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.

Comments

  1. Hey, when you’re right, you’re right. On this one, you’re right.

    I a similar argument recently with a friend who insisted HDMI wasn’t better than composite (analog). He came over to my house, took one look, and paid up.

    I have a good scaling DVD player but I’m going to get an HD-DVD as soon as I can. Which will be, uh, when the price comes down :)

  2. Hey, when you’re right, you’re right. On this one, you’re right.

    I a similar argument recently with a friend who insisted HDMI wasn’t better than composite (analog). He came over to my house, took one look, and paid up.

    I have a good scaling DVD player but I’m going to get an HD-DVD as soon as I can. Which will be, uh, when the price comes down :)

  3. Yeah the reason WHY, I repeat WHY HD DVD players cost more than BLURAY is because they come without burners what WITHOUT, yes that’s right, now if that’s called improvement i don’t know what it is.

    I’m gonna stick to the BluRay side and it’s gonna win in the end, even if microsoft is going to lose the HD war

  4. Yeah the reason WHY, I repeat WHY HD DVD players cost more than BLURAY is because they come without burners what WITHOUT, yes that’s right, now if that’s called improvement i don’t know what it is.

    I’m gonna stick to the BluRay side and it’s gonna win in the end, even if microsoft is going to lose the HD war

  5. Jim: you keep telling yourself that.

    Oh, and CDs are better than MP3s. Doesn’t matter. Consumers go toward formats that ARE better. Not just technically.

    Patrick: the Blueray players I’ve seen announced haven’t shipped yet. First knock. Second, they are twice the price of HD-DVD. Second knock. Third, so what if they don’t record. I don’t record DVDs. I want to play them. If I wanted to record I’d just buy a bigger hard drive and store them on my hard drive.

  6. Jim: you keep telling yourself that.

    Oh, and CDs are better than MP3s. Doesn’t matter. Consumers go toward formats that ARE better. Not just technically.

    Patrick: the Blueray players I’ve seen announced haven’t shipped yet. First knock. Second, they are twice the price of HD-DVD. Second knock. Third, so what if they don’t record. I don’t record DVDs. I want to play them. If I wanted to record I’d just buy a bigger hard drive and store them on my hard drive.

  7. At CES this year one of the tech companies had a huge display with two plasma screens showing the same movie at the same time – one was regular DVD and the other was HD DVD. The poster next to them said something about “see the difference.”

    I couldn’t see the difference. I had to ask the salesman which was which. I’m sure videophiles can tell the difference, but I can’t.

    There’s a place for HD DVD – but it isn’t as a replacement for DVD. The people who want HD DVD are the high-end people who have huge plasma screens. They have money, so they might keep whoever wins the next-gen DVD battle in business, but they won’t go mainstream anytime soon.

  8. At CES this year one of the tech companies had a huge display with two plasma screens showing the same movie at the same time – one was regular DVD and the other was HD DVD. The poster next to them said something about “see the difference.”

    I couldn’t see the difference. I had to ask the salesman which was which. I’m sure videophiles can tell the difference, but I can’t.

    There’s a place for HD DVD – but it isn’t as a replacement for DVD. The people who want HD DVD are the high-end people who have huge plasma screens. They have money, so they might keep whoever wins the next-gen DVD battle in business, but they won’t go mainstream anytime soon.

  9. Michael, if you can’t see the difference you need to have your eyes checked. Seriously. They aren’t even close in quality.

    Everyone who has visited says “wow.” Ask Buzz or Chris.

    But, not everyone has good vision. Sorry if that’s your case.

  10. Michael, if you can’t see the difference you need to have your eyes checked. Seriously. They aren’t even close in quality.

    Everyone who has visited says “wow.” Ask Buzz or Chris.

    But, not everyone has good vision. Sorry if that’s your case.

  11. 1. What YOU smoking? Standardization is key. Everyone hates false starts. Hollywood doesn’t want to produce two formats. You forgot the Beta and VHS wars? Incompatibilities are consumer kills. I don’t buy your example either, as audiophiles were all over CDs, it was the DDD era. Sure some 70s dope-smoking FM-types preaching vinyl til death (Limbaughese lingo there). But hardly the majority.

