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Holy Grail of Hi-Def: Are universal players around the corner?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Randall Wetmore

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    A universal player would be great, but I doubt it's likely to happen before one of the formats takes over. As I see it, the only real advantage HD-DVD has over Blu-ray is it will be availabe a few months sooner than BR. Had HD-DVD come out last September (as announced early last year), they'd be way ahead of the game, but now they are way behind. I predict that by the time of Blu-ray's launch, HD-DVD will already be dead. We'll see.
     
  2. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    Imagine how complicated a universal player would have to be because of the (probably) different DRM etc. BS. I sure want plenty of that in any player I buy: no DRM = no sale! [​IMG]

    I wonder, as things stand now, if the opposing camps would even allow "universality" in the same box? Sure it could be technically done, but technical aspects aren't the ongoing problems.

    My experience is "all-in-ones" don't perform as well as purpose-dedicated players, for any media. I will be happy enough if a BR player handles standard def DVD as well as a current good player...and I'll be surprised if one does. In fact, I bet they won't.
     
  3. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    Give it a rest, Jim. If the prices and features were comparable, a sane person would choose a universal player over a dedicated Blu-ray player.
     
  4. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    ^No, they wouldn't. For the same reason "sane" people don't choose universal audio media players: quality. I don't expect any diff in the video arena, which is much more complicated.[​IMG]

    Features does not equal real world performance.

    Hell, I can't even get an all-region DVD player that matches a half-decent fixed-region player. As others have mentioned.

    I don't find any "multi-tool" to be very good, compared to the purpose-designed tools.

    If space is a problem, then so be it, choose lower reproduction quality as the downside. I'm not going into hi def with an eye to skimping on a player. Good source (starting with the media of course) components is a key. They are not even close to being equal for DVD, never mind will they be for something more "advanced".
     
  5. Jim Smith

    Jim Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    HD-DVD only supports 720p/1080i while Blu-Ray supports full 1080p (even says so on the packaging). No quality difference hah. Go with the Playstation 3. The price is right and I can't wait to play those next gen games.
     
  6. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I hope you are not serious becuase that means NO HD DVD/Blu Ray for you period.
     
  7. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    I want DRM!! Or maybe I mean DTS? Which ever is better. I want it. I wonder if my speakers can handle DRM? How many watts do they have to be? [​IMG]

    Edit: actually Shane, by insisting on DRM I'll have a jump on everybody else who doesn't want DRM. They'll eventually see what they're missing, having unobstructed access to media they've paid for. Who needs that hassle?[​IMG]
     
  8. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    Actually, it's the audio players that are much more complicated, because DVD-Audio and SACD are fundamentally different at the content level. DVD-Audio uses PCM, and SACD uses DSD (1-bit sigma/delta modulation). A good universal audio player would need two different types of DAC -- one for each format. The last time I checked (which admittedly was over a year ago), all universal audio players instead converted SACD content into PCM.

    HD-DVD and Blu-ray, on the other hand, are identical at the content level. Both use the same video and audio formats, so there's no reason to expect a universal video player to have lower audio/video quality than a dedicated Blu-ray player (or a dedicated HD-DVD player). There are other technical difficulties in producing a universal player -- namely, the need to support two different focusing systems (0.1 and 0.5 mm) and two different interactivity layers (iHD and BD-J), but neither of these difficulties should affect the audio or video quality.
     
  9. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    Joe: good points. I must admit that laser focussing thing bothers me, and I don't know enough about it to comment intelligently. I know it's more than just focus per se, but medium construction and recording. I still think a good tool designed to do one job well is the way to go. Rather than trying to make something do two (or more, including standard def) things well...some potential optimisations are inevitably lost. But that's just me. I'm a "tool" guy.

    And then there's the DRM. Bound to be different, if for no other reason than as a distinguishing marketing tool. In fact, if somebody lets go, could be a powerful tool in itself. But I'm more concerned about the circuitry that I can "see".

    And re the audio media playback gear, the lack of high quality digital output puts huge onus on the built-in analog domain circuitry, a breaker in itself that distinguishes components. So yes, that won't play in the scenario here.
     
  10. Jim Smith

    Jim Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Whether HD-DVD will support 1080p in the future is up in the air but both of the announced HD-DVD players at the moment have no 1080p support. Blu-Ray already has announced 1080p supported models including the Playstation 3. Sony has also confirmed all titles will be mastered in 1080p HD-DVD has made no such promise. So much for the Playstation 3 having poor quality. While a 1080p triple priced player may have a very slight video improvement the Playstation 3 is the best value for those who want full high definition with a future lasting format but don't want to spend an arm and a leg. While the Playstation 2 has poor DVD preformance the Playstation 3 might fair better. Since Playstation 3 will make up the vast majority of Blu-Ray players on the market studios are going to try to make sure it works good on one.
     
  11. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i said this in the other two threads so i might as well say it here and be a total bore- i don't expect that we will see consistent titles across both formats.
    Warner, New Line and especially Universal now (with its unholy alliance with MS) would be out of their minds to offer all their HD titles on BD.

    on the other hand, they would be very smart to offer up only the highest profile new release and catalog titles on BD.

    think about it.

    so if you're happy and satisfied with Constantine and Dukes Of Hazzard and LOTR and the like, you can buy your Bd player or PS3 and be perfectly content.

    if however you want to see something like How The West Was Won, or The Great Race, or something along that line within the next how ever many years, you're probably going to have to get a universal player or make room in the cabinet for another deck.

    i think Warner and the others can ride out this entire format (until we get to holographic storage or some other on the horizon technology) by just keeping HD DVD as the niche format for non gamers, film buffs who want vintage material, and people who want the less expensive HD option, while reaping additional(and possibly more substantial) revenue from its 'compromise' playlist offered on Bd.

    i don't think its going to come down to 1080i or 1080p.
    i know for me its going to come down to - which format has more titles i want available, ready for purchase or announced as coming, how much, and will they look and sound considerably better than what i have now.

    i don't understand what the big deal is between buying two $500 decks + one HDMI switcher vs one $1000 universal deck (assuming its that cheap).
     
