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The Digital Bits - HD format war editorial


Nick Laslett
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http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

Bill Hunt the editor of The Digital Bits has written a pretty good editorial why the HD format war is a bad thing and comes out backing Blu-Ray very strongly.

The Digital Bits is a long running DVD website that is very respected in the industry.

It is quite surprising that Bill has gotten off the fence and put his backing behind Blu-Ray.

It sounds like Hollywood is ready for the format war to end, I can see more and more actions like this happening to force the issue.

This only relates to gaming due to the Blu-Ray capabilities of PS3.

David Carnoy the Executive Editor at CNET had already started the ball rolling suggesting that HD-DVD will give up by September this year.

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-669070...tml?tag=slide_1

In the link above David explains that he is not "the biased".

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Reading more about the 'war' recently I can only see, from a gaming perspective, blu-ray being the best winner.

If it fails, us gamers could face the possibility of an under supported and failing PS3 whereas none of the other consoles are relying in HD-DVD in the same way.

I can only see the most ardent gaming fanboys really wanting Blu-ray to fail.

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This HD downloading stuff being better than discs is nonsense.

It'd take hours and hours to download something, would require expensive hard-drive space to store and you can't take it round a mate's house. Rubbish.

Unless you no friends, have hours and hours available to you to download HD movies from your £45 a month broadband service onto your PC with loads of external hard-drives you had to buy if you want to store more than two movies, which you then stream to your HDTV via some box (AppleTV, 360 etc) and finally get to watch.

Or, you buy a disc and put it in your PS3 and press play.

Your average HD film is around 10 - 15 gig, so we'll assume 15 gig for this little exercise. You can get a 600Gb external USB2 drive for £150. This means its cheaper if legality isn't an issue and you can take upto 40 films around a friends house without any difficulty.

Does a disk appear in your drive as soon as you think you want it? No, you either have to order it or go to town and buy it. Downloading on a decent connection will certainly be quicker than ordering and possibly quicker than going to town all in.

You would also get better picture quality and sound from a PC (if you know what you are doing anyway).

I actually agree with you though, I would prefer disks to downloading at this point in time.

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Well there is universial that own alot of great movies so alough you say stuido support is the main thing bluray is still missing alot of titles i would want from universial, not stuff like little man and some of the utter garbage that has found its way onto br atm.

And the same could be said about HD-DVD, 20th Century Fox has huge franchises (star wars, alien ect.) Simple fact is that nobody will win this one until there is one clear format.

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Reading more about the 'war' recently I can only see, from a gaming perspective, blu-ray being the best winner.

If it fails, us gamers could face the possibility of an under supported and failing PS3 whereas none of the other consoles are relying in HD-DVD in the same way.

I can only see the most ardent gaming fanboys really wanting Blu-ray to fail.

How does Blu-ray failing as a movie format lead to PS3 being under supported with games? Even if the movies bombed, they can still use the discs for games. Putting games on them does not come with the requirement that they be successful as a movie format.

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This HD downloading stuff being better than discs is nonsense.

It'd take hours and hours to download something, would require expensive hard-drive space to store and you can't take it round a mate's house. Rubbish.

Unless you no friends, have hours and hours available to you to download HD movies from your £45 a month broadband service onto your PC with loads of external hard-drives you had to buy if you want to store more than two movies, which you then stream to your HDTV via some box (AppleTV, 360 etc) and finally get to watch.

Or, you buy a disc and put it in your PS3 and press play.

Rapidly decreasing portable HDD / Solid State storage costs

Ability to stream content rather than waiting for download to complete

Increasing bandwidth even at entry level broadband packages

Increasing interconnectivity between PC and living room devices

Discs are dying, man. Feel free to blow £1k+ on a HD disc library with a 5-10 year shelf life if you want though.

What's your point regarding no friends? You'd hardly sit as a group to play a single player game, so what's the necessity to be watching films in a group all of a sudden?

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Your average HD film is around 10 - 15 gig, so we'll assume 15 gig for this little exercise. You can get a 600Gb external USB2 drive for £150. This means its cheaper if legality isn't an issue and you can take upto 40 films around a friends house without any difficulty.

Does a disk appear in your drive as soon as you think you want it? No, you either have to order it or go to town and buy it. Downloading on a decent connection will certainly be quicker than ordering and possibly quicker than going to town all in.

You would also get better picture quality and sound from a PC (if you know what you are doing anyway).

I actually agree with you though, I would prefer disks to downloading at this point in time.

I think you should get the same level of picture quality now with hdmi out on hddvd and br. Some of the br discs are 50g so if you like extras a 50 gig per movie dl would be insane on normal 2mb broadband from torrent of the like.

And the same could be said about HD-DVD, 20th Century Fox has huge franchises (star wars, alien ect.) Simple fact is that nobody will win this one until there is one clear format.

Or go multi format like me and buy what you want. :)

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Discs are dying, man. Feel free to blow £1k+ on a HD disc library with a 5-10 year shelf life if you want though.

Funny how shops are still full of CDs and DVDs even though functionally identical download services are available. Discs are convenient.

