Is the format war over? Warner goes blu

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Lusky
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Warner Bros and New Line have announced that they will be Blu Ray exclusive from later this year.
Here's Warner Bros Press release

http://www.timewarner.com/corp/newsroom/pr/0,20812,1700383,00.html

I think that means that there are no neutral studios any more. The break-down is

Blu ray

Disney
Fox
Sony (columbia etc)
Warner Bros
plus all their sister studios like New Line

HD-DVD

Universal
Paramount (Dreamworks)

Is it over?

John Paul

Bob Aldis
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Can't hear the fat lady singing :)

BobA

Bob Aldis

Rob James
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From a quick look in HMV the other day the titles available in both formats are mostly less than inspiring. Starship Troopers etc. at £25 which has been available on DVD for a fiver for years. (Even assuming you would want to see it) The only brighter elements being BBC offerings.

I'd say the disks are too expensive to have more than curiosity/show off new system appeal and unless and until the price drops to DVD levels they're both on a hiding to nothing and in serious danger of being left behind as irrelevant.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

StevenBagley
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Rob James wrote:
'd say the disks are too expensive to have more than curiosity/show off new system appeal and unless and until the price drops to DVD levels they're both on a hiding to nothing and in serious danger of being left behind as irrelevant.

If you buy them online they are often equivalently priced to the DVDs -- indeed, my Bluray of Casino Royale was cheaper than the DVD would have been...

Steven

Rob James
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I stand corrected on that point.

However, the list of available titles still isn't all that inspiring and a long way short of 'critical mass'. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see one or the other succeed. I'm just getting the feeling that if they are not careful greed and vacillation may make them both miss the boat, just like SACD and DVD-A.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

stuart621
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Apparently, Microsoft is trying to scupper both formats - they don't think we should have movies on any type of discs if this is to be believed.

Time will tell, I suppose.

Bruce
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I've gone BluRay purely for High Def production. The movies are a good quality but until this war really is over the choice is not inspirational. Most of the modern stuff is rubbish. Surely the test of buying movies is their repeatability. Most of the HD-DVD and BluRay offerings are not worth one showing IMHO.

Rob James
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stuart621 wrote:
Apparently, Microsoft is trying to scupper both formats - they don't think we should have movies on any type of discs if this is to be believed.

Time will tell, I suppose.

This was rather my point. If they keep playing silly B's then they are opening the door to the MS hegemony. Personally, I'd always rather own disks than ephemeral downloads, but if they don't get their act together soon .....

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

infocus
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Rob James wrote:
However, the list of available titles still isn't all that inspiring and a long way short of 'critical mass'. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see one or the other succeed.

But it's chicken and egg, isn't it? I'd say what you (fairly correctly) observe may be partly a consequence of the format battle - and one format winning may be one of the most important things to start the drive towards critical mass.

I've just bought an HDTV. I wanted to buy an HD disc player, and if any single thing stopped me doing that, it was the format war. I don't think I'm alone.

I've mixed feelings about the news. I'd have preferred HD-DVD to have won through (less DRM, regional coding etc), but the realist in me has to agree that Blu-Ray is now looking stronger than at any point in the past. And an end to the war would be extremely good news, whichever wins.

Rob James
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I had (probably naively) thought that this would all have been settled months ago. As it is we are in the worst of all possible worlds.

If a winner doesn't emerge soon then the door is wide open to the 'drip, drip' marketing folk I.e MS etc. What they really hate is the used market in disks. They would much rather sell the same thing to everybody, rather than sell once at a premium price and watch the used market distribute their product 'on the cheap' afterwards. Piracy is a lesser consideration.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

Chris.
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Some of those exclusivity deals are for 18 months not for ever. Paramount and Dreamworks were the box office leaders in 2007. Warner are still supporting HD DVD until June 2008 and as I mentioned in another thread, you can buy an HD DVD player with two high-def movies, a voucher for five more high-def movies plus HDMI cable for £160.

The Fat Lady's still in her dressing room.

ClaireTall
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Blu-Rays are coming down in price, HMV are doing a 3 for 2 offer, but you do need to be careful about which films to buy as some of them aren't actually re-mastered for Blu-Ray or just very poor quality. Close Encounters for one and The Sentinal for another.

I watched Ghost Rider last night which is a fantastic example of how Blu-Ray should be, Spider Man 3 is another superb picture quality Blu-Ray but the best has to be the BBCs Planet Earth, I'm up to the sixth episode now and the pictures are stunning. Don't quite understand why the Americans got the 1080p version and we got the 1080i though?

I play them on the Playstation 3 which is a surprisingly versatile machine although I have to confess that I didn't find out just how good it was, someone younger did that and just how on earth one is expected to keep that racing car on the track for longer than 5 seconds is beyond me!

I play through a Sanyo Z4 projector via HDMI.

Who's going to win? no one, by the time they've sorted it out solid state devices will be out, and watch out for the new 3D technology which they are working hard on and further on, 3D holographic projection.

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Bruce
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Downloading is fine but people like to collect, they like to own something. I do not feel that there is any real value in downloaded material that just sits on a hard disk that might die.

stuart621
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Bruce wrote:
Downloading is fine but people like to collect, they like to own something. I do not feel that there is any real value in downloaded material that just sits on a hard disk that might die.

That attitude may not be so prevalent amongst younger people, though. They are quite used to downloading things (and burning them to disc if they wish) and since they are so comfortable doing that with music at the moment, it's not a quantum leap for them to start with films and TV programmes.

They are the customers of tomorrow so I suspect that downloading video material won't be an issue for them.

We live in a world where people want everything NOW and if it's a case of pressing a button to get the latest Hollywood blockbuster or going out to a shop to buy it on a disc, the former might prove more appealling to an increasing number of people.

