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Noob Help/Advice


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 15 2006 - 03:30 AM

Joe 6pac here. A month ago I didn't even know what blu ray was or had any concern. All I wanted to do was, begin to upgrade my vhs collection to dvd in anticipation of a hi def tv purchase. Then I found this site. Man, am I behind the curve. Presently it appears that I should curtail any further spending to those titles that are "must have" (Dune, tv version, King Kong, early ver)and perhaps the older films and tv series that may not make the blu ray/hdtv cut (Lexx). I do understand that at some point I will have to adopt the new format. The new players will most likely only be produced to utilize both formats for the first few years. Would certainly appreciate any advice or direction regarding where my present dvd purchasing should be placed. Thanks.

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted February 15 2006 - 04:38 AM

Welcome to HTF, Antonio. Continue purchasing standard DVDs as you always have. Blu-ray Disc is positioned to battle it out with HD DVD. No one knows what the outcome of the format war may be; and when (or if) a winner emerges, what will it look like (or be called) in the end? For all we know, the "winner" might be a combination of the two formats, something that should have been settled before either Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD were released. Either format will be "better" than standard DVD. But the situation presently looks silly and discouraging. Add to that the fact that DVD satisfies most people as is, then it has a long, long life ahead of it.

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 15 2006 - 05:59 AM

Thank you for your thoughts and kind greeting, Jack. I know that the post is a completely noob question, but I had to put it out there. I think your advice is good, and I intend to follow it. Interestingly I notice that some dvd prices have come down a bit. Family considerations have put me in a position where home theater has become very important. So I'm running to catch up. Since I'm also a gamer, I'm no stranger to forums. I do have to say, that this is very best forum of its nature that I've come across on the net.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

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Posted February 15 2006 - 07:14 AM

Timing wise, this is a tough time to be just getting into DVD. Although, in a vacuum, it can be looked at as a good time to be getting into it because there are so many good titles available and the prices are low. But it is a little like just getting into laser disc in February of 1997 when DVD was due to come out in March of '97, if you catch my meaning. This is not the best comparison because laser disc was always just a niche format and DVD was/is mainstream and a single format. Also laser disc basically went away but regular DVD will be around for a long time. Even after one or both Hi-Def disc formats have been out for years, DVD will still be around. But there is a little similarity. If you weren't in a big hurry to get into home theater, it wouldn't be a bad idea to hold off for 6 months or so to see if there are any major shifts in what is going on with HD DVD/Blu-ray (if you've already waited this long what is a few more months?). But I know you said you want this on the fast track. Still, if there wasn't going to be two competing High Definition formats, I'd say wait for a Hi-Def player so you can start getting the most out of your new HDTV right away and you could also use the same player to play regular DVDs (ones that you really want but aren't out yet in High-Def). But since there are two competing formats, things are kinda confusing. I think your best bet is probably to buy a relatively cheap DVD player and start buying DVDs sparingly. Buy your favorite movies, movies you know your kids will want to watch over and over, and movies that will likely take a while before being released on HD DVD and/or Blu-ray (like Star Wars). But don't go out of your way to "build a huge library" of DVDs when a new format/formats that is made for your new HDTV is just around the corner. Then in a year or so, you may want to get a High-Def player. However, if you feel that you are spending all this money on an HDTV so you want to start watching High-Def movies on it as soon as possible (which should be understandable to anyone here) you could jump into the new High-Def formats right away. But you have to be comfortable taking a bit of a chance on your purchases. Now, since all major studios (with the exception of Universal Pictures at this time) are releasing movies on Blu-ray, that would seem to be the most attractive (and possibly safest) choice (if you were of the mind-set that you can only buy one of the two competing formats). However, there still isn't a definitive launch date for this format. I think the info out there now has us expecting it late Spring. Also, you mentioned that you are a gamer. So you are probably aware that the PlayStation3 is due out later this year. That will also work as a Blu-ray player. If you were willing to wait until the end of the year, that could be a good option to get a new game machine, DVD player, and Blu-ray player all in one. I guess another thing to consider is that the HD DVD format is supposed to launch on March 28, and a player should be available for about $500. Since this player (actually all HD DVD players and all Blu-ray players) will also play regular DVDs, you could look at it like this: you are buying your first DVD player for $500 and as a bonus it also plays one of the two new Hi-Def formats (HD DVD). [My first DVD player cost over $600, it only plays standard DVDs, and it didn't even have a widescreen TV to use it on at that time.] Then later in the year you could get the PS3 for gaming and also as a nice bonus it will play the other Hi-Def format (Blu-ray). Then all your bases will be covered. But as I said above, if you aren't in a hurry to get into Hi-Def right away, the most simple option is to just get a cheap DVD player and buy DVDs conservatively. Then re-evaluate the Hi-Def option(s)in a year or two.
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 15 2006 - 08:08 AM

