Hey Austin Texas Buddies? Can anyone help me out?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Forum Meets' started by mike_frontier, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Greg Risley

    Greg Risley Second Unit

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    Hey on the plus side I just ran over and got my truck back and they did a first rate install. They had it finished in just shy of 2 hours.
     
  2. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    I noticed Best Buy has HD DVD demo running at stores now. I was just watching a demo they had at the Best Buy at 183/Mopaq and it was quite nice. The demo itself was kind of set away from the other HDTVs on a 1080p Westinghouse display. The demo was playing a bunch of clips and trailers. The Batman Begins clip looked great in HD. I can't wait to get into HD DVD and Blu-Ray, but I'm gonna have to wait for 2nd generation players as the 1st gen for both formats seem a little lackluster. PS3 maybe but $600 for the hdmi version.... but then again regular BD player is $1000...
     
  3. Humphrey

    Humphrey Stunt Coordinator

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    A PlayStation 3 will likely be my first hi def capable disc player. The dual display option as well. Now if they'll just get a full HD version of Gran Turismo (GT5) going I'll be in nirvana. Sadly the rumors on that one are still pretty slim. [​IMG] Think I'm not about to go the HD-DVD route. I think it'll be the next BetaMax out there (and yes I have one of those gathering dust here).
     
  4. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Except that in the case of Betamax it offered superior performance over VHS. The same cannot be said for HD DVD.

    Considering the only advantage HD DVD has is price, and at $500 even that's no bargain. Add to that the high rate of returns that Toshiba is having due to problematic players, and that Toshiba has sold only 7,500 players (which can't even ouput in 1080p) I think HD DVD is a doomed ship.
    • HD DVD is limited to 2 layers (their attempt at making a 3-layer disc failed and thus was removed from the final specs), and each layer has a maximum capacity of 15GB

      Blu-ray is capable of up to 8-layers (although only 4-layer discs have been demoed), and each layer has a maximum capacity of 25GB.
    • Due to the different disc structure, Blu-ray is capable of 50% higher bit rates than HD DVD.
    • Blu-ray also uses TDK's latest disc coating technology, DURABIS making it many times more resistant to scratches than HD DVD.
    • Blu-ray has more than a 10:1 advantage in player manufacturing support, including exclusive support from five of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world.
    • Blu-ray is supported by every major film studio with the sole exception of Universal, including exclusive support from 20th Century Fox (who also now controls 4,000 titles from MGM, United Artists, and Orion Pictures - Bond... James Bond), Lion's Gate, Columbia Tristar, Sony Pictures, and Disney (Buena Vista, Touchstone, Miramax, Dimension, Pixar, etc).

      The only studio exclusively supporting HD DVD is Universal (consistently voted worst studio of the year on HTF and other sites as well - not for the quality of their films but the lack of quality in many of their DVD releases, and their habit of re-releasing the same titles over and over again. So far they have released over nine different editions of "American Pie". They aren't called "Re-releasal" for nothing.) [​IMG] We can also thank them for the latest trend in using "funny" adjectives in their "special edition" labels. [​IMG]
    • Finally, Blu-ray also has the majority of support from DVD producers, including some of the industry's best known and highly respected producers. Besides many of the well known advantages of Blu-ray, many producers have expressed their preference for it for its vast opportunity of multi-layer interactivity and programmability.
    Despite the higher cost of the fully functioning PS3 (and some of you said I was nuts when I thought it would end up costing more than $400), I have little doubt Sony will not be able to keep up with demand, and that by this time next year over 3 million Blu-ray equipped PS3s will be in homes VS maybe a few hundred thousand HD DVD players including those sold as add-ons for the Xbox 360 , if Toshiba gets lucky.
     
  5. Chad Anson

    Chad Anson Second Unit

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    To all of the 2-channel gurus out there (Tubes, are you listening?)- a friend of a friend wants to know whether it would be worthwhile to add a processor between a "big ass CD changer" (i.e., relatively low end 300-400 disc changer) and his amp. His budget is $1000. Any advice?
     