    2. Format wars don’t sell players. Right, but wait, I thought you said false starts are ok. Within 2 points, you managed to contradict yourself.

    3. They aren’t stunning leaps. Not compared to say film. About 3-4 times the res. of SDTV, if you will. Depends on your perspective of “stunning”, and from which vantage point you leap from.

    4. Studios just don’t see a market yet. All the studios fault for not hand feeding Scoble’s wants? Your edge-casing is causing you to become a pirate? Interesting ethics. Funny, I’d call this crybaby’ing. Reminds me if your ‘if don’t use RSS feeds, should be fired’ stance.

    5. Playstation 3 can’t save the world. Nope (esp. not with Sony running it into the ground). But it has a far bigger worldwide market-share footprint than XBox 360 ever will. Xbox 360 can’t even currently keep pace with PS2 in sales. So best of luck there.

    6. Pretty only works for so long. Eventually you have to have COMPELLING content.

    7. Gee, you think that confusion is going to help adoption rates?

    8. The market chaos, confusion, political and manufacturer squabbles all end results in a support group community of sorts and you call that becoming smarter? Umm ok.

    9. Skeptical media helps seriously, reviews the good, outs the bad, for as you know, not all companies are honest with spec’s. Someone has to say the Emperor hath no clothes. If you aren’t wary, you will fall for every scam in the book.

    10. IPTV ‘gold rush’ is going to swallow many many victims, Microsoft of chief. Maybe less so, on account of Waster in Chief, Sire Gates leaving.

    The price? Knock, knock, any cutting-edge tech is ALWAYS expensive, wait it out, it commodity downs itself to affordable and profitable.

    So basically you are wrong on all 10 points…

  12. 1. What YOU smoking? Standardization is key. Everyone hates false starts. Hollywood doesn’t want to produce two formats. You forgot the Beta and VHS wars? Incompatibilities are consumer kills. I don’t buy your example either, as audiophiles were all over CDs, it was the DDD era. Sure some 70s dope-smoking FM-types preaching vinyl til death (Limbaughese lingo there). But hardly the majority.

    2. Format wars don’t sell players. Right, but wait, I thought you said false starts are ok. Within 2 points, you managed to contradict yourself.

    3. They aren’t stunning leaps. Not compared to say film. About 3-4 times the res. of SDTV, if you will. Depends on your perspective of “stunning”, and from which vantage point you leap from.

    4. Studios just don’t see a market yet. All the studios fault for not hand feeding Scoble’s wants? Your edge-casing is causing you to become a pirate? Interesting ethics. Funny, I’d call this crybaby’ing. Reminds me if your ‘if don’t use RSS feeds, should be fired’ stance.

    5. Playstation 3 can’t save the world. Nope (esp. not with Sony running it into the ground). But it has a far bigger worldwide market-share footprint than XBox 360 ever will. Xbox 360 can’t even currently keep pace with PS2 in sales. So best of luck there.

    6. Pretty only works for so long. Eventually you have to have COMPELLING content.

    7. Gee, you think that confusion is going to help adoption rates?

    8. The market chaos, confusion, political and manufacturer squabbles all end results in a support group community of sorts and you call that becoming smarter? Umm ok.

    9. Skeptical media helps seriously, reviews the good, outs the bad, for as you know, not all companies are honest with spec’s. Someone has to say the Emperor hath no clothes. If you aren’t wary, you will fall for every scam in the book.

    10. IPTV ‘gold rush’ is going to swallow many many victims, Microsoft of chief. Maybe less so, on account of Waster in Chief, Sire Gates leaving.

    The price? Knock, knock, any cutting-edge tech is ALWAYS expensive, wait it out, it commodity downs itself to affordable and profitable.

