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Why I would skip HD DVD and Blu-ray rubbish

HD DVD and Blu-ray format war for next-gen high definition content just doesn’t excite me at all. I don’t see a great need to choose between the two mediocre and confusing things; and the DRM obsession beyond reason in both is simply too much to accept. Add the price/performance factor, and you’ll quickly realise it’s simply a dumb idea to invest in these technologies. On the other hand, IPTV (and generally, convergence to IP) is amazingly cool and I’m really really looking forward to it in next 2 years or so.

10 Reasons Why High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed

3 replies on “Why I would skip HD DVD and Blu-ray rubbish”

I agree to a point, but this is just the latest in a long line of format battles. Indeed, the lack of competition when the initial DVD-Video format was released was a rarity indeed!

Before the days of DVDs we had Laserdisc and CDV battling for optical storage of video data, and of course, VHS and Betamax battling for magnetic storage of video data (with many proponents claiming that Betamax was the superior format).

Another such example is when home DVD recorders first started being manufactured, when we had DVD+R, DVD-R and DVD-RAM recorders, each of which used a subtly different format. And again, these multiple formats couldn’t compete, with DVD-RAM falling out of favour and virtually every recorder now happy to record on DVD+R or DVD-R without the consumer needing to know the difference.

Regarding HD-DVD and Blu-ray, there is definitely a sense of history repeating itself, with the battle looking very similar to VHS vs Betamax. In that battle, one of the reasons Betamax lost was due to Sony being very strict about the implementation of it by third-party manufacturers – this led to a far greater number of companies producing VHS machines than Betamax machines. It seems that Sony may have learnt from their mistake though – Blu-ray was developed by a large group of companies including Sony, rather than being owned by Sony and licensed out.

I have to say that the DRM issue doesn’t concern me at this point – I must admit to never having had a desire to do anything with a video DVD that DRM would have prevented. I do think that DRM is a waste of time that will inconvience the home user whilst doing nothing to prevent the pirate organisations, but DRM wouldn’t stop me buying into one of these technologies.

As for the price, don’t forget that the first LP VHS machines cost in excess of $1000. When you consider inflation, that makes either Blu-ray or HD-DVD players seem positively cheap. Obviously, for most people at the moment, it’s not worth the money, in just the same way as Betamax/VHS wasn’t worth the money when it was released. But of all the things that are going to cause these formats to fail, cost is certainly not one of them, in my opinion.

Bad form to reply to yourself, but I just came across this link:

Seems that Warner are planning to release their HD content on something they call a ‘Total HD’ disc – effectively they burn a Blu-ray version of the movie on one side of the disc and a HD-DVD version of the movie on the other side.

Positives are obviously that the consumer gets something that will work in their player regardless of what format it uses, for (presumably, as manufacturing costs are so cheap) the same price.

There are some negatives though – I’d be concerned about the resilience of a disc with data on both sides, especially as the layer of plastic covering the reflective surface will presumably be half as thick. Consumers will still need to know what player they have in order to put the disc in correctly. And Warner may not allow other studios to use the technology.

A more interesting (although not unexpected) development is that of LG’s BH100 player, which is compatible with both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs. The fact that these players are being released already suggests that rather than the likelihood of one format dying, the two formats may live side-by-side for some time to come, with the consumers not having to care what format the HD movie they want is released in.

The BH100 has an RRP of $1200, but it’s a safer bet for early adopters than buying into a single-format machine. More information on the player here:

Hi there,

Thanks. ‘Total HD’ does indeed sound very interesting – but seems like a wrong way to solve the problem, but ya as you said, it does fix some of the issues.

I also read somewhere that the possibility of HD DVD DRM bypass with a great ease, thanks to BackupHDDVD tool (few lines of plain Java code!) would ironically boost its position in the market over Blu-ray!

More about BackupHDDVD :

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