ChrisH
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ClaireTall wrote:
watch out for the new 3D technology which they are working hard on and further on, 3D holographic projection.

We have just developed and built a 360 degree 'holographic' video machine as part of our recent art installation. It's not the future of HD TV but I thought you might like to see it. There is documentation of it here:
http://www.glenkens.net

nash
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stuart621 wrote:
That attitude may not be so prevalent amongst younger people, though. They are quite used to downloading things (and burning them to disc if they wish) and since they are so comfortable doing that with music at the moment, it's not a quantum leap for them to start with films and TV programmes.

They are the customers of tomorrow so I suspect that downloading video material won't be an issue for them.

We live in a world where people want everything NOW and if it's a case of pressing a button to get the latest Hollywood blockbuster or going out to a shop to buy it on a disc, the former might prove more appealling to an increasing number of people.

I concur and I believe this is the future. The music industry is a prime example. Still lots of CD's about but downloads are taking over. I "love" the itunes download "experience" it is simple, quick and easy to navigate. Much easier then searching shop racks.

The thing that hacks me off right now is that you can't buy video downloads legally! I would gladly pay to download my favourite programmes, series, movies etc in the iTunes format but I can't! I don't want to go down the "Napster" route although it would be easy as there are plenty out there. Producers / Distributors need to get there act together!! The overhead savings alone would be huge!

If Greed is the current driver (which it probably is) then look at Universal music, they have been turned around by music downloads. If definition and file size is the driver DIVX is very good on a HDTV and the files sizes are manageable.

Roll on revolution and an outbreak of sanity.

Discuss.................Neil

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Rob James
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If I remember correctly various lighting designers were experimenting with holographic sets in the 70's. Robert Ornbo and Richard Pilbrow spring to mind along with some Russians I don't remember the names of.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

Lusky
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Rob James wrote:
I'm just getting the feeling that if they are not careful greed and vacillation may make them both miss the boat, just like SACD and DVD-A.

That is exactly what Warner Bros are claiming is their reason for picking a side; If there is not a winner soon then none will win.

As for downloads I have said before I just don't see it happening except replacing rentals and even then the time taken for the download is going to be a major factor.
The 21st Century Network is the cheapest option BT could have done and it aint gonna be enough if IPTV or Movie downloads takes off; think what it's like at 8pm when You Tube is busy.

John Paul

ClaireTall
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From the Financial Times:-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9086260c-bc8a-11dc-bcf9-0000779fd2ac.html

I think it's over.

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getlostdave
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I think the fact that according to Toshiba, Warner's was also in discussion with them about going HD-DVD exclusive indicates that studios are making more money through backhanders then they are through the actual sales of HD disks.

It is the simple fact that because Blu-ray was integral to the PS3, Sony had to win the fight, otherwise they risked coming third in the game console wars. And with only one blu-ray entry in the top 25 DVD sellers on amazon.com vs 7 for HD-DVD(post Christmas), and Sony being unwilling/unable to compete on price, Sony had to take out Warner's, or do something equally dramatic!

The next question becomes, will Sony use its victory to move back to encoding Blu-ray disks with mpeg2 to try and claw back some of their costs.

The future?

I think with Studios so obviously open to bribes, and taking backhanders here and there, I suspect the question of a victor isn't quite closed yet.

PS. For those interested, Blu-ray now has 8 entries in Amazons top 25 and HD-DVD has none.

getlostdave
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As expected, various speculations have begun:

Various rumours around the Internet claimed that the Blu-ray disc Association provided “incentives” worth $500 - $620 million to Time Warner, the parent company, but the latter denied those allegations. Another rumour suggests that Warner’s Blu-ray exclusivity will only last till Q1 2009 and that the company got $450 million for that.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/multimedia/display/20080104204552_Toshiba_and_HD_DVD_Promo_Group_Surprised_by_Warner_Bros_Decision.html

oddball
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Chris H,

I think I know how the guy in a wicker basket hat in a small boat with one paddle feels......

sooner this format shinanigans settels down the better.

ClaireTall, I cant keep those damned cars on the track either, your not alone!

Oddball xx

oddball
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getlostdave
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As we seem to be on the final leg of this one, it may be worthwhile to consider this further.

The following article explains why it was so important for Sony to make a knock out blow:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/multimedia/display/20071213105050_Second_Wave_High_Definition_Video_Adopters_to_Prefer_HD_DVD_Research_Firm.html

Essentially, while early adopters may be willing to spend for extra features that they may never use, second wave adopters were unlikely to favour blu-ray, when the digital output from HD-DVD would be identical and cheaper.

However on the other side of the coin, it appears that the growth in HD-DVD may have been in the second wave, with purchasers being unaware of the format war and returning their HD-DVD player when they realised that not all of their favourite movies would be available in their 'selected' format:

http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2008/01/ces_dispatch--t.html?campaign_id=rss_blog_techbeat

And I still wouldn't discount the possibility that Microsoft will attempt to make this Victory for Sony even more costly!

I can see many complaints going to the competition authorities, and I can see Microsoft coveting a film studio of its own!

Dave

Chris.
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If I were Microsoft I'd make sure Windows had internal support for burning HD-DVD as standard and if I were Toshiba that HD-DVD drives were standard on all new Toshiba laptops.

Lusky
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getlostdave wrote:

It is the simple fact that because Blu-ray was integral to the PS3, Sony had to win the fight, otherwise they risked coming third in the game console wars.

I think Sony's strategy is bigger than the console wars.
I think Sony lose their rights to CD technology this year or next and with them Billions of dollars per year in revenue licencing the technology.
With mini disk and other proprietary technologies failing to gain mass market appeal, Sony HAD to win this format war; they simply must find a way to replace the CD revenue.
To put it bluntly, the ps3 didn't need Blu-Ray. But Blu ray would have died without the PS3

John Paul

ClaireTall
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Paramount have gone Blu-Ray, this mornings FT

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc409afa-bd75-11dc-b7e6-0000779fd2ac.html

they think it's all over...........................it is now!

