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Let The Hi-Def Format War Begin! (Blu-ray Disc vs. HD-DVD)

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Let The Hi-Def Format War Begin! (Blu-ray Disc vs. HD-DVD)

Postby Slick Willy » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:58 pm

For those of you who haven't heard, the high definition format war is on. Reminiscent of the Beta vs. VHS format war that started 30 years ago, only one will survive. Will it be Sony's Blu-ray Disc or Toshiba's HD-DVD?

Here are a couple of short video clips I found promoting Blu-ray Disc.
http://www.sicolamartin.com/bluraybroadcast/
http://www.us.playstation.com/Media?id=15501
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Re: Let The Hi-Def Format War Begin! (Blu-ray Disc vs. HD-DV

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:04 pm

Slick Willy wrote:For those of you who haven't heard, the high definition format war is on. Reminiscent of the Beta vs. VHS format war that started 30 years ago, only one will survive. Will it be Sony's Blu-ray Disc or Toshiba's HD-DVD?

Here are a couple of short video clips I found promoting Blu-ray Disc.
http://www.sicolamartin.com/bluraybroadcast/
http://www.us.playstation.com/Media?id=15501


It's worse than Betamax/VHS. It's not just one company versus the world.

TheDigitalBits.com has a lot on this subject.
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Postby Beer Moon » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:30 pm

Both will survive and thrive.

Players that do both will be out next year.

Media and devices for HD-DVD will be cheaper (see Xbox 360s current $200 HD-DVD add on that works when connected to an XP machine), albeit lower quality down the road.

Blu-Ray will be the more expensive of the two, but will eventually offer higher quality.

Budget and most popular = HD-DVD.
Expensive for videophiles and future format = BluRay.
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Postby MadMind » Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:15 am

They will both succeed? I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.

Betamax VS. VCR's? DVD versus DIVX (not to be confused with DivX)? Remember DIVX? Yeah, neither do I.

I'm not convinced this is a low end versus high end situation. As for right now they are competing on the same level over the same market.

It is a divisive issue. Companies are taking sides.

Take a look at this article by High Def Digest where they performed direct side-by-side comparisons of the first titles to be released on both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Ultimately it sounds as if there is little difference between the two formats, infact, Blu-Ray titles fell short of their HD-DVD counterparts. Blu-Ray had issues with brightness and contrast levels as well as more frequent and noticeable compression artifacts.

Even if & when combination HD-DVD/Blu-Ray players arrive (like DVD-Audio and SACD have), or even if consumers inadvertently end up owning both players - consumers do not want to have to do the legwork & comparison shop everytime a new title is released on both formats. Consumers won't buy both.

Eventually one format will dominate the market and the other will be phased out.

Will video rental stores start carrying High-Def movies to go along with America's favorite new toy, HDTV? If so, what will they stock? HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? ...Both? I doubt it.
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Postby Beer Moon » Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:06 pm

MadMind wrote:They will both succeed? I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.

Betamax VS. VCR's? DVD versus DIVX (not to be confused with DivX)? Remember DIVX? Yeah, neither do I.

I'm not convinced this is a low end versus high end situation. As for right now they are competing on the same level over the same market.

It is a divisive issue. Companies are taking sides.

Take a look at this article by High Def Digest where they performed direct side-by-side comparisons of the first titles to be released on both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Ultimately it sounds as if there is little difference between the two formats, infact, Blu-Ray titles fell short of their HD-DVD counterparts. Blu-Ray had issues with brightness and contrast levels as well as more frequent and noticeable compression artifacts.

Even if & when combination HD-DVD/Blu-Ray players arrive (like DVD-Audio and SACD have), or even if consumers inadvertently end up owning both players - consumers do not want to have to do the legwork & comparison shop everytime a new title is released on both formats. Consumers won't buy both.

Eventually one format will dominate the market and the other will be phased out.

Will video rental stores start carrying High-Def movies to go along with America's favorite new toy, HDTV? If so, what will they stock? HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? ...Both? I doubt it.


