HD DVD, why it sucks might not be why you think

Audioholics wrote about why HD-DVD has already failed.

I have an HD-DVD. I spent my own $500 on it. I also bought a $4,000 HD screen from Sony (it's a lot sharper than any of the screens my friends have). So, that makes me an expert on HD. Heheh.

But, Audioholics totally is wrong about HD-DVD.

Let's take on each point.

1) No one likes false starts. This is bullshit. When I bought my first CD, there was only 100 CDs at Tower Records. And all the "audiophiles" said the format sucked. I remember those guys — I sold audio equipment to geeks in Silicon Valley and they'd come in and debate me about why vinyl is a superior format. I told them they were smoking good dope. CD's quietness would beat any of Vinyl's superiorness and I turned out right. Same will go for DVD-HD. My friends come over, I put on a HD-DVD and they are amazed. Even Chris Pirillo and Ponzi.

2) Format wars don't sell players. They are right here. I bought HD-DVD because it was half the price of Blueray and there are already more titles at the local Best Buy.

3) The new formats are not stunning leaps forward in tech. I think this is the biggest bullshit comment (see, I can swear now that I'm leaving Microsoft). Anyone who comes over and watches an HD-DVD says "wow." It's HUGE difference in sharpness over previous DVDs.

4) Studios are greedy, unmotivated, etc. Yeah. Agreed. The reason I tell my friends NOT to buy HD-DVD is all due to the studios. They haven't released any movies in either format yet. They are stupid. But, what will their stupidness cause? The increasing rise of Bittorrent!!! Why? Cause assholes like me with $4,000 screens aren't gonna put up with this forever. We're gonna look for content and if the studios don't get on board FAST I'm gonna go elsewhere. Calling Steve Jobs!!!

5) Playstation 3 can't save the world. Well, I agree there. I already bought an Xbox360. You think I'm going to buy another console just to get another format? You're smoking good dope!

6) Ignoring history. See #4. If you don't get me content, I'm gonna find it anyway. I can only watch so much of Discovery Channel's Sunrise Channel before I'll get bored.

7) That people like new tech but are confused by it. When you get your HDTV home, you gotta make changes. You'll need to buy a new DVD player (your old one, if it doesn't upscale to HD resolutions) is not gonna be good enough. You'll need to make sure you find the HD content on your cable box. Even if you have Xbox 360 you'll need to get the HD cable and make sure to switch it to "HD." (A coworker didn't have it on for months until it was pointed out to him and it made a HUGE difference).

8) Enthusiasts are getting tired and smarter. Oh, I'm not tired yet of wasting my money. But, we definitely are hooked into a smart community. That's a HUGE change.

9) A skeptical media doesn't help. This is TRUE. Do you know WHY they are skeptical? When I was a the local TV station I asked when they were gonna be HD-compatible (they aren't yet). Turns out in 2007 and they are PISSED. They wanted to buy a new satellite truck, but instead, will have to buy new HD equipment and cameras. Not cheap or easy. They are gonna drag their feet as long as possible.
10) Broadband and IPTV to compete. Hey, I thought these were the same thing. Actually, I got a tour of the IPTV facility Microsoft built down in Silicon Valley. They ARE the same thing, albeit IPTV means that the phone company is gonna bring you 30 megabit DSL lines to your house. What does that mean? Four continuous channels (soon six) of HD. Imagine watching a baseball game with four windows — all in HD, all at the same time. Now THAT will blow away HD-DVD!!

So, what sucks about HD-DVD. Not the resolution. Not the number of titles (although that does suck right now). Not the technology. What sucks? The freaking price!!!

I can buy a scaling DVD for about $100. But the HD-DVD cost $500. Sorry, that's prohibitive for most people. When it comes down to $200 wake me up. Until then it'll be a failure. If I had an extra $500 right now I'd buy an Xbox, not HD-DVD.

Why do I say that? Cause Xbox Live delivers more HD content right now than HD-DVD.

Like I said, it's all about HD. Pay attention studios, you are about to get shaken up! More on this topic on Memeorandum.

75 thoughts on “HD DVD, why it sucks might not be why you think

  1. Just cruising the web looking for something else and ran across blog… Well, it’s a year later almost and so far most of the people who decried my original article still must admit this is looking like it’s going to end up exactly as DVD-Audio and SACD – niche market.

    I would prefer a format “win” but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case insomuch as one format may eventually “win” a larger marketshare of the niche market. Your mom and dad (uncle, sister0in-law, etc) will likely never use BD or HD DVD – unless they are unusually tech saavy.

    Thanks for all the commentary – it certainly turned out to be more controversial than even I intended!