Poor old Bill Gates, I feel really sorry for him.

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Bob Aldis
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ClaireTall wrote:
Paramount have gone Blu-Ray, this mornings FT

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc409afa-bd75-11dc-b7e6-0000779fd2ac.html

they think it's all over...........................it is now!

Poor old Bill Gates, I feel really sorry for him.

Don't worry Claire, we will have a whip round and send him a food parcel. ;)

BobA

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Lusky
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ClaireTall wrote:

Poor old Bill Gates, I feel really sorry for him.

Apparently the major announcement at the CES was spposed to be the xbox ultimate with built in HD DVD player until Warners announcement forced the cancellation.
I feel lucky, I wasn't going to entertain a new TV or HD player until later this year, until that is I seen the Boxing day sales.
I picked up the Sony 40v3000, very nice 1080/24p, 3 HDMIs, a decent contrast ratio which currentlt escapes me and the bravia engine which had impressed me. All for £899; couldn't resist. However when I got to the till I found out I could get a PS3 for £150, how could I not.
I figured if Blu Ray loses then I still have a games console, but now I feel lucky.
I found that John Lewis & Argos were doing the same TV with free PS3 for £999, but I still think I got a good deal..

John Paul

Rob James
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The local Tescos has a big pile of Toshiba HD DVD players with the five 'free' disk thing and a 1000 point bonus. Methinks the purchasers may well live to regret it even with these inducements. PS3 here I come.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

infocus
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ClaireTall wrote:
Paramount have gone Blu-Ray, this mornings FT

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc409afa-bd75-11dc-b7e6-0000779fd2ac.html

they think it's all over...........................it is now!

May be a bit premature - that link actually says "Paramount is poised to drop its support of HD DVD after Warner Brothers’ recent backing of Sony’s Blu-ray technology, in a move that will sound the death knell of HD DVD......."

So note the use of "poised", NOT "gone".The difference may turn out to be academic, but newspapers (even the FT!) have been known to get things like this wrong - it may be worth putting off the Blu-Ray purchase until the news is confirmed! (Or not.)

I certainly won't be buying a HD-DVD player today though. :)

oddball
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I think its down to market perception and the interpretation of properganda. Greasing the wheels of of the media properganda machine Blu-ray appears to be taking the lead, so if HD DVD is going to "Catch up" then they'll have to come out fighting.

Although it may well be too late...that the feeling I'm getting from the reports etc.

http://www.macrumors.com/2008/01/04/hd-dvd-vs-blu-ray-battle-over-warner-switches-to-blu-ray/

oddball xx

getlostdave
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ClaireTall wrote:
Paramount have gone Blu-Ray, this mornings FT

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dc409afa-bd75-11dc-b7e6-0000779fd2ac.html

they think it's all over...........................it is now!

Obviously the FT story anticipates the official announcement, as Paramount is currently re-iterating the fact that it is in the HD-DVD camp:

Paramount/DreamWorks: "Still Supporting HD DVD":

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/DreamWorks/Paramount/CES_2008/Paramount/DreamWorks:__Still_Supporting_HD_DVD_%5BUPDATED%5D/1345

Chris.
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LOL, it looks like the Fat Lady's practising her scales in preparation to go on stage

getlostdave
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NLAA (No laughs at all).

If you review what was initially proposed by Sony to the DVD forum, and the appalling quality of the initial Blu-ray releases, then it can clearly be seen how we have benefited from having HD-DVD provide competition to Sony.

My fear is that with absolute victory will come a deprecation of the VC-1 codec in the blu-ray standard in favour of the upto now, inferior mpeg-2 encodes from which I understand Sony gets royalties.

And with Sony's inclination to have Blu-ray as a premium product and HD-DVD out of the way, knowing Sony's achievements with SACD, what are the chances of the victory resulting in Sony putting back the HD revolution by several years?

Dave

StevenBagley
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getlostdave wrote:
My fear is that with absolute victory will come a deprecation of the VC-1 codec in the blu-ray standard in favour of the upto now, inferior mpeg-2 encodes from which I understand Sony gets royalties.

Sony don't use MPEG2 though these days, they use H264 as do most disks. The only reason MPEG2 was used at first (and the quality of the release is as much to do with the transfers as the encoding technology) is that the encoders were far more usable than those for VC1 or H264. As encoders caught up, Sony movies switched over to the other codecs about.

It is worth remembering that MPEG2 is still used a lot and is perfectly adequate. How many of us use 25Mbit/s MPEG2 HDV cameras day-to-day -- that's the sort of bitrate you are seeing on Bluray with MPEG2

Steven

getlostdave
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StevenBagley wrote:
Sony don't use MPEG2 though these days, they use H264 as do most disks. The only reason MPEG2 was used at first (and the quality of the release is as much to do with the transfers as the encoding technology) is that the encoders were far more usable than those for VC1 or H264. As encoders caught up, Sony movies switched over to the other codecs about.

CES: 'Ice Age,' 'I, Robot' Highlight Fox Q1 Blu-ray Wave

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Disc_Announcements/Fox/Ice_Age,_I,_Robot_Highlight_Fox_Q1_Blu-ray_Wave/1324

Tech specs for all titles include 1080p/MPEG-2 video and DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround tracks. (Note that some of these titles were initially announced with 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video, but the press release now indicates MPEG-2 on all releases.

StevenBagley wrote:
It is worth remembering that MPEG2 is still used a lot and is perfectly adequate. How many of us use 25Mbit/s MPEG2 HDV cameras day-to-day -- that's the sort of bitrate you are seeing on Bluray with MPEG2

Steven

I believe that that sort of misses the point. 13Gb(?) for 1 hour mpeg2 with compressed 16 bit audio is going to be more respectable than 25Gb for 146minutes and 5.1 audio.

