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Holy Grail of Hi-Def: Are universal players around the corner?


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#1 of 75 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 06 2006 - 12:50 AM

Our friend Dan Ramer of DVDFILE has posted
a little article this week that you can read
by clicking HERE

It shows great promise that universal players,
those that support both HD-DVD and BLU-RAY may
be arriving sooner than we think. At least, the
technology is available -- and that's a huge start!

In my opinion, such players would be the Holy
Grail needed to get these formats rolling.
It's also my opinion that the only way to gain
consumer confidence with two competing formats
is to offer a player that will play them BOTH.

Unfortunately, this is not going to be happy
news for companies manufacturing current players
designed to play only one of either format.

All of us are very excited about the new High
Definition format. Unfortunately, as polled
numbers show in another thread, members here are
not ready to jump into either format until there
is some sort of compromise made between the
duelling formats. That compromise could very
well be the availability of a universal player.

Your thoughts?

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 75 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted January 06 2006 - 01:22 AM

Quote:
Unfortunately, this is not going to be happy
news for companies manufacturing current players
designed to play only one of either format.


i dunno. features are certainly a big selling point, but so is price/performance.
if one manufacturer has a deck that just does one thing, but does it superbly and for a reasonable price, then i think it still has a shot.
on the other hand, if the universal player can play both formats but does only a marginal job with each (or a better job with one than the other) and costs significantly more...

dawn is breaking, but its still too dark to see the true face of anything. we'll know more later in the year. and i won't be satisfied until people like Kris Deering and others put these things thru their paces and compare them together.

i do understand what you're saying. but i'm already no stranger to having more than one deck in the rack- each dedicated to a specific function. one deck is for region free and PAL, the other is for primary viewing as its PQ is clearly superior to region free unit.
i can play all my discs on the one machine but would rather do it only when i have to.

i can say without a doubt that i am looking forward to finally seeing in-store demos of these things, which isn't that far off now.

#3 of 75 OFFLINE   Jaxon's Dad

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Posted January 06 2006 - 01:36 AM

Quote:
That compromise could very well be the availability of a universal player.
Agreed Ron. I'm waiting for a universal player, but I'll only purchase a 2nd or 3rd generation unit so as to ensure bugs are worked out. In the meantime, I'll be making educated BRD/HD-DVD software purchases based on PQ/AQ reviews. It may be a few years before I get to enjoy them, but I can wait.
The Star Wars Special Editions: Just 'cause you can, don't mean you should.

 


#4 of 75 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted January 06 2006 - 02:21 AM

My thoughts are as follows:

1. Samsung has been developing one for a while(uni player).
2. Dan Ramer is a blowhard. I despise DVDfile because of him. His calling out of a fellow writer was hilarious in a bad way a while back.
3. HD DVD knows they are in trouble so they are leveraging Microsoft for help while also trying to low ball us. So it becomes a price vs quality type deal. Price will not win the war.
4. HD DVD has no exclusive studios backing them. That's trouble. Blu Ray does.
5. Enthusiasts here are weak. Once they see the product at Best Buy or wherever, forget it. They'll break down and buy what they see. It's easy to say "I want xyz" w/o seeing it in the flesh. I know many people have made on the spot decisions based on this type of reaction.

Lastly and most importantly: Why wait when you can decide the format war now. Decide with your wallet not letting others decide for you. If people are buying up a certain products hardware and software then the manufacturers and studios take notice QUICK. Of course you need to accept what DRM they are using and what connection they want you to use but you are going to be forced to use those anyway so waiting will not change that.

#5 of 75 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted January 06 2006 - 02:30 AM

Shane, from what a Samsung exec has just said I think they don't intend to launch a universal player any time soon. Posted Image

WRT the two-format chipset, it doesn't make manufacturing a universal player significantly easier.

#6 of 75 OFFLINE   Steve Kuester

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Posted January 06 2006 - 02:59 AM

I hear what you are saying Ron, but for me, a universal player still won't allow me to watch HD on disc with my 5 year old HDTV. The holy grail for me would be the ability to watch HD over component. Otherwise they'll just have to wait for my money until I update my display - and I have absolutely no plans to do that at this time.

#7 of 75 OFFLINE   PaulP

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Posted January 06 2006 - 03:53 AM

The real Holy Grail would be a players that plays ALL digital media: CD(R/RW), DVD(R/RW), DVD-A/SACD, HD-DVD/BD, all with photo and MP3 (and other compression formats) playback. A plus would be USB and memory card slots Posted Image

#8 of 75 OFFLINE   Jim Smith

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Posted January 06 2006 - 04:07 AM

This universal player is a waste of money. Blu-Ray is the only format any sane person would want anyway.

#9 of 75 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 06 2006 - 04:09 AM

Interesting thoughts here.

I did overlook something of major importance
and I thank Steve for pointing it out ---
there really can't be a Holy Grail for this
format until HDMI issues are worked out where
these units are compatabale with older televisions.

I can't even purchase a player this year
because my HI-DEF television does not have
HDMI input.

Even if it did, and as I stated previously,
it would probably be the best choice for me
to wait for universal playback capability and
for all the bugs to be worked out of these players.

It's a real shame that studios are going to
have to produce two different releases of the
same title for separate formats. Seems like
an expensive waste to me.

In all, a real shame that greed has caused
consumers to sit out on a potentially successful
new format.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#10 of 75 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted January 06 2006 - 06:17 AM

Frankly, I think what happened with DVD is going to happen again here. Many laser aficionados(and I was one of them) were adamant that they weren't going to get involved with DVD. But we took one look,and BAM! It was love at first sight, and we purchased DVD players. I suspect the same thing is going to happen again this time.

