Is the format war about to resurface? Does Toshiba have the Blu-ray killer?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Anything that may put pressure on Sony and Studios to drop the prices on hardware and software the better. Maybe studios will get their act together and utilize the BR technology to the fullest. And I'm talking audio and video, not extras. In my opinion the average consumer is going to move very slowly to the BR format because player prices are too high, software more expensive and hell even rentals for BR movies are $1 more. So why wouldn't consumers buy into technology that offers near Bluray picture quality for a fraction of the price, that uses already available software thats both cheaper to buy and rent.
     
  2. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    I have said this before....my feeling is that BD is going to be a niche format, much like laser disc was, for a long time. The one variable to that is the PS3.

    As for this Tosh rumbling, if it's hampered by the HDMI handicap, then people with HDMI capable sets might just as well BD themselves.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Kevin,

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    I thoroughly enjoy watching films on Blu-ray. In fact, seconds ago
    I just watched Cloverfield for the very first time and immensely
    enjoyed the BR presentation.

    That being said, my Blu-ray player is already outdated thanks to
    the fact that it's not capable of taking advantage of the new profile.
    Now I have to go buy another BR player, and quite frankly, the
    prices on the better players are still outrageously priced.

    So, part of the excitement that I have for Toshiba's new player
    is that it is going to force the studios and hardware manufacturers
    to drop prices.

    Listen, all arguments presented in this thread are good ones. Sure,
    it sucks that Toshiba is going to further confuse the market with
    another upconverting player. Best hope is that Toshiba puts some
    aggressive marketing behind their product so it helps consumers sort
    through upconverting players mess.

    However, if this doesn't kill Blu-ray (and I never said it would), it
    will stand as a compliment to the format. For someone like myself
    who has 2500 DVDs in my collection, I would rather have a Toshiba
    player that upconverts them to HD levels rather than having to replace
    many of those titles on Blu-ray. Of course, I will always continue to buy
    my favorite titles on the best format out there which is Blu-ray.

    How can anyone be against technology that makes DVD titles look identical
    to HD titles? You can say you won't embrace the technology, but I can't see
    anybody not wanting to make their DVDs look better than they already do for
    a pricepoint already being touted as being cheaper than buying a Blu-ray player.

    If all claims by Toshiba are true (and its too early to tell), everybody's gonna
    want one of these players.

    Part of me hopes there is room for both players. However, I do
    realize that this only confuses the matter more for the general public.
    I'm not looking to kill or replace Blu-ray, but let's face it, Blu-ray players
    will not have the new technology to upgrade sDVDs to look comparable to HD
    .

    Understandably, I can see people being pissed at Toshiba....but can you
    blame them for not wanting to capitalize on technology like this? Don't
    you think any one of us would want the type of technology that company
    is promising? If not Toshiba, someone else would be rolling this out.

    All I can say is that Sony needs to get smart and drop player and
    hardware prices if they want to take a lead prior to Toshiba rolling
    back into town.
     
  4. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    I think one factor that prevents a price drop for BD is the return on investment aspect. From what I am to understand, video game systems are sold at a loss, with the manufacturer knowing they will make up profit via game sales. Since it's unlikely Warner or Paramount will share profits from BD sales with any of the BD player makers...they don't have that in their back pocket. I figure only Sony would get some kind of royalties.
     
  5. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    If this new technology upconverts SD-DVDs in a NOTICEABLY better way than my PS3 and my HD-A2 do today, I WILL EAT MY OWN BUTT.

    Ridiculous.

    But seriously. . .the best SD-DVDs already look very close to HD-quality when upconverted (and I am using a 65" display). There isn't enough room between current upconverting players and real HD for another technology to make any difference. Not to mention the fact that we appear to be very close to $200 Blu-Ray decks.
     
  6. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    cough coughThere's one that isn't.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Tell me this, is the bottom line Toshiba is afraid that they will lose out on their share of the profits on DVD itself. They are one of the developers of the format, and they would hate to see Blu-ray overtake DVD, cause thats revenue out of their pocket.
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

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    Michael-
    I think it was their justification that they wouldn't be boat anchors if HD DVD lost the format war.

    I don't see why anyone is against technology that will give them (potentially) better video performance. I don't see it as a "BD-Killer" since it won't give me any interactive features, better audio and I doubt BD quality video. Based on what I have heard it will probably do a outstanding job upconverting SD sources, better than most consumer technologies. That is a good thing. I would love to see better quality scalers in CE products: AV receivers, HDTVs and DVD players.

    If Toshiba markets it as "just as good/better than BD" I will have a problem with it. Plenty of other DVD players upconvert to 1080P right now, so I don't think it will cause any additional confusion--The sales people who tell their customers that 1080P DVD players are HD will continue to do so with or without this player.
     
  9. Adam Gregorich

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    I forgot to add that technology improvements like this mean that BD needs to tout its other advantages over DVD to average consumers, not just the AV quality.
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    They will also have to watch their video quality in particular. That's a good thing, IMO. If you buy a BD version you must be able to be confident it's better than the cheaper SDVD (on one of those new Toshes).


