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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by MatthewA, Jan 4, 2006.
Out of curiosity, how much TV programming could fit on one Blu-Ray disc?
It surely depends on whether it's hi-def programming or video (such as Star Trek TNG). Most FILMED shows, would also probably lean towards hi-def capability, I suspect.
Shows shot on video will probably fit on one or two discs, depends on the show. Most old shows are shot or only exist on video. But newer shows where a improement can be seen will take up so much more discs.
I would also question whether older shows would work that much better on hi-def. I don't see a show like Columbo or Hogan's Heroes working much better on hi-def especially if there are higher price points as has been said. But then I think its going to be a studio to studio thing. The studios that cut corners will continue to cut corners. Like maybe taking 32 episodes and cramming them on one disc.
Actually, both these shows would greatly benefit from HD presentations, since they both were shot on film (assuming original film elements can be used). It's the shows shot on videotape (All in the Family, Jeffersons, Married With Children, etc., or those shot on film but edited/mastered on video) that would gain nothing from an HD format, except the possibility of the larger-storage disc containing more episodes. Which leads me to a question I've been unable to find a clear answer to: Will the new HD format (i.e. Blu-ray HD-50) be able to hold 50GB of standard DVD data at its current resolution? If so, an entire season of a one-hour show, currently on six DVD-9s/three DVD-18s, could be stored on a single BD-50 disc. This would be benefit for cost and packaging when it comes to shows mentioned above, if they were to utilize the new format for releasing old content that does not have true HD potential. Not many people would double-dip on these type of shows on a new format without picture quality improvement. But a serious down-sizing of the packaging, and the ability to access an entire season, or more, from a single disc, may interest some of us. Just think how many more HD discs will fit on the shelf, after selling off the old space-hogging standard DVDs! To think I keep telling myself, "No more double-dipping! No more blind-buys! You don't really need this new format that's coming!" Right.
Great post, Matt. I'm also thinking about this "double-dipping" isssue since my collection has grown fast during the past year. The potential for shelf-space saving is interesting.
Jeff, I don't know about you, but I bought more DVDs in 2005 than in any other year, and I've been collecting since 1997. This is all due to the TV-on-DVD craze. The fact that the TV season sets are larger in size, it seems like the collection has really become out-of-control (which, of course, it has!) One good thing about new formats approaching: it makes me "put on the brakes" in collecting the current format. But once the new format takes hold, the whole damn vicious cycle starts up again. I've been down that road so many times before, you'd think I'd have learned by now.
Well, 50GB is 50GB, right? Which means it should be able to hold a whole season on a disc. This gives me the opportunity to bring something up that I've been thinking about for a long time. The studios are losing one of their marketing tools; something they've used for a long time - number of discs. Consumers are willing to spend more money on something with a greater perceived value. We expect an 8 disc set will cost more than a 2 disc set. With Blu-Ray coming that perceived value could be erased. A 22 episode sitcom could fit on a single disc and sit beside a 60 min "best of" release. One would carry a much higher price tag, but the packaging would look the same, and it would be the same number of discs. Here's something else that could be cool with a single-disc season; episode order. Companies could EASILY provide the option to watch a show in the broadcast order, or production order. Piece of cake. Just some things to think about. Gord
Gord, I agree...it's a great concept, but I doubt the studios would put the required "effort" into it. For years we haven't been treated to other "pieces of cake" such as non-syndicated cuts, play-all function, proper chapter markers, appropriate representation/design/credits on packaging, functional disc packaging, yada-yada-yada. I remember when the features of the DVD format were being heralded before its launch, yet almost all early titles were fairly vanilla, lacking features that were already available on LD...and should have EASILY been ported over to DVD (to take advantage of said features). I'm afraid of the same scenario with HD-DVD/Blu-ray: basic releases at first, followed by the double-dip version(s) later. Am I being skeptical? You bet, but they've only had about eight years to get it right. Why start now?
If it's stored as MPEG-2: yes. Probably a bit more if they use MPEG-4 AVC which Blu-Ray also supports since those new codecs are more effective than the obsolete MPEG-2 format.
I was thinking the same thing. Unless high def discs are obscenely expensive to manufacture, I think that at least initially they'll continue making multi disc TV sets even if it just wastes extra discs. C'mon, people complain about HBO prices now. What'll happen when people have to pay $70 or $80 or more for just one disc?