Consumers won't have to choose. They'll just buy a player that does both. Only those who care will purchase the more expensive format (most people don't even have an HDTV anyway). Everyone else will buy the cheaper format, which will be HD-DVD.

HD-DVD double-sided will go to 30GB. Blu-Ray will go to 100 eventually. As HDTVs increase in resolution (1080 is not the end-all be-all), videophiles and rich people will support the Blu-Ray market, while the vast majority of televisions will work and look just great with the less expensive HD-DVD.

Consumers will have a player that does both (and won't have a TV that cares which one they stick in it for at least 5 years), so all they'll have to do is look at the cost of the product (the DVD) and decide.

It's more like CDR vs. DVDR. Is DVDR much better? Hell yes! Do most people need it? Hell no! Does anyone have to decide? Nope - almost every burner does both.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:43 pm

Beer Moon wrote:Consumers won't have to choose. They'll just buy a player that does both. Only those who care will purchase the more expensive format (most people don't even have an HDTV anyway). Everyone else will buy the cheaper format, which will be HD-DVD.

HD-DVD double-sided will go to 30GB. Blu-Ray will go to 100 eventually. As HDTVs increase in resolution (1080 is not the end-all be-all), videophiles and rich people will support the Blu-Ray market, while the vast majority of televisions will work and look just great with the less expensive HD-DVD.

Consumers will have a player that does both (and won't have a TV that cares which one they stick in it for at least 5 years), so all they'll have to do is look at the cost of the product (the DVD) and decide.

It's more like CDR vs. DVDR. Is DVDR much better? Hell yes! Do most people need it? Hell no! Does anyone have to decide? Nope - almost every burner does both.


Now, I might be wrong, but no deck will be dual-compatible in the same drive. It will be more akin to one of those VCR/DVD dual decks. Two slots.

The difference between the HD formats and the recordable formats you cite is that the recordable formats are not parallel options. DVDR is an upgrade from CDR, and those have to be backwards compatible. The HD formats are essentially parallel, and the ownership of the technology is very closely guarded (especially by Sony). Any deck that can play both will still only be doing so with two separate slots. Mainstream buyers are not going to bother with that.

It's gonna be ugly unless Toshiba and Sony start making some concessions and working together.
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Postby mrak » Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:51 pm

Since they're both 12cm (optionally 8cm), and appear to rotate on the same size hubs, I doubt there's any reason a drive can't be built to accommodate either in a single tray/slot. That slot would just need separate lasers/pickups for each format.

This isn't entirely without precedent, as some DVD players have separate pickups to ensure reliable reading of both DVD and recordable CD formats.
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Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:57 pm

I predict that consumers will sit this fight out, and neither format will prevail. Music-downloading services like iTunes are pointing the way here: The future is plastic-free, and someday we'll all be downloading our HD movies on fat broadband pipes and storing them on big hard drives.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:00 pm

mrak wrote:Since they're both 12cm (optionally 8cm), and appear to rotate on the same size hubs, I doubt there's any reason a drive can't be built to accommodate either in a single tray/slot. That slot would just need separate lasers/pickups for each format.

This isn't entirely without precedent, as some DVD players have separate pickups to ensure reliable reading of both DVD and recordable CD formats.


Maybe, but the first step will be finding a company willing to anger both sides. Looks like Samsung's out.

ADDED: Some company called Vidabox has two media centers that have dual-compatibility, but guess what? Two drive slots.
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Postby Beer Moon » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:07 pm

If there is only one player, then from the consumer's point of view, there really is only one format (not true with VHS/Beta and the other format wars you mentioned), so there will be only battles for consumer dollars, and no format war.

How about some dual-format MEDIA ? Yeah, you heard right. Is this a pipe dream? Maybe (but I don't think so!). Is there a working prototype? YES.

On top of all that, NEC is ALREADY producing a chip capable of reading both formats.

