The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HD DVD anyway? DOA

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Rambo, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Rambo

    Rambo Guest

    WITH Warner Brothers' defection last month to the Blu-ray camp, Sony would
    appear to have won the battle with Toshiba over which format-Blu-ray or HD
    DVD-is to become the ultimate high-definition replacement for the venerable
    DVD.

    Five of Hollywood's eight big studios, which account for 70% of the
    home-video market, have now opted (or, not to put too fine a point on it,
    been bribed with barrow-loads of cash) to release their high-definition
    prints solely on Blu-ray discs. The move has sparked a fire-sale of
    discounted Toshiba HD DVD players, with an entry model going for less than
    $100.

    The movie studios have been in a state of panic since their DVD sales-which
    account for nearly half the industry's $45 billion annual revenue-fell off a
    cliff last year. They are desperate to revitalise home video sales. Most are
    praying Blu-ray will do the trick.

    But it can't make up the lost revenue over night. Between them, Blu-ray and
    HD DVD sales account for only a tiny portion of the DVD market. Hence the
    urgency to get the format war settled quickly-so the full weight of the
    industry's marketing muscle can be put behind a single standard.

    Pundits have applauded Warner's move as a crucial step towards breaking the
    deadlock. The thinking is that Toshiba will now go quietly into the night.
    But there are good reasons why it won't.

    The most obvious one is that nothing decisive can be resolved until the next
    big selling season gets underway, and that's not until next Christmas. A lot
    of things can change between now and then.

    At the moment, Blu-ray discs are outselling HD DVDs by a margin of two to
    one. But that's largely because Sony included a Blu-ray player in its new
    PlayStation 3 (PS3) game console. Most new PS3 owners buy a couple of
    Blu-ray films out of curiosity. But a PS3 costs $499, not exactly cheap, and
    most owners have better things to do with their consoles than watch movies.

    Excluding video-game machines, Toshiba has outsold the whole of the Sony
    camp in terms of actual players in living rooms, thanks to its lower prices.
    In other words, Toshiba has a bigger installed base of committed
    videophiles.

    Retailers love them, but would prefer that one or other of the formats would
    just go away. The format war has left consumers confused over which to
    choose, with many resolving the issue by refusing to commit to either.
    Retailers complain that over half the people who purchase HDTV
    (high-definition television) sets don't bother to buy high-definition video
    players to go with them. By all accounts, they are unlikely ever to do so.

    That's largely because the "upscaling" features built into today's HDTV sets
    have got so much better at artificially boosting the resolution of ordinary
    DVDs. Apart from sprucing up the video signal more effectively to reduce the
    electrical noise and optical defects, upscaling is no longer limited by the
    native resolution of the HDTV set itself.

    A year or so ago, the best you could buy was a 720p set, with the screen's
    1,280 columns and 720 rows of pixels being refreshed progressively (that is,
    all at once at every cycle). The alternative, 1080i, was a fudge that worked
    by having half the rows in a screen of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels refreshed in
    one cycle, and the other (interlaced) set of rows during the next cycle.

    By flipping rapidly between the screen's two alternative sets of lines,
    interlacing aims to trick the eye into thinking it is seeing a higher
    resolution than is actually present. But the price paid is a slightly
    jerkier image and a flickering that can cause headaches and eyestrain. That's
    why computer monitors abandoned interlacing for progressive scanning years
    ago.

    The native resolution of the vast majority of HDTV sets today is 1080p. As
    such, the set's screen can now handle the highest resolution generated by
    its scaling electronics. To the average viewer, an ordinary DVD played on a
    modern HDTV is not only a huge improvement over the picture on a standard
    TV, but practically indistinguishable from that produced by a Blu-ray or HD
    DVD disc-and all for half the disc cost and no extra piece of video gear.

    Hence the lack of enthusiasm for either format. And the longer mainstream
    consumers find upscaled DVDs good enough, the more likely it will be that
    some other technology will emerge to eclipse both Blu-ray and HD DVD.
    Already a couple of alternatives are limbering up.

    One candidate is the thumb drive, the non-volatile memory stick you plug
    into a computer's USB port. Their storage capacity has soared over the past
    few years from megabytes to gigabytes. Industry insiders expect that, within
    a few years, a 32-gigabyte USB drive capable of holding as much as a Blu-ray
    disc will cost about the same as the latter does today. And it will be more
    portable, more rugged, easier to play and recordable to boot.

    But before Moore's Law can work its inexorable magic, the telephone
    companies will start pushing their own alternative. Over the past few years,
    firms such as Verizon and AT&T have been laying fat optical pipes over the
    "last mile" from their local telephone stations to people's homes. In what
    they call a "triple play", they aim to bundle television and broadband
    internet access along with telephone services in order to slow the inroads
    being made in their own business by the cable-television providers.

