Considering today's DVDs have matured quite well, no hassle, no muss, no fuss, it'd be nice to know if the new expensive, complex, and not yet settled new DVD technology is even worth the bother.... Right now, for most, I'm guessing it's not.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (4, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077489)

I assume the firmware upgrade treadmill only exists because the market is so new, and the devices are so bleeding-edge. The reviewer talked about getting whole new features in a firmware upgrade. Does this ever happen for $50 DVD players? No. Once hardware becomes more commoditized, manufacturers would rather people buy another $50 unit to get new software features. It's just that right now, they're doing a lot of software work to beat the other guy, and there's only a couple of players released. The fastest way for them to get their code up to snuff is to get it into the hands of as many end-users as they can, but since people aren't buying lots of new players, they have to upgrade them in-place.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077855)

"I assume the firmware upgrade treadmill only exists because the market is so new, and the devices are so bleeding-edge."

I think the downside of the existence of flash memory is that embedded system companies are using it as a crutch instead of doing appropriate testing. Back in the days when a upgrade required a service visit to replace a PROM or EPROM (or possibly replace a board if the memory wasn't socketed) there were far fewer bugs.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077881)

I think the downside of the existence of flash memory is that embedded system companies are using it as a crutch instead of doing appropriate testing.

And how long before the all the new "dvd"s come out with software to OVERWRITE any firmware on your system that isn't "official"?

It will happen, I will bet my lunch money on it.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (2, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077916)

I'm almost positive that it's actually part of the standard. So when HDCP codes get cracked, they can shut down individual codes instead of having the entire protection standard blown wide open. The question is how long before someone makes a mod-chip that intercepts the overwrite.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077942)

first let me propose DVD^2 to refer to either HDVD or BRDVD okay now i would say that an autoupdate function would be something of a good idea since selling a dvd^2 is a lot easier to the Joe Sixpack crowd than selling/giving an update disc is

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (1)

Dogers (446369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077513)

And, now there's a battle brewing over the appropriate codec? Again, WTH? So now we have 2 competing hardware formats, and at least 2 codecs? Are the studios going to ship with a version of each codec? Are all of our players going to be compatible (sans firmware hoops)?

There's three (video) codecs, and yes, for a unit to be bluray/hddvd compatible it has to support them all. hddvd units have to have two decompressors, also.

I'm not buying either (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077552)

I'm not buying into any High Definition products until the content providers and electronics companies get their heads out of their asses and actually produce (and stick to) a standard. The fact is that over the past couple of decades when we've been promised a High Definition standard and what we've gotten is dozens of incompatible set-ups that confuse users and create incompatability; we have 480p, EDTV, 540p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p using Component, DVI, and HDMI to display either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD movies. How hard would it have been to stick with one resolution (say 720p), using one type of input (DVI) and just produce one movie format? How do I know that it 2 years (after I buy a TV) we won't have a solid state video format, that has a resolution of 2248x1280, that uses a brand new cable connection?

Re:I'm not buying either (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077597)

I can agree with you to a point.

TV has not really been all that great about progress until this decade. Before that, it seems to me the only MAJOR upgrade from the original TV in terms of picture was mainly from b/w->color, and then perhaps digital cable/satellite. I welcome more rapid progress.

But yeah, they should clarify resolution with the same numbers used in computer monitor displays, such as 1280x960. 480p, EDTV, 540p, etcetera does not tell me much and isn't intuitive. But anyone can see 1280x960 is better than 640x480 which is better than 320x240.

Re:I'm not buying either (1, Insightful)

abandonment (739466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077683)

This argument makes me laugh particularly when it comes to so-called 'next gen' games - PC's have run at alot higher resolutions than the supposed 'HD' formats allow. Yet, the marketing machine continues to push the fact that supposedly these 'hd' consoles will give us a better gaming experience. No thanx.

>>But anyone can see 1280x960 is better than 640x480 which is better than 320x240.

which is why i'm sticking to the 'next gen hardware' I already have - ie my laptop - anyone can see that 1680x1050 is better than any HD format, period. for videos / movies, sure this might make a difference, but with all of the hurdles, i think alot of people will get burned and end up avoiding the battle completely until the manufacturers get their shit together.

btw, standard dvd's are 720 wide, not 640

Re:I'm not buying either (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077753)

anyone can see that 1680x1050 is better than any HD format,

That is pretty hard to see from my viewpoint. HD formats include 1080p which in fact is 1920 x 1080.

