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

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

SONY & the Blu-ray Delay

This month: More Commentary

It seems that all the fireworks for HD-DVD's appearance in the market has been for the most part a low-key affair, and the upcoming delayed ( yawn & read on ) Blu-ray release target will likely be the same. From what i get in conversation, its already to the point of HD Hype Fatigue with most of this HD blue laser stuff, and the hang-time of the topic is really short.

Push comes to shove HD ...

Toshiba's mammoth new 1 terabyte hard disc & standalone tuner-recorder-burner being released for the Japanese market now is an early adopter's wet dream, i would guess that NTSC versions will become available soon for the rest of us.

What you dont know about the delays is...
Patents. A small Japanese company named Nichia... and a strangle-hold on what they call the "pick-up" which is really the blue laser read/write head assembly's main component and primary jewelry inside your basic Blu-X system. People that blame Sony for delays are just not in the loop on what has happened here, and it is complex, but suffice to say Nichia is suing everyone that attempts to make a blue laser head with patent infringement litigation, and also cant ship enough of what they make to meet Blu-ray demand. Hence the August 15th Sony release date becomes October 25th... but really, getting anyone to care about anything in mid August summer vacation is a bit off the wall anyhow, releases after September make more sense.
Read if you must ... http://www.nichia.com/ but basically the patent holder is bootstrapping thier development cycle for manufacture, and being a bit codgy about letting it out to china pricing. Others report that its a "chipset" shortage, but from what i got its more of a firmware code thing, and after seeing the HD-DVD firmware get a solid bashing by the pros, i am all for Sony and its partners to test, re-test and focus group study the code before i see it anyhow.

Does all this harm the Hi-Def industry... ?
... it harms the device market credibility more than anything else, and Mr & Mrs middle America really do not care just yet, they may stress out a bit for that must-have christmas goody based on blu-ray in Q4, but short of that it really is a tempest in a teapot with the industry eating all its own cookies and a few of its young. So be it. This Billion Dollar Baby isnt really even born yet so its still safe from the wrath of industry marketing morons, and i didnt hear any great thundering echoes from the dull thump of Toshiba's HD-DVD launch.

So... what makes sense?
... the market-speak of the DVD future will be "format agnostic". Huh?
e.g. put the high def dvd of whatever type into your player and it works.

HD really has value for the movie makers and they will want this, with the requisite std DRM.
Recording to such formats? ... Face it, the mass market has little need for 25 gigs of storage unless it wants to save HD videos or a year or so of Digital photos from an 8 mpix camera, and it only has to work with relative ease. Format-ambivalent is more correct a phrase from a dollars-spent standpoint of the existing HD screen owner.
The market will buy a player in 2007-2008 that costs 300-500 bucks and plays HD-DVD and Blu Ray and the remote control for that unit will have to deal with the format specific abilities of each, it aint rocket science there, but it will have its time to arrival.


July 1 2006 is/was supposedly the cutover date for Tuners in TV's over 25" that are digital ( USA FCC MANDATE ) -- they must have an ATSC digital tuner inside to be compliant with FCC stuff, but frankly, no one really is waving that flag at the moment -- doesnt seem to matter much. If your have a Digital cable subscriber box, or Dish/Satellite then your Tuner is from the service anyhow, such as that may be. For future laggards the govt also plans to offer a subsidized ATSC tuner sometime in the years to come.


I have gotten some interesting correspondence on 5.1 audio and Sony delay handling, but mostly its from the .01% crowd that really knows whats happening, the public view on it is rather apathetic. Basically the HD TV owner is the one who really wants this, they probably do not send in thier warranty cards, so i'm sure that the very people who should be selling to a targeted market of HD Screen owners, are in fact NOT READY and do NOT know who they are. The retailers know more than the indusry suppliers -- I know this is true for more reasons than i can share. I so want to kick this business in the butt for being that way, and hd1080i.com will stay in static page mode for yet another month or so as a result of all this poorly handled business momentum.


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