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Is the format war about to resurface? Does Toshiba have the Blu-ray killer?


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#1 of 213 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 03 2008 - 08:50 AM

For the past few months I have been hearing about software
technology that Toshiba claims will take an ordinary DVD and
upscale it to the exact standards of a Blu-ray disc.

Now what I just posted above is basically the way it was
described to me. My first thoughts were that with the limited
bandwidth of a standard DVD there is no way you can upscale
it to the point where you will get the sharpness, film-like quality
and (most important) color depth that you get with Blu-ray.

Well, today one of our readers sent me this article which pretty
much resurfaces the rumor that Toshiba is introducing a "Blu-ray killer."

Here's a bit of the article....

Quote:
If you are a little nostalgic for the red versus blue mud-slinging days of the next-gen disc format war then take heart with this news out of Japan - Toshiba is prepping Blu-ray killing tech for launch later this year.

Anytime a company claims something like this it can only mean
another format war...that is, if their claim is true.

Quote:
The company is working on "an extension to the DVD format" which will offer video quality comparable to that produced by Blu-ray and the now defunt HD DVD discs, a Japanese newspaper reports.

The question is, how comparable? It seems that it is being suggested
that video quality will be equal to that of Blu-ray.

Quote:
The new DVD player will be backwards-compatible with ordinary DVDs. No information has been provided on the technology behind these players - Toshiba already offers upscaling DVD products, so its unclear at this stage how this "extension" tech will work.

My thoughts are this....

If Toshiba can do the seemingly impossible and come out with a
cheap player whose software can upconvert a standard DVD to the
precise picture quality of a Blu-ray disc, then I can see this possibly
being a "Blu-ray" killer......except for one important issue....

The one thing this article doesn't talk about is audio specs. Is this hardware
going to provide the type of lossless audio found on Blu-ray discs? Not from
a standard DVD it won't! Will this matter to a general public who seem to prefer
MP3 downloads over CD quality? Perhaps not.

This is something we will be keeping a close eye on.

 

Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 213 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 03 2008 - 09:12 AM

I give this zero chance of going anywhere, because there are only two possibilities:
    [*]It upscales existing DVDs, and there is simply no way to add back resolution that isn't there in the first place.[*]It uses some new form of disc, and there is no way consumers are going to embrace yet another format at this late date in the game.
Sorry, Tosh, but the ship has sailed -- and sunk.

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#3 of 213 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted June 03 2008 - 09:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
I give this zero chance of going anywhere, because there are only two possibilities:
    [*]It upscales existing DVDs, and there is simply no way to add back resolution that isn't there in the first place.[*]It uses some new form of disc, and there is no way consumers are going to embrace yet another format at this late date in the game.
Sorry, Tosh, but the ship has sailed -- and sunk.

M.
I completely agree.

#4 of 213 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 03 2008 - 09:51 AM

So do I.

With all that was said.

(1) It's possible to create beautiful images out of some DVD, with a quality previously unheard of, but it's not possible to "find" resolution and colour details that simply aren't there. So a Blu-ray disc can always have more detail than even a cleverly upconverted SDVD (with usual images on it - not just pure black or white surfaces Posted Image ) can.

(2) The DVD specs don't have room for the new lossless audio tracks.

Even if this news is true, I don't know what that app will kill, but certainly not my appetite for real high-def images as offered by Blu-ray.


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#5 of 213 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted June 03 2008 - 10:36 AM

It will only affect video. It will interesting to check out at CEDIA. As I understand it they will license the technology to other companies. If it really is that good of a chip it would be great to see in TVs and AV receivers.

#6 of 213 OFFLINE   John Dirk

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Posted June 03 2008 - 03:17 PM

I agree with the current concensus. Not only will lossless audio be absent, in most liklihood so will pop-up menus [a feature I have come to really enjoy] and PIP. Not to get political, but Toshiba is starting to resemble Hillary Clinton. There's a time to fight on, and also a time to accept defeat graciously.

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#7 of 213 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 03 2008 - 09:07 PM

John,

The political analogy was not necessary. I understand what you were
trying to say, but I wish you did it without going there.

Listen....

I think this Toshiba player is more dangerous than you may think.

The general public is still not sold on Blu-ray. If you introduce
a player that can produce picture quality that rivals BD, at a
cheaper price, it could be a "Blu-ray killer" of sorts.

The general public is not going to readily embrace Blu-ray if
they can buy a cheaper player that takes the DVDs they already
own and bring it up to new extraordinary quality levels.

Heck, I'll run out and buy Toshiba's player for that purpose. DAY ONE!

The public doesn't care about the audio as much as we do.
As I have mentioned, people are happier downloading 128 bitrate
MP3s rather than buying better quality audio on CD. The audio
that DVDs provide is pretty damn good for the common viewer.

At this point, with Blu-ray being as expensive as it is, the
public isn't looking to replace the large libraries of DVDs in their
homes. They would probably rush to stores if a cheaper
alternative allowed them to further upconvert their libraries
to HD quality.