  12. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    No big deal for me. I have 3 DVD decks I regularly use now, all have their merits (or lack thereof). What's two more?

    And it's not money. Money is good. Spending it is better. But stupid is bad. IMO.

    It may come down to which format I find the least stupid. Like a leadership election. Pity.
     
  13. Travis Hedger

    Travis Hedger Supporting Actor

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    When I first heard of the format war brewing I knew that there would be some vendors out there that would make a combo box. I will happily purchase one of those instead of a single format player.
     
  14. Ryan-G

    Ryan-G Supporting Actor

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    Honestly,

    I think the effect of DRM is overstated here. First, this community is obviously going to be biased in it's opinion on the subject. This community is represented mainly by Early-adopters, Tech-Savvy individuals, and has a disproportionate number of people with HD displays.

    IIRC the real penetration of HD Displays is at or under 10%. As such, the impact of DRM is extremely minimal in the market as when most people convert their purchase will have the necessary inputs.

    Additionally, most of the complaints leveled at DRM aren't applicable to the average consumer. They're not going to be trying to "Backup" their DVD collection, as they're lucky if the can set the clock on their VCR much less copy a DVD.

    In fact, the only facet of DRM that is going to affect them is the inability to play bootleg movies. Which isn't going to be a "Make or Break" issue, as even if it affects sales initially, retailers will insure that it ceases to be an issue by dropping DVD support in a few years. Much like Cassettes were dropped for Music when CD penetration started increasing.

    I'll also point out, the penetration of X-box 360 and PS3 will insure that the vast majority of homes in the American Markets will have High-Def ready players in some form or another by years end. Meaning all it will take is economical HD Displays to complete the process, which appears to be more and more likely as market pressue is starting to drive the pricing down on displays. All of which will include the proper hookups.

    DRM is a non-factor in the format's success, this community is just biased because of the types of people it representes.
     
  15. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    You might not have been as impressed if the DVD was upscaled to 1080 by an upscaling player or HTPC and projected at 1080 as well.

    Yes there will be a difference. Will it be major like night and day when HD is compared to upscaled and processed DVD ala TheaterTek, using ffdshow and DScaler sharpen filters?

    On my system when compararing a 1080P WMVHD to a good DVD, the answer is no. (5'x13' screen @ a 1.2x screen width viewing distance) Obviously the HD wins in the area of detail and clarity on distant objects, but that's about it. Most garden variety viewers would be hard pressed to see the difference.

    As far as the difference between LD and DVD, I consider going from Composite video on LD to component video on DVD as a much more night and day comparison than an upscaled and processed DVD to HD, which really only carries the advantages of higher resolution and a slighly modified color space.

    Ted
     
  16. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Having experienced TedD's theatre in action -- and it really is something! virtually transparent, in the audiophile sense, so that what you see is the source -- I'm going to have to disagree with him. Given the choice between HLO-PAL* [fed with real HiVision, mind you, not upconversion] and Standard Definition component video, I'll take the former every time. Sure, with widescreen and scaling and all of that, you can get part of the way toward the "telepresence" HD is meant to provide, but it's a great deal of work and you can never get more than halfway. The information just isn't there.

    * An analog composite transmission format, bearing a certain resemblance to NTSC, used in early High Definition Television systems.
     
  17. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Been a universal player fan since last year (ha, ha)!
    Just, what HD-DVD titles would I ever want to buy in 1080i?
    I only want to purchase 1080p titles.
    I promised myself no non-anamorphic purchases with SD DVD (I failed. I was pretty good. However, in the early days of few releases and lot's of movie nights, I did back down. BIG mistake. Do not want to make the 'same' mistake twice!)
    Thanks Ron, for putting this in software, where many more people will see this.
    Happy New Year!
     
  18. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    no way i could possibly prove it right now, but i would be willing to bet that the differences between a non anamorphic dvd and one thats anamorphically enhanced are a lot greater, visually on a 16:9 display, than the differences between 1080i and 1080p.


    that said, what i seem to gather from remarks by people with much more knowledge than i, there is nothing preventing HD DVD with coming out with players that will output 1980p in the future. the ones that have been announced so far don't, but the information stored on the disc is progressive.

    then there is the issue of 1080p24 or 1080p60...

    if HD DVD players are objectively good, if they have been put thru their paces by the real a/v geeks out there and the feedback is good, and prices drop to around $350 by Christmas this year, and something like Superman(78) is on the format, then i will definitely be enjoying HD material before the end of the year.

    and when a good Bd player hits that price point as well (and it will have a little farther to go as the first ones seem to be starting out at $1K) then i'll pick up one of those as well.

    i don't expect either one of these formats to be around 15 years from now, but then again, i may not be either.
     
  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    That's an interesting way to look at it.

    And I suppose that if one really wasn't sure which format would win-out...or if both would end up existing side-by-side...a universal solution makes the best sense. Heck...if the price is right I'd go for it too.

    However,

    From the cinephile perspective, there is a format that's better, and a format that's lesser in this war. I want to see the better format win. And given that Warner Brothers is offering dual-support, I'll be voting with my dollars for the BEST format, because I want our movies and our HT community to benefit in the long-term, and not merely satisfy my shot-term desire to see a particular title in hi-def that might be (temporarily) only available on HD DVD.

    It's Blu-ray all-the-way for me!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  20. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    As I posted in another thread, I looked at the back of a Panasonic BR player playing a demo, and it was connected via....component. Very promising.
     

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