 

Re:I'm not buying either (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077813)

This argument makes me laugh particularly when it comes to so-called 'next gen' games - PC's have run at alot higher resolutions than the supposed 'HD' formats allow. Yet, the marketing machine continues to push the fact that supposedly these 'hd' consoles will give us a better gaming experience. No thanx.

Console gaming is all about the social gaming experience. You aren't hunched over a monitor. You are on the couch with your buddies showing off that 60" plasma TV. That is what sells HD to the gamer.

Re:I'm not buying either (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077963)

"btw, standard dvd's are 720 wide, not 640"

This isn't a rebuttal, simply a nitpick. If you're viewing your DVD on a computer, you're getting all 720 pixels. What you view on a TV is cropped a little. On a lot of TVs, the best you'll get is 640 wide.

Again, I'm not posting this to invalidate your point. It's just one of the stupid little things I learned when I did graphics for TV. It's a pain in the butt to put text at the bottom or the top of the screen. You have to stay within the 'safe area'. It's fun watching DVDs of 80's shows on a computer because you'll start seeing boom mics etc at the top of the screen, something you wouldn't catch on the TV. Heh.

Re:I'm not buying either (5, Informative)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077996)

But yeah, they should clarify resolution with the same numbers used in computer monitor displays, such as 1280x960. 480p, EDTV, 540p, etcetera does not tell me much and isn't intuitive. But anyone can see 1280x960 is better than 640x480 which is better than 320x240.

480i = 640x480, 704x480, or, in the case of DVD, 720x480, interlaced

480p = 640x480, 704x480, or, in the case of DVD, 720x480, progressive.

540p = 960x540, progressive (1/4 of 1080p)

720p = 1280x720, progressive.

1080i = 1920x1080, interlaced.

1080p = 1920x1080, progressive.

1080p at 60 frames/sec is outside of the ATSC spec, but I think the HDDVD and BD formats support it.... don't quote me. 540p is also outside of the ATSC spec.

Within the ATSC spec, all of the interlaced modes are 30 frames/sec. The progressive modes (except 1080p) can be 24, 30 or 60 frames/sec. 1080p can be 24 or 30 frames/sec.

The thing to note is that except for the 480 modes, the pixels are square. For this reason, you can use the Y value (540, 720, 1080) and multiply it by 16/9 (the aspect ratio of the screen) to get the X value.

Now, my challenge to you: Which is higher resolution, 1920x1080 or 1600x1200? You may not use a calculator.

By comparison, which is higher resolution, 1080p or 720p? You won't need a calculator.

Re:compelling (me not to buy) (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077968)

If the problem might be the microwave oven, it means you need to disconnect it from your home entertainment system ASAP.

I'm waiting... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077450)

No Die Hard yet?

Why VC-1? (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077583)

VC-1 is Microsoft's WMV codec. H.264 is considered the standard successor to MPEG-2 and is expected to be the dominant Blu-Ray/HD-DVD codec given its superior quality to both MPEG-2 and VC-1. Why is Warner going with VC-1? Some deal with Microsoft?

Re:Why VC-1? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077674)

To be fair, I should point out that H.264 (MPEG-4) is Apple's format basically. It's not a format sans agenda.

Re:Why VC-1? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077820)

It's not "Apple's format". It's a normal format, as standard as other MPEGs or MP3. It seems to be a common mistake-- people think AAC and h264 are both Apple formats because Apple is one of the most prominent companies to use the formats, but Apple doesn't control either format, and there are other encoders/decoders for both formats.

Re:Why VC-1? (1)

iso (87585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077819)

It has nothing to do with a Microsoft agenda. H.264 is an MPEG standard, which means dealing with the MPEG-LA and their licensing. The licensing fees are cheaper for VC-1 than H.264 which makes the entire VC-1 workflow cheaper than H.264. And at high (HD disc) bitrates, VC-1 is "close enough" to H.264.

I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077456)

How long until we get some Blu-ray or HD-DVD pr0n? That's when the formats will explode, pardon the pun. Are there any pr0n titles yet available? Why not? A pr0n connissour demands answers.

Re:I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077471)

Stop writing it as pr0n, dullard.

Re:I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077523)

You must be new here.

Porn Should NEVER Be High Def (5, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077491)

"How long until we get some Blu-ray or HD-DVD pr0n? That's when the formats will explode, pardon the pun."

The LAST thing porn needs is High Definition. Nobody needs to see every pimple (or, heaven forbid - genital wart) on a porn actresses body. Ditto for surgery-based stretch marks and razor burn.

Porn, like Playboy, benefits from a soft lens.

Re:Porn Should NEVER Be High Def (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077516)

A 1080p widescreen chocolate starfish with the "below the choad" camera angle!!