What would a poll of Laserdisc owners have looked like at the dawn of DVD? I bet it would be similiar to the poll about the new HD formats elsewhere on this site.

#11 of 75 OFFLINE   Ravi K

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Posted January 06 2006 - 06:23 AM

Quote:
What would a poll of Laserdisc owners have looked like at the dawn of DVD? I bet it would be similiar to the poll about the new HD formats elsewhere on this site.


Is the issue the same here? The LD-DVD increase in quality is not as big as the DVD-HD increase in quality. We know what HD looks like. Isn't it the format war that's making people hesitate to take the plunge?
 

#12 of 75 OFFLINE   Craig W

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Posted January 06 2006 - 06:46 AM

Larry,

You may be right. But the big thing is that not everyone has the correct hardware to enjoy the difference without an additional expense. I have a 576p DLP projector paired with an OPPO upscaling DVD player. Granted I might gain a little extra detail replacing it with a new HD player, too me currently its not worth the expense. Too take full advantage of the new format I would opt for a new $10k 1080p projector. Until 1080p hardware (display and player) and software gets to reasonable prices($15-20), I am sitting this one out.

Granted I may be slowing down on DVD purchases in that time and I also do not plan on replacing my entire collection on a HD format. DVD collecting has made me realize that I rarely have time to watch a feature more than once. Out of the near 600 titles I have now, I would probably upgrade fewer than 50 title to the HD counter part.

Before I got into DVD, I had a small LD collection, but I never got past around 25-30 titles due to the high cost of the nicer sets. When DVD hit, special edition titles that were $100+ on LD were ported to DVD for less than $30. I knew LD was done when that occurred.

I have a feeling that the studios are going to use that HD tag the same way they used the LaserDisc name and that was to milk the consumers dry. The old LD fanatics are going to be all over the new format, but in the near term its going to be the same as the LD market which was a small niche market with over-inflated prices.

#13 of 75 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 06 2006 - 06:51 AM

Quote:
Many laser aficionados(and I was one of them) were adamant that they weren't going to get involved with DVD. But we took one look,and BAM! It was love at first sight, and we purchased DVD players. I suspect the same thing is going to happen again this time.

One major difference is that your new DVD player could be connected to the same TV as your old laserdisc player and you could see the benefits. With HD-DVD (and probably Blu-Ray), your TV will not be able to display the improved video quality unless you have the proper digital inputs.

#14 of 75 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted January 06 2006 - 07:08 AM

You guys are correct, there are a lot of different variables this time around, so what I said is probably simplistic. But I do think a lot of folks will be so wowed when they see these new formats that they will try to get involved with them as soon as they are able.

#15 of 75 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted January 06 2006 - 07:57 AM

Quote:
Is the issue the same here? The LD-DVD increase in quality is not as big as the DVD-HD increase in quality
To me the difference is greater. I still own a LD player as well Posted Image

HD has been the single largest leap as far as an improvement goes yet in my HT.

#16 of 75 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 06 2006 - 08:30 AM

I agree with the comments thus far that this
is a slightly different ballgame we are dealing
with.

I had the opportunity to see DVD and Blu-Ray
side-by-side while at Sony studios nearly two
years ago. It was an amazing improvement when
we saw images projected on a massive screen.

If this were a single unified format the
argument that all of us would jump into it right
away would hold true.

This time around, we are dealing with two formats
and players that are incompatable with a great
many high-definition televisions that have been
on the market.

This is a far tougher sell than DVD ever was.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#17 of 75 OFFLINE   PaulP

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Posted January 06 2006 - 09:17 AM

But most people don't and won't be projecting their movies on massive screens.

#18 of 75 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted January 06 2006 - 09:19 AM

Ron really hit it on the head. This is going to be a really tough sell. We are taking about a relatively small segment of the dvd buying public first off. I think this is doomed to failure if they can't come up with one format. The majority of the dvd buying public are not enthusiast like us and don't have the TV's to support it anyway. They want to be able to buy a player and play any dvd in it. So I think the user base is a small one to begin with.

But lets say an average movie consumer who has an HDTV buys a new player, blu ray lets say, and then finds many of their favorite movies are on a competing format that their player can't play? I myself will not buy any hd player until a universal such as Ron's references comes out that can play both formats as well as standard DVD's, or until one of the formats folds. I'm simply not going to buy two expensive players to support two different formats, and I don't think the general public will either. I'll continue with Standard DVD until either a universal player is released or one of the formats folds, which probably won't take long.

And depending upon how these formats get adopted, changes can come really quickly. Just because company execs are saying one thing today doesn't mean things can't change quickly if the sales aren't there.

#19 of 75 OFFLINE   DouglasBr

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Posted January 06 2006 - 09:40 AM

Quote:
But most people don't and won't be projecting their movies on massive screens.


Perhaps that was the only way Sony could get an eye-popping difference to show between BD and DVD?

Just speculatin'. . . .

#20 of 75 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted January 06 2006 - 11:02 AM

Quote:
f this were a single unified format the
argument that all of us would jump into it right
away would hold true.
Except those w/o HDMI inputs Posted Image
Quote:
But most people don't and won't be projecting their movies on massive screens.

Doesn't matter. Even on a lowly 32" set I've seen differences between HD and upconverted DVD.

My theory is that if HD DVD can't win with low prices(the walmart strategy) then Blu Ray will end up pushing them out of the game. HD DVD doesn't have a single movie company that is solely theirs to distribute to. Sony is way ahead in that game with companies bailing to do dual format all of a sudden. HD DVD's boat is ROCKY right now.


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