Dave

infocus
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getlostdave wrote:
And with Sony's inclination to have Blu-ray as a premium product and HD-DVD out of the way, knowing Sony's achievements with SACD, what are the chances of the victory resulting in Sony putting back the HD revolution by several years?

Bur Blu-ray does not uniquely equate to Sony, and that may be one of the biggest differences between now and the VHS/Beta war - don't forget all the other members of the Blu-Ray camp. And most especially Panasonic - often thought of as Sonys biggest rival.

If we do assume a Blu-Ray victory, the question is what such as Toshiba do next. Maybe the lesson from history is Sony then starting to make VHS machines when that war was decided. Like all companies, Toshibas main incentive is to maximise profits - if they now see making Blu-Ray machines as the best way to do that, I don't see pride standing in the way.

StevenBagley
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getlostdave wrote:
I believe that that sort of misses the point. 13Gb(?) for 1 hour mpeg2 with compressed 16 bit audio is going to be more respectable than 25Gb for 146minutes and 5.1 audio.

But you are forgetting how these things are created -- someone will have spent hours or days cooking the encode until it is fine tuned to get the best result. Indeed, the ability to do this was part of the rational for using MPEG2 in the first place -- the encoders were a) simpler and b) more advanced which enabled them to process things in a more realistic timeframe. Apparently it was taking weeks to encode the first HDDVD releases in VC1...

Or put it another way, the average bitrate on a single-layer MPEG2 Bluray and the constant bitrate of the BBC HD transmissions in H264 are roughly the same. Yet I've seen far more artefacts on the BBC's H264 transmissions than I have on MPEG2 blu-rays. Why, because the bitrate on the Bluray can vary from as little as a few hundred kilobits (there are times when the audio is using more bits than the video) to as high as 40Mbit/s! It's a fallacy to assume that a more modern codec always means a better picture for the same bitrate. There will come a point for every sequence where there enough bits for any of the codecs to encode it faithfully.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Don't want to throw spanners here, but...

The video that's encoded by Hollywood is clean, very clean, probably never been compressed before it hits the final coder. For broadcast, the stories far from as clear; the material will have been compressed during capture, possibly MPEG2 or MPEG4, but more likely an intra-frame compression like DVCROHD or HDCAM. Each of these compression formats has problems, they all deliver visible artefacts simply because the bit-rates are marginal. Upon editing, it gets compressed differently, at least once, for delivery to the output tape or onto a server, possibly more than once. Each time compression is used, the artefacts of the previous compressors leave traps for the next compressor to fall into. So, when the final transmission compressor has to perform (which it has to do in real time, not off-line as in Hollywood) it has a pretty dirty picture to deal with, and can't go back to put the mistakes right.

And, the cameras used for broadcast material generally aren't as good as those used by Hollywood either, they rarely have enough pixels for the output format, and ideally should have about 50% more in both horizontal and vertical directions so that proper filtering can be done (this is the principle in the RED camera). Net result is that aliased frequencies are present and visible in the "clean" camera output, let alone in the compressed material. Even the top-end studio cameras produce aliases, the Sony HDC1500 does so because it has the standard "precision offset" of G from R and B to extend the resolution beyond the 1920 of the sensors, not normally a problem, but it's certainly visible and can affect the compression.

I can go on like this for quite a while, but my coffee's getting cold.

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Bob Aldis
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Alan Roberts wrote:
I can go on like this for quite a while, but my coffee's getting cold.

I'll Bet you can ;)

BobA

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getlostdave
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StevenBagley wrote:
But you are forgetting how these things are created -- someone will have spent hours or days cooking the encode until it is fine tuned to get the best result. Indeed, the ability to do this was part of the rational for using MPEG2 in the first place -- the encoders were a) simpler and b) more advanced which enabled them to process things in a more realistic timeframe. Apparently it was taking weeks to encode the first HDDVD releases in VC1...

Or put it another way, the average bitrate on a single-layer MPEG2 Bluray and the constant bitrate of the BBC HD transmissions in H264 are roughly the same. Yet I've seen far more artefacts on the BBC's H264 transmissions than I have on MPEG2 blu-rays. Why, because the bitrate on the Bluray can vary from as little as a few hundred kilobits (there are times when the audio is using more bits than the video) to as high as 40Mbit/s! It's a fallacy to assume that a more modern codec always means a better picture for the same bitrate. There will come a point for every sequence where there enough bits for any of the codecs to encode it faithfully.

Steven

I have to step back here and say that at a technical level I can not refute what you say, although I think that part of the foundation of your argument relates to my sloppiness with regards to the presentation of the technical foundation of my side of the argument.

It doesn't matter, Sony are going to be producing more MPEG-2 25Gb single layer disks and the fist ones they produced were awful. We only have to wait a few weeks to see what the quality of the new disks/encodes will be like. The fact that there is a technical possibility that Sony could produce a high quality encode doesn't mean they will.

Dave

StevenBagley
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getlostdave wrote:
It doesn't matter, Sony are going to be producing more MPEG-2 25Gb single layer disks and the fist ones they produced were awful. We only have to wait a few weeks to see what the quality of the new disks/encodes will be like. The fact that there is a technical possibility that Sony could produce a high quality encode doesn't mean they will.

I don't think Sony have produced any non-high quality encodes in over a year (and even then there's as an argument that it is the source material that it was the source material that wasn't up to scratch and not the actual encoding). Certainly, most Sony discs now seem to use H264 and not MPEG2 and they've no reason to switch back.