Re:Porn Should NEVER Be High Def (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077546)

Indeed! I download all my porn in the lowest video quality possible to avoid ANY chance of seeing a stray hair! :P

Sure, it sometimes means that I can barely make out which end of the amorphous blob on the screen has a head, and which end has feet, but I definitely don't see any human-like imperfections on their bodies either :D

Re:Porn Should NEVER Be High Def (2, Insightful)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077616)

Maybe it would help more nerds get dates if they did have to watch porn at high definition. Then they would realize that most real women don't look like that.

Re:Porn Should NEVER Be High Def (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077643)

You're, right. They're fatter (at least here in the US), uglier, and have far less sex appeal.

Irony: the word test to verify this post is not a bot is "girlie".

Re:Porn Should NEVER Be High Def (1)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077890)

Stick to ASCII porn...you don't get much lower resolution than that. I'm proud to say I was motivated to learn my first Linux system by the sheer fact that I could watch my videos in the console with aalib.

Re:I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (3, Funny)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077499)

Nothing like seeing tenticle rape in 1080p.

Re:I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077700)

<i>Nothing like seeing tenticle rape in 1080p.</i>

And that would be tenticle rape from a $1000 budget cartoon, made in the 70's, drawn with felt tip pens and animated at 5 frames per second.

Re:I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077778)

google for 'pirates' its high budget and HD.

Re:I figure this is the perfect crowd to ask (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077908)

They already exist, just not on those formats. You can buy them for download, or as WMV files on DVDs. I think they were also the first ones to do this.

Picture quality (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077458)

Picture quality is a function of the codec used. Format: irrelevant.

Re:Picture quality (4, Interesting)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077490)

Indeed - data is data, it doesn't matter if it's on Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, or even DVD. The only issue is related to the storage capacity, i.e. what bitrate you're able to encode the data at.

I'd sooner see comparisons on other aspects of the technology, such as the durability of Blu-Ray compared to HD-DVD.

Re:Picture quality (3, Insightful)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077591)

Picture quality is a function of two things: codec and bitrate.

H.264 is typically better than VC-1, and Blu-ray can fit ~66% more bits per layer. By any reasonable comparison, Blu-ray will come out on top.

However, if the studios don't take advantage of the medium, and ship the same bits on both discs, the result is obvious. Since they both come with DRM though, that means I will get no picture at all, so it hardly matters.

Re:Picture quality (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077595)

You're so right - you don't really need a HD DVD or Blu Ray Drive to watch HD content.

Data is data is data. Image quality only comes down codecs and equipment quality.

Re:Picture quality (1)

abdulla (523920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077657)

What I don't understand is why they didn't use a more industry developed and supported codec like one of the MPEG-4 ones, ie H.264. Isn't it known to be better than VC-1?

Re:Picture quality (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077759)

What I don't understand is why they didn't use a more industry developed and supported codec like one of the MPEG-4 ones, ie H.264. Isn't it known to be better than VC-1?

"The main goal of VC-1 development and standardization is to support the compression of interlaced content without first converting it to progressive, making it more attractive to broadcast and video industry professionals. VC-1 [wikipedia.org]

Your 1080i master for broadcast is your 1080i master for the HD-DVD.

Re:Picture quality (1)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077897)

Your 1080i master for broadcast is your 1080i master for the HD-DVD.
Not quite. All releases on HD-DVD so far have been in 1080p.
I'm no expert in HD technology, but I'd say it should be pretty easy to take 60fps 1080p (HD-DVD) and turn it into 30fps 1080i (HD broadcast).

Re:Picture quality (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077687)

Picture quality is a function of the codec used. Format: irrelevant.
Wrong! All codecs support varying bitrates, and for a given codec a higher bitrate always equals higher picture quality. The point of the physical medium is to hold enough data to support a high bitrate. Blu-Ray holds 66% more than HD-DVD, so it should have a leg up in picture quality.

Anyways, these standards (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) do not just specify the physical media, they include the codecs as well. But since they support the same codecs, it should come down to capacity.

Re:Picture quality (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077704)

BluRay WOULD hold 66% more if they got the kinks out of producing doouble layer disks. Right now all BluRay movies are on single layer disks and HD-DVD are on DL disks.

well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077479)

.. i would click this if i was you Carnage Blender [carnageblender.com]

Do it!

Blazing saddles review (4, Insightful)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077480)

The reviewer touches on why the movie is the way it is but then ignores the obvious fact. THE MOVIE WAS MADE IN THE 1970s! Think about how many people felt back then. We may live in a time now where "nigger" offends both races now for some reason and mimicking our favorite rap stars is cool but back then it was not like that at all. The fact that he can't grab Mel's humor as it fits perfectly in the era it was released is very sad. Other then that, yeah, who hasn't already seen blazing saddles? I need to see a 35 year old movie in high def because....?

