Five facts you ought to know about high-def and SD DVD

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Allan, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Allan

    Allan Guest

    There's been a lot of rather soft news about high-def DVD formats
    coming out of this month's Las Vegas CES. But neither high-def format
    is yet available and standard-def DVD is far from dead. Here are five
    (hard-ish) facts we think you ought to know about high-def and
    standard-definition SD DVD

    1/ If you want to play standard-definition DVD Video discs encrypted
    for geographical regions other than your own, you can

    Just check before you buy a DVD player that it is already set up for
    multi-region playback or can be easily hacked. Internet search engines
    are your friend - if in doubt, do a Google search for information.
    Know, though, that DVD players from big-brand names, such as Sony and
    Panasonic, tend not to be multi-region-enabled and often can't be
    hacked. Cheap, no-name brands, in contrast, often come
    multi-region-enabled as standard or can be easily hacked.

    Many cheapo players also have the ability to play a wider selection of
    media than big-brand models, often including MP3 music, JPEG stills
    and DivX movies, along with other stuff you'd really like to be able
    to burn to DVD and play on your set-top DVD machine. Google can also
    help you locate sources of DVDs encrypted for different regions.

    2/ It is astonishingly easy to copy standard-definition DVD Videos,
    even if they use dual-layer discs

    If you can be bothered, that is. It's not very quick. Want to know
    more - well, remember, Google is your friend and will help you find
    free - and rather elegant - programs to download, such as DVD
    Decrypter and DVD Shrink.

    3/ There are four main reasons for the forthcoming launch of
    high-definition DVD formats

    * To make it harder to create copies of DVDs that you can give to
    friends or sell. Movie studios, especially, want standard DVDs
    replaced so that discs are a lot harder to copy. Both Blu-ray Disc and
    HD DVD will have much tougher copy-protection but with HD DVD likely
    to allow users to make one copy for backup purposes. It's quite
    possible, though, that these systems will be cracked sooner or later,
    at which point the studios are back at square one and may have to do
    what they should have done years ago - bite the bullet and massively
    cut prices so that it's not worth anyone's while spending time copying
    discs. And who would bother if the saving were just a few quid?

    * To provide owners of high-definition TV sets with an extended range
    of suitable content to watch. If you've spent out big bucks on a
    large-screen HDTV set, you're going to be well miffed if you end up
    mostly watching standard-def and are doing so from the same distance
    as you used to watch standard-def TV - you'll see the line-structure,
    and that's not going to make you happy at having spent out all that
    money for a better user experience. For more about why HDTV users are
    gagging for hi-def DVD, check out this DVdoctor opinion piece.

    * So the studios can sell you high-def versions of the movies you
    already have on VHS or DVD - and likely at a price premium, too

    * So that makers of disc-players and burners can sell you a whole new
    generation of DVD hardware.

    4/ Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD each offers more sophisticated built-in
    interactivity than today's standard-definition DVDs
    Blu-ray uses a Java-based system, while HD-DVD's is HTML-based and
    likely to result in lower-cost hardware and discs.

    5/ It is possible to offer sophisticated interactivity on SD DVD Video
    Such titles are already available - a notable example is the
    big-selling Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The latest WWTBAM was
    created using the crafty DVD-EXTRA STUDIO authoring environment from
    UK firm, ZOOtech and so are a lot of other interactive titles. Despite
    the pending arrival of high-def DVD formats, the number of available
    highly-interactive standard-def DVD Video discs looks certain to grow
    rapidly - and encompass movies, TV spin-offs and music videos, not
    just games. The main limiting factor is the creativity of the disc
    authors and those who commission them, not the technology.

    "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_
    Allan, Jan 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.