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A few words about... The Phantom of the Opera -- In High Definition

A Few Words About

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#1 of 121 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted April 22 2006 - 09:17 AM

I've spent most of the day setting up high def hardware and wiring, and after reading some early notes over at The Bits, had concerns that the difference between the current product and high definition DVDs might not have been as great as I thought.

With all due respect to Bill Hunt and The Bits, and after doing A/B comparisons between the regular definition Phantom vs. the new High Definition release, what I'm seeing is nothing less than AMAZING!

The levels of detail, quailty of color and of blacks and overall resolution are at least four times those of normal def. One can now easily see the subtleties of color, density and shading previously only the territory of film projection.

And Warner Home Video has selected the perfect demo discs for the inauguration of the format. I'm aware of what's coming down the pike in eight weeks or so, but am sworn to secrecy. I cannot wait!

All that I can say is that a virtual Pandora's Box has opened with three wonderful transfers of grade A product.

The bottom line is that out of the gate (with a small problem of lower audio levels, which can be corrected at the turn of a knob) Warner Home Video has once again given us the highest level of home video. Even the packaging, in transluscent ruby plastic, slightly shorter and thinner than the normal current packaging is an improvement.

In a word...

Amazing!

I've long believed that market reports suggesting that High Definition DVD will be little more than a connoisseur's hobby were in error.

With prices of players coming down, and product available, I don't believe this for a moment.

For those who don't have to give up food or give away children to make the move to High Definition, the choice is seemingly made.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 121 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted April 22 2006 - 10:37 AM

Uh oh. I thought I was going to be able to wait a long while before taking the plunge.

Oh wait, Robert said for those who DON'T have to give away children. That's what I was going to do! Posted Image

I'll probably still wait until the format differences are resolved...but the HTF is certainly NOT the right place to be hanging out when trying to exercise some self-control! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#3 of 121 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted April 22 2006 - 12:39 PM

Good early news from Mr. Harris.

I, however, will not be subject to the temptation like Mike is, simply because my HDTV set is 7 years old and only has component inputs. In order to maximize my next-gen experience, while minimizing my out-of-pocket pain, I will have to update both my TV and my next-gen-disc player at the same time. Since very few current TV sets support 1080p, and neither does Toshiba's first HD-DVD player, I am content to play the waiting game until 1080p players and sets are more common, and hopefully a bit cheaper. I'm targeting Summer or Fall of 2007.

But very good to hear that the next gen sounds like it will live up to its billing.

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#4 of 121 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted April 22 2006 - 01:58 PM

**must--- exercise ---self ---control, unnnghh
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#5 of 121 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon

I'll probably still wait until the format differences are resolved...

i won't. I plan to resolve it myself. after finally seeing a demo of the Tosh player, i'm ready to buy now. i had previously planned to wait until fall, but i honestly don't see anything being rsolved by then, no do i expect a big leap in the performance/cost of the basic player (at least on the HD DVD side).
the fact is, i was very impressed by the demo material i saw and don't doubt for one minute Mr Harris's enthusiasm.
at $500 for a player that performs (by everything i have read) well with legacy content and that will play at least 20 or 30 movies (that should average under $25 each) that i will be getting this year in the highest quality possible- that meets all my criteria- no reason i can see to wait for something else.
I'm stoked for this format- although i can't say i'm looking forward to repeating the dvd experience all over again of trying to petition these studios to release the content i really want. It's 6 years after i first started collecting DVDs and i'm still waiting to replace certain LD titles.
It's going to be a bit frustrating waiting for the deeper catalog titles that just started showing up in the last couple years...but so be it.
so far this is the Ultimate representation of theatrical films for home viewing, and i could care less if it remains nothing but a niche format for the next 10 years. But i know it won't. Like Robert, i think most people here have underestimated the desire for what this format will deliver.
I can't wait to replace the majority of collection (and it's up around 800 titles now) with HD versions. about the only good news there is, it will take a while for the studios to get them out anyway.

Oh and I believe i know of the title Robert is referring to showing up in a couple months. The Warner list of all its projected HD DVD releases for the entire year, was leaked a while ago- there are some spectacular films coming out- and one of the ones i'm most looking forward to is coming June 6, by golly.
I just hope the print they used was good.

#6 of 121 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:36 PM

Quote:
and one of the ones i'm most looking forward to is coming June 6, by golly.