    So basically you are wrong on all 10 points…

  13. 1. Yeah, I remember the Beta vs. VHS wars. I pushed Beta in my store. It was sharper. It made me realize that a better format won’t sell unless it’s cheaper and unless it lets you play more movies (and more porn). The format is up in the air until the porn industry jumps in and decides this one. Hint: that ain’t Sony OR Microsoft.

    2) No, but what’ll sell players? Price and content. Right now neither BlueRay or HD-DVD has either. Wake me up when one does.

    3) I don’t have a film studio in my house. Do you? What it is stunning next to is FREAKING TV!!! That’s what everyone has in their homes. Not a movie studio.

    4) Hollywood didn’t see MP3s either until Steve Jobs talked them into it. Now he’s running Disney. Steve understands this game is all about HD too. Wait until we get an Apple “DisneyCenter” that every five-year-old will want.

    5) Playstation 2 is a lot cheaper than Xbox. It all comes down to price. That’s what normal people outside of the echochamber decide purchases on. Just visit Costco with me some weekend and watch.

    6) Agreed. But Americans have proven to me that they’ll watch a lot of crap.

    7) Good point.

    8-10) My son is playing an HD video he downloaded over Xbox. Gotta go.

    7)

  14. But, not everyone has good vision. Sorry if that’s your case.

    Dang, touchy there, eh? Insulting as comeback. All depends on what type, eh? CRT, Flat panel LCD, Plasma, Rear projection LCD, Rear projection DLP, Rear projection CRT, Rear projection LCoS. Which is something you forgot in your HDTV screed, what TYPE of tech. ;)

  15. But, not everyone has good vision. Sorry if that’s your case.

    Dang, touchy there, eh? Insulting as comeback. All depends on what type, eh? CRT, Flat panel LCD, Plasma, Rear projection LCD, Rear projection DLP, Rear projection CRT, Rear projection LCoS. Which is something you forgot in your HDTV screed, what TYPE of tech. ;)

  16. 1. Yeah, I remember the Beta vs. VHS wars. I pushed Beta in my store. It was sharper. It made me realize that a better format won’t sell unless it’s cheaper and unless it lets you play more movies (and more porn). The format is up in the air until the porn industry jumps in and decides this one. Hint: that ain’t Sony OR Microsoft.

    2) No, but what’ll sell players? Price and content. Right now neither BlueRay or HD-DVD has either. Wake me up when one does.

    3) I don’t have a film studio in my house. Do you? What it is stunning next to is FREAKING TV!!! That’s what everyone has in their homes. Not a movie studio.

    4) Hollywood didn’t see MP3s either until Steve Jobs talked them into it. Now he’s running Disney. Steve understands this game is all about HD too. Wait until we get an Apple “DisneyCenter” that every five-year-old will want.

    5) Playstation 2 is a lot cheaper than Xbox. It all comes down to price. That’s what normal people outside of the echochamber decide purchases on. Just visit Costco with me some weekend and watch.

    6) Agreed. But Americans have proven to me that they’ll watch a lot of crap.

    7) Good point.

    8-10) My son is playing an HD video he downloaded over Xbox. Gotta go.

    7)

  17. Christopher: I was at the same CES he was. I was in the same booth. To me and my friends there was a DRAMATIC difference between the two.

    So, if you can’t see that, I have to wonder about your vision.

  18. Christopher: I was at the same CES he was. I was in the same booth. To me and my friends there was a DRAMATIC difference between the two.

    So, if you can’t see that, I have to wonder about your vision.

  19. Christopher: regarding audio geeks not loving vinyl. That absolutely was NOT true. When I sold audio in the mid-80s I went to CES and visited all the speaker booths there. This was well after CDs came out. Every single booth insisted on comparing speakers with vinyl cause they said it was better. I insisted on bringing my own DVD player and jacking into their systems. Drove them nuts, but I told them that’s what my customers wanted. I was right, they weren’t.

  20. Christopher: regarding audio geeks not loving vinyl. That absolutely was NOT true. When I sold audio in the mid-80s I went to CES and visited all the speaker booths there. This was well after CDs came out. Every single booth insisted on comparing speakers with vinyl cause they said it was better. I insisted on bringing my own DVD player and jacking into their systems. Drove them nuts, but I told them that’s what my customers wanted. I was right, they weren’t.

