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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    New HD-DVD info: not good news if you use component vid for HDTV

    I picked on a couple of interesting articles in The Digital Bits' daily update. First off, the Video Software Dealers Association had their annual convention this week, and they put out a position paper advocating one single format for HD video discs. It's nothing more than the association's official position on this and a slew of other marketing and packaging matters, but you never know. The Digital Bits editor thinks it could be significant if large retailers refuse to stock the new HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats until the parties agree to a single format.

    Also, Digital Spy posted some new details about HD-DVD. First, the bad news. It looks like Toshiba's going to confirm what we've feared, and pass HD signals only through the digital video connections. What this means for the millions of people who own HDTVs with only analog component video connections is that the maximum resolution that they can receive on their HDTVs via HD-DVD is no better than what they currently get with 480p progressive DVD. If you want HD resolution from your HD-DVD, you have to have a TV that can accept HDMI or comparable digital video signals.

    Other intriguing bits from the article. It mentions that HD-DVD mastering will be based on 1080p -- no idea what that means for the resolution of the actual discs, which are supposedly going to go with either 720p or 1080i.

    Also, the article mentioned that four HD-DVD disc formats will be introduced. In addition to single-layer, dual-layer, and triple-layer media, a fourth media type called SD-DVD will allow for a DVD layer on one side. Supposedly, the SD-DVD disc format allows for flipper discs with the HD-DVD content on one side and regular DVD content on the other. This ensures backwards compatibility, and could pave the way for simultaneous HD-DVD/DVD releases.

    To me, if this format war with Blu-ray goes on as planned, the SD-DVD media could very well turn to HD-DVD's advantage because it would bring HD-DVD into stores en masse without the need for retailers to maintain dual inventories. If the studios backing HD-DVD elect to put out their new releases in HD-DVD/DVD flipper discs, then that could really seed the market for HD-DVD hardware. Somehow, I can see the studios getting greedy, and not taking advantage of this capability on the assumption that people will repurchase their entire video library. Then again, I see it very much in the studios' interest to transition the market over to a copy protected format that uses more up-to-date encryption, and even if hacked would require more bandwidth to file share. My understanding is that Blu-ray uses a very thin substrate, so if that eliminates the possibility of issuing Blu-ray/DVD flipper discs, then Blu-ray will depend on being able to squeeze onto retailer shelves. Anyway, here's the article.

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds22406.html
    Last edited by Woochifer; 07-27-2005 at 05:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I'm a patient man.

    I grew up in the days before color TV listening to the 4" speaker. To me, the current state of the (video and audio) are is far beyond whatever I could have dreamed of as a young 'un.

    Also, this means I've lived through the early FM stereo (with one channel on AM) , the great quad format wars in the 70's (where EVERYBODY lost) , the VHS/Beta wars in the 80's, not to mention elcassettes and other oddities (8 tracks, anyone?) and am in no hurry to live on the bleeding edge of audio/videop technology.

    At least SACD and DVD-Audio can peacefully co-exist on a uiversal player. Likewise DD and DTS.

    I think I'll just sit this one out for a while until the dust settles. When the marketplace puts a gun to the consumers head and forces Joe Sixpack to make a choice, well, remember the quad wars in the 70's?

  3. #3
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    This is just crazy, how in the hell does Toshiba expect to sell this format to the public if they are going to bypass millions of display devices already in the field?

    Do they really think these guys that have invested thousand of dollars in their display devices that do not have HDMI connections are going to buy new projectors and television just for this format?

    Toshiba is also sending out mixed signals. In a seminar that I attended earlier this year, during a discussion on HD-DVD(which was quickly cutoff by a studio exec) a Toshiba representative said that HD-DVD was going to based on 1080i. When asked about 1080P, he said that Toshiba didn't have this resolution on its plate and that it would have to retool the entire format to accomodate it. Now they are saying it is going to be based on 1080P. Guys, what is it?

    I am so glad I was smart enough to purchased a RPTV with a HDMI input, though I'm still not going to support either formats until we get ONE format. I personally think that HD-DVD will be a huge bust(don't quote me on this LOL)
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  4. #4
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I was expecting this

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    This is just crazy, how in the hell does Toshiba expect to sell this format to the public if they are going to bypass millions of display devices already in the field?