We already hear the common people say, "Why do I need Blu-ray
when I have a player that upconverts my DVDs?" Can you imagine
what this new player is going to do for those individuals?

On the plus side, this new Toshiba entry will force Blu-ray to
lower their prices on hardware and software which at this point,
they are in no hurry to do.

I really don't blame Toshiba for doing what they are doing. They
have technology that will make standard DVDs look remarkably
comparable to Blu-ray. Why would anyone not want something like
this in their home?

 

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#8 of 213 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 03 2008 - 09:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
I give this zero chance of going anywhere, because there are only two possibilities:
    [*]It upscales existing DVDs, and there is simply no way to add back resolution that isn't there in the first place.[*]It uses some new form of disc, and there is no way consumers are going to embrace yet another format at this late date in the game.
Sorry, Tosh, but the ship has sailed -- and sunk.

M.
I agree and I won't support this player because it adds confusion to the HT marketplace and will hurt the adoption of HDM.






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#9 of 213 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 03 2008 - 09:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
John,

The political analogy was not necessary. I understand what you were
trying to say, but I wish you did it without going there.

Listen....

I think this Toshiba player is more dangerous than you may think.

The general public is still not sold on Blu-ray. If you introduce
a player that can produce picture quality that rivals BD, at a
cheaper price, it could be a "Blu-ray killer" of sorts.

The general public is not going to readily embrace Blu-ray if
they can buy a cheaper player that takes the DVDs they already
own and bring it up to new extraordinary quality levels.

Heck, I'll run out and buy Toshiba's player for that purpose. DAY ONE!

The public doesn't care about the audio as much as we do.
As I have mentioned, people are happier downloading 128 bitrate
MP3s rather than buying better quality audio on CD. The audio
that DVDs provide is pretty damn good for the common viewer.

At this point, with Blu-ray being as expensive as it is, the
public isn't looking to replace the large libraries of DVDs in their
homes. They would probably rush to stores if a cheaper
alternative allowed them to further upconvert their libraries
to HD quality.

We already hear the common people say, "Why do I need Blu-ray
when I have a player that upconverts my DVDs?" Can you imagine
what this new player is going to do for those individuals?

On the plus side, this new Toshiba entry will force Blu-ray to
lower their prices on hardware and software which at this point,
they are in no hurry to do.

I really don't blame Toshiba for doing what they are doing. They
have technology that will make standard DVDs look remarkably
comparable to Blu-ray. Why would anyone not want something like
this in their home?
The general public is just starting to become aware of Blu-ray and I bet a good percentage of them still don't know about Blu-ray because of all the created by the format war and these upconverting dvd players that many novices confused with being HD players.

I do blame Toshiba and they can go to hell.







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#10 of 213 OFFLINE   Scooter

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Posted June 03 2008 - 10:24 PM

If it could be done with videotape..Beta..Super Beta..EDBeta...VHS..SVHS...8MM..Hi8....it certainly could accomplished within the digital realm. Anyone remember Laserdisc with line doublers and quadruplers?

The thing that would hinder what is being speculated about is that damn HDMI handicap.

Look, I like balls numbing bass and all as much as anyone. But frankly, AC3/DTS on current DVD's sounds fine to me. And when I have been able to watch an upconverted DVD I am impressed. If Toshiba can accomplish this, I am all for it.

#11 of 213 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted June 03 2008 - 11:49 PM

The biggest reason something like this will fail IMO...cause once again they seem to be going it alone. How can they possibly think they can be the only one to effect this kind of change. Also IMO, Tosh makes some great stuff, but the DVD players, and even their HD players lacked some serious ergonomics! They look cheap, they feel cheap, and they are cheap. Sure, the average Joe loves cheap tech, but the average Joe wont even know this is different from a DVD player.
If Tosh markets this wrong, and if they lie about what it can do, watch out for lawsuits. You cant claim for instance that a DVD played on a Tosh player will have 6 times the resolution, same as Blu-ray, but from a standard DVD. Cause it wont, and it never can. So how would they market it?

#12 of 213 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 04 2008 - 01:06 AM

Rick,

One of the counter arguments I have to your post is that this
can very well not fail because it is not another HD format going
head-to-head with Blu-ray.

Toshiba can do this alone because, unlike HD-DVD, they need no
studio support nor that of any hardware manufacturers. Simply put,
they will have technology that takes a standard DVD and makes it
look comparable to HD.

Listen, none of us have seen this technology in action. We hope to
see it for ourselves in September or sooner. However, rumor of this
technology has been out there for at least a year. I have been hearing
about this Toshiba player for quite some time. Yes, it's hard to believe,
but apparently Toshiba is confident enough about it to keep touting that
it will make a significant impact in the market.

Until any of us actually sees this product nobody has a valid argument
about how much it will affect the Blu-ray format.