Re:Blazing saddles review (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077756)

The same reason me and 200 other people paid $4 to watch it on the big screen for a midnight show. Just watched the first Lord of the Rings there, though they only had about 40 people show up for that one. I don't care how good home viewing is, it won't be as good as a theater.

Re:Blazing saddles review (2, Interesting)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077864)

Um, it was made to insult, the fact that it insults now as well just furthers the genius of the movie.

Woo! Hi-def Chloe from "24"! (4, Interesting)

payndz (589033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077486)

So for a modest investment of a couple of grand, I can see Mary Lynn Rajskub sulk and pout in full high-definition glory? I'm almost tempted!

But seriously. As much as I love Chloe and her big-screen clone, Firewall? Who the fuck do they think would be rushing out to buy this as an example of the best in high-definition viewing? "Guys! Come round to my house to watch a mediocre Harrison Ford thriller, 90% of which takes place in such exotic locations as a house and an office - in high-def!" I bet that shitty in-car greenscreen work in the last 20 minutes looks fantastic in HD...

From the lame selection of movies - in both HD-DVD and BR - so far, it's obvious that the studios are either shit-scared about eating into the profit margin of their DVD ranges, or really couldn't give a crap about HD and have been forced into launching it by the suits.

No a much better question is (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077598)

Blazing Saddles? I mean give me a fucking break. I love the movie, don't get me wrong, I just see nothing it would gain in HD. The DVD version is rather grainy, so to get any worthwhile rez gain they'd have to spend some cash cleaning things up. Even if they did, what's the point? The movie doesn't need to look good to be funny. For that matter, it's mixed in mono, as in 1-channel sound! No 5.1 surround sound, nothing. Does it matter? Not one bit, it's still damn hilarious. But I certainly wouldn't spend money rebuying it in HD.

It's for practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077933)

Studios are still learning how to optimize the discs. Take a look at early DVD's. They look terrible. Same for HD discs. They know the first X number of releases will be poor, so they are selling non-blockbuster movies first. Soon as they are confident, better titles will be released.

Here's an idea... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077500)

How about putting out a decent (read: widescreen) regular DVD version of Full Metal Jacket, and then worry about putting it out in the whiz-bang new formats nobody has a player for yet?

Re:Here's an idea... (1)

CreateWindowEx (630955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077575)

Stanley Kubrick (the directory) preferred the 4:3 aspect ratio, and shot most of his movies in that format. I think FMJ was shot in 4:3, so the "widescreen" US theatrical release was just cropped (the European release was 15:9). So, the 4:3 DVD version is actually what the director intended--it's showing the whole frame, unlike most 4:3 videos which are pan+scan crops of widescreen/anamorphic source material.

Although that might not please you if you have a 16:9 TV...

Re:Here's an idea... (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077723)

Although that might not please you if you have a 16:9 TV...

Maybe it's just elitist of me, but I can't stand a picture being out of aspect ratio. I would rather see black bars than see people with oblong heads.

Too few movies (2, Interesting)

nascarguy27 (984493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077518)

Why are people making comparisons between HD standards that I personally:
1) Won't need. Current DVD produce is fine.
2) Can't afford. Bring prices down for HD TVs, HD cable boxes, HD cable, HD players, etc.
3) Don't want. *cough* DRM *cough* and too few selections for movies, currently anyway.
I watch movies for the content and story, NOT for the blemishes on the actors faces. My 19" screens and standard DVDs are good enough. That said, HD is good for sporting events. That's all I'd use it for.

Re:Too few movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077578)

you wouldn't use it personally? Well I'm sorry we wasted your time. We'll never post another article about something YOU can't afford or don't want. Our bad.

Re:Too few movies (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077661)

Why are people making comparisons between HD standards that I personally:
1) Won't need. Current DVD produce is fine.
2) Can't afford. Bring prices down for HD TVs, HD cable boxes, HD cable, HD players, etc.
3) Don't want. *cough* DRM *cough* and too few selections for movies, currently anyway.

Obviously you're not the target audience. That said, I think you're a little confused on price. HDTVs are available for as little as $500 (depending on size and technology). HD cable boxes are "free". HD cable itself generally only costs an extra $5/mo ($10/mo if you want it with a DVR), depending on the carrier. Upconverting DVD players are available for $100 or less. Granted, HD-DVD players ($500) and BD players ($1000) are still expensive, but that's because they're brand new technology. DVD players were expensive when they were first released, as well. You couldn't go down to the corner market and pick up a $35 DVD player back in 1997. Complaining about price at this point in the life of HD video disc players is just silly.