    Do they really think these guys that have invested thousand of dollars in their display devices that do not have HDMI connections are going to buy new projectors and television just for this format?
    Toshiba knows that the people who buy the latest & greatest stuff are already going to have a TV with HDMI inputs. By choosing the release HD-DVD in HDMI only it's going to give it an exculsivity that these people LIKE to have. More importantly, it also insures that the digital copywrite protection that software providers have been demanding is enforced.

    The real question is going to be is if receiver manufacturers are going to make receivers that are capable of down-converting HDMI to component. So far I haven't seen one.
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  5. #5
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Toshiba knows that the people who buy the latest & greatest stuff are already going to have a TV with HDMI inputs. By choosing the release HD-DVD in HDMI only it's going to give it an exculsivity that these people LIKE to have. More importantly, it also insures that the digital copywrite protection that software providers have been demanding is enforced.
    How then are you going to build a mass market format when you are offering exclusivity to only a few? I completely understand about the copy protection, but you cannot build a format that is going to be the sucessor to the DVD by asking consumers to purchase a new player, television AND receiver.

    The real question is going to be is if receiver manufacturers are going to make receivers that are capable of down-converting HDMI to component. So far I haven't seen one.
    Forget this, what about receivers offering Dts-HD and DD plus? Haven't even heard of a manufacturer even mentioning this.
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  6. #6
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I think that it's pretty easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    How then are you going to build a mass market format when you are offering exclusivity to only a few? I completely understand about the copy protection, but you cannot build a format that is going to be the sucessor to the DVD by asking consumers to purchase a new player, television AND receiver.



    Forget this, what about receivers offering Dts-HD and DD plus? Haven't even heard of a manufacturer even mentioning this.
    You offer HD for the people who have it (HDMI), and DVD quality for everyone else. It's going to be a long process for them to get everyone on board with HD, I think this is going to be one more incentive.

    As to buying a new Player TV, & Receiver. I'm sure that's EXACTLY what the manufactures have in mind, wether they support HD-DVD or BlueRay tech. Like every other emerging tech, the first owners are going to pay a premium for it. These people know that, and really don't mind the expence. I'm sure you know the type.
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  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The HDMI thing isn't a big deal at all when you think about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    You offer HD for the people who have it (HDMI), and DVD quality for everyone else. It's going to be a long process for them to get everyone on board with HD, I think this is going to be one more incentive.

    As to buying a new Player TV, & Receiver. I'm sure that's EXACTLY what the manufactures have in mind, wether they support HD-DVD or BlueRay tech. Like every other emerging tech, the first owners are going to pay a premium for it. These people know that, and really don't mind the expence. I'm sure you know the type.
    As an unbiased observer, I have little doubt Blu-ray will pull the same HDMI stunt..same industry mentality working here. But what's to worry about?

    Geoffcin's right...it'll take all but 1 nanosecond for an HDMI to Component convertor to hit the market, and my guess is sold by the DVD or TV manufacturers. What that will cost is anyone's guess. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Receivers did the switching when it comes, too.

    Any fears are quite unreasonable at this point. It's absolutely clear that the HDMI favoritism won't be a factor for the customers who actually WILL buy early HD-DVD players. And given the lifespan of TV's, and the average joe who lags behind several years, they likely will have an HDMI TV by the time they do adopt the format or will buy convertors. What's the problem here?

    I have all the tools ready to for HD-DVD, but there's no way I'm droppint $900-$1000 on a player for very few titles, when I can wait 2 years, and most likely get a far superior unit for 1/2 the price with more titles available. And you can bet if Blu-Ray enters the fold and a format war does occur, it'll probably be later than that.

    Anyone else here pick up on the fact that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD camps are expecting their players to be in the $1000 range? You can buy a 51" HDTV for that kind of dough!

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Widowmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    This is just crazy, how in the hell does Toshiba expect to sell this format to the public if they are going to bypass millions of display devices already in the field?

    Do they really think these guys that have invested thousand of dollars in their display devices that do not have HDMI connections are going to buy new projectors and television just for this format?

    Toshiba is also sending out mixed signals. In a seminar that I attended earlier this year, during a discussion on HD-DVD(which was quickly cutoff by a studio exec) a Toshiba representative said that HD-DVD was going to based on 1080i. When asked about 1080P, he said that Toshiba didn't have this resolution on its plate and that it would have to retool the entire format to accomodate it. Now they are saying it is going to be based on 1080P. Guys, what is it?