  21. You do realise, that the majority people around the world are not as loaded as you, and have no way to afford large TV’s. And if you’re thinking your not loaded, think again, you’re still very well off – more so than most people.

    America isnt the world. Take a look overseas, I’ve yet to even see a HDMI plug, nor a single HD-DVD in the stores here in Australia. And the few stores that have them, sell them for ridiculous prices as there is no demand.

    DVD succeeded because it was a better physical format than videos, and didnt have many of the flaws and limitations videos had. HD-DVD/Bluray, do not offer any clear solutions to any flaws in dvd. They’re just ‘upgrades’ of the existing offering higher resolution and better sound, not a big leap in technology. And they can only be seen by those with equipment capable of handling them.

    Don’t forget those on the receding edge of technology, those who cannot afford it, or simply do not want to embrace it. It’s only in the last few years they’ve started to use DVD, yet already the industry is trying to alienate them again by releasing a new format, which has improvements that are only going to benefit those who have the money to buy a big screen and sound system.

    DVD will be replaced, it’s inevitable. But it’s going to be a very very very long time before it is.

    Cool down on the language too, it makes your writing seem like an emotionally charged kneejerk reaction to the article.

    Hard to read and take seriously, which is a pity, I used to like the way you wrote. You probably dont mind, but you’re slowly slipping out my rss reading and most probably many others.

  22. You do realise, that the majority people around the world are not as loaded as you, and have no way to afford large TV’s. And if you’re thinking your not loaded, think again, you’re still very well off – more so than most people.

    America isnt the world. Take a look overseas, I’ve yet to even see a HDMI plug, nor a single HD-DVD in the stores here in Australia. And the few stores that have them, sell them for ridiculous prices as there is no demand.

    DVD succeeded because it was a better physical format than videos, and didnt have many of the flaws and limitations videos had. HD-DVD/Bluray, do not offer any clear solutions to any flaws in dvd. They’re just ‘upgrades’ of the existing offering higher resolution and better sound, not a big leap in technology. And they can only be seen by those with equipment capable of handling them.

    Don’t forget those on the receding edge of technology, those who cannot afford it, or simply do not want to embrace it. It’s only in the last few years they’ve started to use DVD, yet already the industry is trying to alienate them again by releasing a new format, which has improvements that are only going to benefit those who have the money to buy a big screen and sound system.

    DVD will be replaced, it’s inevitable. But it’s going to be a very very very long time before it is.

    Cool down on the language too, it makes your writing seem like an emotionally charged kneejerk reaction to the article.

    Hard to read and take seriously, which is a pity, I used to like the way you wrote. You probably dont mind, but you’re slowly slipping out my rss reading and most probably many others.

  23. Scoble – have you ever considered that HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray will be THE LAST format war?

    Pretty soon (within a year I’d say) terabyte hard drives are going to be affordable. If I can store 100′s of HD movies on my home theater PC hard drive – why in the world would I care about HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? Hype up the format war all you want – pretty soon all this HD media is just going to be in electronic format and discs and their respective players will be a thing of the past. Just give me a huge gigabit pipe into my house and let me download movies to my hard drive – you can keep the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs and use them as coasters/frisbees.

  24. Scoble – have you ever considered that HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray will be THE LAST format war?

    Pretty soon (within a year I’d say) terabyte hard drives are going to be affordable. If I can store 100′s of HD movies on my home theater PC hard drive – why in the world would I care about HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? Hype up the format war all you want – pretty soon all this HD media is just going to be in electronic format and discs and their respective players will be a thing of the past. Just give me a huge gigabit pipe into my house and let me download movies to my hard drive – you can keep the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs and use them as coasters/frisbees.

  25. James: the same thing could have been said about EVERY single thing I, or my family, has purchased over the past 25 years.

    When my dad got our first Apple II computer back in 1977 you think anyone else around the world had them? Very few did. Those that did were the richest of the rich. But today hundreds of millions have a better computer than we had back then.