    Cees
     
  11. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    The upconversion with the new Oppo players bring out as much as I believe possible from the SDDVD's, not sure that Toshiba can do better!
     
  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Well, if this software is designed for the Cell processor, maybe us PS3 owners might get to inherit it. [​IMG]

    BTW, are we sure that Sony didn't know about this already and even sold the Cell processor manufacturing to Toshiba w/ this in mind a few months back (after Toshiba waved the white flag in the HD format war)? That whole deal seemed kinda odd (and intriguing) to me, but I haven't heard a peep about it since then.

    Also, what does DVD "extension" mean anyway? Are they actually going to revise and extend the DVD format specs, not just provide hardware for better upscaling? The linked article is a bit too cryptic to tell. Makes me wonder if they're not gonna come out w/ something like Super-DVD that's still fully backward compatible w/ DVD (and then try to get studios to release movies in this S-DVD format).

    _Man_
     
  13. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    On another forum, someone mentioned something like this. Using the example of hybrid SACD's that would play on standard CD players. Thus a Super-DVD being backward compatible is feasible.
     
  14. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    There was talk a month or two ago about a "DVD 2.0" format, basically bringing the low-overhead HD DVD stuff over - pop-up menus, internet connetivity, etc. (for all the tooth-gnashing about space being used on interactive stuff rather than picture/sound quality, I gather some of the HDi stuff can be done with very little code), maybe along with adding DD+ or even TrueHD as optional audio formats like DTS.

    From what I gather, the difference between what Toshiba's planning and what current players do is that Toshiba is throwing enough power (both in terms of hardware and sophisticated algorithms) at the picture that it won't just be upconverting individual frames, which is what most of the machines out there do, but looking at multiple frames in sequence. That could, potentially, be a huge benefit, piecing together more detail than might be found in a single frame and also reducing compression problems that upconverting sometimes exacerbates.

    That Toshiba is developing this technology is a good thing - I strongly suspect that the DVD players it makes it into won't cost significantly less than Blu-ray players, but once it's developed, it will likely also wind up in HDTVs (maybe making the digital channels on my cable system look less like complete ass), DVRs, and, yes, Blu-ray players (whether because Toshiba eventually manufactures them or because they license the technology to Sony, Samsung, etc.).
     
  15. John Dirk

    John Dirk Second Unit

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    Toshiba has confused the market with both HD-DVD and now their upconverting players. As others have implied, people may not be willing to purchase yet another ambiguous [from their perspective] Toshiba box. Then again, as long as it requires no long-term support and plays standard DVD's, who's to say. I for one, would be a bit wary.

    John
     
  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    If that's really the route they're going, then it can certainly make sense. Of course, that wouldn't really make existing SD DVDs comparable to good Blu-ray quality though.

    RE: the mentions of more sophisticated upconversion algorithms (and deployment in more expensive hardware that may not cost all that much lower than BD players), I guess that's possible if current upscaling players only handle upscaling one frame at a time. It still may not compare to the best quality that Blu-ray offers, but not every BD title offers that either. And who knows? The mainstream consumer may actually end up prefering the kinds of overcooked processing that might also show up in such algorithms, eg. witness the 120Hz motion smoothing processing of many LCD TVs, SVM, etc. It may not be true HD, but to the untrained eye, it may actually *seem* better than the true HD that a film-like BD offers -- and that would be unfortunate for us. Maybe Toshiba realizes this and believes that they can retain a huge majority of their DVD market that way while only losing the smaller population of enthusiasts/videophiles...

    _Man_
     
  17. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I think characterising this as the format war being about to resurface is inaccurate, and here's why:
    1. No new format is being proposed
    2. We're dealing with a form of DSP, again, not a new format
    3. There are no indications of compatibility issues.

    What is going to happen here is possible consumer confusion, and I think the analogy to MP3s is accurate. At worst, this could have the effect of turning BD into the HD equivalent of SACD/DVD-A. The proof is going to be in the results of Toshi's new technology and the price. If J6P and JWiaB say, "good enough," there will be no widespread adoption of BD as the next big thing and it will, at best, be a niche format akin to LD.

    Not doomsaying, but saying wait and see.
     
  18. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I agree that that's possible. Hopefully, Blu Ray can pick up some steam this year, become more well known as the high definition format and stop this before it does become a source of confusion for the average consumer.
     
  19. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    It is absolutely known as the HD format.....

    The variable is....is it worth the expense.
     
  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Then if that's the case, Toshiba has quite an uphill battle to fight because they have to convince people that their 'new format' is as good as the Blu Ray discs that they've been hearing about or have seen.

    In the end, this probably going to the way of DIVX or those True HD discs (or whatever Warner was going to call the discs with an HD-DVD side and a Blu Ray side), it'll fail before it gets started or fade away without much interest from the average consumer.
     

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