    I am so glad I was smart enough to purchased a RPTV with a HDMI input, though I'm still not going to support either formats until we get ONE format. I personally think that HD-DVD will be a huge bust(don't quote me on this LOL)
    This may not be Toshiba's fault. As we all know, HDMI/DVI inputs are HDCP protected and Hollywood may have insisted to Toshiba that they want HDCP-only to protect their IP.

    Besides, it won't be just Toshiba, I can easily envision Sony making Blu-ray HDMI/DVI exclusive as well.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    No movie studio will sanction films in any HD format unless copy protection is in place, and component outputs won't cut it. Even upconversion to pseudo-HD is impossible without DVI/HDMI at this point. Neither Toshiba nor Sony can afford to manufacture units that no one will buy because content providers refuse to release material. Should they just scrap the idea of DVD in HD altogether? I hardly think so. As Kexo and others have said, most people will wait until their natural upgrade to a compatible display or simply wait until the smoke clears from the war without losing any sleep. The early adopters can have their usual field day, and suffer their customary fate, whether or not either proposed format takes hold. Titles that studios don't consider sensitive might well allow analog playback in HD, but few people will probably want to see them. By the way, 1080p mastering doesn't mean that 1080p decks are in the offing. Even 480p titles are mastered in the state of the art.

    Ed

  10. #10
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    My hats off to all of you who have embarked upon this HD journey when nothing has been established as a standard. Rock on dudes while I enjoy my projector connected through component cables from my DVD and enjoying the spectacular vision and the 5.1 audio to go with it. Just let me know when the standard has been set and I might bite.
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  11. #11
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edtyct
    No movie studio will sanction films in any HD format unless copy protection is in place, and component outputs won't cut it. Even upconversion to pseudo-HD is impossible without DVI/HDMI at this point. Neither Toshiba nor Sony can afford to manufacture units that no one will buy because content providers refuse to release material. Should they just scrap the idea of DVD in HD altogether? I hardly think so. As Kexo and others have said, most people will wait until their natural upgrade to a compatible display or simply wait until the smoke clears from the war without losing any sleep. The early adopters can have their usual field day, and suffer their customary fate, whether or not either proposed format takes hold. Titles that studios don't consider sensitive might well allow analog playback in HD, but few people will probably want to see them. By the way, 1080p mastering doesn't mean that 1080p decks are in the offing. Even 480p titles are mastered in the state of the art.

    Ed
    Do you really think that buying public is going to support a format that requires not only a new receiver, but a new television/projector AND player? The public didn't even buy into DVD-A or SACD which required far less of an investment, and you could still watch DVD's on the player.

    I have visited many a A/V site in the last 3 months. If you have read any polls(which are not scientific by any means) on the high def formats, many say they are going to wait this one out. I understand the copy protection issues, but the record companies destroyed DVD-A and SACD by requiring the use of analog outputs, I think the studios are going to destroy these formats be requiring that manufacturers use outputs that aren't already in widespread use in the field. I just don't think the support is there for a major equipment overhaul.

    Nick, I hate you! LOL
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Nick, I hate you! LOL
    LOLOLOLOL.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Lots of excellent points raised by everyone. I think that the digital video requirement very well might become the de facto standard with all future HD hardware, including HD satellite/broadcast receivers and DVRs. Basically, if you have a device that outputs HD through analog component video connections, you might need to hold onto that device and hope that it doesn't break. As HDMI support becomes more commonplace, I can see hardware manufacturers quietly downgrading everything to 480p on the analog video outputs. That becomes a real problem for the millions of customers who did not buy their HDTVs within the last two years when digital video inputs became more commonplace.

    I'm sure that the market will respond with video converters that will allow for analog HD inputs to accept digital signals. But, the HD video disc will already be hampered by the confusion that format wars inevitably create, and requiring some external device to do video conversion creates yet another market barrier that HD-DVD and Blu-ray don't need right at the outset.

    What has surprised me thus far is that with HD-DVD and Blu-ray's respective introductions less than a year away, I've yet to see any receivers or processors with Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD support announced, nor have I seen too many products built around HDMI switching or digital-to-analog video conversion.