    Or, look at the dye sublimation printer that Steve Wozniak showed me back in 1989. It cost $40,000. Today a $70 printer does a better job.

    HD is coming. It will start in the richer of homes, but it will quickly get to a large percentage of the world’s homes. How do I know that? Because entire industries are working on doing just that.

    As far as my writing, there’s a back button and an unsubscribe button for a reason. Yeah, I am writing with passion here. I AM charged up. If that makes you uncomfortable maybe reading someone else for a while will be a good thing.

    Jason: I totally agree with you there. Already we’re watching good HD video content on our Xbox. It was delivered over the Internet.

    I can’t see that usage model slowing down. There’s a reason all the big companies are building huge datafarms.

  26. James: the same thing could have been said about EVERY single thing I, or my family, has purchased over the past 25 years.

    When my dad got our first Apple II computer back in 1977 you think anyone else around the world had them? Very few did. Those that did were the richest of the rich. But today hundreds of millions have a better computer than we had back then.

    Or, look at the dye sublimation printer that Steve Wozniak showed me back in 1989. It cost $40,000. Today a $70 printer does a better job.

    HD is coming. It will start in the richer of homes, but it will quickly get to a large percentage of the world’s homes. How do I know that? Because entire industries are working on doing just that.

    As far as my writing, there’s a back button and an unsubscribe button for a reason. Yeah, I am writing with passion here. I AM charged up. If that makes you uncomfortable maybe reading someone else for a while will be a good thing.

    Jason: I totally agree with you there. Already we’re watching good HD video content on our Xbox. It was delivered over the Internet.

    I can’t see that usage model slowing down. There’s a reason all the big companies are building huge datafarms.

  27. Your comment about the high cost of the HD-DVD player is intersting given that engadget.com and hdbeat.com have reported that Toshiba loses a packet on each one.

    In the UK we’re still waiting for HD-DVD. For DVD I was a very early adopter (had the player and US titles before it launched in the UK). For HD-DVD I’ll wait. Confusion abounds. I have a 50″ Pioneer Plasma TV that isn’t HD-ready but which I’m more than happy with (I should be given that it cost close to 10K – and that’s a UK pounds price, not a US dollar price). I’ve spent an absolute fortune on DVDs, but that’s because the quality is far better than VHS or the TV signal I can only get through a very poor analog cable company. The leap in quality between DVD and HD-DVD isn’t anywhere near as great and the problems with all the conflicting resolutions and lack of HDMI connections etc are just more encouragement to sit back and wait for the manufacturers to sort themselves out. Blu-Ray doesn’t even come into it (personally I think they’re doomed because they’re too expensive, their initial titles suck compared with HD-DVD, they’re late and Sony are notorious for screwing the public on prices with proprietary versions of things – memory stick anyone?).

    With just a single player on the market (Toshiba’s clunky and buggy player) the format is a long way from being established. Hopefully this time next year things will have moved on, but with HD-DVD releases being at 1080p it’s depressing how few components in the long HD-DVD chain are ready for that.

  28. Your comment about the high cost of the HD-DVD player is intersting given that engadget.com and hdbeat.com have reported that Toshiba loses a packet on each one.

    In the UK we’re still waiting for HD-DVD. For DVD I was a very early adopter (had the player and US titles before it launched in the UK). For HD-DVD I’ll wait. Confusion abounds. I have a 50″ Pioneer Plasma TV that isn’t HD-ready but which I’m more than happy with (I should be given that it cost close to 10K – and that’s a UK pounds price, not a US dollar price). I’ve spent an absolute fortune on DVDs, but that’s because the quality is far better than VHS or the TV signal I can only get through a very poor analog cable company. The leap in quality between DVD and HD-DVD isn’t anywhere near as great and the problems with all the conflicting resolutions and lack of HDMI connections etc are just more encouragement to sit back and wait for the manufacturers to sort themselves out. Blu-Ray doesn’t even come into it (personally I think they’re doomed because they’re too expensive, their initial titles suck compared with HD-DVD, they’re late and Sony are notorious for screwing the public on prices with proprietary versions of things – memory stick anyone?).