Steven

getlostdave
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StevenBagley wrote:
I don't think Sony have produced any non-high quality encodes in over a year (and even then there's as an argument that it is the source material that it was the source material that wasn't up to scratch and not the actual encoding). Certainly, most Sony discs now seem to use H264 and not MPEG2 and they've no reason to switch back.

Steven

Clearly they are switching back, by the fact that Fox have announced several disks over the next couple of months (although mostly on 50GB dual layer disks). This is assuming that their release schedule is correct and has been correctly reported.

Your comment regarding source material is ambiguous. With the Case of the fifth element, it may have been the quality of the print/negative that they used for the original mpeg2 encode that caused the problems with that disk, but clearly then in your view a better print/negative was found when the remastered The Fifth Element (using AVC MPEG4) was released in July last year?

Dave

StevenBagley
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getlostdave wrote:
Clearly they are switching back, by the fact that the have announced several disks over the next couple of months. This is assuming that their release schedule is correct and has been correctly reported

Why?? Encoding technology has moved on a bit, they'll have bought H264 encoders now they aren't going to not use them... There's no advantage to Sony producing poor bluray disks at all.

Quote:
Your comment regarding source material is ambiguous. With the Case of the fifth element, it may have been the quality of the print/negative that they used for the original mpeg2 encode that caused the problems with that disk, but clearly then in your view a better print/negative was found when the remastered The Fifth Element (using AVC MPEG4) was released in July last year?

No they just retransferred the film in HD from the original neg and did a better job of it than was done before. I'd go as far to say that 95% of the visible difference is down to the transfers and not the encoding. In fact, that was the big complaint with the first few Bluray (and DVD for that matter) releases that they were using old transfers. It's a case of Garbage in -- Garbage out. You may find the example half way down this page here interesting -- it shows the difference between a telecine down in 1982 and the same piece of film transferred on a 1990 class telecine (BBC Resources Spirit Datacine installed in the late-90s) of the same piece of film. It highlights that variances in the equipment used and the skill of the colourist can have a huge difference on the final appearance. And you'd get similar differences between scanning on the Spirit and doing a 4K transfer. Certainly, the biggest difference between the two blu-ray releases (see here) is the grading of the shots which would not be altered by changing the codecs.

Steven

getlostdave
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StevenBagley wrote:
Why?? Encoding technology has moved on a bit, they'll have bought H264 encoders now they aren't going to not use them... There's no advantage to Sony producing poor bluray disks at all.

Why? I don't know, but I believe that Sony gets a larger royalty slice from mpeg2, but I may be wrong. The simple fact is that there is a press release getting reproduced on the Internet listing mpeg2 releases.

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/pressrelease_fox_q1_2008.html

StevenBagley wrote:
No they just retransferred the film in HD from the original neg and did a better job of it than was done before. I'd go as far to say that 95% of the visible difference is down to the transfers and not the encoding. In fact, that was the big complaint with the first few Bluray (and DVD for that matter) releases that they were using old transfers. It's a case of Garbage in -- Garbage out. You may find the example half way down this page here interesting -- it shows the difference between a telecine down in 1982 and the same piece of film transferred on a 1990 class telecine (BBC Resources Spirit Datacine installed in the late-90s) of the same piece of film. It highlights that variances in the equipment used and the skill of the colourist can have a huge difference on the final appearance. And you'd get similar differences between scanning on the Spirit and doing a 4K transfer. Certainly, the biggest difference between the two blu-ray releases (see here) is the grading of the shots which would not be altered by changing the codecs.

Steven

Thank you for the link to the comparison site illustrating the difference between the final images. I will bow to you expert interpretation as to the cause of the inferiority of the original disk, although I would still encourage people to follow the link and see the difference for themselves.

Dave

Lusky
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DVDs are now actually benefiting from HD discs. Studios are now doing the origional transfer in High definition so they can can encode for Blu ray/hd dvd from this master and then also encode the DVD from this source. I bought my wife "Hairspray" on DVD for Christmas and played it in my PS3 which upscaled it to 1080 and I was blown away with the results, they were excellent and I can honestly say that you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the HD copy It was that good.
It was the 2 disc edition so all special features were on another disc. I don't know if this results in the movie being given more space resulting in a higher bit rate but as I said the upscale was impressive.
Older DVDs are not as impressive and I would think that this suggests that studios are upping their game when it comes to encoding.
Also if the format war is over then the charm offensive is on to get the mass market to move over, now is the time to make HD look as best it can to highlight the difference not settle for poor encodes and poor picture.
Anyway if standard discs continue to look as good as "Hairspray" then it's going to be harder to convince people to upgrade; the format war may be moot.

John Paul

Rob James
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Thoughtful piece here: http://www.itpro.co.uk/features/153633/blurays-mountain-to-climb-is-the-format-war-really-over/page1.html

suggesting that, even if the war is almost over, it may well turn out to be something of a Pyrric victory...

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

Matthew Brockman
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The war is definately over, if the pile of redundant boxes in my loft is any indication:- Phillips Digital Compact Cassette, CD-i player, Betamax VCR machine.

I am obviously the true deteminator of which formats will succeed or not and I can now reveal that, since I invested in a HD-DVD player (tesco's £199) the day before Warners announcement, that Blue-Ray will now become the defacto format going forward.

They were just waiting for me to make my decision.

Bugger!