DRM and movie selection will sort itself out. Remember the old DivX from Circuit City? It had a much more restrictive DRM model than DVD, and it died a horrible death (like Blu-Ray players, DivX players could phone home and brick your player if they wanted to). Early adopters don't care, but they're the only ones who'll get burned here. The rest of us are taking a "Wait and see" attitude. My current bet is that BD's phone-home feature will eventually accidentally disable a bunch of players, causing more awareness of that feature and prompting more people to use HD-DVD which doesn't have the same feature. Then the HD-DVD DRM will ultimately be cracked (just like DVDs), and your DRM argument will be moot.

Movie selection always starts off poor. What was available when DVDs first shipped in 1997? Twister and a bunch of IMAX crap. Wait a couple years (after the format war is over), and if HD-DVD or BD really catches on studios will release more and more movies. Besides, you can still play your old DVD movies in the new players, unlike the VHS to DVD switch.

I watch movies for the content and story, NOT for the blemishes on the actors faces. My 19" screens and standard DVDs are good enough. That said, HD is good for sporting events. That's all I'd use it for.

Most people watch movies for the content (even if that "content" is simply what hot actor or actress is in the movie). Hardware reviewers watch movies for the blemishes, but that's because they're providing a service to help you choose the best hardware for your budget. Would you use OpenOffice.org if its UI was purple and green? Why not? It still works just the same, and you can ignore purple and green.

As for your 19" screens, some of us don't like to sit in front of the computer to watch a movie. We have nice couches and big screen TVs so we can sit back in comfort and enjoy the show rather than hunching up over a desk.

Re:Too few movies (2, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077672)

Most of us *aren't* you (thankfully).

1) Won't need. Current DVD produce is fine.


Not if you appreciate the higher resolution video. (Some people do.)

2) Can't afford. Bring prices down for HD TVs, HD cable boxes, HD cable, HD players, etc.


You can get HDTVs for $800 (32" LCD) or less. I think you can get 30" CRT HDTVs for $500 or less. Considering they're all widescreen, they're pretty nice even if you only want to watch DVDs.

Digital Cable here with one HD receiver (plus analog for evey other tv) cost less than the analog package we were previously on for the past six years. A DVR brought up the price by $2.

I don't pay extra HD content -- just the basic digital cable, which costs less than analog did -- and I get the locals, TNT HD, and Discovery HD Theater.

Without the cable box, I was able to get the local channels in HD on my TV.

While high definition video players are expensive, I can get 5 channels of HD content (HDNet, HDNet Movies, InHD, InHD2, and ESPN) for $7/mo extra -- and get lots of HD content. Or, by subscribing to HBO and/or Showtime, you also get the HD versions of either.

HD-DVD and Blu-ray are expensive but getting an HDTV doesn't mean you can't still watch DVDs. With the right software or player, they look better than they would on an SDTV -- Cyberlink PowerDVD is able to make DVDs look pretty good at 1366x768.

Re:Too few movies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077706)

you are a fucking idiot.

Please get fucked up the ass by a nigger and die.

thanks for your time fuckwad

Awesome! (3, Insightful)

isecore (132059) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077532)

I especially love how they're using large chunks of badly written text in favor of comparative screenshots of each movie! Why waste time and space looking at comparative pictures when we can read endless blocks of text written by Some Guy!

(disclaimer: yes, I'm being sarcastic)

DRM (2, Insightful)

chis101 (754167) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077589)

DRM? Is it even (legally) possible to take a screenshot of a full-res HD DVD or Blu-Ray movie? I think it needs an encrypted channel to the monitor or it refuses to display in full-res

A truly unbiased review... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077538)

...wouldn't have skipped pointing out that even by year's end - which it is to be assumed this "round two" encompasses - Blu-Ray will have, perhaps generously, a dozen movies using VC-1 (or AVC). Are consumers supposed to pretend, then, that the many dozens of other movies don't look too poor to actually spend $40 on? Meanwhile, the competing format will be able to boast a movie repertoire that ISN'T a shooting gallery; literally every movie release looks the way high-def was meant to look.

Simultaneously, the reviewer seemed eager to suggest that BD50 was going to be a common and perhaps defacto studio choice in very short order, but a little research reveals otherwise. So far, exactly one disc is planned to use said capacity. And the good money is on the worry that the thus-far unused format may prove to be less than fully compatible with all Blu-Ray players (or that the disc may get scratched too easily, owing to Blu-Ray's startlingly narrow gap between the lens and the disc). A valid concern.