    With just a single player on the market (Toshiba’s clunky and buggy player) the format is a long way from being established. Hopefully this time next year things will have moved on, but with HD-DVD releases being at 1080p it’s depressing how few components in the long HD-DVD chain are ready for that.

  29. My vision is fine, thanks – I can distinguish individual pixels on my LCD monitor from a foot away, and that’s without my glasses.

    Maybe I saw a different booth than you, or maybe it was the cold I was suffering from at the time. Or maybe they hooked them both up to the same signal at once as a joke. My wife couldn’t spot the difference either.

    But then, we’re not videophiles. We only have a 27″ TV, and only got that because our 10-year-old 19″ model died. I think you’ll find there are lots of people like us out there, and we’re not the slightest bit excited about HD-DVD.

    On the other hand, I’m VERY much an audiophile. My speakers at my desk cost twice as much as the TV and I can spot the difference between 160K and 192K MP3s. I’d even buy DVD Audio discs if there were many available – but there aren’t enough people like me to make the format viable. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

    I think the mainstream will adopt a new format within 10 years, but it will be a downloadable one and HD* and Blu* will just be a footnote in tech history.

  30. My vision is fine, thanks – I can distinguish individual pixels on my LCD monitor from a foot away, and that’s without my glasses.

    Maybe I saw a different booth than you, or maybe it was the cold I was suffering from at the time. Or maybe they hooked them both up to the same signal at once as a joke. My wife couldn’t spot the difference either.

    But then, we’re not videophiles. We only have a 27″ TV, and only got that because our 10-year-old 19″ model died. I think you’ll find there are lots of people like us out there, and we’re not the slightest bit excited about HD-DVD.

    On the other hand, I’m VERY much an audiophile. My speakers at my desk cost twice as much as the TV and I can spot the difference between 160K and 192K MP3s. I’d even buy DVD Audio discs if there were many available – but there aren’t enough people like me to make the format viable. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

    I think the mainstream will adopt a new format within 10 years, but it will be a downloadable one and HD* and Blu* will just be a footnote in tech history.

  31. Ian: most electronic hardware loses money at first due to low volumes and a lot of R&D expenses. It’s worse in this case cause the players are pretty much hand built.

    Yeah, agreed about the lack of 1080p components. By next year this will be a lot different situation, albeit still expensive.

  32. Ian: most electronic hardware loses money at first due to low volumes and a lot of R&D expenses. It’s worse in this case cause the players are pretty much hand built.

    Yeah, agreed about the lack of 1080p components. By next year this will be a lot different situation, albeit still expensive.

  33. Michael: totally agree with you about the future being downloadable.

    I’m still trying to figure out what you saw at CES cause it sure didn’t match my experiences. On my set there’s a dramatic difference between DVD and HD-DVD. I wish there were more HD-DVD movies out. The DVD ones look blurry now (albeit regular DVD’s on my new screen and DVD player totally blow away what they used to look like on our old 32-inch set).

  34. Michael: totally agree with you about the future being downloadable.

    I’m still trying to figure out what you saw at CES cause it sure didn’t match my experiences. On my set there’s a dramatic difference between DVD and HD-DVD. I wish there were more HD-DVD movies out. The DVD ones look blurry now (albeit regular DVD’s on my new screen and DVD player totally blow away what they used to look like on our old 32-inch set).

  35. 10 Reasons Why High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed

    Clint DeBoer at Audioholics has produced a pre-emptive strike at the prospects of HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the two new blue-ray laser-based video formats. One interesting point is that it’s not like the battle between different console formats: The high de…

  36. 1) I had a chance to buy a used Xbox and a used PS2. Went with the PS2. Why? Game selection. PS2 kicks Xbox ass on the breadth of games available. I don’t like FPS games or Halo, and the only time I like playing on servers is when I know everyone there. Ever since my friend Chuck took down his Unreal Tournament server, I’ve not played on a server, don’t miss it. So what is there on an Xbox for me over a PS2?

