Sci-Fi Storm

HD-DVD goes bye-bye – Sony wins this time

by on Feb.19, 2008, under General News

In a stunning mirror image of the Great VCR Wars, Sony has emerged the victor with its Blu-Ray Disc technology, now that Toshiba has thrown in the towel. Shipments of players to retailers should stop by the end of March, but I don’t see anyone buying them now. No word on how long it will take Paramount, DreamWorks and Universal to change to Blu-Ray. I will probably pull links from HD-DVD titles on the various store pages soon. Update 2/21: Universal apparently announced shortly after Toshiba that they would support Blu-Ray; Paramount Paramount announced it today, which I believed includes DreamWorks, so the win is complete. No timetable has been given for BD releases though.

6 Comments for this entry

  • Anonymous Coward

    keep the links

    they will likely end up being *much* less expensive once stores react to the announcement.

    btw, it’s a damned shame blu-ray “won”. consumers lost. more expensive players, more expensive titles without any significant difference in quality. the only people who will notice a difference are folks like me who have large tv’s (over 42″) and high end audio systems. it was a good format for the general public and should have won this war…

    • Doc

      Re:keep the links

      I actually don’t agree with this.

      When I “entered” the market for HD, I looked very closely. The cost of an HD-DVD player (that could do 1080p) vs. a Blu-Ray (all of which can) was equal. HD-DVD was cheaper only for the 1080i model – at least before they started cutting price just before Christmas. Now it could be argued that the difference between 1080i and 1080p would only be noticeable on larger screens, but I think side by side it would still be noticeable.

      In general, BD had the tech advantages except in a couple of features that HD-DVD had, but I understand they will be included in the nect “profile” of BD – which is an advantage (its extendable), but also a disadvantage for early adopters (I understand at least one early model can’t be upgraded to deal with the newer profiles).

      I saw little if any difference in prices of the titles, at least those that were directly comparable (usualy WB titles).

      I don’t intend to remove the links right away, at least until they start to disappear.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Re:keep the links

        (i’m the original poster)

        1080p is a HUGE misnomer, one that electronics manufacturers have done well to keep misunderstood. 1080p in a player is completely unnecessary if you have a display that has a proper 2:3 pulldown. Most TVs sold in the past 3 years feature this. It’s a trade off of where you want the pulldown process to happen, in the TV (where it actually matters) or in the player. Check your TV user guide/manual. If it is a deciding factor and your TV has 2:3 pulldown save yourself some money and go 1080i.

        Think I’m wrong? Read this. It’s quite a scam electronics manufacturers got going making people believe they need to buy something most people already have, often as much as twice the cost of 1080i players.

        As for profiles, most Blu-Ray Profile 1.0 players can’t be upgraded to 1.1. Worse yet they can’t be upgraded to 2.0 (aka “BD Live”) either. It isn’t just a matter of firmware. Profile 1.1 requires two additional hardware features, 256Mb of internal storage and a secondary audio and video decoder. These features allow for PiP and greater interactive features. Profile 2.0 requires in addition to 1.1 features a total of 1Gb of internal storage and an ethernet port. This is once again to upgrade interactive features and offer online feature access.

        Folks that bought those early 1.0 players can still play the main feature (the movie) but can’t play many of the advanced features like picture-in-picture commentary (which is quite cool), interactive games, etc. While lots of people online seem to be okay with that I know that if I’m buying a disc that costs $25 I’m not happy if I can’t take advantage of features on that disc. My movie collection contains lots of “special edition” discs, specifically because I enjoy those extra features and am willing to pay for them. I know I’m not alone because the sales of special edition packages tend to sell very well.

        Other than those that trawl around the internet for purchasing information (admittedly a large and growing number) many people aren’t aware of the profile “problem”. This coming winter when 2.0 players start coming out and discs that require one to take advantage of 2.0 features there will be a lot of people who will likely not be happy to learn of this. Currently the PS3 is the only player to have an official announcement that it will be capable of a 2.0 profile upgrade via firmware.

        As for differences in prices that is absolutely true and I feel is a major fault in the promotion of HD-DVD. It was initially cheaper to produce the discs because they could retrofit existing DVD facilities rather than force total replacement of equipment like Blu-Ray. They should have passed the savings on to consumers.

        Anyway, thought I’d pass this along with links so you don’t think I’m a blowhard. =)

        • Doc

          Re:keep the links

          [FYI, anonymous posting is likely to go away whenever I manage to upgrade the software…]

          I’ve read that article, and still can’t understand it, and I’m a technically adept person.

          But in general, the circuitry in a high-end TV is going to be better at doing 2:3 pulldown and and interlacing/de-interlacing better than what’s in the player, except in a few cases.

          I’m also not so sure of his contention that doing the pulldown and interlacing and then de-interlacing will result in the exact same data. The pulldown/interlacing generally involves mixing lines from different frames. This is often an argument in the 780p vs. 1080i debate.

          But I’ll end it there as it really is getting out of my knowledge level and I don’t have time for further research.

          • zonk3r

            Re:keep the links

            Sorry Doc I’ll use an account from now on…

            The pulldown conversion is required no matter what. It is due to the way film works. When a movie is filmed it is done in 24 frames per second. This doesn’t change. Even now that we have gone to digital “film” cameras where no film is actually being processed the video is still recorded in or processed to 24fps for a “film look”. The film look is what makes movies look different than soap operas.

            All electronics in the world operate on a frequency of 50 or 60 hertz. This is what causes the flicker in flourescent lights for example. It also determines how many frames display on a TV every second, though it is actually half the hertz so 25 fps or 30 fps. PAL uses 25fps common in Europe, and NTSC uses 30fps common in North America. To display a movie that was filmed in 24 frames per second on a device that displays in 30 frames per second a conversion must be done.

            This is the pull down and it has to happen somewhere. Whether it is done in the studio before putting it on a disc or in a DVD player or on a TV this pulldown conversion has to take place. Pulldown isn’t very difficult and should look the same wherever it is done.

            There are some TVs coming out on the market as of the last couple of months that can display native 24fps film. In order for you to take advantage of it you must have a BD or HD-DVD that will output 24fps video and have a disc that has 24fps video on it.

            This will become more common down the road but this feature is currently only on higher end displays.

            Anyway, I miss the days of when you wanted a new TV and didn’t have to become a professor in nuclear fusion to make purchasing decisions. I have a feeling that HD TVs and disc formats will end up going the way of Laser Disc. The next revolution in video is 4K and that will happen in the next 5 or so years. Perhaps by then they’ll have realized it’s too damned complex for most people and at the end of the day DVD works pretty damned well so why bother.

            Keep up the good work, I don’t always comment but I read the site all the time. =)

          • Doc

            Re:keep the links

            Yes, I understand that the pulldown MUST happen (unless you have a native p24 display). What I was saying is that a pulldown to an interlaced signal from a p24 source results in something different than a pulldown to a progressive signal. The latter is VERY easy – just double the first frame, triple the second, double the third, etc. No going through an interlace/deinterlace step is necessary.

            The former is slightly more difficult, because the interlacing involves mixing the odd/even lines from different source frames on some resulting frames. Some people can notice the jitter that can result when the two mixed frames are very different.

            Some equipment can do “reverse telecine”, which reverses this, but again, I think this is on higher-end equipment – I have to check the feature list of my TV but I think it was mentioned…

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