Reasonable cost of upgrading to HD is absolutely a rewarding experience!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Note: This is an update to a recent article posted here

    A mere four months ago when HD-DVD players started appearing
    on store shelves, I vowed in many posts within this forum that I
    would not involve myself with a format war.

    ...and you know, it always starts that way. You put your foot
    down, set your mind to it, and then something changes it all.

    Those damn early adopters! Day after day I read posts on this
    forum from those who were among the first to buy HD-DVD players.
    Amazing thing was, not a bad remark in any of the early reviews that
    I read. Since the Toshiba players were being sold for a mere $500,
    it wasn't a really difficult choice to go out and take the chance on
    at least one of the two formats battling it out for your loyalty.

    As my initial review clearly points out, I fell in love with HD-DVD
    at first glance. Looking back on that article, I was wrong about
    something....HD-DVD does look significantly better than standard
    DVD. It only took me a little while longer to figure that out because
    I wasn't optimizing the format to its full potential by running the player
    through component inputs on an older display.

    This week, my entire viewing experience dramatically changed....

    I just purchased a new HD display....and I have to tell you, it did
    not cost me a lot of money.

    Right now, you can buy the MD6580 65" HP display capable of
    true 1080p output for less than $3,000. This television has been
    rated amongst the best displays of last year and for the price, you
    won't find anything nearly as tech-ready for the new HD formats.

    Though the Toshiba players are only outputting 1080i, the difference
    of watching HD-DVD on a new HDMI display is miles ahead of watching
    on an older television with just component inputs.

    I had relatives over today for a big family reunion. I sat them all
    in front of my new HP display. They couldn't believe the picture
    they were wayching. I got comments like, "This looks so real you
    can touch the scenery"
    to "This looks better than anything you
    see in the movies"
    .....

    ...and there's a lot of truth in those statements. On a properly
    equipped display, the picture you get from HD-DVD looks better than
    what you see on a movie screen. Last night as I watched Chronicles
    of Riddick
    , I was in a hypnotic trance. It didn't matter what was
    going on the screen -- all that mattered was that I was watching an
    image that was brilliantly vivid, unlike anything my eyes had seen
    before.

    ...and there's something else I should tell you what the Toshiba
    HD-A1 and a display with HDMI does....

    Upconvert!

    All your standard definition DVDs now in your collection will look
    more brilliant than ever before! When connected to HDMI, the
    Toshiba player upconverts your DVDs to 1080i. Your standard
    DVDs now look very close to high definition quality.

    The point I am making is this....

    Many people are still sitting on the fence waiting this format war
    out. That's fine. Those who wait will be spending less to get
    into this format next year, and perhaps, have a clearer picture as
    to which of the two formats is going to succeed.

    However....

    Some of us just fall into the same upgrade mode by accident. We
    vow not to get involved. Next, we hear all these positive reviews
    about a new format -- and I know how many of you I personally
    converted to HD-DVD through my review.

    Then, we read more articles from those who have HDMI displays
    and the benefits of playing HD-DVD through them. Next thing you
    know, there's a new television being delivered to your home. In my
    case, the moment I sat on my couch and watched my first HD-DVD
    title on my new display and saw how much better my standard
    DVDs now looked, I knew that the expense was worth it!

    So let me leave you with a few things to think about....

    It will cost you $500 to buy a HD-DVD player. That's peanuts for
    a new technology like this. It will cost you under $3K for a new
    display like the HP 65" (there's a 58" available, too). A stand will
    cost you an extra $500-$600. By the time you are done, you'll be
    set back a little over $4K, but will have dramatically increased your
    Home Theater viewing experience. That my friends, is priceless!
     
  2. Stan Rozenfeld

    Stan Rozenfeld Stunt Coordinator

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    I am glad you joined the high def crowd, Ron! I know you had your reservations a few months back, but I am happy that you changed your mind. With more people like you joining the high def revolution, hd dvd (and maybe blu-ray) will have a great future.