It is a high end vs. low end decision. The Xbox 360 add-on HD-DVD player currently sells for $200 and works on a Windows PC. The cheapest Blu-Ray is the PS3 at $500 (hard to find for the next few months to be sure!). The price gap will remain, even as prices drop. When a dual-format player costs less than $500 (which I think will happen before the end of 2007), there won't be any more decisions to make.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:13 pm

Beer Moon wrote:Samsung.


Not to nitpick, but check the date on your Samsung link and then check mine.

I just don't think non-videophile consumers are going to opt for spending big dollars on dual-compatibility (which is what it entails now). If there isn't the legitimate possibility for an average Joe to tell the rest of his buddies about his new dual-compatibility player, then I just don't see how it's going to take off. If there were one legitimate format debuting at a high price (like, say, DVD...Circuit City was the only place propping up DIVX), it'll just take time to get the prices down. With competing technologies that will never get in bed together, it takes early-adopter acolytes. The guy next door with the new system that you too could afford. I just don't see that happening. One format is going to win a bloody victory, or some third technology (broadband download?) will step between the corpses and take the market.
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Postby mrak » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:20 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Maybe, but the first step will be finding a company willing to anger both sides. Looks like Samsung's out.

ADDED: Some company called Vidabox has two media centers that have dual-compatibility, but guess what? Two drive slots.

Thanks for the new links. I think your assessment of the politics of the matter is the determining factor for now.

I don't doubt that it's easier to put two drive mechanisms in a single box, but I still think a single mechanism capable of reading both will show up eventually.

My guess is that Vidabox is not into designing/building the drive mechanisms themselves, but just bought the two formats' mechanisms from other manufacturers, and put them together into their own box.

Either way, count me among those who will sit on the sidelines while the two formats slug it out for awhile.
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Postby Slick Willy » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:28 pm

LG Electronics, despite originally being only a Blu-ray supporter, has announced that it will be releasing a Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo player in the fall of 2007. LG & Samsung are the only two companies so far to say they will be making combination players.

I agree with MadMind, though, that one format will eventually dominate the market and the other will be phased out.

MadMind wrote:Will video rental stores start carrying High-Def movies to go along with America's favorite new toy, HDTV? If so, what will they stock? HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? ...Both? I doubt it.


Actually, NetFlix is offering movie rentals in both Blu-ray & HD-DVD formats.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:46 pm

Slick Willy wrote:LG Electronics, despite originally being only a Blu-ray supporter, has announced that it will be releasing a Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo player in the fall of 2007. LG & Samsung are the only two companies so far to say they will be making combination players.


See my above link on the fate of the Samsung project, and click here for the same with regards to LG. It just ain't gonna happen, kids. I hate to hate to say I told you so, but...
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Postby MadMind » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:14 pm

Even if joint HD/Blu-Ray players are released, the point still stands. Consumers won't buy movies on both formats! It takes more for a company to succeed than saturating the market with their hardware, it takes software sales.
And I completely agree when TheBookPolice says the HD formats are essentially parallel and that generally speaking consumers are not going to be apt to spend big dollars on dual-compatability.

Beer Moon mentioned something about Blu-Ray being the more logical solution when considering future viability in however-many-years when HDTV pushes beyond it's current 1080p limits. Even if that's true, consumers don't care about the distant future (especially if it's going to cost them more), they care about the here and the now.

Slick Willy wrote:
MadMind wrote:Will video rental stores start carrying High-Def movies to go along with America's favorite new toy, HDTV? If so, what will they stock? HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? ...Both? I doubt it.


Actually, NetFlix is offering movie rentals in both Blu-ray & HD-DVD formats.

That's cool. I'm really curious as to what Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and Movie Gallery's plans are to incorporate these new forms of media in-store, and when.

Kenneth Burns wrote:The future is plastic-free, and someday we'll all be downloading our HD movies on fat broadband pipes and storing them on big hard drives.

I cringe everytime I hear somebody say that. I need that tangibility factor. Without having physical ownership my digital manhood will go limp. I don't think I'll ever be able to trust a hard drive enough to store all of my media on one.
Last edited by MadMind on Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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