"I Remember When HT Was Fun" (or, "The Current State of HD from my POV")…

Vader

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Derek
First, a disclaimer. This is nothing more than a commentary from my perspective, and not an invitation for flames, nor is it troll-swill. Comments are welcome; attacks are not. Mods, please delete if it degenerates into anything remotely resembling verbal warfare.

Let me state up-front: I am a Hi Def early adopter, by way of HD-DVD (yet something else I swore I would never do, but did). I went with HD-DVD instead of Blu Ray for two reasons. First, was the price to get into the game. $500 was much more in my budget for a player that would be replaced anyway once the technology matured. And second, the first reviews of Blu Ray software were somewhat "lackluster". To my pedestrian mind, the 20 GB capacity advantage was nullified by their use of a much more inefficient codec, and it still gave only average results (read: The Fifth Element). I don't know if BR requires an internet connection or not, but that would, by itself, completely disqualify BR. On the other side, HD-DVD has consistently given fantastic quality, and offered next-gen sound, and stuff like IME (which, to my understanding, is not even possible on BR, but I may be wrong here). Add to that the fact that Disney and Fox were two of the most ardent supporters of DIVX, and that Best Buy (obviously in bed with Sony, IMO) is behaving much like Circus City did (the main reason why I now patronize Amazon for my discs, HD and SD). And no internet connection required.

At this point, let me re-iterate that I am not flaming anyone, and that I welcome comments/corrections.

Now that Blu Ray has begun using more advanced codecs (Mpeg4, VC1), it has become a wash between the two PQ-wise, and only the AQ is still in HD-DVD's favor (which, I read is going to change as well come 2007, with Fox touting full DTS-HD…?). Yet, currently the additional 20GB is only being taken advantage of (it seems) when Mpeg2 is used; otherwise it is wasted. IMO, the ideal would be to utilize the best of both worlds (VC1, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD, max out the rest with extras, never compromising the PQ of the feature).

My main concern is the movie itself, regardless of the format. Therefore, when a film is available on HD-DVD, I will get it that way. If not, I buy the SD-DVD version. I'm sure I will double-dip anyway if the title warrants it (future Sp Ed, etc), and I can enjoy the film until that happens. Note here that, even after watching several HD movies, I am still able to enjoy SD-DVD just fine – to me it still can look fantastic. I know that there are those who will scoff at that statement, especially since I am running a 65" Mitsu 65511 (component only – no upconversion), and Denon 1600 (for SD-DVDs). If that isn't enough to revoke my card as a "true HT enthusiast", I still watch my LD library (although, most titles have been replaced by DVD). And I am in the camp that a "true" HT is not necessarily defined by FP.

The bottom line is that I while enjoy HT immensely, and anticipate even more great things from HD, I see the HT community segregating into "clicks" (for lack of a better term). Each is waging war on the others, even as the format war intensifies. Nowhere is this more evident than in many threads, both here and on AVS (though considerably less here), that become literal blood-baths that amount to little more than "mine is better than yours, nya!" [third grade emphasis mine]. And many site owners/editors seem to be taking sides by reporting one and not the other (almost as if they are on one side's payroll).

Do these mental giants (both Sony and Toshiba) not realize that if they had swallowed their pride (and greed) and developed a single format, that many of us would have jumped in with both feet (and wallets)? Personally, my HD-DVD player allows me to watch HD on some titles for the time being, and I will be first in line for the inevitable hybrid players in '07. I am hoping that BR will completely abandon the Mpeg2 by then, and Dolby TruHD or DTS-HD will be standard. Only then will we have a level playing field. I am a fan of movies first, and the format comes second – always.
 

ChristopherDAC

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AE5VI
Three points. 1. The current Blu-Ray players, so far from requiring an Internet connexion, don't even include an Ethernet connector. This makes it harder to apply firmware patches, as I understand it, than on the HD-DVD players. 2. BD-Java is supposed to be capable of everything iHD can do (such as "in-movie experience" — I think at least one title with this has come out.), and more. The early BD players, though, don't support it. 3. Multichannel PCM audio is what Dolby TrueHD and dtsHD-MA are supposed to produce at their outputs, so I feel comfortable saying that BDs with this feature have the best audio quality they are likely to get. Some of them are only 16-bit 48 kHz, whereas the master tapes are probably 20-bit or 24-bit, but I'm guessing that has less to do with the technology than with the studios' policies. Anyway, I'm waiting for specific releases which suit me. I'd guess they'll be on BD, but if they're on HD-DVD, no big deal.
 

Vader

Supporting Actor
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Mar 19, 1999
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Derek
ChristopherDAC, Thanks for the info!

1. Cool (about the no internet connection, not the difficulty upgrading)!

2. Great to know.

3. I guess I'm coming from the position that the use of uncompressed PCM kinda invalidates the extra room advantage somewhat (the way I understand it), and that bonus material plus a Dolby TruHD or DTS-HD track is a greater draw for me than a PCM track alone.
 

Adam Gregorich

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This is a hardware limitation. HDDVD players have to have teh hardware to support the full spec, bluray players have to support hte minimum and then optionally can support the rest. HDDVD player have a second video decoder for some of the interactive features, no bluray player does yet. Look for some next year.
 

Mark Kalzer

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 19, 2000
Messages
443
I agree with your sentiment that the HD war has added a new dimension of mudslinging I have never seen on Home Theatre boards.

I personally do not care to get into the mass villification of Sony so many internet peeps love to indulge in. (On the console boards especially I shake my head at this and wonder when Microsoft STOPPED being the most evil corporation.) Me, I just love technology, and would like to see the best technology win out. Right now it appears mixed as to which is superior, but I know that Blu-Ray long term would be superior just because it is the best technology, if Sony wasn't forced to rush all it due to market conditions.

It just seems we have all lost our sense of community that came from having common enemies. Pan N' Scan, Divx the 1st, snapper DVD cases, non-anamorphic widescreen etc. I tend to miss those days. Now we seem to be at war, and the childish comments usually reserved only for political or video game message boards are finding their way onto video discussions.
 

Bob_L

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May 19, 2001
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Bob Lindstrom
It IS STILL fun for me; as long as I don't read the appalling shovels of crap that are being served up in the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray face-off. I've never seen so little brainpower so overexerted for so long as in this format war.
 

ppltd

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The problem is those issues have pretty much gone away with the HD releases. Well, maybe not the snapper cases
.
 

Jason Bell

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Apr 3, 2002
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I definitely agree with this part of your post. I'm a home theater fanantic but I dont make purchases lightly. For $500.00-$1000 or more I want a little assurance that I'm not going to be in possesion of a boat anchor in 12 months. If these companies would have come to a compromise I would have already purchased a player and a new HDMI receiver so I could get the new soundtracks. As things stand now I'm sitting on the fence and watching SD-DVD.

I just hope this format war ends. Its bad for consumers. It also slows adoption of either format by the masses.
 

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