Matt B  - Intel Core i7 960 3.2 GHz (self build) Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Mobo 12GB Corsair Vengance DDR3 1600Mhx memory NVIDIA Quadro FX3700 (Nvidia driver 275.89) Antec Phantom 500 PSU Antec P180 case Seagate 500GB system drive (dual boot) 2 x 400GB (Raid1) data drive 2 x 500GB (Raid0) media drive Running:- Windows 7 professional (64) Avid Media Composer 6.0.3.1 (production suite), Quick Time 7.7.1 and Avid Liquid 7.2

Rob James
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Bad luck Matthew on two counts. First, it looks like you backed the wrong horse - again and second the Tosh players are now £165 or 7 in Tescos. I'd be very inclined to take it back for a refund. I don't think you will need to provide much of a reason but if you do just tell them that it is ridiculously slow.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

getlostdave
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The real reason Warner went blu-ray:

Including details con the part that Fox played in the decision.

http://gizmodo.com/344680/the-real-reason-warner-went-blu+ray

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
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It just goes to show that there's not a significant difference between the formats, technically, which is what I've believed all along. So it's all down to money, the briber with the deepest pocket wins, as usual.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

PaulD
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Hi
This is on a link from that page - The Downfall of HD-DVD, the movie! LOL!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=friS4OOcdgQ

StevenBagley
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Alan Roberts wrote:
It just goes to show that there's not a significant difference between the formats, technically, which is what I've believed all along.

Although the implementation of HDDVD players leaves a lot to be desired... Very very buggy and unusably slow is my experience of my E1.

Steven

garymck
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Excellent:D
Gary

drgagx
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Alan Roberts wrote:
It just goes to show that there's not a significant difference between the formats, technically, which is what I've believed all along. So it's all down to money, the briber with the deepest pocket wins, as usual.

Did not Toshiba try that with Paramount first? Looks to me that the BluRay camp decided to fight that firepower with their own firepower - and proved to have a deeper pocket? Beyond that consumers seemd to favour BluRay by about 2 to 1 in sales. So in the end I think the consumer vote was really decisive.

infocus
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getlostdave wrote:
The real reason Warner went blu-ray:

I think the real, real reason was because the studios wanted an end to the format war, and saw themselves as the real losers whilst the hardware firms battled it out. And if taking a nice handout was the price for ending the war, that's what I'd call win-win from their point of view! :)

getlostdave
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getlostdave wrote:
The simple fact is that there is a press release getting reproduced on the Internet listing mpeg2 releases:

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/pressrelease_fox_q1_2008.html

Dave

The good news here is that Man on fire the first 'MPEG2' release listed in Fox's press release turned out to be an MPEG4 encode:

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/608/manonfire.html

SimonMW
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A quote from an article in HD Studio

Quote:
HD DVD, however, is not dead. Two major studios, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, have deals in place to continue releasing their movies exclusively on HD DVD, as does DreamWorks Animation. [However, it’s rumoured that Paramount and Universal will announce a switch to Blu-ray later this year, when their existing agreements expire.]

If that last rumour turns out to be true then I think HD-DVD really is dead in the water.

Another reason cited in that same article for the Warner switch was because DVD sales are falling, and they don't want format confusion to further dilute sales in what should be a boon for filmmakers.

Certainly bribes are part and parcel of all of this. Its the same for broadcast equipment sales to a lot of big TV stations a lot of the time (which is why one minute some stations are XDCAM, and the next they appear to have gone P2 or 3D Holographic Zanycam or whatever.) Many manufacturers giving their equipment away for dirt cheap prices for a headline.

PaulD
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Rob James wrote:
...even if the war is almost over, it may well turn out to be something of a Pyrric victory...

Hi
There was an interesting development on this buried in the Apple MacWorld presentation yesterday, when Jim Gianopoulos, CEO of 20th Century Fox said:
"Actually the real back story is going back to the idea of giving people choices and options of ways of enjoying movies - now and going forward, now that the next generation format will be Blu-Ray, and we don't want to deny people the choice of having that same movie available to them on their iPod and Apple TV. We've developed a digital copy that will be on discs going forward..."

So they're doing the ripping for you, to own, if you buy their DVDs - and Apple TV is a HD-res (720p) device, so presumably the Blu-Ray discs digital copy may well be HD (it will be on the iTunes Movie Rental service).

So at one stroke that has obviated the need to own a HD DVD set-top player - you use the computer's Blu-Ray drive to extract the digital data to wi-fi it to the $229 Apple TV box....
If you don't have a computer the Apple TV can get it in HD via broadband for $4.99 for a 24 hour rental.

getlostdave
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And it all becomes clearer still! ;-)

Digital Playground to Support Blu-ray Disc Format

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=69

SimonMW
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Rocketeer
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Rob James
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Excellent! Thanks for the link. In the interests of balance I should point out that in this scenario Blu-ray is Stalin...

In short, lord help us.

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

getlostdave
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Opps,

getlostdave wrote:
And it all becomes clearer still! ;-)

Digital Playground to Support Blu-ray Disc Format

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=69

http://www.fragland.net/news/Death-of-HD-DVD-Porn-goes-Blu-ray-Updated/18404/

“Currently Blu-ray is very expensive to encode and replicate. It probably won't be embraced by the adult industry until the price is lowered,” Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, told DailyTech. “We will continue to consider [Blu-ray Disc] for some of our blockbuster titles and also continue to produce in HD DVD."

Apologies for the inaccurate post.

Dave

getlostdave
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Rocketeer wrote:
Don't Mention The War!

The Downfall of HD-DVD

The fact that Downfall appears to be available on HD-DVD, but not, as far as I can find, on Blu-ray will probably be an irony lost on some!

http://bp2.blogger.com/_giGXOVAn0KM/RvT_oTHXyiI/AAAAAAAAAQc/uP3Ec2xctgI/s1600-h/spel.jpg

;-)

SimonMW
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Quote:
Currently Blu-ray is very expensive to encode and replicate.

Replication may be more expensive (but that will come down in time), but encoding shouldn't be any different since both formats use the same compression.

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
Replication may be more expensive (but that will come down in time), but encoding shouldn't be any different since both formats use the same compression.

We are also taking a different of a few cents and the fact that for a standard movie usually requires a dual-layer HDDVD against a single-layer Bluray actually makes the Blurays cheaper to manufacture.

