HD-LD, or Hi-Vision MUSE Laserdisc to give it its proper name: Where do I find them?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Johnny G, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    I know it's not 1080p but it's the closest we have to owning HD films besides D-VHS and I could never bring myself to buy another tape based format no matter how good it looks, I've despised tape for the last 25 years.

    I may have the chance of a player at a good price but the discs rarely come up on ebay & I wondered if anyone knew where I can get hold of the discs, rare as they are!
     
  2. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    As you said, Muse discs are awfully rare although they do turn up now and again on Ebay. You might try Nick Santini, who is located in Japan. I bought my LD-S9 from Nick and a couple laser discs and was completely satisfied with his service. His prices, I will warn you, are pretty stiff. And shipping from Japan is quite expensive also. Hopefully Rachael will chime in here as she owns a Muse capable system.

    Is the player you're looking at Muse capable? So far as I know, only the Pioneer HLD-X9 and HLD-X0 are Muse capable, plus you must have a decoder and (I'm not certain of this) a Muse capable display. Both players, if they can be found at all, normally command pretty hefty prices. If you've found one at a less-than-usual price and pass on it, give me a chance! There's an HLD-X9 on Ebay right now from a seller located in the UK, but the current exchange rate has prevented me from bidding.
     
  3. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Alan, I'd already seen n$a's ebay store & I can see where he gets his name!

    I was hoping some of our members in Japan may be able to point me in the ditection of some stores maybe in Tokyo that I could get in touch with.
     
  4. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Here is someone else you might try: Julien Wilk. He's in France, but he was in Japan for quite a while. He runs the LaserDisc Database. I've bought a couple box sets from. Much cheaper than Nick. I have no idea what he carries right now though
     
  5. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    Cheers Alan, that's a very informative site.

    I can't tell if the prices are just the original list prices as if they are, they would be worth more now due to their rarity value.

    Can anyone else out there recommend any stores in Japan that might stock these?
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Considering the paucity of films you'll be able to procure on Muse laser, not to mention that the image quality of D-VHS is more-than-likely superior to HD transfers produced a decade earlier...I'd really strongly consider you invest in MUSE only as a novelty...don't take it too seriously and *don't* expect to find (at this point) the wealth of titles to make it a truly viable alternative to other HD options.

    None of use like "tape", but at only about $25 a pop, D-VHS titles will more-than-likely serve you well for as many times as you'll play them before upgrading to the HD-DVD copy in a few short years.

    Just my 2 cents...
     
  7. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    Johnny,

    Aside from the player, you'll need the decoder which can be anywhere from $250-$800 depending on model and where you procure it from.

    There were only two manufacturers of MUSE LD players - Sony and Pioneer. Hitachi, Panasonic, NEC all OEM'd their players from either Sony or Pioneer.

    As for the discs, there are a few types available: Scenery, fish tank, museum, and movies. I'll discuss movies with you (I've owned pretty much every MUSE disc available).

    Most movies look slightly better than DVD (especially in color reproduction), but not necessarily in the picture department. This was the first time many studios were doing HD transfers and thus there is a world of difference between what was considered a good transfer and not. Variables include compression artifacts, and (the worst offender) how bright/dark (often the case) the picture was. Additionally, quite a few of the movies, the fleshtones have a green tinge unless you're using a Pioneer HLD-X0 player (why? we don't know).


    What movies look good? Here's the short list:

    - E.T.
    - Twins
    - Wolf
    - Showgirls
    - River Runs Through It
    - Breakfast at Tiffanys
    - Cliffhanger

    What movies should you run like hell from? Here's the list:

    - Top Gun (so dark can't be seen)
    - In Line of Fire
    - Bugsy
    - A League of Their Own

    The rest of the movies have their good and bad moments.

    I could talk all day and write 50+ pages about MUSE, but if you're thinking of getting a set up for movies, forget it. Too much money for little return (get a D-VHS deck). Email me if you have further questions.

    If you have the money to blow, like scenery discs (most are quite stunning), then it would make more sense.

    Plus the movies have subtitles which some people don't like.

    Here's a pic of a comparison (Close Encounters isn't one of the "good" discs)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Except for those damn dots [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    I've seen some old Sony MUSE scenery productions on InHD via Warner cable, and some of it is great looking stuff. Once firewire comes out for my cable box (April?), I want to record some of it to D-VHS.
     
  10. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    You're seeing older Sony HDTV productions, but none of it was MUSE compressed when shot or broadcast on InHD.
     
  11. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    Well, the players (X9/X0) are really worth getting not just for MUSE but for the superior Ntsc LD playback.
    I have had two HLD-X9 for a couple of years now and I only got them for the great Ntsc playback. But if someone GIVE me a muse decoder I will try my Universal Soldier MUSE disc for fun. [​IMG]
     
  12. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    Universal Soldier (crap movie, cheap MUSE disc) actually has a very good picture.

    Yes, the X9/X0 are great for NTSC, but I was commenting primarily from a MUSE perspective.

    MUSE is cake compared to an uncompressed HD set-up (Sony HDL-2000 broadcast laserdisc players). These players wer $20k new, and the discs (there were about 50 or so) were $7500 for single sided (18 minutes) and $9500 for double sided discs. Pricey, but you got the broadcast rights for the content. No movies, all scenery and nature stuff.
     
  13. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Brian,

    Your advise has brought me to the decision not to bother with Hi-Vision.