Peter Staddon remarked on this matter of perceived value at the HTF national meet back in 2000. He specifically mentioned it as one of the reasons Fox had rejected DVD-18 (dual-sided, dual-layered discs) in favor of 2 disc special editions, even though it was technically feasible to provide the same content on a single disc. Since most of a DVD's cost is in the transfer, mastering and creation of extras, not disc replication or packaging, and since DVD-18 had a higher per unit cost than two DVD-9s (due to lower yields since a flaw in any of four layers meant a disc had to be tossed), the decision made perfect economic as well as marketing sense. Fox would have to charge just as much for the single disc version as the 2-disc set, so why not give the consumer a release that "felt" more substantial - 2 discs and bigger, heftier packaging. So I also tend to think that TV sets will remain multidisc. What might sell on Blu-Ray (or HD-DVD) is full series releases. Who wants all of The X-Files in a single box - 1 disc per season? Regards, Joe
Joe--I agree with the X-Files comment...but if the entire season is on that one disk, that means that presumably you'd watch that disk within a reasonable amount of time. I would be concerned about the wear and tear on that one disk, being played for so darn long. It bothers me because I've already had one of my Jeffersons disks jam up; I can no longer play ONE stinkin' episode on that one disk. I have no idea how to replace it. Bought it a year ago and no receipt anymore. So whatevah...I dunno what to do For Matt & Gord: For season sets, my theory was that the number of disks would remain more or less the same. There'd be more disk space with the same number of episodes, but far higher resolution. I thought if, for example, you crammed all 22 eps into one disk, theoretically possible, you'd not have any improvement in resolution. Now I'm confused about the whole thing--what are we getting into here. Ah well, I'll buy the new stuff after the new format takes off, and they settle on BluRay...I probably won't bother to upgrade anything. I went through hell buying all 7 Simpsons, all 7 Buffys, all 7 Star Trek: TNGs and etc...I don't want to buy them again and again. I'm sticking with what I've got.
Ethan, it depends on the show. Shows shot on tape wouldn't see an increse in resolution, so they could just cram more episodes on a disc. Newer shows, or older shows shot on film, would have a higher file size due to the increased resolution. I predict we'll see some shows in true HD, and some DVD quality shows on a higher capacity disc. Gord
I don't want to see old filmed shows in HD. Standard dvd already makes Star Trek: TOS look kinda cheap. But an entire season on one disc would turn my head.
An entire season on one disc, while good in theory, could turn out to be a complete nightmare. Right now if I buy a 7-disc TV box set I normally find that at least one of those discs is scratched/scuffed/generally unacceptable. A quick e-mail to Amazon and along comes a replacement, with which I can easily swap the offending disc. Of course, that means watching the 4 (or whatever) episodes. Can you imagine a scratch rendering an entire 26 episode season subject to replacement? You could end up watching the same 26 episodes 4 or 5 times just to check the disc is fine! That is, of course, assuming HD discs will be prone to the same numerous flaws as SD, and like somebody suggested above, after so many years of SD DVD production they still can't get these things right, why start now? And let's not forget, of course, that as each new format comes along our favourite shows are 5-10 years older, with 5-10 years more wear and tear. So they may end up looking/sounding slightly WORSE short of intense restoration which very few shows seem to get! And frankly after spending thousands of pounds on TV series on DVD I'm not too inclined to buy the whole lot again just to watch each episode once, twice, whatever (depending on the show) with a (theoretically) improved picture. JR
How will old shows and OAR work on HD, I really hope they fwon't be cropping the shows on the top and bottom
4:3 material will be pillarboxed inside the 16:9 frame as there are no 4:3 formats when it comes to HDTV. This is only for stuff that's not tape based, which will most likely be available in the normal NTSC (or PAL) resolution. This is how it should be. However, I guess you can't rule out that they'll never put out something, who's OAR is 4:3, cropped to 16:9.
They may fake widescreen some early releases but I bet it'll stop fast. At least for a few years, high def will sell almost exclusively to HT enthusiasts (and judging from other comments on this board, it'll even be a small number of them for awhile) and they'll be the first people to complain when a show is released that way. The companies will just be biting the hand that feeds them if they keep releasing 4:3 shows in "widescreen".
Stargate Atlantis was announced for Blu-Ray, but how many episodes per-disc it will have remains to be seen. Since the show is shot in HD Video it is perfect for the format. Hopefully Universal will sign on and we'll see Battlestar Galactica too.