    Nothing.

    Even when the PS3 comes out, if you look at the price of a PS3 at the price of an Xbox 360 *with* the HD DVD addon, there’s not a lot of difference, and again, game selection on the PS3 will be better from day one. (Doesn’t really matter, because the Wii is more innovative than either in terms of *game play*. The PS3 and the Xbox are chumming for the technoweenies, the Wii is trying to *act* of playing the game more fun in and of itself. That and the Wii will have a bigger catalog than the PS3 and the 360 combined. Teh Winnar)

    Secondly, when I go to buy a hi-def burner for my computer, which one am i going to go with since I don’t use windows? Do I wait and see if Microsoft will allow the HD-DVD software to run uncrippled on !Microsoft – controlled platforms? So far, i’ve heard nothing about that, and we all know that Microsoft’s record with regard to Windows Media on !Microsoft platforms is one of pathetic crippleware.

    Or do I look at Blu-Ray, which is based on Java? I know that right now, the odds for !Microsoft platforms favor Blu-Ray.

    The fact that the initial Blu-Ray players *are* also burners is important Robert, because it means that the only thing you need to get one in a computer is software and an interface. For HD DVD, you have to wait for the burners to be released. So again, Blu-Ray is thinking longer term from the get-go.

    That, and the porn industry is favoring Blu-Ray, and ultimately, if Porn doesn’t like a form of media transmission, it tends to fail.

  37. 1) I had a chance to buy a used Xbox and a used PS2. Went with the PS2. Why? Game selection. PS2 kicks Xbox ass on the breadth of games available. I don’t like FPS games or Halo, and the only time I like playing on servers is when I know everyone there. Ever since my friend Chuck took down his Unreal Tournament server, I’ve not played on a server, don’t miss it. So what is there on an Xbox for me over a PS2?

    Nothing.

    Even when the PS3 comes out, if you look at the price of a PS3 at the price of an Xbox 360 *with* the HD DVD addon, there’s not a lot of difference, and again, game selection on the PS3 will be better from day one. (Doesn’t really matter, because the Wii is more innovative than either in terms of *game play*. The PS3 and the Xbox are chumming for the technoweenies, the Wii is trying to *act* of playing the game more fun in and of itself. That and the Wii will have a bigger catalog than the PS3 and the 360 combined. Teh Winnar)

    Secondly, when I go to buy a hi-def burner for my computer, which one am i going to go with since I don’t use windows? Do I wait and see if Microsoft will allow the HD-DVD software to run uncrippled on !Microsoft – controlled platforms? So far, i’ve heard nothing about that, and we all know that Microsoft’s record with regard to Windows Media on !Microsoft platforms is one of pathetic crippleware.

    Or do I look at Blu-Ray, which is based on Java? I know that right now, the odds for !Microsoft platforms favor Blu-Ray.

    The fact that the initial Blu-Ray players *are* also burners is important Robert, because it means that the only thing you need to get one in a computer is software and an interface. For HD DVD, you have to wait for the burners to be released. So again, Blu-Ray is thinking longer term from the get-go.

    That, and the porn industry is favoring Blu-Ray, and ultimately, if Porn doesn’t like a form of media transmission, it tends to fail.

  38. I am surprised for all the new new clamoring that goes on in the Valley, that no one, yes no one, is talking about Holographic Versatile Disc. BluRay and HD-DVD are just DVD upgrades, DVD Part 2, HVD is the next step beyond. Now that will take forever, but it’s the next leap. Not sure it will ever make it to the consumer-level, but still that’s the mass storage (eventual) solution.

    Misc. Points

    Chatsworth, CA (porn capital of the world) isn’t as much a kick now, now that it’s all over-polluting and half-clogging up the net. The VHS era was due to limited access, not even remotely an issue now (sadly). Who matters? Hollywood, meaning Wilshire and not Devonshire. And that’s an easy win for BluRay. Easy. Sony finally wins one, amazing. And actually Burbank more of the player too. TV Season DVDs are more coveted than movies lots of times.