Steven

getlostdave
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So what you're saying, collectively, is that the reason given by the p**n industry for sticking with HD-DVD indicates that they don't know their a** from their elbow.

Dave

;-)

doolahroak
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I thought the reason was that Sony wouldn't grant them a licence to put the films out on Bluray

DAVE M
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Yes - Sony wouldn't allow Betamax to be used for the Adult Ents Industry and look where it got them. Like it or not, a lot of early adopters were into the technology for what was available. (the net/home video tape and DVD)

getlostdave
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My understanding is that this time Sony is keeping a descreet distance from the genre, but isn't prohibiting it:

Blu-ray "PornGate" Ends with the Return of 'Debbie Does Dallas'
http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/445

Digital Playground Promotes New Blu-ray Releases
http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=920

Dave

StevenBagley
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DAVE M wrote:
Yes - Sony wouldn't allow Betamax to be used for the Adult Ents Industry and look where it got them. Like it or not, a lot of early adopters were into the technology for what was available. (the net/home video tape and DVD)

Except that is a myth -- there's plenty of evidence that there was porn on Betamax (both in terms of physical media being sold second-hand and in terms of catalogues from the time) until the format was already in decline.

Steven

StevenBagley
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getlostdave wrote:
My understanding is that this time Sony is keeping a descreet distance from the genre, but isn't prohibiting it:

No -- Sony refused to replicate their disks in their replication house at a time when they were one of a minority of replicators so that there was no risk of Snow White containing a very different kind of disk (which has happened with great embarrassment on both DVD and VHS).

Steven

PaulD
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Toshiba to give up on HD DVD...

Hi
"TOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp is planning to give up on its HD DVD format for high-definition video, conceding defeat to the competing Blu-Ray technology backed by Sony Corp, a company source said on Saturday."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080216/media_nm/toshiba_hd_dvd_exit_dc_2;_ylt=Ah0G9LmsXEs6K36gOnQmzmUE1vAI

Stuart B-M
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Also...
http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=980

Kind Regards.

Charles
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Hi Stuart
Nice to see your still with us,hope everything is going ok with you.

Regards
Charles
avsvideo.co.uk

infocus
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Bob Aldis wrote:
Can't hear the fat lady singing :)

BobA

Bob - you posted that about 6 weeks ago. I think she's just uttered her first note......... :)

The rumours are that Toshiba will formally throw the towel in next week, at that point I think we can say she will be in full song.

Gavin Gration
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Let's hope the players are flogged off (even cheaper) with a bunch of films...I'll have one.

infocus
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Gavin Gration wrote:
Let's hope the players are flogged off (even cheaper) with a bunch of films...I'll have one.

Actually that's a pretty good idea. It should also make a very good upscaling SD disc player whilst we wait for the price of Blu-Ray players to come down.

Ron Spicer
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Stuart B-M wrote:
Also...
http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=980

Kind Regards.

I wonder if these firms are really interested in the customer as much as their profit margins . . . How much does the customer, who has hitherto bought into the HDDV scene, have to fork out to get cracking again in Blueray? Just wondering.

Ron.

StevenBagley
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infocus wrote:
Actually that's a pretty good idea. It should also make a very good upscaling SD disc player whilst we wait for the price of Blu-Ray players to come down.

You've obviously never used a HDDVD player :) They are ridiculously slow in operation, even for SD DVDs...

Steven

SimonMW
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Just read that Toshiba are to cease production of HD-DVD players.

Bob Aldis
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infocus wrote:
Bob - you posted that about 6 weeks ago. I think she's just uttered her first note......... :)

The rumours are that Toshiba will formally throw the towel in next week, at that point I think we can say she will be in full song.

She certainly seems to be warming up her vocal chords ;)

I was hoping for universal players and burners and then watch them push each others prices down.

BobA

Bob Aldis

Ron Spicer
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Ron Spicer wrote:
I wonder if these firms are really interested in the customer as much as their profit margins . . . How much does the customer, who has hitherto bought into the HDDV scene, have to fork out to get cracking again in Blueray? Just wondering.

Ron.

..... and has anyone read up on the licence.... ? £3000 ?

getlostdave
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Ron Spicer wrote:
I wonder if these firms are really interested in the customer as much as their profit margins . . . How much does the customer, who has hitherto bought into the HDDV scene, have to fork out to get cracking again in Blueray? Just wondering.

Ron.

According to some sites, the accelerated (alleged) decision by to exit HD-DVD production was driven by exactly these factors.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080217-official-hd-dvd-obituary-a-matter-of-days-not-weeks.html for example, indicates that Nextflix and Wal-Mart didn't want to participate in the burning of their customers:

What's more, our source says that Netflix and Wal-Mart were aware of HD DVD's impending official death, and rather than allow a long and drawn out withdrawal from the market that could burn customers, those companies chose to broadcast their intentions to the marketplace immediately. This puts pressure on Toshiba and its partners to exit the business without spending months trying to unload product that's essentially already obsolete.

Not that the decision isn't profit related, but it appears that the organisations are looking for longer term profits, rather than short term ones (Unlike the movie studios).

Dave

Lusky
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Just watched the BBC news report at lunch and they had a piece on the end of the war. The reporter was in a large Currys and asked the head electronics salesman what advice he was giving customers and what side he was advising customers to go with. His reply was

"It is FAR to early to say to customers what might win, we just don't know"

I'm slightly paraphrasing but I think he was basicaly saying that

" we have loads of HD DVD players in the back and we aint getting stuck with them"

I was actually spitting blood a the salesman as a lot of people who shop in Currys have no idea about the formats and need their advice on what to go for. He gave the impression that he'd sell a Betamax to his granny if he found one in the store room

John Paul

Gavin Gration
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Lusky wrote:
Just watched the BBC news report at lunch and they had a piece on the end of the war. The reporter was in a large Currys and asked the head electronics salesman what advice he was giving customers and what side he was advising customers to go with. His reply was

"It is FAR to early to say to customers what might win, we just don't know"

I'm slightly paraphrasing but I think he was basicaly saying that

" we have loads of HD DVD players in the back and we aint getting stuck with them"

I was actually spitting blood a the salesman as a lot of people who shop in Currys have no idea about the formats and need their advice on what to go for. He gave the impression that he'd sell a Betamax to his granny if he found one in the store room

DSG should be treated like a smiling assassin - only deal with them if you know what you are doing and have exhausted every other possible avenue........