    That's only half of it. Verizon's FiOS (fibre-optic service) can deliver raw
    data at speeds up to 50 megabits per second. That's twice the as much as
    needed to deliver the video quality of a Blu-ray or HD DVD disc. AT&T's
    U-verse isn't far behind.

    Both see high-definition video as the key to beating the cable providers,
    which can't match the phone companies' ability to provide massive bandwidth
    to individual households. The cable industry's new DOCSIS 3.0 technology can
    transmit data at a whopping 160 megabits per second, but the bandwidth has
    to be shared by all the households on the same cable loop. As a result, few
    cable subscribers can get more than five or six megabits per second-nowhere
    near enough to pump high-definition video into the home.

    What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs, but
    neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to deliver
    high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close to giving
    the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool over.

    The human eye can discern over 500 pixels per inch horizontally and
    vertically (say, 26,000 by 14,500 pixels on a 60-inch screen). To achieve
    true immersive reality-the "killer app" that consumer electronics makers see
    on the horizon-requires displays a dozen times sharper than today's HDTV
    sets.

    The Japanese have made a start. The Ultra-HDTV technology that NHK, Japan's
    public broadcasting network, is currently investigating has 16 times more
    pixels (7,680 by 4,320) than an HDTV set. And that's just the beginning. The
    betting is that both Blu-ray and HD DVD will go the way of the VHS tape, as
    ever sharper images begin to grab our attention.

    There's also the third format, VMD which has all movies priced at 19.99.
    When that makes it states side it could catch on quick.
    Rambo, Feb 4, 2008
    #1
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  2. Rambo

    T.B. Guest

    "Rambo" <> whined:

    > WITH Warner Brothers' defection last month to the Blu-ray camp, Sony would
    > appear to have won the battle with Toshiba over which format-Blu-ray or HD
    > DVD-is to become the ultimate high-definition replacement for the
    > venerable DVD.


    'nuff said.

    T.B.
    T.B., Feb 4, 2008
    #2
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  3. Rambo

    Paul Heslop Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HD DVDanyway? DOA

    Rambo wrote:
    >

    <snip snip snip snip>

    good grief. never say in a few words what can be said in a long
    ramble.


    --
    Paul (We won't die of devotion)
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Stop and Look
    http://www.geocities.com/dreamst8me/
    Paul Heslop, Feb 5, 2008
    #3
  4. Rambo

    really real Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HDDVD anyway? DOA


    >
    > What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    > solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs, but
    > neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to deliver
    > high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close to giving
    > the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool over.
    >



    I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth
    Blu Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.
    really real, Feb 5, 2008
    #4
  5. Rambo

    Doug Jacobs Guest

    In alt.games.video.xbox really real <> wrote:

    > > What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    > > solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs, but
    > > neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to deliver
    > > high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close to giving
    > > the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool over.


    > I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth
    > Blu Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    > startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.


    It's going to depend on your eyes and your equipment. I think the
    Economist is correct that for the vast majority of consumers, upscaled
    DVDs on a HDTV will be "Good Enough". The difference between upscaled DVD
    and true HD (whichever format) is not always going to be great enough to
    convince people to buy a new player, and start replacing their 10+ year
    old DVD collection. Especially when a single Blu-Ray or HD-DVD movie
    costs 30% or more when compared to a DVD.

    Remember, these are also the folks who think connecting their
    plain-old-cable to a HDTV means they're watching everything in "HD".

    --
    It's not broken. It's...advanced.
    Doug Jacobs, Feb 5, 2008
    #5
  6. Rambo

    khee mao Guest

    "really real" <> wrote in message
    news:0XNpj.44605$ow.24180@pd7urf1no...
    >
    >>
    >> What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    >> solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs,
    >> but neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to
    >> deliver high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close
    >> to giving the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool
    >> over.
    >>

    >
    >
    > I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth Blu
    > Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    > startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.
    >
    >

    exactly. I've even shied away from renting DVDs.
    khee mao, Feb 5, 2008
    #6
  7. Rambo

    khee mao Guest

    "Jordan" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Feb 4, 4:18 pm, really real <> wrote:
    >
    >> I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth
    >> Blu Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    >> startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.

    >
    > I considered that, but the regular DVD has all the bonus features. It
    > seems silly to pay more and get less.
    >
    >

    Bonus features are for girls/dorks. low def bonus features are for douche
    guzzlers.
    khee mao, Feb 5, 2008
    #7
  8. Rambo

    Tarkus Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HDDVD anyway? DOA

    Doug Jacobs wrote:
    > It's going to depend on your eyes and your equipment. I think the
    > Economist is correct that for the vast majority of consumers, upscaled
    > DVDs on a HDTV will be "Good Enough". The difference between upscaled DVD
    > and true HD (whichever format) is not always going to be great enough to
    > convince people to buy a new player, and start replacing their 10+ year
    > old DVD collection.