Thanks Sean.
Actually, I'm not on much of a fast track. Prior to finding this site, I planned on a new dvd player, (in anticipation of a hdtv) but now that I know the format is changing, I'll hold on to the old Pioneer. Plays fine, sometimes the sound is problematic. I'll try to wait 'till the smoke clears.
An hdtv was planned for the early part of this year. Thats on the back burner 'till sometime next year. Thats the tough part, but I'm going to be patient. When I'm ready to make my choice, I'll have all the info I need from right here.

Heh. Only one and she's old enough to buy her own.
Long story short..,one of the reasons entertainment has become important to me is that I'm now at home vertually full time. Closed up my small business to take care of my 92 year old Mom. She gets Netflix, and I'll buy mine on the net.
Not that it wasn't always important. Spent my first earned money to see Robin Hood. (The Earl Flynn version) Fifty cents, since I also had to take my kid sister. Its just that work and hangin'at the local watering hole took presidence for a while.
Jacks advice works for me. I'll pick up some of the titles that I feel may not make the conversion. I'll also get some of the "must haves". That should do me 'till things straighten out.
Many thanks for your input.Posted Image

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

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Posted February 15 2006 - 08:38 AM

Antonio, Yes, I think in your situation just getting the must-haves and otherwise buying conservatively is the way to go. Renting through an outfit like Netflix would be good too. Of course, used DVD can be found very, very cheap. I mean, $2-$5 cheap. So you actually could collect quite a few for a realtively low cost. And then you could more easily part with them when you decide to go HD. One very important piece of advice about an HDTV purchase. Make absolutely certain that any HDTV you purchase in the future has a digital (HDMI) input that decodes HDCP copy protection. You may already know about that, but if you don't make sure you read more about that stuff here. It is an absolute must have if you want to be sure to be able to take full advantage of the resolution of Blu-ray/HD-DVD in the future.
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Dan Hitchman

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Posted February 15 2006 - 01:51 PM

I wouldn't waste my time and money on building a big ol' collection of DVD's right now. Maybe just a few and get an inexpensive DVD player in the mean time. Blu-Ray players will play DVD's too and many will upconvert them to 1080p. Be sure whatever DVD's you DO get are not on the list of Blu-Ray titles coming out soon. That would sure be a quick double dip! Some smaller classics, foreign films, and some Disney titles may be safe to get since they'll take a long time to migrate over to Blu-Ray. The big name catalog and new releases will be the first HD stuff on the block. Oh, and always buy in the OAR (Original Aspect Ratio)!! Welcome!

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 16 2006 - 02:33 AM

All good suggestions. Thank you. Because of what I've been learning on this forum, my present buying will consist of a few "must haves" and the rest will be those titles that may not make the new format. Those titles that I enjoy, and should own, simply because they are not show on regular tv very often. Some I do have on tape, but the quality has deteriorated. For example: The two Dr Phibes films, (campy is good) The Lexx series,(available through Canada). Don't know about Farscape.
Uh-oh...Now I'm in trouble. Recently came from a site that said alway buy "anamorphic" (a word I just learned) Would you be kind enough to help me out with this ? :b

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted February 16 2006 - 02:56 AM

Those are complementary. 1. Always buy in the OAR. 2. When such OAR is wide (1.66:1 or more), always buy anamorphic.