Still waiting for HVD (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077542)

I still believe the next standard will first have to see hardware acceptance on the level of the lowly PC, not TVs. Mostly pushed as a need to have a higher capacity backup standard than the single layer 4.7GB DVD-R to save data on and possibly more capacity to deliver PC games on (though they can always stream the extra data over the internet....).

I don't think the adopters are there in quantity to push either standard into common acceptance beyond a laserdisc level.

Either that, or perhaps movies will be downloaded for the next revolution. Afterall, they haven't been able to supplant the music CD as the prefered hardcopy method yet.

Re:Still waiting for HVD (2, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077570)

Afterall, they haven't been able to supplant the music CD as the prefered hardcopy method yet.

Music CDs aren't a good comparison. First, CD quality encoding is high enough that I've only met one, maybe two people who can tell the difference between it and any higher quality of music. Both of the two I know had very good hearing above 20khz. That's why the wav format it uses hasn't been replaced yet. As to the medium of the CD itself. For music at that quality, you don't need anything more for 99.99% of the market. The standard album length is 45 minutes. A music CD will hold 70 standard. Until they start putting other stuff on the disks, the CD will remain.

The one thing I could see hapening is taking one of the newer methods, DVD,HD, Blueray, making a disk that stores about a gig (at most), but has a much smaller diameter, and turning that into the new music format. Basically, think of music CDs that are only two inches in diameter, tops.

Video is much different in that as you scale up the screen size, artifacts and distortion appears. The solution is to up the pixel count (like HD did) which ups the bitrate. The goal, as I understand it, is to eventually have a 2160 line movie at 120fps. At that point, a few TV engineers I've met believe that humans won't be able to tell the difference between TV and seeing with their own eyes.

Re:Still waiting for HVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077748)

The goal, as I understand it, is to eventually have a 2160 line movie at 120fps. At that point, a few TV engineers I've met believe that humans won't be able to tell the difference between TV and seeing with their own eyes.

Well, that depends on the size of the screen. If you have 2160 lines spread out across a wall reather than a TV, you're going to start getting jaggies. I'm not trying to contest a TV engineer or anything, just at what size screen is that idea applicable?

Re:Still waiting for HVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077624)

Exactly my question: I could give two shits about "content" that isn't "better"... but if I had an HDVDR-burner, I could back up everything in the house with a short stack of HDVDRs, and *that* is a killer app IMHO.

Yawwwnnn. (3, Interesting)

zaqattack911 (532040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077548)

Through the endless marketing speak about the "technologies" involved in HDTV and HD_DVD and blueray... I find myself just wanting to ignore the whole thing.

They have managed to so utterly confuse the average consumer, that people actually flock to best buy and ask the advice of the A/V *cough* "experts" over there.

HD-DVD / Bluray isn't about **ing movies, its just a high density dvd player (hopefully with more data / computer applications than the dinky junk they are going to cram onto the next hollywood trash movie).

Then we come to HDTV.... even more confusing video format that means:

A friggin resolution of 1920x1080 (I think)
some DRM
DVI /hdmi connectors (and god damn price of the cable.. lol what a joke).

The industry seems to think if they can thouroughly confuse the consumer... they can probably also convince him/her to change his/her entire Home Theatre setup.

I bet in less than a year's time, there is going to be some new HDTV surround sound requirement that will force everyone to replace their current dolby digital sound / speakers in order to truely enjoy hdtv sound.

I also have a question... this thing about 32bit vista not being able to produce true HD resolution with movies.... is that some kind of joke? My computer can already play that resolution, what gives? Is the encoding of the movie that cpu hungry?

I'm sorry.. obviously I'll be marked as a troll... but I find this so frustrating. The arsenal of buzzwords is starting to get to me. For gods sake.. can't I just use bluray to back-up my files? I don't care about movies.

Re:Yawwwnnn. (3, Informative)

ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077592)

I also have a question... this thing about 32bit vista not being able to produce true HD resolution with movies.... is that some kind of joke? My computer can already play that resolution, what gives? Is the encoding of the movie that cpu hungry? Microsoft has stated that 32-bit Windows Vista will not allow high definition playback because apparently software running on a 32-bit CPU can override the DRM, allowing for illegal copying. It has nothing to do with capabilities of a 32-bit system, it is all about Bill Gates orally pleasuring the movie and record industries. There was a slashdot article on it recently.

HDMI cables are $6 at Monoprice.. (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077782)

Yeah, what a joke.

