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

Friday, November 10, 2006

High Def DVD Formats and 1080i / 1080p

.. reading other articles spawns yet another instruction rant from me.

The so-called experts are starting to talk like their observations should matter and they are producing an incomplete picture.. bigtime.

For one thing, Calling the HD-DVD / Blu-ray competition a format war. Not so. Its a PLAYER war, an enablement situation at the user-end, just as the HD Display is required, and a source.

In the Best-Of-HD, 1080p content is the holy grail, and the presence of a PLAYER is required to monetize the 1080p source is in the holy-water & constant supply of content... quite frankly, it is not a mass market motivator. Perhaps if millions of PS3 units are out there, but that is quite some time away from now, and honestly i dont see 1080p as a single big enough reason for disposable income flow for middle america.

Pundits hit the format war with the Betamax/VHS story. Thats too old to apply. It was also about the availability of players at the endpoint, but it was before adoption curves had traction.

Lets get fresher about this, the VHS/DVD format war.

I recall when a DVD player that cost 400 bucks became available, i was on a waiting list to get one and my memo on that was printed in MIX magazine.... in just a very short time later you could buy a passably good DVD player for 59 bucks and they were piled high in every appliance store... and during that time i watched the VHS movie rental store go from all VHS Tapes to walls and walls of DVDs to rent. The difference between VHS and DVD was worth it at the pricepoints. WHY? because the players were out there everywhere. People still had thier VHS machines and movies were being offered in both formats.

This matters even more now. The HD-DVD and Blu-ray will succeed not because of content supply, ( the studios will crank out millions of whatever will sell, quickly) but rather by the installed base of HD displays and Players.

So where is the High Def Player adoption analysis in all this talk out there? or to re-kindle and use an old joke...

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Neither. The Rooster comes first and thats where it matters.

The most forward-thinking are talking about units that dont exist, and will cost 400 bucks that will play either format, or the PS3 that will cost 600 bucks and give you an access suite to go with game play... or of course the XBOX HD option afterthought gizmo ad-on.

In this, the 1080i or 1080p nature of the source will not really matter when the public finds that it cannot really tell the difference when the display firmware does its job properly. It will be an Advertizing target, but most folks wont much care or want to care. 1080 may matter, but i or p ... whatever works.

My opinion? I have one, and its lengthy. Short form:
It is not a format war, but a device/player subscriber value-point war.

The Player will not exist in the same way as before. The winners will be those that integrate the device into more than just a mindless jukebox, get the price-point right, and make it so that anyone with a 4th grade education can and will and use it. The days of a box for this and a box for that are nearing an end. Meaning: multiformat players that are found within more capable systems that provide surround sound amplification and are HDTV tuners, DVRs, entertainment.
I see a future win where Subscriber-box devices with the player included in it, that connect to services are more in demand... In fact i want my multiformat HIGH DEF DVD PLAYER to be just another thing in my Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300+ HD 1080i box or TIVO HD whatever i use to channel select. It makes perfect sense as the ideal subscriber value add to bring me what i want. Sony knows this with PS3, and it isnt really ahead of its time as much as it is futureproof value that anyone can see easily.

Without some exclusivity, there is no format war...

What if .. Hollywood said: "We will not be making a blu-ray version of Son of Harry Pooter" the bewiched would worry about exclusivity that would fuel a format war, based on Pooter availability. But that is not happening so the consumer will not encounter or much see this a s problem. So dont buy that $10,000 market analysis from these verbose HD experts. A moron can detect this situation.

In this millenia, the motivators include connectivity.

The connected device/player user will opt for whatever free thing they can get, meaning lots of advertizer opportunity for eyeball capture in a dedicated environment. If i Buy product XYZ with an HD player in it, and i get ABCDEF stuff for free, and its cool, i am justified, much as i see HD formats involved, they are not in and of themselves a motivating differentiator.

And even more importantly, subscriber box functionality with HD DVD and blu-ray, enables the AAC and whatever DRM phone-home authentication to work inherently and seamlessly without user knowlege or interaction... producing as a high value byproduct for marketing eyeball count feedback that is the Holy Grail for Hollywood. Whatever i buy, its got to be connected, to lots and lots of stuff, and joe sixpack wont care what's under the hood, only what's on screen.

Yes, i'm getting a PS3. Wireless highspeed gizmo and social connectivity. However, it is just the beginning of a much much bigger picture.

Differentiators? Seek interaction. The zoom click kind. No Keyboard.

This biggest problem i see is basically a lack of Fresh Content in HD. My first Treat interactive buy for an HD-DVD would actually be a google earth Encarta like wiki photo video story thing, where buying the HD DVD automatically subscribes me to all kinds of stuff that i dont get with Blu-ray, and isnt as cool without the HD-DVD. why? all the HD formats are very capable software delivery platforms, and the player will have a hard disc in it.

- lots to discuss there.


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