 

Ronald J Epstein
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#13 of 213 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 04 2008 - 01:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
I really don't blame Toshiba for doing what they are doing. They have technology that will make standard DVDs look remarkably comparable to Blu-ray. Why would anyone not want something like this in their home?
Didn't they already try this line of salesmanship with their HD DVD machines? And look where that got them.

Every weekend I open a Best Buy circular and see ads for upconverting players. How is Toshiba going to distinguish this new player from something that's already been on the market for a long time? How are they going to make it sound like something new?

"Almost as good as Blu-ray"? Been there, done that.

"As good as Blu-ray"? They'll get sued the minute that appears.

This is going to be a product without any ability to differentiate itself. The only sense in which it could be considered a "Blu-ray killer" would be if it persuaded people that basic DVD is good enough for the foreseeable future.

And there's a big potential danger. I'm sure that, to get the full benefit of this upconversion, you'll need a 1080p (or at least i) set with an HDMI connection. Well, once you have that, it's not much of a step to hook up a Blu-ray player. So, to the extent Toshiba succeeds in getting people to adopt this new upconversion technology, it may just be helping to prepare people for Blu-ray.

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#14 of 213 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 04 2008 - 01:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Didn't they already try this line of salesmanship with their HD DVD machines? And look where that got them.

Every weekend I open a Best Buy circular and see ads for upconverting players. How is Toshiba going to distinguish this new player from something that's already been on the market for a long time? How are they going to make it sound like something new?

"Almost as good as Blu-ray"? Been there, done that.

"As good as Blu-ray"? They'll get sued the minute that appears.

This is going to be a product without any ability to differentiate itself. The only sense in which it could be considered a "Blu-ray killer" would be if it persuaded people that basic DVD is good enough for the foreseeable future.

And there's a big potential danger. I'm sure that, to get the full benefit of this upconversion, you'll need a 1080p (or at least i) set with an HDMI connection. Well, once you have that, it's not much of a step to hook up a Blu-ray player. So, to the extent Toshiba succeeds in getting people to adopt this new upconversion technology, it may just be helping to prepare people for Blu-ray.

M.
Or the very least cause further confusion about true 1080p versus upconverted 480p signal. IMO, nothing good is going to come out of this situation.

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#15 of 213 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted June 04 2008 - 01:39 AM

I got an e-mail yesterday about this new Toshiba machine from a dear friend who was an ardent HD-DVD supporter and has been nothing but bitter about HD-DVD's closing its doors. He was crowing about this new player and how it will keep him from having to go Blu. So some folks out there are fully behind anything that will soothe the hurt they felt over the demise of HD-DVD.

#16 of 213 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 04 2008 - 01:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattH.
I got an e-mail yesterday about this new Toshiba machine from a dear friend who was an ardent HD-DVD supporter and has been nothing but bitter about HD-DVD's closing its doors. He was crowing about this new player and how it will keep him from having to go Blu. So some folks out there are fully behind anything that will soothe the hurt they felt over the demise of HD-DVD.
Sounds like somebody that has too much emotional investment in a format war to really enjoy the very best that home video can offer them.

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#17 of 213 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted June 04 2008 - 02:17 AM

As one who did not take part in the "war" and still is happy with my up converting DVD player. I would love to see this technology become available. I am tired of buying the same movies and music again and again - just because the format changed. As far as all those extras included in the bluray, I rarely watch any included on a SDVD. Still the cost of a new player and upgrading my projector and upgrading my receiver and upgrading my video library is not worth the improvements from SDVD to bluray. If I can get better quality video from my existing collection, I would be all over it. I agree with Ron's points listed above. Better quality with less investment is good.


#18 of 213 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted June 04 2008 - 02:31 AM

I think it really depends on what sort of hardware is required. From what has been rumored, this software is going to take a lot more juice than what's in current upconverting DVD players; probably the cell processor used in the PS3 (a chip which is manufactured by Toshiba). Given that Blu-ray prices will be starting to come down, I don't think this will be a huge threat by the time it's actually ready for release.
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#19 of 213 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted June 04 2008 - 03:25 AM

Quote:
I got an e-mail yesterday about this new Toshiba machine from a dear friend who was an ardent HD-DVD supporter and has been nothing but bitter about HD-DVD's closing its doors. He was crowing about this new player and how it will keep him from having to go Blu. So some folks out there are fully behind anything that will soothe the hurt they felt over the demise of HD-DVD.
Quite the irrational reaction. It's bad enough that some Blu-ray releases don't live up to the technical capabilities of the format, but for Toshiba to push upconverted DVDs as an HD "solution" is really bad. Downward price pressure on BR is the ONLY good I can see out of this.

#20 of 213 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted June 04 2008 - 03:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
Sounds like somebody that has too much emotional investment in a format war to really enjoy the very best that home video can offer them.

I agree completely, but I long stopped arguing with him about it. To each his own has been my philosophy for the last two years.


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