Suggestions to make DVD-A successful??

Discussion in 'Music' started by David Coleman, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    Wanting to get input from the forum members here as to what would make DVD-A a successful format?

    As of now I only have a DVD-A player but my next purchase will be a "universal" so i'll have the ability to play SACD so I won't be missing out on any "hi-rez" music in the future. Though i've only heard SACD in those store kiosk I must admit that i've been impressed by the sound i've heard but then again i've been impressed by DVD-A too!

    From just my own opinion I kinda have a preference for DVD-A simply because it has the multi-media potential that I think in the long run is what people are going to be looking for. The advantages (ignoring the hirez for the moment) for now is that you can not only have video and image and graphics but you can also have ROM material on it also. This is something that the ECD wants to do but can't. DVD-A is the only format you can load into any DVD player and listen to wheter you have access to the hirez or not and be able to access the multi media abilities!

    Getting back the the Hirez aspects i've found DVD-A to be excellent sonically wheter it's listening in surround (my preference as long as the mix is good) or the 2.0. I do think that an overlooked aspect by producers and possibly consumers is the 24/192 stereo transfers. I only have 2 ( Steely Dan- Everything Must Go and Grover Washington Jr- Winelight) but those recordings have a presence that truly overwhelms me! I've never heard such fidelity in stereo and the "good" surround mixes that i've heard have sounded excellent in 24/96. All in all I find it an excellent product!

    However... they have really shot themselves in the foot when it comes to releasing this format!

    I'm not sure they powers that be have a clue as to how to market it and it's sad cause it's such an excellent format! Now i'm not knocking it's "open" standards because I believe that content providers should have some say in what's released and marketing concerns will bring about a consencious.

    I have no problem with a smaller label wanting to do only surround releases. I think that's good and gives them a chance to compete in a marketplace they probably wouldn't have been able to be in before if they had to release a 2.0 like SACD does. I'll be honest i'm mostly into hirez for the surround and so are a great many others too! Also amongst the majors they know they can't just release something in surround only and expect the buying public to be appeased so we'll get 2.0 along with available surround.

    The problems I have with the format besides it's "lack of releases" and constant cancellations or postponements are navigational. All DVD-V released nowadays load to a menu where you have the option to press play. Now DVD-A needs to adopt this also!!

    I would like to load up my disc and have it load to a menu without having some "stupid" intro before the disc loads and i'd like it to not be video intensive! I do see that the standards seem to be shifting so that group 1 contains both hirez tracks which can be accessed by toggling the audio button! This is good cause this negates the need for a monitor to know what you are listening to.

    However that part of the spec needs along with other navigation aspects need to be consistent among the content providers and the manufactures. On my JVC player I can't simply press the number on my remote to directly access the song I want while the disc is playing on my Warner and my Arista releases? However if the disc is stopped I can press the number directly? Weird isn't it? However I can access directly while playing on my Teldec or Universal discs? However on my Universal discs I can't toggle the audio without changing groups? See what I mean by not consistent?

    Now i'd like to get the input of everyone on how to make DVD-A a better more marketable product!

    Some of my suggestions:

    Make navigational requirements the same on every released discs! Let group 1 allow you to toggle the hirez tracks. Let group 2 and or 3 allow you to access the VIDEO portion of the discs whether that's DD or DTS or video content! Let ALL disc load to the start of a menu (without a stupid Rhino or Arista) intro without automatically playing. Let the user press play- please!!

    Make the pricing consistent across all content providers. There is no reason for EMI releases (of which I have none) retail at $24.95 while the other range from $17.98-$18.98!

    I have no problems with digitally recorded content being released in it's native resolution. To state otherwise is misleading but at least when transferring analog content 24/96 should be the minimum ( I think you'll see this become consistent among providers as that's the expectation) with a real look at providing the stereo at 24/192!

    Most importantly... release, release, release!!! I'm sorry I don't really see why the output has been so paltry thus far! It's release schedule should at least be on par with SACD. I'm sorry, outside of the royalties and transfers (which both formats share) I don't see what all the delay is! I honestly wouldn't care if the disc had no added content outside the audio itself if that's what the holdup is!

    I'd like to hear from you all as to what DVD- A needs to do to right itself?
     
  2. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Other than releasing more titles (which they really need to do)...

    forget the hybrid nonsense.

    With every CD possible, include the DVD-A disc (with DD 5.1 tracks and some video content) in the same package.

    Hybrid SACDs aren't 100% compatable, and I suspect DVD-A hybrids will have the same problem (or worse). 2 Discs work so much better. CD for the car or work, and the DVD-A disc for the home entertainment unit (with or without a DVD-A compatable player).

    Give the consumer the feeling that they're getting bigger bang for the buck. With all these special edition DVDs on store shelves for the same price, the labels have to battle for the consumers entertainment dollar. Plus the popularity of music DVD-V's shows that consumers ARE interested in video content as well.
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Firebomb all the CD and SA-CD pressing plants![​IMG] That ought to help alot....[​IMG]
     
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    This is what I would do.