What amazes me is that the lazy technology reporters buy into the various AND regular DGS yarns....

Comet don't seem as bad - I've never noticed them announce the end of a something, like VHS Recorders, as if it was their idea.........then continue to sell them years later.....

RayL
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Short notice, but this has only just arrived from my brother John, Curator of Telecommuications at the Science Museum. I pass it on for interest.

>>>>>>>>
Ray,

There may be a brief appearance of me on C4 news this evening, on the
historical context of the HD-DVD - Blu-Ray news.

John
18 Feb. 08
>>>>>>>>>

Ray

infocus
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Bob Aldis wrote:
I was hoping for universal players and burners and then watch them push each others prices down.

Trouble is the consumer worry would still have been there and stunted overall growth. Even if universal players had become more common, I wouldn't have felt comfortable about starting a collection of HD discs - they would then have been a mix of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, and the worry would be that maybe in a few years time one or the other would win the battle and half my collection becomes obsolescent.

With a winner we now have a natural CD to DVD to Blu-Ray progression - each offering more than the one before, whilst remaining backwards compatible.

Interesting thing is that Toshibas share price actually ROSE on the announcement, an indication that the analysts thought a losing outcome to the battle was better than carrying on fighting, with all the uncertainty that involves.

Gavin Gration
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RayL wrote:
Short notice, but this has only just arrived from my brother John, Curator of Telecommuications at the Science Museum. I pass it on for interest.

>>>>>>>>
Ray,

There may be a brief appearance of me on C4 news this evening, on the
historical context of the HD-DVD - Blu-Ray news.

John
18 Feb. 08
>>>>>>>>>

Ray

I saw your brother - Does that make him a war correspondent?

:) :D :)

Lusky
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Gavin Gration wrote:
I saw your brother - Does that make him a war correspondent?

:) :D :)

Very good, how long did that take? :)

by the way it is now official HD DVD Dead

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/?epi_menuItemID=8529ea2ad8631dcd3bb97904c6908a0c&epi_menuID=887566059a3aedb6efaaa9e27a808a0c&epi_baseMenuID=384979e8cc48c441ef0130f5c6908a0c&ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20080219005651

Now instead of competing with £20 HD DVDs Blu Ray has to compete with £10 DVDs. Maybe some price cuts?

John Paul

RayL
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Lusky wrote:
Very good, how long did that take? :)

by the way it is now official HD DVD Dead

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/?epi_menuItemID=8529ea2ad8631dcd3bb97904c6908a0c&epi_menuID=887566059a3aedb6efaaa9e27a808a0c&epi_baseMenuID=384979e8cc48c441ef0130f5c6908a0c&ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20080219005651

Now instead of competing with £20 HD DVDs Blu Ray has to compete with £10 DVDs. Maybe some price cuts?

Based on the previous occasions when John has been interviewed to provide the historical perspective on some item of current news, I expect the reporter phoned in the morning, went over to South Ken in the afternoon, recorded 15 mins of interview and edited it down to 20 secs for the evening news item.

No doubt John will be now looking out for examples of HD DVD and Blu-Ray players in anticipation of the inevitable interview in five years time when there is a 'war' between Very, Very, Very High Definition DVD and UV-Ray

Ray

Dave R Smith
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Joined: May 10 2005

So:
Blu-Ray is a brand name (inspired by it's blue laser)
HD DVD is hardly a brand name - more a generic term

and we have TV's being sold as 'HD Ready', but not 'Blu-Ray' Ready.

It's confusing enough for us in the know with many flavours within a format, so in the interest of giving a unified message to the consumer in the longer term now there is a single contender, I would like to see Blu Ray marketeted as HD DVD as that is what it is in the generic sense.

Then, consumers buying 'HD Ready' TV know they can plug in their 'HD DVD' (made by Blu-ray or anyone else complying with the format) and know they are compatible and will have the full advantages of the format.

Toshiba would no doubt try and claim it's their brand name (which i don't believe it is).

StevenBagley
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Dave R Smith wrote:
Then, consumers buying 'HD Ready' TV know they can plug in their 'HD DVD' (made by Blu-ray or anyone else complying with the format) and know they are compatible and will have the full advantages of the format.

But they might already have a HDD/DVD recorder under their HD Ready TV :) At least with Bluray as a name, it is distinct from everything else. Now all the consumer needs to know is that to get the best picture they need a bluray player and a HD TV, as opposed to a DVD player and a wdiescreen TV in 1998 :)

Steven

getlostdave
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From Toshiba (from the previously referenced press release) (http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/?epi_menuItemID=8529ea2ad8631dcd3bb97904c6908a0c&epi_menuID=887566059a3aedb6efaaa9e27a808a0c&epi_baseMenuID=384979e8cc48c441ef0130f5c6908a0c&ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20080219005651)

Toshiba also intends to maintain collaborative relations with the companies who joined with Toshiba in working to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation and major Japanese and European content providers on the entertainment side, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and HP. Toshiba will study possible collaboration with these companies for future business opportunities, utilizing the many assets generated through the development of HD DVD.

From microsoft (http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1819764820080218)

"We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player."

Young love!

Dave