  2. Just cruising the web looking for something else and ran across blog… Well, it’s a year later almost and so far most of the people who decried my original article still must admit this is looking like it’s going to end up exactly as DVD-Audio and SACD – niche market.

    I would prefer a format “win” but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case insomuch as one format may eventually “win” a larger marketshare of the niche market. Your mom and dad (uncle, sister0in-law, etc) will likely never use BD or HD DVD – unless they are unusually tech saavy.

    Thanks for all the commentary – it certainly turned out to be more controversial than even I intended!

  3. you guys are nuts, its 2007 and im dying to buy a big HD tv for my xbox, and with so much crap on stores i dont knoww what to go for, 2000 for a 60 inch tv isnt that bad. but finding one with enough plugs or one with sum decent speakers,or one that doesnt need sumthing else, argg

  4. you guys are nuts, its 2007 and im dying to buy a big HD tv for my xbox, and with so much crap on stores i dont knoww what to go for, 2000 for a 60 inch tv isnt that bad. but finding one with enough plugs or one with sum decent speakers,or one that doesnt need sumthing else, argg

  5. The biggest reason HDTV sucks is that everyone has to waste a lot of money on it.

    I have 3DTV – that is Projection Volumetric.
    I have had it since before Anyone had an HDTV.
    The RESOLUTION is scalable and unlimited.
    I wonder what kind of dope they were on when
    they Defined HD-TV, but it will waste a lot of
    time and money, and might as well be cinema film,
    because “they” won’t sell any 3DTV’s
    until “you all” want to make and be INSIDE your movies. Then you will make your own.
    Until then you will be paying a lot just to stare at a wall.
    Movies are so 1800′s.
    Now that you have a color TV,
    How would you like a new “8-track” tape player?

    The R&D on my 3DTV PROJECTOR had no budget,
    and has been public domained to avoid obscurity,
    so you can build your own right now!
    (If you can still find a pair of 56K modems.)

    (No you don’t need a pair of glasses,
    yes you can reach into the image objects,
    no, it’s not the curved mirror trick-
    it can work with only one optic – a lens,
    but a DMD can make millions of megavoxels.)

    They call this “disruptive technology”.
    Can you handle the depth of reality?
    Why pay a lot to stare at a wall?

    There aren’t enough brains to go around.
    Get yourself one before they are all gone.

  6. The biggest reason HDTV sucks is that everyone has to waste a lot of money on it.

    I have 3DTV – that is Projection Volumetric.
    I have had it since before Anyone had an HDTV.
    The RESOLUTION is scalable and unlimited.
    I wonder what kind of dope they were on when
    they Defined HD-TV, but it will waste a lot of
    time and money, and might as well be cinema film,
    because “they” won’t sell any 3DTV’s
    until “you all” want to make and be INSIDE your movies. Then you will make your own.
    Until then you will be paying a lot just to stare at a wall.
    Movies are so 1800′s.
    Now that you have a color TV,
    How would you like a new “8-track” tape player?

    The R&D on my 3DTV PROJECTOR had no budget,
    and has been public domained to avoid obscurity,
    so you can build your own right now!
    (If you can still find a pair of 56K modems.)

    (No you don’t need a pair of glasses,
    yes you can reach into the image objects,
    no, it’s not the curved mirror trick-
    it can work with only one optic – a lens,
    but a DMD can make millions of megavoxels.)

    They call this “disruptive technology”.
    Can you handle the depth of reality?
    Why pay a lot to stare at a wall?

    There aren’t enough brains to go around.
    Get yourself one before they are all gone.

  7. This could turn out to be similar to digital tape. Neither format won in the music retail market. DAT was used for professional recording and DLT was used in computer servers as a backup medium. Turned out that CD-R and DVD-R etc won out.

    The issue here is that the uptake of HDTVs have not reached critical mass. By the time it does it is very possible there will be another type of technology that is better able to deliver HD content. Probably some kind of broadband but who knows what the future holds.

  8. This could turn out to be similar to digital tape. Neither format won in the music retail market. DAT was used for professional recording and DLT was used in computer servers as a backup medium. Turned out that CD-R and DVD-R etc won out.

    The issue here is that the uptake of HDTVs have not reached critical mass. By the time it does it is very possible there will be another type of technology that is better able to deliver HD content. Probably some kind of broadband but who knows what the future holds.

  9. Scoble,
    I noticed there are a couple of points missing in all the articles:
    1) The US will be FORCING TV stations to broadcast in HD in the next couple of years, and all TVs sold over 24″ already require that they are HD Compatible in North America.