    Stan
     
  3. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    So if I understand correctly, you originally didn't think there was a large difference in PQ between HD-DVD and SD DVD? That is surprising, because the reviews I have read from users with older CRT HD sets can see still see a big improvement.

    I think the difference is at least as big as going from Laserdisc to DVD, if not bigger.
     
  4. Steve Blair

    Steve Blair Second Unit

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    Welcome to the club, Ron. I've been greatly enjoying Hd Dvd since launch and you're right it's a pretty big difference compared to SD DVD. I'm looking forward to Lord of the Rings, V For Vendetta and many more great films in the near future. Hd Dvd is proving itself to be the videophiles' format with price, picture quality and audio quality. To me it's a no-brainer and hopefully your reviews will get more people to get off the fence.

    We are early adopters and making our voice heard. Others will join us along the way but it's always fun to be at the forefront of a format like this. Reminds me of 97' when I was the only person I knew that was watching dvds. The anticipation of new release tuesdays is back! It's been gone for too long...
     
  5. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

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    Glad you are enjoying your new set with HD-DVD Ron. I was just like you for the longest time. Vowing to stay out of this format war until there was a clear winner or be defiant and not adopt either technology at all and hoping they would both die a dismal death because I certainly was not about to spend thousands of dollars again on my library. Even though I was an early adopter of DVD (buying my first Pioneer DVD player from Japan in 1998), I did not want to reinvest.

    Then the reviews started to come in. Mostly about how bad the HD-A1 was preforming. I was laughing and [​IMG]ing at how this is all going to FAIL.

    Then v1.2 firmware upgrade. It fixed alot of problems. THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! Positive reviews? NOOOOOO!!!!!

    I started to find myself checking the prices of a new HD-A1 unit. Then Ron's review hit the HTF and it was over. I gave into my temptation and I bought my HD-A1 the very next day at Future Shop. The rest is sweet HD bliss. I love my HD-DVD player, and I will forever support it until the end.
     
  6. Rakesh.S

    Rakesh.S Second Unit

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    Everything's good except for the HD-DVD part. $500 is a lot of money, and I don't want to be the guy with the Beta. More studio support will allay my fears, but until then, i'm on the fence.
     
  7. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Great assessment Ron...by the way, can I borrow $4000 [​IMG]
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    For those of us that have been early adopters in HT for years, it's not a lot of money. My first dvd player cost me $1000 and my second which was a progressive player was $1200. Also, don't get me started about prior formats and money spent.

    Home theater is an expensive hobby!





    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    I'm sure most of us have $500.00 or more in SD-DVDs that we either haven't watched or watched once or twice. Besides its only money. [​IMG]

    I'm opening and setting up mine today Sunday.
     
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Rakesh, I understand.

    The only thing I can say is that HD-DVD has gotten a strong start.
    You can see that by the amount of owners on this forum. The format
    had a great launch and there are aren't nearly as many problems being
    reported than the other format. I don't think HD-DVD will be disappearing
    anytime soon.
     
  11. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    Another factor of the Beta/VHS war was the cost. VHS was $100 cheaper and the dealer had $100 additional profit. (and RCA had 100% co-op advertising reimbursement) The cost and profit factor could have a similar effect on HD-DVD/Blu-Ray sales.

    An additional factor of the Beta/VHS conflict was the fact that average buyers were connecting their $1000 players to 10 year old TVs (on RF channel 3) and any difference in quality was lost (and the dealers knew it). This could also happen if players get connected to big screen TVs built between 1995 and 2000. J6P was buying $800 VCRs in 1980 and probably will be buying $500 HD-DVD in 2006/7, and I doubt that he perceives the studio support issue. He will assume that everything will eventually come out in "his" format like it did with tapes.

    A factor that has yet to be seen was that VHS was marketed (and built) under (and by) many names, each with it's own marketing department and budget. If I were marketing the product, I'd include the standard DVD at no additional cost with every HD-DVD (or Blu-Ray) movie purchase: "Watch it Now and Invest in the Future" packages. Marketing, not engineering, sold VHS, but real marketing on this technology won't kick off until there are more "players" in the game.
     