  6. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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  7. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Chad,

    Can you give us any more details about your friend's friend's system? Am I reading that correctly that he has a two-channel system with a CD player connected directly to an amp? Or is it a receiver and he's connecting the cd player's analog outputs to an analog input on the receiver? Either way, it's possible that adding an outboard DAC or pre/pro MIGHT yield a sonic improvement, however proving such a thing would be very difficult. In most cases an ABX test would yield a negative result, however in a sighted A/B comparison almost all audiophiles would claim to hear a difference. Who's correct? Depends on who you ask. My opinion--he only has a chance of truly hearing a difference if he's using excellent speakers in a properly treated room. If the room isn't acoustically treated, then he's probably spending the money in the wrong area, as any micro improvements from a better DAC are going to be swamped by room aberations.
     
  8. Humphrey

    Humphrey Stunt Coordinator

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    Yea, but an online version of GT4 is not a big deal to me. I have online play in other games but never do. From what I've read and inferred they are using this to debug the online version of Gran Turismo HD which naturally is based on all the previous versions of GT. There's many articles on GT HD. Google it. According to Polyphony GT HD is supposed to be available "shortly" after the new console is available on Nov 17. Now that could be a week or 6 months. it's not very clear. GT3 took a year and a half after the PS2 was released.
     
  9. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    HD-DVD and Blu-Ray

    Both formats have their share of problems right now. Though I favor HD DVD currently, I don't plan on getting into either format until end of the year at the earliest (ps3 maybe), hopefully combo players will also be available then.

    Sony has also removed the 2nd HDMI output from the PS3 (along with HDMI output altogether from the $500 version).

    Nils,
    Blu-Ray is capable of 200gb discs so far in test labs. However, Blu-Ray video specs only have support for 50gb dual layer discs. For movie use, Blu-Ray will be limited to 50gb, anything above will be for data/pc usage (else they will be incompatible with at least first gen units including ps3), that is, if production beyond 50gb ever becomes efficient enough.

    AFAIK, 50gb blu-ray movies are nowhere near ready for production and we won't see any until October at the earliest.

    30gb used by HD DVD is more than enough using advanced codecs. All US HD DVD titles now are using VC1 encodings which is 2 to 3 times more efficient that MPEG2. Current HD DVD movies out now are achieving transparency with their D5 masters at under 18mbps bitrates. See Robert Harris's HD DVD reviews in the HD Software area. With 30gb HD DVD can easily fit 3-4 hours of HD content. 50gb is wanted by Disney who wants to put more interactive content (and extra trailers) so kids can have an online tea party and games using a network connection to the internet, as an example (network connections will not be available on the first blu-ray players by Sony and Samsung by the way).

    There are no Blu-Ray movies being released that is not using MPEG2 currently with their bitrates expected to be around 16-18mbps. Though VC1 is supported by BD, it is not available in BD tools, which is why we are seeing MPEG2 Warner BD releases despite them favoring VC1.

    TDK's Durabis2 for Blu-ray sounds good. I must note that it's only being used on TDK's writable media, it is not going to be used regular BD ROM. BD spec requires a hardcoat, but the quality and type used depends on the replicator, and Durabis2 is too expensive for mass production BD ROM.

    Toshiba just released a firmware update recently to fix playback problems for its HD DVD players, available using the player's network connection. It seems majority of the playback problems from users have been fixed with it.
     
  10. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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  11. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    Nils,
    I hate to bring any more hd dvd vs blu-ray debate to this thread so I don't hope to post too much here after this post, as I usually spend most of my time on avs. You can pm me if you want to discuss anymore of this.

     
  12. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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  13. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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  14. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Quote:



    Originally Posted by James Phung
    Thanks for pointing this out to me. To tell you the truth, I try to be careful as to not post speculation as fact. So I apologize if I did so. [​IMG] I'm sure you do try to do the same and that was something I wanted to point out in my first response to you with Durabis2 and Blu-Ray.