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Funny how shops are still full of CDs and DVDs even though functionally identical download services are available. Discs are convenient.

I said dying, not dead.

I was a "must have the box and disc" man until I started travelling last year with only my laptop as entertainment. I'm probably going to sell about £500 worth of DVDs when I get home and I'll be lucky to get £150 for the lot of them. Won't be making that mistake again.

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Reading more about the 'war' recently I can only see, from a gaming perspective, blu-ray being the best winner.

If it fails, us gamers could face the possibility of an under supported and failing PS3 whereas none of the other consoles are relying in HD-DVD in the same way.

I can only see the most ardent gaming fanboys really wanting Blu-ray to fail.

Sony's strategy to use the ps3 as a trojan blu-ray device shouldn't be a concern for gamers. First off if someone buys a ps3 to use as a cheap blu-ray player then they'll be effectively subsidesed to do so by those that buy one to play games on. Also, hd-dvd and the ps3 both winning out are not mutually exclusive.

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I think you should get the same level of picture quality now with hdmi out on hddvd and br. Some of the br discs are 50g so if you like extras a 50 gig per movie dl would be insane on normal 2mb broadband from torrent of the like.

I would think that if you were serious about downloading HD movies, you would have a 10meg connection or similar and a newsgroups subscription. It takes me about 1.5-2 times the running time of a 1080i .ts video file to download and about half the time of a 720p h264 file. Plus, I don't have to buy an expensive player.

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Blu-Ray is more expensive than HD-DVD for both players and discs, at the moment generally only has barebones releases and has region locking - at the moment, it's a bad deal for customers. I also think any "success" of Blu-Ray is far too early to call - studios will happily switch formats on the whim of popular support.

I'm not saying that one format is better than the other or whatever, I'm just saying that anyone calling the end of this "format war" at this point in time is an idiot. In 12 months, then we're talking. Personally, I think dual-format players are the way of the future, like the co-existing DVD+-R formats. Having the option of buying DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray that will all play on one player to me seems like the best end result, but it depends how much the players cost.

Edit: I also think the death of physical media is hugely overstated. It's not going anywhere - many people aren't interested in owning the digital rights to play something, and would rather have a physical disk. It's increasingly not a technical limitation anymore, but I just can't see a disk-less society becoming widespread

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Personally, I think dual-format players are the way of the future, like the co-existing DVD+-R formats. Having the option of buying DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray that will all play on one player to me seems like the best end result, but it depends how much the players cost.

Dual (even triple) format discs are obviously going to be more expensive to author and physically produce and that's going to keep prices at prohibitively high levels.

Your comparison to DVD+-R formats is flawed because there's the distinct possibility of the content and quality varying wildly when played back on different formats. DVD+-R are just different ways of putting the same information onto a disc.

If Blu-Ray "wins" the format war then expect MS to release a Blu-Ray drive instead.

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Dual (even triple) format discs are obviously going to be more expensive to author and physically produce and that's going to keep prices at prohibitively high levels.

Your comparison to DVD+-R formats is flawed because there's the distinct possibility of the content and quality varying wildly when played back on different formats. DVD+-R are just different ways of putting the same information onto a disc.

If Blu-Ray "wins" the format war then expect MS to release a Blu-Ray drive instead.

That was my original point. If Blu-ray fails, Sony have nowhere to go with Ps3. Ms will just release a new blu-ray add on device.

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Yesteday's editorial from Digital Bits

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

Bill obviously had a strategy in mind as today's editorial goes for the juggular, targeting Universal as the only studio that doesn't support Blu-Ray.

He trots out some more sales figures to show Blu-Ray's dominance in Japan and Australia.

It's now just a matter of time until Universal announces Blu-Ray support.

Unlike Sony's never say dies attitute to Betamax, Universal does not have great sums of money invested in HD-DVD, they could easily start producing Blu-Ray disc.

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Yesteday's editorial from Digital Bits

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

Bill obviously had a strategy in mind as today's editorial goes for the juggular, targeting Universal as the only studio that doesn't support Blu-Ray.

He trots out some more sales figures to show Blu-Ray's dominance in Japan and Australia.

It's now just a matter of time until Universal announces Blu-Ray support.

Unlike Sony's never say dies attitute to Betamax, Universal does not have great sums of money invested in HD-DVD, they could easily start producing Blu-Ray disc.

Australia?, he may as well have included which format is dominant in the Slovak Republic.

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My moneys on laser disk coming back to win this 'format war'.

Cd's the size of LP's?! Having to physically turn them to side B half way through a film... You cant beat that quality sir!

Laser disks were amazing. Anyone remember the Domesday book on Laser Disk at school? I heard that you can no longer buy the technology to read them, although the original book (1000 years old) is still working fine.

Will format wars ever end? When will we just except the quality level of movies and think about something else?

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There has to be a new format so they can sell all the same films again. It's pretty much that simple.

Sure. But will there not come a time when there really is no benefit for a new movie format? When consumers are happy that the quality is as good as they require? Will we continue to fork out for Indiana Jones box sets on a different format in 10 years? I suppose the answer is yes.

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