  12. Travis Hedger

    Travis Hedger Supporting Actor

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    The thing about HD DVD was that even with its initial quirks and problems, not everyone has had those issues. I think it was limited to a very small number. I got in around April 22 and I am still on first revision firmware and have yet to experience any of the issues the newer firmwares have fixed.

    But beside that, HD DVD is here, now, cheaper, better, faster, stronger (stupid Daft Punk song) and I am loving every title I throw at it.

    Add Amazon's 10% off for a year discount and free shipping makes it a no brainer.

    I display on a 2 year old WS-65813 Mitsubishi Diamond RPTV with 9 inch CRT guns and it has an astounding picture for 1080i material. Better than anything from DirecTV HD and OTA locals.
     
  13. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Excellent assessment Steve. [​IMG]
     
  14. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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  15. Jace_A

    Jace_A Second Unit

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    If upconverted SD-DVDs look very close to HD-DVD in quality, then I'm holding off. I've had an excellent upconverting DVD player for going on 2 years now (I'm surprised some seem to think this is a new phenomenon) and, with the dreck currently being released by the Studios in HD, there is little reason to upgrade until the Studios start releasing decent films en masse.
     
  16. Austan

    Austan Second Unit

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    Greed is a good reason that Studios are wanting a new format. For older movies, it's pure profit. I have Star Wars in VHS, Star Wars THX in VHS and now Star Wars on DVD. and guess what, I'll get Star Wars on HD also [​IMG] .

    Lucas cant sell another million Star Wars DVD sets, but he can surely sell a few million Star Wars HD sets. Same thing goes for all movie libraries.
     
  17. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    [​IMG]
    And what is the reason consumers buy into these new developments?
    Weakness? Stupidity? Too much money? Insanity, perhaps?

    Nothing can be sold that isn't purchased.


    Cees
     
  18. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    No doubt those companies what to continue to make money—you have an interesting choice of words when you turn ‘making a profit to satisfy out stockholders’ into ‘greed’. Of course this also ignores the very real interest in HD from a segment of the public, most especially the special interest groups. Should you doubt this, I direct you to the very many threads on this and other forums.

    I wonder as to your definition of ‘pure profit’, which to me indicates that you think that there is no overhead in releasing movies already on DVD in one or both of the HD formats. Aside from the production and marketing costs (the latter most certainly not insignificant) many of the movies that were released on DVD will need further clean-up to make them presentable in HD. It is likely that a good many will also need to be re-encoded using one of the codecs and it is also very likey (especially on movies such as some the ones you cite that the consumers will expect the audio to be in one of the lossless formats.

    All-in-all, not exactly pure profit: and even if it is, what’s wrong with that?
     
  19. Austan

    Austan Second Unit

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    You guys take words too literely...
    example: The production cost of Superman Returns is $260million (not including marketing). It's now stuck at $185million domestic and $131million international and is out of the top 10 movies. Let's just say it grosses approximantly another $100million and we put it at $400million gross total.

    example: Star Wars re-release. production cost and movie theathear cost have been spent 20 years ago. It's the same overhead to produce the HD media for both Star Wars and Superman Returns. Problem is that Superman Returns share the $400million gross with the Theaters and it also has to over come a $260million production budget and and unknown marketing campaign.

    Take it as it is and dont make it harder...
    I'm exhausted now... makes me hungery.. I'm so hungry I can eat a horse. But I cant go eat now because it's raining cats and dog...
     
  20. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    For the price HD-DVD is very, very attractive for all the reasons you posted Ron. My Sony RPTV is 3 years old, it has HDMI and two HD component inputs. One machine could virtually do it all, you can watch SD-DVD scaled to 1080i via HDMI, and listen to Dolby True HD via the analog connections from the DVD player to the receiver and enjoy almost uncompressed sound. Just a worthwhile investment.
     

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