    1. Get DVD player manufacturers to include a dual SACD/DVDA chip on EVERY new machine.

    2. Get Warner and other big labels to start releasing dozens of titles every month, not 2 or 3. Get some Van Morrison out the door to capture some of the boomer niche that actually might care about this extra quality.

    3. Get more independent labels to jump on board and build better grass roots support in the audiophile community.

    4. Play surround music demos in movie theaters as often as costs allow. Get some big actors/directors to rave about the extra sound quality and create a brief introduction to show how the extra sampling rate improves sound. Get big musicians and bands involved like U2 and REM to do testimonials.

    5. Find a way to add hybrid technology so the discs are backward compatible with existing technology.

    6. Work hard since SACD already scores on points #3, #4 and #5.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I say dump all the video stuff. I buy it for hi-rez and if I want a DVD-V, I'll buy one. People who want concert DVDs seem to want to enjoy the DD or DTS audio with the picture. That production stuff has got to take extra time and cost extra money. Get us the most hi-rez as soon as possible and that is easy to navigate and put a coupon in there so someone can get a nice deal on the DVD-V if they want it. Why the world would most people buy something like the Band's "Last Waltz" on DVD-A (except people like me) when it is more expensive than the DVD-V. CD + Graphics already has a history of a horribly failed format. DVD-A is just a bit more than that.

    DVD-A should release back catalog stuff to attract people like SACD and also gear up to get current releases out the door at CD-like pricing at the same street date as the CD release. What Lee said about DVD players is absolutely true. Look at DTS. It is still only on a small fraction of DVD-Vs compared to DD but they got all hardware manuf. to include it. Toshiba is even going the route from DVD-A players to univeral players with a $180 list model coming out in June
     
  6. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    DVD-As should default immediately to playing the music. Only if one presses the Menu button on their remote should they be taken a menu to choose from video clips, etc.

    Why? Because DVD-A menus prevent people who do not have tvs from playing back succesfully. Further, while people listen to music often, they only watch videos once in a blue moon.

    So, make the "First Play" the audio. ("First Play" is the term used in authoring DVDs, it refers to what one sees/hears first when the disc is fired up).

    Further, at the end of the music, the disc should end, rather than engage the menu.
     
  7. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Delete the spec requiring multichannel mixes for all DVD-As. Many titles don't benefit, and the time/expense for remixing those that might benefit is often prohibitive.

    Concentrate on selling to music-lovers first, and not home theater types. It seems that the home theater folks don't listen to much music, except, perhaps, to counter the tedium of commuting and other boredom-inducing activities where televisions are too cumbersome to carry. This means: chuck the video content and elaborate menu navigation schemes, and concentrate on delivering the music in it's highest resolution. Make the media compatible with audio-only systems, many of which do not include TV monitors or surround speakers.

    I know I'm simply repeating what many of you have already said, but if the DVD-A people are listening, perhaps they can perceive something like a consensus emerging here...
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Yes, and it simplifies the work of some of the independent labels. Good thinking Rich.
     
  9. Jeff O.

    Jeff O. Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree to a point. I don't know if it is player specific or not, but I don't turn on the TV to listen to DVD-A. Both my Pioneer 563 and 45a will automatically start playing the multichannel track. If it doesn't start playing in a minute, I just hit select on the remote (all the menus that I can remember default to play). I can see how this could be a pain, however, if you wanted to switch to a different audio portion (i.e., 2-ch).

    All of this obviously IMHO.

    Jeff
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Multi-channel is not a requirement for the DVD-Audio spec. I have a 2-channel only DVD-Audio from Hi-Res Music (Leon Russell) and I know that at least some of the others also do this (e.g. Ray Brown's "Soular Energy), wwwhiresmusic.com. I like some things in multi-channel but probably prefer the stereo mixes 85% of the time. Some things I would re-buy and others not depending on the improvement over what I have vs. what I like. That improvement could be stereo only or if I like the multi-channel mix.
     
  11. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    It seems that some suggestions are closer to personal wishes rather than things that will make DVD-A successful.

    I personally don't care about including video on DVD-A discs, but the average consumer will find that appealing. Do you honestly think the average consumer will jump on another format strictly for improved sounds?

    Hi-rez doesn't offer much value to the average consumer, so adding things like (for example) video content in a time when DVDs sell like hotcakes may be something to consider. Otherwise, they'll just stick to CDs.

    Of course, if depends on what one considers "successful". I'm thinking of mainstream penetration as opposed to a strong niche market.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    On the other hand, what if DVDs (the video kind) sell well because people with collector tendencies see them as a very neat and organized format, one that releases well thought out, comprehensive packages?

    Then along comes DVD-As which offer a scattershop of video clips, really random stuff that evidently wasn't good enough to merit releasing as a stand-alone DVD. Will that excite people or make people say "oh crap, as if buying CD singles to get rarities wasn't bad enough!".

    I'm trying to show a contrast between the two; I don't know if I did or not.

    What I mean is, truly, what is the intent with the video portion of the DVDA? Leftovers? Collectible extras (the kind that people resent having to shell out for to show their love for an artist)?
     