    No need to apologize, and I'm sure no one had any ill intentions, its just that there is so much FUD getting tossed around, especially on AVS, it's heightened my sensitivity to it, as it is tiresome always having to filter it out.


    Perhaps a better indicator on how the format war is playing out is the recent news leaked from Best Buy, HD DVD's largest retail partner and primary host of their HD DVD demos.

    After only a few weeks Best Buy appears to be already having second thoughts on HD DVD.

    So far Toshiba has not met their estimated production quota, and as of two weeks ago had only shipped a total of 6,500 players to the US since its release over a month ago, well short of expectations. Many Best Buy locations have reported that they were only given four players and have yet to receive any further shipments. On top of that, several HD DVD owners have said that they returned their units, some replacing their initial unit, leaving Best Buy to have to lose their existing inventory as replacements.

    Here are some comments from HTF members who owned/own HD DVD players or attempted to buy a player at Best Buy, or just wanted to look at the demo:


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Dave H
    I starting having freezing issues/stutters with my Toshiba HD-A1. I was on the last day of my 30 day return policy from Best Buy. I decided to return the player. (I chose not to exchange it because of the widespread problems and will just wait another 6-12 months for a second generation player and see how the format war plays out before I invest one more penny into HD.)

    I told the customer service rep the reason for my return. She called over a "home theater specialist." I thought maybe she was calling this person over just to check that I had returned all the belongings (remote control, cables, etc.). Well, someone else did that.

    This "home theater specialist" came over and asked why I was returning it. I told him why. He then tried to get me to exchange it and tried talking me out of just doing a return. He then proceeded to ask me what kind of cable I was using. I told him "Blue Jean," but, of course, he had never heard of it. He said the problem is I am not using a Monster cable!!! Yes.....according to this genius, not using a Monster cable is why I experience disc freezes and such. I told him he was completely wrong and explained why (this guy didn't even understand what purpose a cable actually serves!) and how a cable CANNOT cause what I was experiencing....how it was actually impossible in my case. His only response was, "Well, I've been doing this job for four years." I held back, but I almost said, "that makes you even more pathetic."

    This was the first time I experienced this from Best Buy...and I've returned standard DVD players in the past at Best Buy for one reason or another. I strongly suspect they had been getting a lot of Toshiba HD-A1 returns and we're trying to talk customers out of returning them....and, of course, trying to sell them a Monster cable at the same time (Monster and Best Buy are strongly in bed together as we all know). This is just pure speculation, but I wonder if Toshiba is pressuring Best Buy about all of the returns. Again, I really don't know. It just seemed this way when I returned the player. Something was just strange about this entire thing.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Scotty_McW
    My XA1 crapped out on me last night. It had the same stuttering/freezing problems as others have reported with the A1. I'm glad I was still within the return time even though the discs I bought will now be collecting dust...






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Paul Hillenbrand
    What a hastle I had yesterday, trying to find the three titles (Constantine, Firewall and The Perfect Storm) on release date! [​IMG]

    Best Buy finally showed on their website, close to closing time, two of the releases (Constantine and Firewall), and the option that they were available at my local Store![​IMG] Just called the "local store" an hour before to ask if the HD DVD's came in that day and after waiting on the phone 10 minutes, was told sorry, NO.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Had to wait for an e-mail to tell me to come in and pick the two up, but didn't get the e-mail message till this morning 6/7/06. At this point, I don't even know if I want to bother to try to get the 3rd disc (The Perfect Storm).[​IMG]