    What I would be interested in is the Blu-Ray players that supposedly went on sale in Japan last year, I know it would be a temporary measure until a format is established in the US but I can't wait.

    Can anyone give any info on where to get Blu-Ray movies from in Japan or should I start a new thread?
     
  14. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    This is also not economical. First, there are no movies for Blu-Ray in Japan and won't be for at least another year.

    Second, the hardware is $3500 and the blanks are $25 a piece (will record up to 2 1/2 hours of HD).

    If you really want HD, buy a D-VHS deck. You can get a deck and a handful of D-Theater tapes for less than 1/3 of just the Blu-Ray machine. Get over the "tape" thing, don't deny yourself a great picture because you don't like tape.

    Buying into another format (especially one that isn't even completed yet) for thousands isn't economically viable (unless you have money to blow).
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    China has its *own* hi-def flavor of DVD, and it's neither HD-DVD (the DVD forum's proposal) nor is it blue ray.

    In fact, it uses red-laser DVD discs...it's just encoded using a more sophisticated compression algorithm to try to fit HD material on it.

    Chances are it looks pretty good (haven't seen it) and more than likely better than SD-DVD, but I doubt it will be as good as either HD-DVD or BluRay when they arrive.

    Don't worry about it. It's something in-house for the Chinese market and will probably not sport the type of HD transfering and mastering quality control that we've come to expect with D-VHS etc.
     
  16. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Are you sure EVD uses Red lasers? Everything I've read, on the internet, says Blue laser.
     
  17. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    EVD is red laser, and I've seen it at CES. It looks as good as you want it to look. Meaning that while it uses a 'hybrid' version of MPEG-2, you can only fit full length movies on disc at DVD bit rates (yes, 4-8 Mbps).

    They had Star Wars AOTC running at CES, it looked great, but of course it was running at 19.7Mbps which means at that rate they could get no more than 1 hour on a dual layer DVD-9 disc (they had a 20 minute clip running).

    I like the price of the players - ~$250 USD.

    The player there also had a cool JPEG slideshow program. Let you burn a CD-R or DVD-R with JPEG pictures (and music and transitions) and run a slideshow. Why is this cool? It would take any picture (say a 2 megapixel picture) and would scale it to 1080i or 720p accordingly so minimal loss in picture resolution.

    Basically like the Roku player, but half the price.
     
  18. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    Many thanks for everyone's input on this thread.

    I'd read the Blu-Ray players were expensive and I wondered why I hadn't read about any movies available. I knew it was initially a record only format but I thought they would have had some movies out by now.

    And as for prices of blank discs, that doesn't seem too bad to say I remember blank DVDs being £27 ($50 at recent exchange rates).

    I'd read about EVD & dismissed it but at $250, it's not a lot to waste whilst we wait for a US format.

    I doubt many people reading this thread by now will know of etailers selling EVD movies or players so I may start a new thread but if anyone does, speak up.
     
  19. Julien WILK

    Julien WILK Extra

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    Hello,

    "Julien WILK" here (referenced earlier on this thread).

    I will soon be able to read HiVision LDs (I bought a HLD-X9 today, it will be delivered next wednesday) but won't be able to watch them as I have no MUSE decoder.

    And I have only one HiVision anyway (Chaplin) and haven't been able to find more. Yahoo Auctions Japan might be the best source for them today.

    Japan is in a transitional state for HDTV contents. After HiVision Analog was turned down by the International Standards (they had nothing to compete against it so they decided that HDTV would be digital, thus pushing back Japanese labs to the same level of research than US and European labs...), they started slowly HiVision Digital. The hope was to sell many plasma/big TV sets for the 2000 Soccer Cup. But it didn't sell so well.

    But Wowow, BS Digital and some others channels decided to play the card of HDTV and the whole "Home Theater" thing pushed people to invest. Today, the BluRay is a curiosity as you can only record Hi-Vision broadcast, no pre-recorded material except a few documentaries.

    D-VHS is even more strange. As a Japanese technology (VICTOR Japan), it should be strongly pushed here. But it's not. No prerecorded material (except a few test/documentaries tapes) and not D-Theater at all here. As US is region 1 and Japan region 2 for D-Theater, you have to first import a Japanese Deck from USA to play... D-Theater in Japan. Stupid. Nobody does this. D-VHS is simply used to record HiVision Digital broadcast from TV/Cable/Satellite.

    Today the big "killer demo" in the high-end Home Theater shops of Akihabara is a D-VHS taped version of "Lord of the Rings" in HDTV on a big DLP projector.

    BluRay is not even starting, it acts more as a demonstrator.
    D-VHS is not steadily pushed by Victor. It seems that everybody is waiting for the next pre-recorded/manufactured HD-DVD/HDTV standard, but not with hurry.

    Now I just have to find a decent Faroudja line doubler/scaler on the 2nd hand market to link my LD Player seamlessly to my soon-to-be-bought NEC DLP projector.

    As a conclusion, the list of HiVision LDs released in Japan (the robot of submission won't let me post complete URLs so I had to refine it...):

    Database returned 91 title(s) for Complete Hi-Vision List
    www dot lddb dot com/list.php?type=laserdisc&list=muse

    Rgds,
    Julien
     
  20. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    I'm jealous! I would like to get an X9, but no one over here seems to want to sell theirs.
     

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