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted February 16 2006 - 04:25 AM

Won't both HD-DVD and Blu Ray play standard DVDs as well? I thought they would be backward compatible. So, you shouldn't really have any reason not to buy DVDs now. That is one of the things that I think could end the format war before they begin. If the new machines couldn't play the old DVDs, most DVD buyers won't be at all interested. If a couple years from now, one of the formats wins out, and Joe Six Pack consumer is in Wal Mart looking for a new player, if the winning format player is there, and will play standard DVDs, as well as the new ones, they might pick it up. Otherwise, for most consumers, they don't see a reason to change from a format they are completely happy with. Just like in audio, other formats have tried to challenge CDs and none of them have caught on. People are happy with CDs and don't want to change.

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 16 2006 - 07:30 AM


On a Post-it, on the 'puter.
Many thanks.Posted Image
Tony...

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 16 2006 - 07:38 AM

Oops...
Just one more thought....

I don't think that we always get that choice.Posted Image ?
One more...is "Widescreen" anamorphic ?

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted February 16 2006 - 08:09 AM

I give the floor to Bill Hunt, of thedigitalbits:

widescreen-o-rama

The Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic Widescreen

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 17 2006 - 05:54 AM

Thanks Juan. Read it 'till my head hurt. Posted Image At least I now know what letterbox means. Interesting. I was always annoyed when a film was run on tv, showing the bars above and below. never realized how much I was missing.

I didn't think I would come across any films that would be in more than one aspect ratio. Never say never.
One of the titles I'm wanting, is available as a single side DVD. It indicates: Widescreen - 2.35
Its also available as double sided, with the original feature on one side and the sequel on the flip side.
It indicates: Widescreen - 1.85
Neither says "Anamorphic". I don't have a clue as to which is the original aspect ratio. I suspect the Widescreen - 2.35 that was issued as a single.
My first impulse is to purchase the Widescreen - 2.35, as I prefer a single sided copy. On the other hand, ???
Hope some one will point me in the right direction.

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Dan Hitchman

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Posted February 17 2006 - 08:29 AM

Which title is it? With Lord of War and a couple other films shown theatrically at 2.35:1 the studio (or crazy director like Robert Rodrigez) scewed up and released them at 1.78:1.

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 17 2006 - 09:05 AM

This is for a couple of old favs of mine the Abominable Dr Phibes and Dr Phibes Rises Again. Replacing my old VHS. The director was Robert Fuest. Both copies show that they were released as MGM Monster Madness or some such.

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Antonio S

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Posted February 18 2006 - 07:31 AM

Ok...Here's what I found out after reading several reviews and visiting a few sites.
All the reviews that I read for a single edition (ss-sl)that indicated specs, state that The Aboninable Dr Phibes, was filmed in 1971 and directed by Robert Fuest. It was filmed in 35mm with an aspect ratio of 1.85 to 1.
The same holds true for Dr Phibes Rises Again, except that it was done in 1972.
Whats got me confused are the postings that I've read on eBay that give different (2.35:1) aspect ratios for the singles.
Taking the above into consideration I have e-mailed both an eBay seller and another website to confirm the aspect ratio that they are advertising.
Shooting for copies in 1.85:1 which should be the oar, and in ss-sl.
Many thanks to all of you who have posted in order to put me on the right path.
Posted Image

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Mark Lucas

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Posted February 18 2006 - 01:41 PM

Accept most laserdisc fans were very skeptical of dvd when it came out. Especially when a lot of titles were not anamorphically enhanced and suffered from mastering problems and weak tinny audio. It took a long time for dvds to be clearly better than LD, and even it was just the video side, and it wasn't that dramatic. HD is so much clearly better than any other video format it's not funny.




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