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Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD: Why high-def video hardware standards are irrelevant.

 
 
Allan
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      05-10-2005
http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/...y_vs_hd_dv.php

Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD: Why high-def video hardware standards are
irrelevant

DVD Video Format Wars?

By Damien Stolarz for SiliconValleyWatcher

In the mid 1990s a video codec called MPEG-2 was standardized, and
DVDs were standardized. At that time, computers ran at less than
100Mhz and it required a special microchip to decode the MPEG-2 video.
Fast forward 10 years and two new high-capacity DVD-disk formats are
racing to be the standard for high-definition video:
Blu-Ray and HD DVD.

bluray_logo.gifHD-DVD-Logo.gif

Major computer and consumer electronic companies have chosen sides in
this debate and it has been compared to the VHS/Betamax war of the
1980s over the format of consumer videotapes.

But is it really? Here's why I think hardware standards are less
relevant than ever.

DVD+-R

Just a few years ago, DVD-R and DVD+R became available to consumers.
The fear was that consumers would not adopt the technology because
"they didn't know which standard would win".

But in practice, consumers were just trying to burn DVDs and back up
data, music, movies and video. And both disks did this. Sure, you had
to be sure to buy the right media for your DVD burner (depending on
its sign, + or -), but beyond that it worked.

Within a couple years, poof, you can buy a DVD+-RW that burns and
reads everything just fine. Now the double layer versions are coming
out to market so you can burn two-sided DVDs just like you buy from
the studio.

Differences from VHS/Betamax
There are many key differences between the earlier "war" and today's
"war".

One is the form factor, or shape and size of the disks. Once the
content industry saw how quickly consumers adopted audio CD's, they
kept that disc size for Video CD's (MPEG-1, big in Asia), and DVDs.
Now, they're sticking to the same form factor again.

This has several ramifications:

* Any DVD playback device can be designed to play back all earlier
forms of disk (i.e. CD, DVD)
* It is quite feasible to make a dual-standard DVD playback device
that plays blu-ray AND HD DVD
* DVD players cost $30. At that price point, plastic, aluminum,
buttons, and packaging begins to dominate the cost of the device.
Building a "new" DVD player with an upgraded laser beam and HD
decoding chip is much, much easier than building a whole new device
from scratch
* If movies come out on (gasp) two different formats, the hardware
will probably quickly converge, as consumers won't want two different
HD DVD players.
* The fight won't be completely won in the consumer space. The
version of the DVD which can be more easily used and manipulated and
burned on PCs could give it more staying power. Thus, there are really
two battlegrounds: the living room, and the PC

In short, this is a totally different kind of fight, and much less
"bloody" as industry fights go. If in the 1980s all VCRs used the same
physical tape size and shape and the fight was simply over the way the
information was written to the tape, it would be better comparison. In
that case a "dual format" VCR simply had to have TWO different
playback heads, and had to pay two technology/patent royalties and
thus cost a bit more.

The biggest potential fallout of this war will be slow adoption of the
technology for the first year (they're trying to make xmas 2005),
which will result in low numbers and slow down manufacturers, perhaps
slowing the whole high-definition DVD adpotion by years.

I doubt that that slowdown will happen. I think whether peace talks
are successful or not, the immediate declaration of the one and true
standard is not necessary for high definition video disks to get to
market successfully.







"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from
-- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
- Neil Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_
 
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RichA
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-10-2005
On Tue, 10 May 2005 09:43:13 -0400, Allan
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/...y_vs_hd_dv.php
>
>Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD: Why high-def video hardware standards are
>irrelevant
>
>DVD Video Format Wars?
>
>By Damien Stolarz for SiliconValleyWatcher
>
>In the mid 1990s a video codec called MPEG-2 was standardized, and
>DVDs were standardized. At that time, computers ran at less than
>100Mhz and it required a special microchip to decode the MPEG-2 video.
>Fast forward 10 years and two new high-capacity DVD-disk formats are
>racing to be the standard for high-definition video:
>Blu-Ray and HD DVD.
>
>bluray_logo.gifHD-DVD-Logo.gif
>
>Major computer and consumer electronic companies have chosen sides in
>this debate and it has been compared to the VHS/Betamax war of the
>1980s over the format of consumer videotapes.
>
>But is it really? Here's why I think hardware standards are less
>relevant than ever.
>
>DVD+-R
>
>Just a few years ago, DVD-R and DVD+R became available to consumers.
>The fear was that consumers would not adopt the technology because
>"they didn't know which standard would win".
>
>But in practice, consumers were just trying to burn DVDs and back up
>data, music, movies and video. And both disks did this. Sure, you had
>to be sure to buy the right media for your DVD burner (depending on
>its sign, + or -), but beyond that it worked.
>
>Within a couple years, poof, you can buy a DVD+-RW that burns and
>reads everything just fine. Now the double layer versions are coming
>out to market so you can burn two-sided DVDs just like you buy from
>the studio.
>
>Differences from VHS/Betamax
>There are many key differences between the earlier "war" and today's
>"war".
>
>One is the form factor, or shape and size of the disks. Once the
>content industry saw how quickly consumers adopted audio CD's, they
>kept that disc size for Video CD's (MPEG-1, big in Asia), and DVDs.
>Now, they're sticking to the same form factor again.
>
>This has several ramifications:
>
> * Any DVD playback device can be designed to play back all earlier
>forms of disk (i.e. CD, DVD)
> * It is quite feasible to make a dual-standard DVD playback device
>that plays blu-ray AND HD DVD
> * DVD players cost $30. At that price point, plastic, aluminum,
>buttons, and packaging begins to dominate the cost of the device.
>Building a "new" DVD player with an upgraded laser beam and HD
>decoding chip is much, much easier than building a whole new device
>from scratch
> * If movies come out on (gasp) two different formats, the hardware
>will probably quickly converge, as consumers won't want two different
>HD DVD players.
> * The fight won't be completely won in the consumer space. The
>version of the DVD which can be more easily used and manipulated and
>burned on PCs could give it more staying power. Thus, there are really
>two battlegrounds: the living room, and the PC
>
>In short, this is a totally different kind of fight, and much less
>"bloody" as industry fights go. If in the 1980s all VCRs used the same
>physical tape size and shape and the fight was simply over the way the
>information was written to the tape, it would be better comparison. In
>that case a "dual format" VCR simply had to have TWO different
>playback heads, and had to pay two technology/patent royalties and
>thus cost a bit more.
>
>The biggest potential fallout of this war will be slow adoption of the
>technology for the first year (they're trying to make xmas 2005),
>which will result in low numbers and slow down manufacturers, perhaps
>slowing the whole high-definition DVD adpotion by years.
>
>I doubt that that slowdown will happen. I think whether peace talks
>are successful or not, the immediate declaration of the one and true
>standard is not necessary for high definition video disks to get to
>market successfully.


Even though HD has a higher bit rate, even though it can be done more
cheaply, even though it makes FAR more sense from a production
standpoint, they will STILL go with Blu-Ray.
-Rich
 
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