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HD-DVD consortium meets ...

Old 08-05-02, 07:01 AM
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HD-DVD consortium meets ...

According to dvdfile.com:

Is HD-DVD heating up? According to this new Video Business article, the first official meeting by top executives from all the major studios took place this past week in Los Angeles to discuss the possible introduction of a new DVD-based, HD prerecorded format. While many have speculated this sudden rush to develop a viable HD-DVD platform sooner rather than later is to combat the launch of JVC's new D-VHS videotape format, sources in the article indicate that slow but steady acceptance of HD technology and high consumer satisfaction are also major motivating factors in the rush to develop a new format just as DVD is gaining mass market acceptance.

While hardly as divisive as early talks on DVD, these ongoing talks have not been not without controversy. With more than one possible HD-DVD technology on the table - Warner allegedly favors a red-laser based format mostly dismissed by major hardware manufacturers, versus "Blu-Ray" technology, which boasts more robust storage and "data throughput" and is favored by the majority of the consumer electronics companies that occupy the DVD Forum, especially heavyweight Sony - the road to true HD-DVD is still cloudy. But at least the studios are talking at all, and it is still too early to tell what impact this may have on the DVD of today. Do I need to tell you to stay tuned?
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Old 08-05-02, 12:16 PM
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I saw this on Slashdot a few days ago and I think it is mostly bad news. Sounds like some companies want to rush this format to market instead of waiting and doing it correctly.
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Old 08-05-02, 12:25 PM
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D-VHS is absolutely NO COMPETITION against HD-DVD.
HD-DVD needs to be done right, so I agree with SKAR that
a rush job should not be an option. D-VHS will NEVER become
a mainstream format like DVD. This format is steps in the WRONG direction. Sure it delivers HD images, but tape is tape and that's the end of that. The pressure to rush out an HD-DVD is absolutely ridiculous. DO IT RIGHT or not at all!
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Old 08-05-02, 05:33 PM
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i really think Sony is in the catbird seat here.
regardless of what Warner wants, Sony has the R&D muscle to develop blue-ray (YAY!), and when they are ready to push it, they have Columbia/Tri-Stars catalog of titles to help it catch speed.

all they have to do is woo some other compaines to their side (hopefully a big boy like Fox, or MGM would be an intersting choice).

then just get it out.
Beat Warner to the punch, price it right from the start, start off slow and build steam.

they have integration with hardware that Warner just doesn't have (although an alliance there could be trouble).

Blue-ray could be the standard, they just hae to be bold, and learn from their Betamax experience.

it won't be anytime soon, but hopefully when its time, it will be the right format.
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Old 08-06-02, 04:31 PM
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The Next Generation of DVD...

DVDANGLE.com said this today:

Since earlier this year there has been a lot of attention paid towards the next generation of DVD...a true high definition format that can deliver full a 1080i image. The bulk of the attention has been focused on the so-called "blu-ray" laser, however, there is also another type of laser competing to become the next generation standard. All current DVD players (both set-top and computer-based) utilize a red laser. Warner and Microsoft are working together to develop an enhanced red laser that can take advantage of new compression techniques. This means there are two formats vying for the same spot. Now, competition generally yields lower costs to the consumer, but it's not always the "best" that wins. Take a look back to the VHS/Beta war a few decades ago. Beta was clearly the superior format yet it lost the battle (mainly due to poor marketing and licensing practices by Sony).

According to Warner, the enhanced red laser can become a reality as soon as the end of next year. Blu-ray is still a ways off (perhaps mid-2004?). Will Warner's new format win simply based on the fact it's the first to market? That, my friends, is the dilemma we are facing. Frankly, no one knows how good the enhanced red laser is, or blu-ray for that matter... Both are still in development and have not been showcased to the mass media or general public.

According to an article in Video Business, Warner is pushing the enhanced red laser because they have a vested interest in it. They stand to lose a great deal of money from the patents they hold on the current technology if the red laser is pushed aside. According to the same article, "Those developing the red-laser compression algorithms say, 'We can get a pretty good picture with a bit rate of 5 MB[per second].' Well, the question is, how good is 'pretty good?'" Indeed. Blu-ray can deliver a bit rate of up to 19.3 MB/s -- enough to support a hi-def signal without any compromising.