From the "info" you posted, it's clear you are successfully ignoring HDTV. Posting incorrect info isn't helping either. Please add "posting info about HDTV" to your list of things not to do.

And yes, the video encodings can be very CPU intensive.

I have a dual-core Intel Core Duo Mac Mini that cannot play full-screen 1920x1080 H.264 video, even at 24fps. So yes, the encodings are very CPU intensive.

Re:HDMI cables are $6 at Monoprice.. (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#16078012)

I call bullshit. I can play 1920x1080 HD content with absolutely no problems on my macbook. The ONLY reason you might be having problems with a dual core mac mini is the abysmal graphics card they put in it, but it certainly not a question of processor speed.

Re:HDMI cables are $6 at Monoprice.. (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16078035)

That won't be a problem when hardware decoders are added to all new graphics cards.

Re:Yawwwnnn. (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077962)

I bet in less than a year's time, there is going to be some new HDTV surround sound requirement that will force everyone to replace their current dolby digital sound / speakers in order to truely enjoy hdtv sound.

We're almost there. There was recently an update to the HDMI spec (1.3) that may break compatibility with older HDMI devices.

I also have a question... this thing about 32bit vista not being able to produce true HD resolution with movies.... is that some kind of joke?

Vista on 32-bit will not require the use of signed device drivers; on 64-bit it will. Microsoft decided, with prodding from the MPAA, naturally, to disallow true HD resolutions when there is a chance that the data will pass through unsigned code on the way from the drive to the monitor. So no, it's not a joke, but it has nothing to do with how powerful the computer is.

Framerate (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077572)

Is there on the market any format that supports and actually uses more than 24 FPS? Any movies that don't blur, don't show "ghosts" or such on rapid movement? AFAIK all the source tapes of the movies are in 24 frames per second, so no matter how much you improve resolution, the framerate will suck.

Re:Framerate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077724)

Yes. NTSC video is 29.97 fps.

PAL is 25fps.

High Motion (2, Interesting)

CreateWindowEx (630955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077755)

I've been wishing for that for a long time, but it doesn't seem to be something that too many people are pushing for.

IMAX can use 48 fps. Apparently the first two movies shot with the 70 mm Todd-AO format were done with 30 fps (Around the World in Eighty Days, and Oklahoma!), but after that they switched to the more conventional 24 fps.

One new proposed film format with 48 fps is MaxiVision48 [geocities.com] . Showscan [showscan.com] is done at 60 fps. I'm pretty doubtful that a new film-based format can take off, because of the high cost of switching projection equipment, and because there will be increasing pressure to switch to digital to lower distribution costs. The last few times that I've gone to theaters, I've been appalled at the crappy image quality--I think we've actually gone backwards since the era of 70 mm movies like Laurence of Arabia (I saw a new print of that screened a few years ago, and it was amazing!), and I think the future, unfortunately, will be medium-quality digital, full of banding and compression artifacts.

I think movies with lots of rapid camera movements and hyperkinetic fight scenes would definitely benefit from switching to 48 fps or higher. While most people can't tell the difference between 24, 30, and 60 fps, I think they can subconsciously feel it. On the other hand, there are many people who feel that such "high motion" filming actually interferes with audience's suspension of disbelief, or that acting and directing would have to change to work in that format. (see this article [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:High Motion (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077837)

I don't understand why we still have banding effects. If you upsampled during recording, say at 48bits, you could use dithering algorithms prior to encoding to 24/32 bits color to eliminate banding effects. Dithering algorithms are how old? 30years+? You also should be able to encode your dithered results fairly well as long as your you build it into your compression/playback algorithm.

This is such a bogus fight! (2, Interesting)

fz00 (466988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077641)

The future is hard disk and broadband. Besides, my mpeg4s look just fine on my widescreen. This will be the biggest digital video flop since the first Divx!

Re:This is such a bogus fight! (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077751)

If I download something in point A, how could I bring it to a player in point B without sending it through the web? It is not like we'll actually accomplish infinite bandwidth anytime soon, downloading high def movies will be an annoying waste of time, maybe shorter than now but it won't become 0 in the short term.

Re:This is such a bogus fight! (1)

thevoice99 (881959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077973)

50+ Mbps home bandwdidth saturation will be a reality faster than HD tvs and HD format saturation. Combine that with solid state hard drives and you have the future of content storage and distribution. Owning content on a disk will be a thing of the past. You'll walk into your living room, say you want to watch something, it starts playing on your TV. All of that for a monthly fee that gets added to your phone and internet bill.

