13 September, 2007

HD-DVD vs BluRay

I’ve blogged about this before Part one

Given Paramount’s (including most of Dreamwork’s output except Spielberg and Dreamworks animation) recent decision to side with Universal and only release their movie in the HD-DVD format (until this point they have released selected titles on both formats).

In the opposite camp, Sony/Fox/MGM/Disney exclusively release on BluRay, coupled with Blockbuster’s recent announcement to only stock BluRay (this is the same Blockbuster that not only provided “sanitized” versions of titles to various communities also delayed adopting DVD in favor of VHS and at one time refused to carry widescreen versions insisting that the masses didn’t like the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen but I digress) the battle lines are being drawn in the latest corporate attempts to control the access you have to media.

Stand alone players of either format until recently have been in the 1000 + dollar range and with a limited number of titles and even fewer that were encoded well there was very limited public exposure to either format.

At the moment there are a lot more Bly-Ray players out there, as they’re in every PS3 - but with the current HD-DVD ad campaign and prices dropping every week or so it will be interesting to see how the numbers stack up at the end of the year – the interesting tidbit is the technology has existed for several years now, the main reason for the delay is the content providers reluctance to release hi quality copies of their properties with out adequate controls – however, as some wonk recently observed “…preventing digital files from being copied is like making water not wet”

From a picture quality point of view, the two formats are capable of containing full length movies with extras in any of the various HD formats at equal quality and a single disk of either format is capable of holding the entire 72 original Star Trek episodes including all the outtake reels and excerpts from the various ‘cons’ & ‘fests” over the years.

BluRay has an edge in terms of total capacity but for all but a few uses the difference is not that significant.

The other major discriminator is BluRay has “enhanced” features that are enabled using Java Virtual Machine which is also where the other part that the content providers deem critical lays - “Copy Protection” although these days it is much more than that, the most commonly used acronym is DRM (Digital Rights Management). The OBTW is - that most current stand alone players are not JVM capable – and that is a moving target as the capabilities of JVM continue to evolve.

(Rhymes with Baloney) has in some aspects restaged the Beta vs VHS battle, but given recent history where (Rhymes with Baloney) has also discreetly installed some very invasive software on any ones computer who happened to want to play any of several CD audio titles off of their computers CD drive – of course, in the opposite camp is the other proverbial 800lb gorilla who various attempts to control some aspect of the Glass Teat (nod & tip of the hat to Mr. Ellison) over the years has been a long string of “nice tries” - at best (WebTv anyone?) - also has a disturbing history of invasive data gathering and ‘glitches” for users who want to access content they already ‘own’ (anyone still own a Zune?).

But, as I noted in my first post on this subject, I predict that the wining format will be the one with the most titles that people are willing to shell out their hard earned shekels, rubles, euros, dollars (whatever) to own, the next question is how many will actually view a HD image as most players default to Standard definition upon reset.

07 September, 2007

80 years ago today

it was 80 years ago today when the first electronic television image was transmitted.

And since I’m attending the IBC conference I’ll me sure to tip a pint or three in Philo’s name.