Hmmm ... This wouldn't have something to do with "Believing A Man Can Fly", would it? I've got it! It's the Space Jam movie, right? Posted Image
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---------------

#7 of 121 OFFLINE   Paul Hillenbrand

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo Medina
I, however, will not be subject to the temptation like Mike is, simply because my HDTV set is 7 years old and only has component inputs.
The first thing I did when I got the Toshiba HD-A1 was to hook up the component input to my 7 year old HDTV. The Phantom of the Opera displays the full HD-DVD players 1080i component output from the Toshiba beautifully! When I tried it on my 110" screen in my theater room, using HDMI, my eyes popped out! Posted Image (in surprise!)

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#8 of 121 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:43 PM

i wasnt aware that news was leeked or was supposed to be a secret.

i thought it was common knowledge that it will be a huge set of possibly 14 discs.
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#9 of 121 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hillenbrand
The first thing I did when I got the Toshiba HD-A1 was to hook up the component input to my 7 year old HDTV. The Phantom of the Opera displays the full HD-DVD players 1080i component output from the Toshiba beautifully! When I tried it on my 110" screen in my theater room, using HDMI, my eyes popped out! Posted Image (in surprise!)

Paul


now i'm confused.
so component will do full hd 1080I?

i thought this topic was in the hd software section how did it get here?
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#10 of 121 OFFLINE   Paul Hillenbrand

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Posted April 22 2006 - 02:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD
now i'm confused.
so component will do full hd 1080I?

i thought this topic was in the hd software section how did it get here?
Robert did it!:P

So far, all the HD-DVD's have component 1080i capability and will unless the studio put the flag on the HD-DVD/Blu-ray to 480P. So far - So good.

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#11 of 121 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted April 22 2006 - 03:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD
i wasnt aware that news was leeked or was supposed to be a secret.

i thought it was common knowledge that it will be a huge set of possibly 14 discs.

Well, the original Superman movie is the biggie for me- but that's not until the end of the year.
the one i was referring to is a day and date release with one of the film in an upcoming signature set- at least it was scheduled for 6/6. Warner may have had to bump the whole release schedule back a couple weeks so it may show up a bit later(last minute authoring issues i heard...and of course, the feedback suggests they need to pay attention to their audio levels which are 10dbs too low on the current discs).

even beyond these two classics, there is so much good stuff on deck.
i anticipate having more HD titles by the end of the year than i do PAL or non R1 discs now...and i have a separate player for those, so i feel like i will be able to easily justify this purchase.

#12 of 121 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted April 22 2006 - 03:06 PM

i guess alot of people will continue to be confused due to this thread.....

http://hometheaterfo...ad.php?t=216645


i read the updated info and i was still confused.
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#13 of 121 OFFLINE   Paul Hillenbrand

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Posted April 22 2006 - 03:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyD
i guess alot of people will continue to be confused due to this thread.....

http://hometheaterfo...ad.php?t=216645


i read the updated info and i was still confused.
That is still a real possibility. I'm sure that enough "pirating" will make a firm decision and they still may put the component 480P flag on first run blockbusters. Who knows? It's nice they are giving the new media enough rope, until the bad guys hang themselves, taking all the first adopters with them.Posted Image
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#14 of 121 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted April 22 2006 - 03:53 PM

While I noted the component outs on the rear of the Toshiba, I made no effort to try them. The fact that they output the full 1080i to high def monitors via componet as well as HDMI, creates a win/win situation for both High Def DVD software as well as the new players.

This will enable new adopters to buy the latest releases on in high definition DVD format, and play them back in either full 1080 or a lesser resolution, on their current monitor.

And, yes, before the question is asked...

The Toshibas also offer both an S-Video as well as a composite out for video.

One can start immediately adding high def titles to one's library, rather than purchasing standard def and upgrading via yet another software purchase. The Sony units for Blu-Ray will have the same setup.

One thing that could be problematic for Sony is that as part of their relationship with Sony Home Video, the studio is not putting their best foot forward as far as decisions of what software to offer in Blu-Ray. It appears that they're marketing toward a much younger audience that may well end up purloining their discs (along with a player), rather than buying them.

A quick look at titles coming from the other studios, (I can't wait to see Universal's Van Helsing) show quite a different story, with what seems like a great deal more thought going into their release schedules.

More and more, the logic behind many of Sony's decisions seems to say that no one is running the division. If anyone is, its time to replace them and put some fresh gray matter to work in Culver City. There is an entire library laying fallow, as apparenlty no one there knows anything about film.

