HD DVD- backwards compatible?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Jonathan_Clarke, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Jonathan_Clarke

    Jonathan_Clarke Second Unit

    Jul 22, 2004
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    So all over I hear about HD DVD. It's coming. It'll change everything. You'll need a new player.

    A new player is not a problem. I've been thinking about getting a progessive scan and a recorder in a year or so so I could always hold out for HD. My question is, will HD DVD players play regular dvds?

    With dvd now mainstream, regular consumers are not going to want to give it up. They skipped laserdisc and kept vhs for 20 years. I doubt they'll want to give up dvd after only 5.

    Also there is the distinction of quality. I may want Lawrence of Arabia again on HD DVD but the Dick Van Dyke show? Doubt it. How obsolete will HD make our dvds?
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Depends on what you mean by "obsolete."

    DVD already was less than state of the art in only its second year on the market; HDTV hit the scene starting in late 1998, and by default outperformed DVD. This did not make DVD "obsolete," but merely bested by another signal format.

    As for HD-DVD, the DVD Forum is leaning toward its own format while an industry consortium led by Sony is pushing Blu-ray. Blu-ray is not technically DVD. Sony does not like paying Warner and Toshiba a cut with every DVD it sells.

    For the DVD Forum-backed format, HD-DVD players will be backward-compatible — but you won't be able to play HD-DVDs on current NTSC-only players.

    To be able to play current DVDs on a Blu-ray machine, the manufacturer would have to build in two optical systems, which would be prohibitively expensive in first-generation machines.

    Finally, there's the issue of studio support — which is the real reason HD-DVD is taking so long to reach market. The studios are insisting on almost-impossibly robust copy-protection schemes in their hysterical-as-always reaction to any new format. They are nervous about people owning optical-disc copies of films that put out images that rival what you see in a commercial theater.

    But, eventually, they will like milking more money out of the consumer, as they always do. At first they balk and file lawsuits, then they see how much money is to be made and they put their support behind a new format.

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