There’s some big news on the whole next gen Hi-Def DVD format. It appears that since Warner dropped HD-DVD the red camp is being hit with a massive attack of bad news.
Ars Technica and others are reporting two pieces of bad news for those of you who support the red discs. Firstly, Best Buy has decided to recommend Blu-Ray over HD-DVD to customers. While they won’t stop selling HD-DVD players/discs at the moment their sales associates will advise people looking for High Def content to head Blu-Ray’s way. While this probably doesn’t directly effect anyone reading my blog as most of you probably don’t take Blue Shirt advice (want a service plan)?
The bigger nail in HD-DVD’s coffin is that Netflix has decided that it will no longer carry HD-DVD. As of now they will not be buying new HD-DVD discs and will be removing the current HD-DVD’s from circulation in the coming months.
Both of these pieces of news mean that people have even more reason to go blue and not red when buying their movies. This will likely drive more consumers into the Blu-Ray camp which is probably a good thing overall. Honestly, neither standard will really catch on as long as both still exist. Hopefully, Universal and Paramount give up their silly ways and start releasing Blu-Rays so I can get Bourne and Serenity in High-Def.
As for those of you who bought Laserdisc 2.0 I hope you enjoy your collector’s items.
Honestly, I think the consumers lost with Blu-ray. The ONLY thing Blu-ray has that HD DVD doesn’t is more capacity.
From a consumer standpoint, Blu-ray was released prematurely. Want to watch the cool PiP commentary on your new $500 player? Whoops, you just have a Profile 1.0 player, now you have to buy a new player.
Want to download cool features from the internet on your even newer $500 player? Whoops, you just have a Profile 1.1 player, now you have to buy an even newer player.
How about buying a cool European Blu-ray disc? Whoops, it’s in a different region than your region A player. Can’t fix that legally, unless you want to buy a region B or C player or a region free player if they will ever exist.
I know, you want to play that Blu-ray disc on your older DVD players around your house. Whoops, Blu-ray doesn’t even offer Combo Discs, now you get to buy both Blu-ray and DVD!
Oh, maybe you want to play that new Blu-ray disc that supports that awesome BD+ encryption? Whoops, you have to wait a few weeks for your player to release a firmware update to support it (if ever. I’m looking at you, Samsung.)
I’ve been able to do all of the above with my cheaper $200 HD DVD player since about 6 months ago. And the consumers have won?
Call me bitter, but I’ll enjoy my HD DVDs now until my player dies. I will buy a combo player for my computer once I finally upgrade, since I’m assuming a computer will be upgradeable to any more Profiles or encryption Blu-ray decides to come up with.
I respectfully disagree that consumers lost (though early adopters didn’t win). Of the two formats BluRay is older. In fact you could buy consumer recorders as of 2003 in Japan. The BluRay Disc Associated was actually formed all the way back in 2000. (I read about BluRay back in highschool.)
The whole thing wasn’t really mass produced until much later due to issues over patents on Blue Laser diodes but that’s a different story.
If we look at HD-DVD’s history it came about much later around 2002/2003 after the DVD forum saw what the BluRay group had done and decided they wanted their own format. Originally HD-DVD wasn’t even going to be higher capacity, they were going to use MPEG4 to burn HD content onto normal DVDs. Luckily, someone threw that crappy idea out the window.
There were talks about combining both formats so the consumer’s wouldn’t lose but BluRay wanted to use Java, while Microsoft had convinced the DVD forum their HDi system was better. I think the system broke down because Microsoft knew Sony was counting on BluRay in the PS3 and wanted to try and destroy any advantage that gave Sony. Not to mention they wanted some royalties for every PS3 sold. (There’s also the rumor MS did it to delay both formats so they could release some online system they fully control that would crush both, XBOX LIVE! anyone?)
The profile thing is a bit overblown. All profiles require full Blu-Ray Java support for interactivity. The differences are that Profile 1.0 players don’t do PiP (but still play the movie) and don’t offer internet support.
1.1 and 2.0 are the same but relate to how much disc space the player has for saving stuff like managed copies or bonus downloads. While not all players can be upgraded my player went from 1.0 to 1.1 with a free update.
The region lock thing is a bit annoying but some studios insisted it be included. In any case only about 1/3 of BluRay discs are locked, and honestly do you really plan to buy European films?
BD+ was only an issue ’cause a couple companies didn’t make their players entirely to spec. I don’t blame the standard but those hardware companies. None of Sony’s players had playback issues.
I also read that several of the HD-DVD combo discs were a bit flaky and didn’t always work. There are plenty of complaints online of Combo discs failing due to possible firmware, or just manufacturing issues. I can’t personally attest to this ss I don’t have a HD-PVD player and a stack of combo discs. In any case I’m not sure having flaky discs that might or might not work in a player is really a plus.
Overall, I think the whole format war screwed consumers. If the two different groups could have worked something out ahead of time then the whole high def video thing would have worked out much better. The faster one of the two formats dies the sooner all consumers win (early adopters of the losing format hurt though :().
I agree that the whole format war screwed consumers. If the companies got agreed in the beginning to standards and patients, there would have been faster migration to HD. But it was all about the royalties from both sides. 🙁
The main reason I think the Profiles are a big deal is because they add extra confusion that is unnecessary. My parents wanted to buy HD or Blu-ray. I told them if they bought any Blu-ray player other than the PS3, they would not be able to access all of the extras on future discs. They didn’t like the idea of buying a PS3 because they didn’t feel they should pay for a console when they just want a player. If they didn’t have this Profile mess, I would have told them to buy a player that would play the movies they enjoy.
Again, BD+ just adds even more confusion when players don’t play the latest and greatest discs. I don’t remember my DVD player not playing DVDs because of the copy protection. If it was there in the beginning and all the players support it, it would have been fine. Of course the PS3 will play all the discs, Sony only wants people to buy it as their main Blu-ray player.
Yes, I do/did plan on buying European discs. The Prestige and Terminator 2 are Blu-ray discs here, but I can import them from England and Germany on HD DVD and not have to worry if they will play on my player. When I was in Europe, I saw some Pink Floyd DVDs I’ve never seen here, but they were in a different region. However, with the writing on the wall, I don’t plan on buying any more discs unless they are Universal or Paramount that I really enjoy.
I’ll give you the fact that some combo discs are flaky, but I’ve never had a problem and most of the problems could be solved through a firmware update.
As for the history of the formats, I don’t really care what they didn’t do because they didn’t do them. 🙂 According to wiki, Warner and the studios wanted to put HD on the DVD-9 discs. Probably because it would be a hell of a lot cheaper for them. The movie studios didn’t want to support EITHER format.
And of course you would endorse Blu-ray, nVidia is a member of the BDA. 😉 And I endorse HD DVD because of Universal. 🙂
Does this mean that I can finally get that big screen HDTV and stop using my 20″ tv with a built in VHS deck?… 😉
Oh and you should write about more non-tech things.
And be all emo about it.
RIP HD DVD.
Now to get a PS3! 😉