    Well, what type of audiophile? I know the Classical and Jazz types were all over CDs, DDD was praised to high heaven. I still think the vinyl types were all the bad-taste 70s rockheads. But basing a whole market segment on CES booths is pretty darned myopic.

    The future won’t be downloadable. Not ever for the mainstream.

  39. I am surprised for all the new new clamoring that goes on in the Valley, that no one, yes no one, is talking about Holographic Versatile Disc. BluRay and HD-DVD are just DVD upgrades, DVD Part 2, HVD is the next step beyond. Now that will take forever, but it’s the next leap. Not sure it will ever make it to the consumer-level, but still that’s the mass storage (eventual) solution.

    Misc. Points

    Chatsworth, CA (porn capital of the world) isn’t as much a kick now, now that it’s all over-polluting and half-clogging up the net. The VHS era was due to limited access, not even remotely an issue now (sadly). Who matters? Hollywood, meaning Wilshire and not Devonshire. And that’s an easy win for BluRay. Easy. Sony finally wins one, amazing. And actually Burbank more of the player too. TV Season DVDs are more coveted than movies lots of times.

    Well, what type of audiophile? I know the Classical and Jazz types were all over CDs, DDD was praised to high heaven. I still think the vinyl types were all the bad-taste 70s rockheads. But basing a whole market segment on CES booths is pretty darned myopic.

    The future won’t be downloadable. Not ever for the mainstream.

  40. The biggest problem with CDs was the sample rate. 44KHz just feels cold. It doesn’t take much to fix, go to 48KHz.

    My biggest problem is that the CD hasn’t improved at all really since it came out. But the price has gone up. The analogy would be to still be paying 3K for a 286, *today*.

    DVD is at least working on substantial improvement. CD is not. DVDs give you a pretty damned good value for your money now. That $25 you spend gives you a ton of entertainment. CDs don’t. Gee, I wonder why CD sales are going down.

    RIAA is a pack of idiots.

  41. The biggest problem with CDs was the sample rate. 44KHz just feels cold. It doesn’t take much to fix, go to 48KHz.

    My biggest problem is that the CD hasn’t improved at all really since it came out. But the price has gone up. The analogy would be to still be paying 3K for a 286, *today*.

    DVD is at least working on substantial improvement. CD is not. DVDs give you a pretty damned good value for your money now. That $25 you spend gives you a ton of entertainment. CDs don’t. Gee, I wonder why CD sales are going down.

    RIAA is a pack of idiots.

  42. Interesting observation on Twit.tv’s podcast recently. Basically it comes down to the fact that the porn industry has decided to support Blu-ray…ergo, Blu-ray will win.

  43. Interesting observation on Twit.tv’s podcast recently. Basically it comes down to the fact that the porn industry has decided to support Blu-ray…ergo, Blu-ray will win.

  44. You obviously have never done an A/B comparison using high-end gear, which is fine because few have.

    CD is sonically superior to MP3 because MP3 is a lossy format, even at 320 kbps. CD is inferior to the lossless formats because you can carry around thousands of lossless files on your iPod/DAP plus you get metadata.

    WRT the recent HD format wars, who cares? I’m an “early-ish” adopter but not someone who goes in and makes a bet on day 1.

    See where porn goes. Where they go so goes the industry.

    Most of the hdwr manufacturers are probably going to continue to make universal players anyway until one of the formats goes away.

  45. You obviously have never done an A/B comparison using high-end gear, which is fine because few have.

    CD is sonically superior to MP3 because MP3 is a lossy format, even at 320 kbps. CD is inferior to the lossless formats because you can carry around thousands of lossless files on your iPod/DAP plus you get metadata.

    WRT the recent HD format wars, who cares? I’m an “early-ish” adopter but not someone who goes in and makes a bet on day 1.

    See where porn goes. Where they go so goes the industry.

    Most of the hdwr manufacturers are probably going to continue to make universal players anyway until one of the formats goes away.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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

  57. 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

  58. 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!

  59. 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!