    Who said they have to want to replace their old collection? Hollywood
    is still making new movies, last I checked.
    Tarkus, Feb 5, 2008
    #8
  9. On Mon, 04 Feb 2008 22:02:31 GMT, "Rambo" <>
    wrote:

    >To the average viewer, an ordinary DVD played on a
    >modern HDTV is not only a huge improvement over the picture on a standard
    >TV, but practically indistinguishable from that produced by a Blu-ray or HD
    >DVD disc-and all for half the disc cost and no extra piece of video gear.
    >
    >Hence the lack of enthusiasm for either format.



    This is total bullshit.
    StickThatInYourPipeAndSmokeIt, Feb 5, 2008
    #9
  10. Rambo

    khee mao Guest

    "Jordan" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Feb 4, 8:23 pm, "khee mao" <> wrote:
    >> "Jordan" <> wrote in message
    >>
    >> news:...>
    >> On Feb 4, 4:18 pm, really real <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >> I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth
    >> >> Blu Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    >> >> startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.

    >>
    >> > I considered that, but the regular DVD has all the bonus features. It
    >> > seems silly to pay more and get less.

    >>
    >> Bonus features are for girls/dorks. low def bonus features are for
    >> douche
    >> guzzlers.

    >
    > What's missing from the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray versions:
    >
    > 110 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage
    > Planet Earth: The Future: 150-minute companion series
    >
    > Yeah, I mean, pshhht, who wants an extra 4 and a half extra hours of
    > content when they can pay a higher price for the set?
    >
    >

    girls, dorks, and/or douche guzzlers.
    khee mao, Feb 5, 2008
    #10
  11. Rambo

    Chris F Guest

    On Mon, 04 Feb 2008 20:43:15 -0800, Tarkus
    <> wrote:

    >Doug Jacobs wrote:
    >> It's going to depend on your eyes and your equipment. I think the
    >> Economist is correct that for the vast majority of consumers, upscaled
    >> DVDs on a HDTV will be "Good Enough". The difference between upscaled DVD
    >> and true HD (whichever format) is not always going to be great enough to
    >> convince people to buy a new player, and start replacing their 10+ year
    >> old DVD collection.

    >
    >Who said they have to want to replace their old collection? Hollywood
    >is still making new movies, last I checked.


    because on the whole, that's what people have done with DVD.

    do you still own a vhs player and play your old tapes, and only own
    movies produced since you bought your first dvd player?
    Chris F, Feb 5, 2008
    #11
  12. Rambo

    Mark B. Guest

    "Chris F" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Mon, 04 Feb 2008 20:43:15 -0800, Tarkus
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>Doug Jacobs wrote:
    >>> It's going to depend on your eyes and your equipment. I think the
    >>> Economist is correct that for the vast majority of consumers, upscaled
    >>> DVDs on a HDTV will be "Good Enough". The difference between upscaled
    >>> DVD
    >>> and true HD (whichever format) is not always going to be great enough to
    >>> convince people to buy a new player, and start replacing their 10+ year
    >>> old DVD collection.

    >>
    >>Who said they have to want to replace their old collection? Hollywood
    >>is still making new movies, last I checked.

    >
    > because on the whole, that's what people have done with DVD.
    >
    > do you still own a vhs player and play your old tapes, and only own
    > movies produced since you bought your first dvd player?



    Those VHS tapes won't play in stand-alone DVD players, that's the
    difference. Standard DVDs will still play in Blu-Ray units.

    Mark
    Mark B., Feb 5, 2008
    #12
  13. Rambo

    Paul Heslop Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HD DVDanyway? DOA

    khee mao wrote:
    >
    > "really real" <> wrote in message
    > news:0XNpj.44605$ow.24180@pd7urf1no...
    > >
    > >>
    > >> What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    > >> solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs,
    > >> but neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to
    > >> deliver high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close
    > >> to giving the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool
    > >> over.
    > >>

    > >
    > >
    > > I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth Blu
    > > Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    > > startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.
    > >
    > >

    > exactly. I've even shied away from renting DVDs.


    personally I think they'll have to nail me goolies to the discs to
    convince me to go HD. I am sick to death of 'upgrading' every couple
    of years

    --
    Paul (We won't die of devotion)
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Stop and Look
    http://www.geocities.com/dreamst8me/
    Paul Heslop, Feb 5, 2008
    #13
  14. Rambo

    Kimba W Lion Guest

    "Rambo" <> wrote:

    >What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    >solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs


    Exactly right.
    Kimba W Lion, Feb 5, 2008
    #14
  15. Rambo

    Chris F Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HD DVD anyway? DOA

    On Tue, 05 Feb 2008 11:31:25 GMT, Paul Heslop
    <> wrote:

    >khee mao wrote:
    >>
    >> "really real" <> wrote in message
    >> news:0XNpj.44605$ow.24180@pd7urf1no...
    >> >
    >> >>
    >> >> What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    >> >> solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs,
    >> >> but neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to
    >> >> deliver high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close
    >> >> to giving the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool
    >> >> over.
    >> >>
    >> >
    >> >
    >> > I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth Blu
    >> > Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    >> > startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.
    >> >
    >> >

    >> exactly. I've even shied away from renting DVDs.

