hey guys- I gotta admit, I was beside myself when I learned about this yesterday. It felt SO GOOD to commit to the format (I got an A-3 for $199) and I really felt betrayed! I mean, I am used to supporting the underdog (Mac user in the early 90s) but wow, I really felt that HD-DVD was a terrific format for the HT enthusiast on a budget (given the mandatory audio standards on entry level players, etc).
I have been trolling the boards and I am so grateful for a great conversation on this topic. I'm not surprised, of course, but it's been a real pleasure catching up on this thread (which grew three pages while I read!).
David, wonderful post, Ron, thanks for the guidance. It will take me awhile to get over this, I admit...but oh well. I hope that we'll see more features on entry level blu-ray players (I liked plugging my A3 into my router for some reason) now that things look a little more certain.
I am actually going to CES on Tuesday...I will be looking forward to seeing what the HD-DVD folks are going to be saying...
I can only speak for myself, but I had the HD-A1 on the day it was released in April of '06, the Samsung HD1000 the weekend before its official release, and I now own an HDA3 and a Sony BDPS301. I never had a problem with the A1, the A3 or the Sony. However, the Samsung was so poor on launch that I came very close to returning it(in fact, I took it to Circuit City, but had it for a little over the thirty days. They offered me a discount, so I took that instead of pushing the issue). Once the firmware update was issued, and good software released(from WB, and then Disney), I was satisfied. But I was one of the first people to have both formats, wanted to love both, and I'll tell you right now, BD was completely unsatisfactory on its launch. The early software from Sony, particularly XXX and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, were absolutely terrible.
First impressions are very important, especially for a high def medium where an upgrade in picture quality is essential. I'm 100% behind BD now, but there is no way that HD DVD had a botched launch. The picture on those first three discs-PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, SERENITY, and THE LAST SAMURAI-was miraculous.
Like you said people's experiences are different. I didn't bother with the Samsung (too expensive), but I did buy the A1. I'm not going to say that it was a poor performer, because it wasn't; however, I will say that I did have (and still do) problems with playback; therefore, I would not consider HD DVDs launch to be "perfect". In the early days of the launch there were plenty of people posting complaints about the perfomance of the players; however, I will agree with you that the general consensus was that the PQ and AQ of the media was outstanding.
When I bought a PS3 (also first gen) I did not experience any playback problems at all. Stability of playback was important to me and the PS3 delivered in spades. I can avoid bad transfers, but nothing pisses me off more than being taken out of a film by dropped audio, picture lockups and having to unplug a player because you pressed a button at the wrong time.Those were all problems that I experienced on my A1. Those basic operational problems were, and are, completely absent on my PS3. That being said, I agree that the launch of BD was marred by the release of poor quality transfers.
My main point is that the launches of both of these formats were nowhere near "perfect". It just seems like a lot of people have forgotten it.
BTW, I finally did pick up HOFD on a two for one sale. I agree that the transfer does seem to be sub-par; however, I was never able to see the film theatrically, so I am unable to determine how much of the "softness" was deliberate directorial choice and how much could be attributed to bad mastering.
I sincerely hope that the complacent collective bleatings of BDA/Sony/Fox/Lionsgate/Pioneer etc do not return now that the 'shepherding ' effect of Hd-dvd seems diminished . If they don't get Profile 2.0 done and dusted as quickly ( and reliable ) as possible , the new format war against SD-Dvd could also be a tough struggle .
Good points David. I have several HD DVD-titles and the quality is just great in many of them. It´s of course sad if this quality format eventually "fades away", but I still want that "one HD-format", not two. But as long as Paramount/DW and Universal are "HD DVD exclusives", I´ll keep buying some of their releases. It´s about the films!
Good points. However, we still don't have a Blu-ray player with a level of audio support and next-gen features comparable to the basic HD DVD hardware spec. Since it appears that it takes a format war to force the BDA to provide true next-gen functionality (as DaViD points out), I think the war ended too soon. A few more months to accelerate the BDA 2.0 profile might have been worthwhile.
(And, of course, while I join others in perceiving the Warners announcement as a "death blow," it may be presumptuous to automatically assume this is the end of the war.)
Regarding audio yes we do. The HD DVD spec ONLY requires internal advanced audio decoding for advanced Dolby (plus and TrueHD), *not* DTS-HD MA. And the spec doesn't mandate bit-streaming over HDMI 1.3 of the raw signal... that's optional. In fact, the HD DVD spec doesn't even require full 5.1 decoding of TrueHD... just 2.0.
To your point, in fact MOST Blu-ray Disc players on the market to day do as much if not more with "advanced audio" than the HD DVD spec would require. Most of them are fully decoding TrueHD, and some also bitstream over HDMI 1.3.
Oh, and it's probably going to be pricey
but Panasonic just announced their BD50 which is the first 2.0 profile player and has internal decoding for both DTS-HD MA and TrueHD.
p.s. when it comes to "PIP" or web features, I agree 100% with you. IIt's why I bought the PS3... so I could update to profile 1.1 (which I have) and eventaully 2.0 (which I will, along with DTS-HD MA deocding)
It seems an appropraite time to resurrect this thread.
Industry sources are telling us that after the Warner announcement, that Toshiba did indeed make an internal decision to close shop with HD DVD, but was looking to find the most graceful exit strategy and time-table. It appears that the Netflix, Best-Buy, and Walmart announcements, which were made by those retailers with the knowledge of Toshiba's ultimate plan, were the catalyst they needed.
Toshiba, thanks for helping make our HDM the best that it can be. Toshiba raised-the-bar of hardware performance while at the same time pushing the industry to lower prices. We are in a much better place for the consumer today with HDM hardware and software quality and price because of Toshiba's efforts.
I thought I'd chime in, heading in a different direction...and not to sound like a vulture waiting to feed on a now dead carcass, but I plan to (should there be more price drops, etc), acquire another HD-DVD player or two and fill in the remaining collection of movies I thought were too expensive.
Thankfully HD-DVD is not DiVX, and the movies won't stop playing with the defeat of this format.
I jumped in September of last year for Heroes on HD-DVD, and added to the collection (making me a 'purple' guy). I will round out my HD-DVD collection pending clearance sales happen. The format is fine, the movies are fine, and unless there is a compelling reason to buy a BD version instead, I'll pick up some HD-DVDs.
Started with HD-DVD tried to help push the format as much as I could, alas, Sony won out in the end. Still, I enjoyed the ride. Now begins to the long process of re-buying all the Fast and the Furious movies in Blu Ray (