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Randy Korstick
    My Best Buy changed their display to a much smaller one now too. They had no players in stock. I asked an employee if they were having alot of sales on these or if they just didn't get alot of inventory. He told me they did have quite a few but they had so many returns and exchanges is why they no longer have any in stock. This is in Inland Empire in So.Cal. I noticed the same situation in an Orange County BB too.
    So they may just be getting tired of all the returns until a more reliable player is released.
    I think the Digital Bits review of the Toshiba HD-DVD player is far more accurate than the HD-DVD plants and fanboys here want us to believe.
    I had no intention of getting HD-DVD but the $499.00 price was tempting me but now I'm definately back on the not getting one side with all the Player Problems. To me pushing it back until it works correctly like Blu-Ray is doing is way more important than being the 1st out of the gate. Quality product or lack of is remembered by consumers far longer than who had the cheapest player 1st.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by AL KUENSTER
    I was in a local BB yesterday here in Vegas, and did not see the HDDVD display at all or any discs, they must have moved everything out of sight.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Garrett Lundy
    Its the same at the Watertown/Ft.Drum BB in NY. There is no HD-DVD hardware or software I could find, and I was actively looking for it. Of course all their 16x9 TVs were being fed stretched 4x3 material, so obviously the local crew doesn't give a whooping-funk one way or the other.
    But they do have an Xbox360 demo .... on a 17" monitor [​IMG]






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Brent M
    There's not any kind of HD-DVD setup at all in my local Best Buy, but to be fair I live in a small town and it's not a very big store. However, I was at an Ultimate Electronics store in the heart of St. Louis yesterday and all they had was a small rack of HD-DVDs and the $499 Toshiba player on a shelf(not even hooked up). Keep in mind that this is a huge store in the very affluent area of the STL suburbs so if they're not showing HD-DVD any love I'm wondering what stores are.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Joe Kauffman
    I went to Best Buy to look at the demo.

    The player was locked up. I had to pull the power cord and reinsert it to get the player to work.

    So, no, you do not have to actually own the player to see first-hand that some of the problems being reported are true.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Ryan-G
    My BB has a player set up with a Westinghouse HDTV running demos(Including the comparison demo).

    Problem is, the Player isn't setup with the displays, or even the DVD Player section, but rather with the "As is" open box clearance items.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Mary M S
    If: as a Manufacture’s Rep I had to rely on BB as the highest-capable level guardian of my industry ‘demos’ I would be suicidal.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Mike_G
    My local BB now has an HD-DVD endcap. However, they have NONE of the releases from the last few weeks, and the sales girl I spoke to yesterday had "no way" of looking up HD-DVD titles (funny how someone else was able to the other day). She rolled her eyes at me when I asked if she could look up "Blazing Saddles".

    As for returns, my BB would put the HD-DVDs in WITH the SD-DVDs before they moved them all to the endcap. Duh.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Dave Moritz
    My local BB choose to hook up the HD-DVD player via component video and a rca digital out for sound. The last time I went there for dvd's they where not even using any HD-DVD's to demo the player they where using a SD-DVD of SW3. I will most likely be going back in to the store this week and will see if they have moved the HD-DVD display or not? Heck for the first week HD-DVD was out the BB near me had just one player sitting on the shelf with no monitor hooked up to it. And it was towards the back of the store and again this was for the first week that it was released.






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Robert Saccone
    I've been in three Best Buys over the past couple of days looking to buy a HD-DVD player. None of them had any except for the demo model. They didn't know when they were getting any more in. One employee told me that they were holding off on getting them in because Toshiba was releasing a new $799 model soon. I'm guessing he was thinking about XA1 and was mistaken since it is already available. I was in different Best Buy today and asked if any HD-A1s had come in and the store employee told me they didn't have any and didn't know when they were coming in. He then indicated that since Blu-Ray is coming out soon that they weren't going to stock many HD-DVD players until a preference for one of the other had been formed. (Not sure if he meant by the public, Best Buy Management, etc..).






    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Mary M S
    Finally saw my first HD-DVD set up on endcap (which attracted the eye no more than any other endcap display setup) additionally had no stand out peripheral advertising which would relay to browsing consumers that the product being touted was an advanced capability player. I am sure the general impression to browsing consumers was that this was a display for sale which happened to have (any ole) DVD player hooked up on a bottom shelf - like all other display setups in the area. The Toshiba was running on a Westinghouse 42" LCD HD Monitor with 8 ms response. 1000:1. No audio to attract walkers to pause in front of it rather than the next end capped display which had volume.