    >
    >personally I think they'll have to nail me goolies to the discs to
    >convince me to go HD. I am sick to death of 'upgrading' every couple
    >of years


    aye, i can imagine..

    first it was your hips...

    then a pacemaker...

    what's next?
    Chris F, Feb 5, 2008
    #15
  16. Rambo

    Tarkus Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HDDVD anyway? DOA

    Chris F wrote:
    > On Mon, 04 Feb 2008 20:43:15 -0800, Tarkus
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >> Doug Jacobs wrote:
    >>> It's going to depend on your eyes and your equipment. I think the
    >>> Economist is correct that for the vast majority of consumers, upscaled
    >>> DVDs on a HDTV will be "Good Enough". The difference between upscaled DVD
    >>> and true HD (whichever format) is not always going to be great enough to
    >>> convince people to buy a new player, and start replacing their 10+ year
    >>> old DVD collection.

    >> Who said they have to want to replace their old collection? Hollywood
    >> is still making new movies, last I checked.

    >
    > because on the whole, that's what people have done with DVD.
    >
    > do you still own a vhs player and play your old tapes, and only own
    > movies produced since you bought your first dvd player?


    People in general never collected VHS tapes like they've done with DVDs.
    It was more of a rental format.

    And I suspect that over time, people *would* replace much of their old
    collection, as prices come down, features went up, and they became more
    accustomed to the higher quality. But for now, the big push is with new
    releases. Once the format becomes more established, they can work more
    on their back catalogs.
    Tarkus, Feb 5, 2008
    #16
  17. Rambo

    Tarkus Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HDDVD anyway? DOA

    Paul Heslop wrote:
    > personally I think they'll have to nail me goolies to the discs to
    > convince me to go HD. I am sick to death of 'upgrading' every couple
    > of years


    My memory ain't what it used to be, but I'm pretty sure both VHS and DVD
    lasted a bit more than two years.

    How's that 8-track tape player working out for you? Still placing
    matchbooks under the tape to get it to align properly for you?
    Tarkus, Feb 5, 2008
    #17
  18. Rambo

    Tarkus Guest

    Re: The Economist Article: Sharper image - Who needs Blu-ray or HDDVD anyway? DOA

    Kimba W Lion wrote:
    > "Rambo" <> wrote:
    >
    >> What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    >> solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs

    >
    > Exactly right.


    Exactly right about the interim part. Every format is an interim
    solution. Nothing has been nor ever will be designed to be a permanent
    format. Technology moves forward, whether you follow it or not.
    Tarkus, Feb 5, 2008
    #18
  19. Rambo

    RKRM Guest

    "really real" <> wrote in message
    news:0XNpj.44605$ow.24180@pd7urf1no...
    >
    >>
    >> What has become clear is that Blu-ray and HD DVD are both interim
    >> solutions-if even that. They are marginally better than upscaled DVDs,
    >> but neither will stand much of a chance against fibre's ability to
    >> deliver high-definition video on demand. Meanwhile, neither comes close
    >> to giving the kind of "immersive reality" that vision engineers drool
    >> over.
    >>

    >
    >
    > I disagree with this. I just bought a PS3 so I could play Planet Earth Blu
    > Ray. The difference between a high def dvd and a regular dvd is so
    > startling that I no longer want to buy regular dvds.


    I agree completely. Who are these people that can't see the difference?
    RKRM, Feb 5, 2008
    #19
  20. Rambo

    Richard C. Guest

    "Chris F" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Mon, 04 Feb 2008 20:43:15 -0800, Tarkus
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>Doug Jacobs wrote:
    >>> It's going to depend on your eyes and your equipment. I think the
    >>> Economist is correct that for the vast majority of consumers, upscaled
    >>> DVDs on a HDTV will be "Good Enough". The difference between upscaled
    >>> DVD
    >>> and true HD (whichever format) is not always going to be great enough to
    >>> convince people to buy a new player, and start replacing their 10+ year
    >>> old DVD collection.

    >>
    >>Who said they have to want to replace their old collection? Hollywood
    >>is still making new movies, last I checked.

    >
    > because on the whole, that's what people have done with DVD.
    >
    > do you still own a vhs player and play your old tapes, and only own
    > movies produced since you bought your first dvd player?


    ==================================
    I still have about 1000 LDs that I have not replaced with DVDs.
    It will be the same with whichever HD format disc I get.
    ==================================
    Richard C., Feb 5, 2008
    #20
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