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AVRevForum.com 10-04-2007 04:53 PM

Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War
 
I have heard it so many times from readers. They say, “I am waiting to see which format wins before I buy an HD disc player.” Notable online review sites, AV print magazines and chatrooms alike have fostered the "Beta versus VHS" fears in consumers over two HD disc formats. Meanwhile beaming, beautiful HDTV sets complete with 1080p resolution sit by the millions in living rooms simply starved for content. Say what you want, but you need HD DVD or Blu-ray to get the 1080p video on your screen that you paid so dearly for.

The fact is: HD DVD and Blu-ray are not going anywhere. In the coming months, those waiting for one format to shrivel up and die are going to have a long wait on their hands. What is going to happen is prices on both format’s players will drop starting this holiday season. HDMI connectivity and load times will improve. There will even be “universal” players that can legitimately play both formats in one player, but HD DVD and Blu-ray are here to stay for a few years, at least. The video gaming community has set solid precedent for their success. Currently, the video game world is booming with success for three, count 'em three, formats: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. A few weeks back, the sales numbers for EA Sports’ Madden Football 2008 were released showing 1,800,000 copies sold in a week, a remarkable feat and one that will likely be repeated year in and year out with the same basic software title. EA’s success reminds me of another successful little software company from the Seattle area that can sell their many titles over and over again to both their PC users as well as to practically every one of those hippie Mac users.

It's time for consumers across the country to man up and get into the HD game. Yes, the early players on both sides were heavily flawed, overpriced, slow to load and had “handshake” issues. Today’s Blu-ray and HD DVD players for $300 to $500 per unit are significantly better than first generation units, plus some of the game machines, such as Playstation's Blu-ray capability and Xbox's add-on HD DVD drive that priced at the same level, are possibly even better on some levels. Waiting for an end to the format war isn’t going to help fill the HD void in your life. It isn’t going to inspire studios to invest in repackaging movies for high-resolution 1080p discs. All it does is inspire companies to look at the broken business model of downloads from the music business, where labels sell low-resolution downloads without high-resolution video. Without an abundance of high-definition players in the market, content providers will sell their titles as downloads, without high-resolution video and 7.1 surround mixes. At this point, consumers looking for high-resolution content will have little to no options for viewing their material.

by: Jerry Del Colliano

deacongreg 10-04-2007 05:37 PM

Re: Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War
 
Alright Jerry. You of all people here know my AV situation. I`m back at the starting phase once again. With that in mind, and knowing that I have SACD and DVD - A titles as well, thanks to a very generous person, what source should I start with? HD DVD for KING KONG, or BLU - RAY for SPIDERMAN 3 on October 30th? And, then what about my SACD and DVD - A titles?

It seems Blu - Ray has more of the better titles, than HD DVD. But the Toshiba units, are priced better and work very well. I`m not a big gamer at all. But it might be fun to get a SONY PS3, for the rare times I might play with my son, or my buddies. So, what would you do?

And kennyt, if you wish you can chime in as well. But with all the source components you have, I`m afraid of what your suggestion might be!!

JerryDelColliano 10-04-2007 06:42 PM

Re: Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War
 
You gotta have both. I am sorry.

The HD DVD players are cheaper thus perhaps they go first and there are some good titles. My good friend, Kevin Voecks at Revel, told me he likes the cheaper HD DVD players and that they are faster and more solid. Not perfect by any measure but compared to my old XA1 - they are WAY improved.

I don't see you as a PS3 kinda guy but with a price drop there - you could get into the format affordably. Personally, I would recomend you hold out for a stand alone player for Blu-ray.

Where I might suggest you make the savings vs. the SACD/DVD-Audio battle is in renting movies. Buy a handfull of the best of each format but since you have to scrimp to get both units - rent the movies you watch until you find a demo movie that you can't live without...

j

kennyt 10-04-2007 07:31 PM

Re: Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War
 
greg,

I agree with Jerry, you NEED at least one of the formats. Last time I checked the net I found I could buy both an HD DVD player and Blu-ray player (I beleive I priced out the Samsung BDP-1200, a great BR player, forgot which HD DVD player I used) and came up with $577. All in all pretty cheap. You mght even be able to still get in on the five free BR/HD DVD's with purchase.

I think the newer models are definitely improving, and the drop in price makes buying an older model (don't even think of buying the XA-1!) used unreasonable unless it's a steal.

You can decide what to do for the DVD-A and SACD, if I had to go to one player for everything, I'd keep my Esoteric DV-50s (I would prefer to keep the Meridian G98 but as it doesn't do SACD it can't be put into this discussion) and be happy.

gkhowell 10-04-2007 10:22 PM

Re: Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War
 
Sorry guys, but I am not going to participate in this format war. I have bought enough pre-recorded Super VHS, laserdiscs, and DVDs to provide viewing material for years to come. If I need HD content, I can watch Dish HD channels. Instead of dumping money into a possible dead HD disc format, I bought a decent scaler that makes even those laserdiscs look pretty good. When the dust settles and players of the winning format with few glitches and excellent performance are released, then maybe I will consider buying yet another version of my favorite movies. Of course by then my eyes may be bad enough that I won't care about the extra quality anyway :-)

I have decided to invest in my analog playback chain (to play the 4000 or so LPs I own) and new SACD releases instead.

HiDefBob 10-05-2007 01:43 AM

Re: Expect Two Winners in the HD Disc Format War
 
I have to agree that both formats will be with us for years. I am reading that from several sources lately. In some ways that is good, because both format makers will push to out do the other ... good old competition never hurt!

As soon as I get my Pioneer Pro-150FD I am most definitely am going to invest in a Blu-ray player ... and probably soon after that an HD DVD player ... a screen of that quality deserves nothing but the best PQ and that can only be obtained from HD. In fact that screen will only be used to display HDTV ... broadcast or recorded. NTSC/SDTV as far as I am concerned is dead and buried! Thank God for that! Haven't we all suffered enough fuzzy vision!

But as good as the PQ is on some HD stations, you are never going to get the PQ from broadcast that you get from Disc. There is far too much compression on broadcasts. And with a disc player you get digital to digial with no in between analog conversions.

My local video rental store (Rogers Video) intends to bring in both formats soon. Both are already available to rent through Roger Video Direct (a service that mails DVD's to your home with no late dates ... you can keep them as long as you wish). So, I definitely want to support their efforts to make High Definition discs available by renting Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Come guys support the HD formats ... the prices probably will drop again near Christmas ... it is time to buy!!!


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