    Just to find it: I asked 2 employee’s I passed as I entered the area, for the Toshiba. One lit up a tiny bit finally when I added after many long blank stares to my questions regarding XA1, “you know, first unit for HD discs, of the nxt-gen players HD-DVD & Blu Ray”. Then he stated ...OH I know what your talking about now...I think we had one of those Blu Ray players, - but we’re out right now. (!!!!!) Second guy was aware of the Toshiba and knew what I was talking about. Stated they sold all 7 units first shipment. I asked if they still had the demo model. He said nope, they were getting another shipment sometime soon; he was not sure of delivery date. I still wandered around working my way from one side of displays to the other. A younger employee 20’s? came by asked if I need help, when I stated what I had come in for,,, he says ...over here, taking me to the opposite end from the DVD player side of the store, where I had begun my search. There was the display,,,endcapped. The discs for sale, were laid on the shelf in front of the Display foot.

    I didn’t get to study the PQ of this setup, for the Younger one, engaged me talking shop. An older employee (retirement age?) came and joined in..... Long story short...and many jumped topics later. Bottom line opinion of both (who were gamers) was that Blu R would win this battle.







    As if all this wasn't bad enough news for Toshiba, the following internal memo went out to all Best Buy locations carrying HD DVD:

    [​IMG]

    The most alarming point was #1, saying that the end-cap demo will transition from the HD DVD to Blu-Ray in mid June. It also says that they should not take any back orders or rain checks for HD DVD players. Now it also says that they are not to sell the HD DVD display model, so presumably they will still have it available somewhere in the stores to look at.

    Anyway you look at it, it doesn't look good for Toshiba not meeting manufacturing quotas, having so many returns, relying on Best Buy as your primary marketing tool to consumers, and now find out that your largest retail supporter is going to transition out their HD DVD demo displays with Blu-ray displays.

    With so few players and titles sold at this point, even without any direct competition from Blu-ray and BD's delayed launch, it appears this format war may not last as long as many have feared it would.

    I just can’t see how Toshiba can recover from such a lackluster launch and very little manufacturing, software, and commercial support.

    Currently their only real ace is their deal with Universal, but with all the other studios supporting Blu-ray, most of whom are doing so exclusively, I just can’t imagine HD DVD being able to last very long once Blu-ray gets established in the marketplace.

    It’ll be like VHS & Beta with one format offering significantly more capacity, more players, and more content then the other. Only in this case, the one with the most support has the edge in performance as well.

    If this is the case, then any discussion over speculation on Blu-ray products and how they will compare with HD DVD products is probably not going to matter all that much.
     
  15. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    i think it's pronounced universuck
     
  16. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Re-releasal. [​IMG]
     
  17. Humphrey

    Humphrey Stunt Coordinator

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  18. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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  19. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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  20. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Nils, why all the effort in posting all the verbage negative to Toshiba? Did you have a bad experience with a Toshiba product? I've had several Toshiba TV's and DVD players and have recommended to friends over the past 10 years such that a dozen large CRT TV's and an equal amount of DVD players were purchased, with not one failure or defect. Yes, Blue-Ray would appeal to the extreme equipment fans such as you (I know, I've got my own high-tech equipment favorites :)), but HDDVD is less expensive, it's here and it works.
    Honestly, I don't care which one "wins", or if neither wins and holographic comes along and displaces them both. I think the switch from DVD's to HDDVD or Blue Ray will be much slower than the switch from VHS to DVD.

    And that's all I have to say about that, because you have more words in your backpack than I.

    BTW, I just returned from INFOCOMM in Orlando. It was decent - a bit less attendance than last year in Vegas, but good. Our products were the buzz - Super Close Projection tm is about to take off.
     

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