I'm reminded of what happened when DVD players were introduced in 1997. In fact, the HTF was started when a bunch of LD addicts saw an opportunity to introduce a new forum concurrently with the new technology because we believed that DVDs would revolutionize Home Theater. With a very large LD collection, my initial reaction was to say "I'm only going to buy new titles on DVD and not replace my LD titles" because it appeared to me that LD quality, while not quite as good as DVD, was still "O.K." to me. HTF owner, Ron Epstein, echoed these sentiments as did many other enthusiasts. Boy, were we mistaken!
What I failed to realize at the time was that
- [*]The quality of the early DVDs would improve remarkably over the next few years so that LD was no longer even close (except for DTS sound)[*]Another huge improvement that DVDs offered was its navigational features via menus and extras. True, you could go to "Chapter Stops" with LDs but it was kludgy at best, not to mention the limitations of side changes and multiple LDs for a movie longer than 2 hours. I still have my LDs thanks, in part, to new scaling techniques that have improved the picture a bit more and also because there are still a few titles that are only available in that format. But I will be the first to admit that my LD viewing sessions are now far and few between.
Yes, I will get an HD player (probably even one of each format unless the "uber-machine" makes it to market that plays everything) but not this weekend. I'm not only positioned to be able to enjoy the full benefit of HD discs but, based on the output of the current HD-DVD players my viewing equipment exceeds what HD-DVD is providing. With a fully compliant 1080p input capable display (HP MD5880n) I really want to wait until the material provides 1080p content. Yes, I know that the 1080i output of the current players is better than the 1080i output of most other HD signal sources (HD television in its many flavors) and friends have told me "you've got to see how much better it is!" But the fact remains that in a month or two 1080p DVDs will be here whenever Blu-ray gets off its butt. I already have access to some 1080p content via WMVHD titles (ironically there are about as many WMVHD discs available at this writing as there are HD-DVD titles even though I know this will change) so I have seen the "future" of display imagery. 1080p into a 1080p capable set is even more impressive than full bandwidth 1080i into the same set. And I also am looking forward to what I consider to be one of the other breakthroughs (besides image quality) of the high capacity discs - the new menu options and overlay capabilities. To me, this is as significant a step forward in HT viewing as the transition from LD chapter stops to DVD Menus was a decade ago. Maybe even more so!
So I'm definitely not a Luddite regarding HD disc technology. I'll probably wait a month or so until Blu-ray is introduced because then things should really get interesting. Not only will I have my 1080p cake at that point but I'll be able to eat it!
Ain't technology grand? It never stops.