HD1080i De-mystify HDTV 1080i ::: know why before you buy

Friday, October 21, 2005

THE High Definition DVD

It appears that the Blu-ray camp has officially decided to declare a victory in the format wars, with every major report and trade rag pushing out that Warner Bros ( Time-Warner/AOL ) inked blu-ray support into future plans. It really feels like a Sony/Toshiba war with the various hollywood film-makers becoming the generals and subsequently directing thier minions to buy off on the BD licensing schemes... meaning what?

Blu-ray. BDR. BD. and new words being made up every day...
it wont matter much what its called since it will probably be what you will get anyhow.

Right now just about anyone with a DVD burner can make a DVD that plays on set-top for TV and computer PC's with no cost-to-implement other than DVD burner, blank DVD media and some DVD software, and a computer... simple right? wrong, too much stuff, too many steps and worse... Reality is that its flakey, does not always work with DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW whatall sub-formats and compatibility problems, expertise required. In a lot of important ways, the exisiting DVD failed. The fact is that most people dont have the DVD home movie functionality they were promised, they dont use it for slideshows of photos, the massive shift to use DVD as a media basically stayed in the rental and buying of hollywood movies. I'm happy to lose the whole word DVD and replace it with simply BD.

Hopefully BD will be like Hi-def on steroids.

A special form of the BD is in it's Movie Distribution feature-set that lets hollywood control how its content is released and if it can be duplicated or even backed-up... all this without constraining a basic usage that lets the BD owner essentially have a high-definition multimedia recorder, quite possibly as a central functionality for the Home Media Center products of our future. Plug your camera into your media center and hit record. Simple. Photo/video whatever have you, its there in a nice clear picture, finally, and its portable. Not a tech-geek thing, but a consumer item of value.

One massive benefit is the disc itself is available in a caddy that protects it... my kids have trashed many a DVD with your basic coffee-table scratches, and i am so very glad that those days will be gone... replaced by video of the vacation and wedding days, and being simple enough for grandparents to play on their big new TV with the Sony PS3 bought for the grandkids.

... and that scenario will probably play out tens of millions of times across the planet.

I see a trend where video games and movies and life itself merge into a high-energy visually rich must-have consumer adoption. My Hollywood friend: Christine Peters, Executive Producer says it well.

I already know a few dozen people with nice big TV's that display distorted width streched out crappy broadcast images -- they try with some desperation to be proud owners, but it isnt happening... people look 50lbs fatter - It's painful. These wide-screen TV owners dont even know what 16x9 is, but somehow they forked over $3-$5k for the dubious pleasure of ugly in flatscreen-land.

With PS3 and BD players (and a lot of film to BD re-releasing by studios), these poor widescreen owners will finally get what they thought they were supposed to get, what they were told they would get... and finally see what they were sold.

( cue the sunrise and violins ) ... its time is coming.

Monday, October 03, 2005

blu-ray and hd-dvd at Paramount

It seems that yesterday ( sunday Oct 2) a release went out from Paramount that they will offer and support both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD for their content.

Paramount Pictures is held by Viacom, which makes it's Blu-Ray support more than a little significant... and Toshiba issued an immediate HD-DVD damage control statement on that, which actually served no other purpose than to draw more attention to Paramount's Statement.

Read below my observations on how blu-ray (BD-R) support in Sony Playstation 3's causes the widest spectrum of support for that format to be plenty viable, which is plain english on the practical outcome of plentiful players out there for HDTV owners with Sony Game engines and media centers.

But then again i am a video geek, and ...

There are a few very mission critical details on how blu-ray works for content authentication and encryption for digital rights management, i will express more on that in the next log.
Anyone that edits HD will prefer BD format, and more than likely buy in, anyone with an HDTV will buy a PS3 just to get the value of the HD investment. Blu-Ray is going along for the ride so to speak, all this has momentum that seems to be missing from HD-DVD.

Suffice to say blu-ray 1080 content is without doubt well considered technology built to do its job, and HD-DVD was crafted for interim compatibility and some notion that its cost-per-goods-sold would be better. A year from now that validiation for HD-DVD will seem thin in a lot of ways, bravo Paramount/Viacom for doing your homework.

Update: Warner etc, all followed suit as expected, so content providers for HD are not likely to be this issue for format decisions...