RAH

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#15 of 121 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted April 22 2006 - 03:57 PM

thats a sad commentary
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#16 of 121 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted April 22 2006 - 04:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo Medina
I, however, will not be subject to the temptation like Mike is, simply because my HDTV set is 7 years old and only has component inputs. In order to maximize my next-gen experience, while minimizing my out-of-pocket pain, I will have to update both my TV and my next-gen-disc player at the same time. Since very few current TV sets support 1080p, and neither does Toshiba's first HD-DVD player, I am content to play the waiting game until 1080p players and sets are more common, and hopefully a bit cheaper. I'm targeting Summer or Fall of 2007.

But very good to hear that the next gen sounds like it will live up to its billing.

Carlo: You and I are running some parallels here...as in other threads (like the Narnia review). My HDTV set is not seven years old...but it is about as "low end" as an HDTV can be. It has neither HDMI nor DVI...just plain old component inputs. I have been greatly heartened, though, by this thread AND by some in the audio/video sources sub-forum and in the HT Software-High Definition sub-forum that are explaining that the component cables are trnasferring all that information beautifully. AND, allowing for upscaling of SD-DVDs.

Will I get an HD-DVD player any time soon? No. I cannot afford it. I've been regaling anyone who'll listen over in Coupons & Bargains about my incredible upgrade to four new bargain basement Polk speakers (R30 towers and R15 bookshelves). But seeing as how introductory players are hitting street at $500, like you I am expecting they may be falling into my price-range by the end of next year. We shall see.

To think I could upgrade my old Toshiba 1600 and significantly improve the picture on my SD-DVDs AND move right into the HD-DVD neighborhood! Woohoo!

I am willing to wait. I just hope it's not too long! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#17 of 121 OFFLINE   willyTass

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Posted April 22 2006 - 05:28 PM

My doubts are now removed. Thanks Bob. Pricejapan here I come.

Ps I did enjoy The Wild Bunch more with a 2nd & 3rd viewing

#18 of 121 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted April 22 2006 - 09:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
One thing that could be problematic for Sony is that as part of their relationship with Sony Home Video, the studio is not putting their best foot forward as far as decisions of what software to offer in Blu-Ray. It appears that they're marketing toward a much younger audience that may well end up purloining their discs (along with a player), rather than buying them.

A quick look at titles coming from the other studios, (I can't wait to see Universal's Van Helsing) show quite a different story, with what seems like a great deal more thought going into their release schedules.



RAH

supposedly, Sonys initial offerings were a reflection of their intent of releasing the PS3 first or earlier on- i don't know if its true or not. It doesn't make sense from a business standpoint to undercut your CE partners by releasing a much cheaper multi purpose product, but it does make sense when you look at the titles which do seem to be geared toward what would appeal to a 'gamer' crowd. But then i find that thinking flawed too as i don't expect the majority of gamers to be using these on high end displays, nor would i expect them to actually buy the discs if they did. They want to spend money on games more than (non interactive) movies.
whats even more questionable is- given the delay in releasing both the PS3 and the Bd format in general, Sony (and other studios) didn't take the opportunity to juggle their slate a little and bump up some more diverse offerings for their inital wave.
but then, i'm fed up with Sony and the way they've treated not only their catalog but MGMs now as well. No amount of stupid decsions or shoddy treatment will surprise me at this point.
to be honest though, it doesn't seem to make sense to take a shot at Sonys choices and then say how excited you are to see Van Helsing Posted Image

someday i expect i will have to own a Bd player- just for the Sony and MGM content- because by that point, i expect many of the other 'exclusive' partners will have released content on both formats.
Maybe Sony is right, that people want a lot of bit and byte hogging special features and their gamble will pay off (which of course will also run-up the cost of authoring and production of these titles- call me foolish, but i have a hard time seeing the studios keeping up that kind of model for very long). Personally i think price is going to be a more determining factor initially than selection- because selection on both formats is going to be inherently limited for a while.
and right now, the market has determined that $500 is an appropriate cost for a HD disc player, and under $25 is an acceptable cost for the software.
I don't think Bd is going to be in a safe position until it can hit these price points.

no matter how 'superior' it is on paper.

#19 of 121 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted April 22 2006 - 10:31 PM

Robert, thanks for your impressions on Phantom. It was truly spectacular-looking on my big-screen at 1080i via component.

The sound levels did force me to calibrate my sound system to within a decibel of its life; A turn of the knob does improve the sound, but you have to be conscious of which discs are in the player when setting initial sound levels--not a problem with only three discs in my hands, but this may become an issue 2000 discs down the line. Posted Image

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#20 of 121 OFFLINE   JohnPM

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Posted April 22 2006 - 10:58 PM

Didn't I read that Warners plans to release "The Maltese Falcon" on HD-DVD? And "North By Northwest" as well? That will really be fantastic.

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