In the end, this will turn into a studio war. Warner (and the various companies it owns) are in favor of enhanced red laser while the majority of the other studios, including Sony's Columbia/Tristar are on the side of blu-ray. Then we throw a monkey wrench into the equation. Right now, AOL Time Warner is going through some serious financial troubles in addition to being investigated by pretty much every possible branch of the government. There are some substantial rumors that Sony is interested in buying Warner. If that does manage to pan out, the enhanced red laser is dead...along with DVD-Audio (sniff, sniff). As we draw closer to 2003, there will surely be some interesting events transpiring.
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Old 08-07-02, 04:58 PM
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The Next Generation of DVD, Part Deux:

More from DVDANGLE.com:

I have done a lot of talking about the next generation of DVD,
but I haven't been focusing too much on how this will affect the DVD enthusiasts...mainly because it's all speculation at this point.

There are 2 undeniable facts that will be true for the next generation of hi-def DVD players: (1) you will need to buy a new player and (2) all of the DVD's you currently own will still work in the new players. Those are the facts...

For several years we've all predicted the arrival of a true high definition type of DVD. It's simply inevitable. As more and more TV shows are created to support hi-def and the number of hi-def, or hi-def compatible monitors are on the rise it's logical that DVD will follow. Some of you may be wondering why this is all taking so long. Well, apart from the research and development part, which I'll get to in a moment, there is the X-factor. In this case the "X" is comprised of consumers. Since early 1998 the communications branch of the US government has been working with the broadcast industry (and I use the term working lightly) to convert TV stations over to hi-def. The process has been slow. There are many factors at work -- a uniform standard, the costs of upgrading broadcast equipment, being able to offer the services to all consumers...the list goes on and on. One factor that has been slowing this whole process of bringing hi-def to homes across America has been the hardware. Once the changeover happens, all traditional TV's will be rendered obsolete overnight. Consumers will be forced to either upgrade their TV or buy special equipment to decode and down-convert hi-def for viewing on existing TV's. Upgrading is an expensive proposition and many people are opposed to a forced switch.

As far as DVD is concerned, the same battles must be fought. While consumers don't necessarily have to upgrade their TV for the next generation, they will certainly have to go out and buy a new DVD player. For a format still in its infancy (remember, DVD has only been around for 5 years), being forced to replace equipment after a short period of time may not be something many consumers look forward to. The traditional viewpoint for home electronics has been "use it until it breaks, then replace it." Being forced to upgrade is more of a computer mentality where hardware is outdated before its even released. Of course, DVD isn't that extreme but the same mentality applies.

The final factor in bringing hi-def to DVD is in the technology itself. There are 3 elements that must work in harmony -- encoding, storage, and playback. This symbiosis is what has been causing the greatest stir. As it stands, a DVD disc cannot store enough hi-def content -- even a single movie couldn't fit on 1 current DVD-9 disc (it's even tight to fit it on a DVD-18). It's clear consumers will not accept a commonplace system of a movie on multiple discs. That was one of the biggest factors against laserdisc. So, the space available on a single disc must be increased. There have been several development companies who have succeeded (yay!), now a standard must be adopted. Next is the encoding. Being able to take a hi-def source and compress it. The technology in place within the industry right now certainly won't cut it. On today's DVDs we're seeing the best possible quality. New encoding techniques are being developed...even as I write this. The last factor is the playback. As I wrote about yesterday, the competing formats are enhanced red laser and blu-ray. To quote from Highlander, "There can be only one."

The bottom line is converting to hi-def isn't an easy process. So many factors are involved that it's going to take some time and some getting used to. Perhaps we will start seeing the next generation DVD players as early as next year...then again, perhaps not. With new developments occurring, almost, daily we'll have to wait and see what happens. No matter what transpires you can take solace in the fact that your current DVD collection will not be rendered useless...no matter what the "next generation" brings.
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