    2) Blu Ray can’t play your existing DVDs. Many people don’t want to repurchase movies over and over. I’m sorry, but those collections of movies that were “enhanced” copies of their VHS counterparts will not look that much better in HD. This is an advantage for HD-DVD, since the players can read both formats. Also, another advantage of this? The HD-DVD format is so compatible with DVD, that you can have a double sided DVD / HD-DVD which would push that format out there more. You might not have an HD-DVD player in each room, but, you’re more apt to have a DVD player in most of them. This means that you buy 1 disc, you use the HD side in your main home theatre, but can still watch the lower res version on your other equipment.

    I’m siding with Microsoft, HD-DVD will be the superior format because of its availability. Sure, it may not be the next big thing, but, it is a step in the right direction. Blu Ray, will probably be limited to those that purchase the PREMIUM Playstation3 bundle, since the lower price bundle doesn’t have HDMI output which is required for BluRay.

  10. Scoble,
    I noticed there are a couple of points missing in all the articles:
    1) The US will be FORCING TV stations to broadcast in HD in the next couple of years, and all TVs sold over 24″ already require that they are HD Compatible in North America.

    2) Blu Ray can’t play your existing DVDs. Many people don’t want to repurchase movies over and over. I’m sorry, but those collections of movies that were “enhanced” copies of their VHS counterparts will not look that much better in HD. This is an advantage for HD-DVD, since the players can read both formats. Also, another advantage of this? The HD-DVD format is so compatible with DVD, that you can have a double sided DVD / HD-DVD which would push that format out there more. You might not have an HD-DVD player in each room, but, you’re more apt to have a DVD player in most of them. This means that you buy 1 disc, you use the HD side in your main home theatre, but can still watch the lower res version on your other equipment.

    I’m siding with Microsoft, HD-DVD will be the superior format because of its availability. Sure, it may not be the next big thing, but, it is a step in the right direction. Blu Ray, will probably be limited to those that purchase the PREMIUM Playstation3 bundle, since the lower price bundle doesn’t have HDMI output which is required for BluRay.

  11. Re: the fact that you can buy a $100 scaling DVD player, you can indeed. But in my experience they don’t do a much better job than the scaling the TV itself does. The Toshiba, on the other hand, does as good a job (if not better than) Oppo’s award-winning $250 players. If you’re considering one of those anyway, the remaining $250 for the support of HD-DVD (which, as you point out, does look better than a scaled DVD) doesn’t seem quite so scary.

  12. Re: the fact that you can buy a $100 scaling DVD player, you can indeed. But in my experience they don’t do a much better job than the scaling the TV itself does. The Toshiba, on the other hand, does as good a job (if not better than) Oppo’s award-winning $250 players. If you’re considering one of those anyway, the remaining $250 for the support of HD-DVD (which, as you point out, does look better than a scaled DVD) doesn’t seem quite so scary.

  13. You make some really valid points Robert. I think for the people who are HD-DVD fans and are worried about most of the movie studios being in bed with Blu-Ray should stop worrying.

    Remember Divx? I’m not talking about the codec, i’m talking about the failed “alternative” to DVDs that Circuit City was pushing on consumers. You would buy the Divx DVD and you would take it home but once you activated it (translates to watching it) you would have a certain amount of time to use it before you would have to pay to activate it again. Well of you remember a lot of studios were holding out for divx and not releasing on DVD. It was the smart ones if i remember correctly like Warner Bros and MGM that supported DVD and look what happened — they got an extra year or so of being the only game in town before Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox and the others jumped onboard with DVD.

    I predict this will be the same with this format war. From the reviews i’ve read the HD-DVD looks better than the archaic Mpeg-2 of Blu-Ray. I think as time goes on you will find studios no longer willing to stand by and align themselves with only one format.
    Should be an interesting time indeed.

  14. You make some really valid points Robert. I think for the people who are HD-DVD fans and are worried about most of the movie studios being in bed with Blu-Ray should stop worrying.

    Remember Divx? I’m not talking about the codec, i’m talking about the failed “alternative” to DVDs that Circuit City was pushing on consumers. You would buy the Divx DVD and you would take it home but once you activated it (translates to watching it) you would have a certain amount of time to use it before you would have to pay to activate it again. Well of you remember a lot of studios were holding out for divx and not releasing on DVD. It was the smart ones if i remember correctly like Warner Bros and MGM that supported DVD and look what happened — they got an extra year or so of being the only game in town before Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox and the others jumped onboard with DVD.

    I predict this will be the same with this format war. From the reviews i’ve read the HD-DVD looks better than the archaic Mpeg-2 of Blu-Ray. I think as time goes on you will find studios no longer willing to stand by and align themselves with only one format.
    Should be an interesting time indeed.

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