Shove it, CmdrDildo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16077646)

I will not subscribe to slashdot until:

1. They stop beating crap like HD-DVD vs. BluRay to death while everything else gets ignored. It's turning into too much of a "big boys toys" forum over a solid technology site.
2. Drop the politics section. While I'm sure it will go away as soon as a Democrat is elected president, regardless of his wrong doings, it's become nothing but a bashfest that has added no substance. I guess CmdrDildo needs this to increase traffic since no one is here to read the Linux or Mac crap.
3. I get mod points back. It's sad that I lost mod points because I don't do the slashdot goosestep. Hence, I'm a troll today.
4. Get rid of the overrated/underrated mods. No mods should be free of being meta-moderated. It's a tool of trolls that has been used against target users instead of being used as the slashdot staff originally envisioned. Taco knows this yet will still do nothing about it. GET OFF YOUR ASS and do a little work for once instead of living off of old glories.

We're your customer, Taco, we're always right.

Stop these pointless comparisons (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077677)

Blue Ray and HD-DVD are both just data discs. Any difference between them is NOT due to the disc or the technology or anything like that, but the mastering process the studio takes. Picture quality and audio quality isnt affected by the Blue Ray or HD-DVD disc any more than the sound quality of your MP3s is affected by your having a Seagate hard drive vs a Maxtor hard drive.

Re:Stop these pointless comparisons (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077710)

Right, but data-heavy signals such as audio and video exhaust disc storage easily depending on the quality of the signal versus the level of compression. The enlarged capacity of the new discs enables for the creation of new formats. You can consider picture quality and audio quality to depend on the size of the disk, so this is a natural trait of the format.

Of course the quality can vary depending on the mastering techniques. A DVD can contain video quality far inferior to that of VHS if that is the content, but proper usage of DVD allows us to surpass VHS. Blu-ray and HD-DVD allow us to surpass DVD and (in theory) each other.

Re:Stop these pointless comparisons (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077799)

No. FTFA: "Warner switched from using the MPEG-2 compression codec to VC-1,"

Both discs have the same approximate capacity. Switching codecs is not dependent on the disc itself. If Blue Ray "wins" the hardware war, but VC-1 from the HD-DVD camp is a better codec, I would hope the studios didn't just continue to blindly use MPEG.

What I am saying is that hardware has nothing to do with it. Tying a codec/software package/voodoo prayer to hardware is does NOT mean the hardware in one is better.

Re:Stop these pointless comparisons (1)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077961)

Both discs have the same approximate capacity.

Eh? Blu-ray is 50G, while HD-DVD is 30G (double sided, in both cases). In other words, Blu-ray currently holds 67% more data than HD-DVD.

The theoretical limits are 200G vs 60G respectively (see here [engadget.com] ).

I'd call that pretty significant.

Fascinating (1)

LiquidEdge (774076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077715)

I think it's very telling that a community of early adopters and the one's that love it (for the most part) when innovative technologies come out are (for the most part) completely uninterested in the new standards. The problem with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD is that there's no real "Killer App" to drive people in to the stores and replace their current collections. The switch from VHS to DVD was not only about quality, it was about extras, easy chapter location, easier fast forwarding, and longevity. The only think the new formats really are bringing at this point is better picture quality and that's just not enough of a driver to get people in to the stores buying this stuff.

data storage (1)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077733)

I don't care whitch movies are released by MPAA supporters on either Blu-ray or GD-DVD. All I care about is data storage. And right now the cost of Blu-ray is more than 50cent/gig compared with less than 10 cents per gig on DVD. Not to mancion you need to spend upfront 800$ for a writer. What the heck the price per gig on hardrive is less than 25 cents per gig with no upfront costs.

----
http://world4.monstersgame.co.uk/?ac=vid&vid=47010 693 [monstersgame.co.uk]

The Real Winner is.. (4, Insightful)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077752)

Whichever one will work in windows xp and linux and allow you to view the content at the full resolution without any encumbering DRM will be the market winner

Re:The Real Winner is.. (1)

nonlnear (893672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077848)

So DVD then? That is, until HDCP is cracked. Shouldn't be long.

Re:The Real Winner is.. (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16077936)

So DVD then? That is, until HDCP is cracked. Shouldn't be long.

Don't hold your breath. The fact that CSS was cracked is more of the fact that Xing screwed up and put an unecrypted key in their player. Once they got ahold of the basic encryption, brute forcing 40 bit keys wasn't that hard (couldn't be stronger than 40 bit due to US export laws on encryption at the time).

Even a bad implimentation can take forever to break. If Xing didn't screw up, we would never have heard of DeCSS.
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