  13. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Video bonuses I could care less about (and are things I never look at more than once, if at all):

    * Artist photos
    * Artist biographies
    * Artist discographies

    Info screens I do like (that are available while the music is playing):

    * song session notes (like on the Pet Sounds disc)
    * song instrument/performer listing (Pet Sounds again)
    * lyric screen (gotta change automatically--I don't want to keep holding the remote!!)

    Music videos--if done well--are a welcome feature. I know "done well" is open to interpretation but here are some videos I personally believe were done nicely (i.e. very artsy, entertaining or a good live performance):

    * Peter Gabriel (I know, wrong format but just as examples): "Sledgehammer", "Shock The Monkey", "Big Time".
    * Aha's "Take On Me"
    * Almost any Beastie Boys video
    * Bjork (this is where she was in a forest with animals(?) and the music had a military-style drum in it. It was spooky but in a cool way)
    * Rollins Band: "Liar"

    And please don't include videos JUST to include a video, particularly ones that look like they were made using an old Commodore 64--they really stunk (you know who you are [​IMG]).

    * Please make the remote's number pad available for direct track access.

    * And no auto repeat feature. [​IMG]

    * (again) the music should completely stop at the end of the disc--this includes no menu music because those repeating song clips drive me nuts.

    Thank you for your time!

    LJ
     
  14. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Oh yea, I forgot this one:

    ADVERTISE IT!!!

    Word of mouth only works so far!

    LJ
     
  15. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    Drop the need for a TV in order to play a DVD-A! I don't want to watch TV just to get the music started and the ability to skip tracks without the on screen menu.
     
  16. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Whaaaaaaa? You boomers have SACD. Let us young 'uns have DVD-Audio [​IMG]
     
  17. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    You all have some very interesting and tangible suggestions. It seems as if i'm not the only one that disenchanted that several titles are visually intensive. Hopefully a smarter music company will read this thread and take notes!

    As for some of the bonus features of DVD-A that i'd like to see exploited more than the boring pictures you'll never look at are:

    Interviews (wheter sound or video) make for an interesting perspective. Imagine if you had interview segments with members of Pink Floyd discussing DARK SIDE OF THE MOON these many years later. An audio/visual type of liner notes. Now THAT would be interesting!!

    I liked the suggestion of song lyrics that move in synch with the music! Now that's a great idea cause I dont' always want my hand on the remote.

    What other special features would you like to see exploited on DVD-A?
     
  18. neil wilkes

    neil wilkes Auditioning

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    The option to go straight to a menu or play audio immediately is an authoring decision, no more or less. I can set the flag to do either in my authoring app, and it's normally set to play immediately unless I am asked to do different.
    I also see a point made about the "multichannel requirement" for DVD-A. Sorry, but there is no such requirement. That is also a decision made by the label. You are by no means forced to have multichannel. DVD-A is so flexible you can really do exactly what you want to, from 16/44.1 to 24/192 in Stereo, and every stop in between using both samplerate families - 44.1 and 48KHz.
    In surround, again you can go from 16/44.1 to 24/96, although at 24/88.2 and 24/96 MLP packing is compulsory or else you exceed the maximum available bitrate.
    To go back to navigation, it is not necessary to use an OSD form of menu, or else how would Audio only players navigate?
    Again, I can do either OSD or standard, or both!
    What is needed IMO is more awareness of the format. At the moment, there is - at least in the UK - serious confusion between DVD-V and DVD-A. Most folks, and that seems to include the sales staff in shops, seem to believe that they are the same thing. I've lost count of the amount of times I've asked for DVDA and been shown to a rack of DVDV music video titles!
    As for players accepting all forms, I'm all for it. At long last Philips have become DVDA/MLP licensees - to my mind the only reason SACD ever came about was because Sony & Philips simply didn't want to pay the license fees. My player will do DVD-A, DVD-V, SACD & uncle tom cobley & all. DVDA to my ears is vastly superior to SACD, and logic dictates it will be the survivor in the mainstream, due to the vast base of DVDV players already installed. When a consumer replaces their DVDV player, the chances are the new one will be DVDA compatible as well. This is when things will get better. I hope.
     
  19. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    Neil you sound you find DVD-A "vastly" superior to SACD. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that? I don't have SACD so I can't make a judgement but you work in the industry. Would you be able to give us the fundamental differences you notice?
     
  20. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    No, I don't. The thing is, putting all that stuff on there has not, as a matter of fact, actually appealed to the average consumer. Or not enough of them to make a difference. I'll say it again, there are 40,000 members of this forum, most of whom presumably own DVD players and many of whom likely own surround audio systems (i.e., these are all people who could be enjoying the video content and surround remixes of DVD-A right now), and yet it's the same small handful of us discussing it, buying the discs, worrying over its future viability...

    And most of us are music-first sorts, and most of the music-first sorts have found SACD to be more personally appealing, even as they acknowledge that DVD-A should have more mainstream potential. The problem is that the mainstream is not interested (in DVD-A or SACD), so marketing to the niche music crowd first is arguably the better way to gain a foothold in the market. This was the business plan of SACD's proponents, and while we can argue about it's ultimate success, it has been, thusfar, a seemingly more successful model than the one followed by the DVD-A proponents.
     

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