    One of the more intriguing aspects of that article I posted was the SD-DVD media that the HD-DVD format can use as a dual format disc. With so many technical and strategic factors favoring Blu-ray, the possibility of hybrid HD-DVD/DVD releases seems like HD-DVD's ace in the hole. The key player is probably Warner, because the company jointly holds most of the DVD patents with Toshiba. If they decide that they want to bury Blu-ray under an avalanche of HD-DVDs, they can do so by simply issuing all of their new releases using the two-sided SD-DVD media. The company can still make a ton of money by reissuing their existing video library in HD-DVD, but in the meantime, they will have seeded the market with millions of playable HD-DVDs. If Blu-ray cannot come up with a comparable offfering, then they will have to rely on carving out retail shelf space for themselves, whereas HD-DVDs would get filed with the existing DVD space.

    I doubt that this will happen, but it's one way to end any potential format war before it even starts. Plus, it makes sense for everybody involved -- for the studios, because it moves more consumers into a better copy protected format; for retailers, because it does not require separate sections for thenew format; and for the hardware manufacturers, because it creates a new higher margin revenue stream that got removed when DVD hardware got commodified by the flood of cheap Chinese DVD hardware.

  14. #14
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    I grew up in the days before color TV listening to the 4" speaker. To me, the current state of the (video and audio) are is far beyond whatever I could have dreamed of as a young 'un.

    Also, this means I've lived through the early FM stereo (with one channel on AM) , the great quad format wars in the 70's (where EVERYBODY lost) , the VHS/Beta wars in the 80's, not to mention elcassettes and other oddities (8 tracks, anyone?) and am in no hurry to live on the bleeding edge of audio/videop technology.

    At least SACD and DVD-Audio can peacefully co-exist on a uiversal player. Likewise DD and DTS.

    I think I'll just sit this one out for a while until the dust settles. When the marketplace puts a gun to the consumers head and forces Joe Sixpack to make a choice, well, remember the quad wars in the 70's?
    I'm with you. Would i like to have HD-DVD,sure. Do i need it,nope. Can i live without it,yep. Am i happy with whats out there now,yep. Would i change or upgrade anything i have to have HD-DVD,i dont think so.
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    What is SACD? Is it better than my 2 channel stereo?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    it'll take all but 1 nanosecond for an HDMI to Component convertor to hit the market
    Yep.

    Also, (IMHO) the leap from standard DVD to HD-DVD is far more extreme in terms of improved playback experience than past digital audio standard upgrades. In my opinion the original DVD spec was far too conservative in the first place.

    Broadcast FM radio just can't compete with even the basic CD audio format, but a subscription to any HD channel humiliates a top end DVD player. I've always found that kind of ironic.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Do you really think that buying public is going to support a format that requires not only a new receiver, but a new television/projector AND player? The public didn't even buy into DVD-A or SACD which required far less of an investment, and you could still watch DVD's on the player.

    I have visited many a A/V site in the last 3 months. If you have read any polls(which are not scientific by any means) on the high def formats, many say they are going to wait this one out. I understand the copy protection issues, but the record companies destroyed DVD-A and SACD by requiring the use of analog outputs, I think the studios are going to destroy these formats be requiring that manufacturers use outputs that aren't already in widespread use in the field. I just don't think the support is there for a major equipment overhaul.
    Sir T, was this shock and awe response meant for me? Well, then, no. I don't think that the buying public will support a format that requires a lot of new equipment, or even one piece for that matter. Toshiba and Sony have just as much data, if not more and better data, about potential adopters than we do (not to mention money), and they are still going to issue their product. It will appeal to a small population and will be priced accordingly. They have to start somewhere. They can afford at least some of the risk involved (though they wouldn't be foolish enough to manufacture these players on a platform that studios wouldn't accept under any conditions). I'm not so sure that the mandate of digital inputs/outputs will forever destroy these formats (or ones very much like them). (And please don't interpret this remark as a lack of sympathy for the thousands of people who bought TVs with only digital inputs). Toshiba and Sony may well have to wait before DVD in HD catches fire, but by all accounts, they are undaunted by anything that might suggest market failure. I guess the possible upside is enough for them.

    The preceding was not an endorsement of digital copyprotection or corporate chest thumping of any kind.

    Ed

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abstracta
    Yep.

    Also, (IMHO) the leap from standard DVD to HD-DVD is far more extreme in terms of improved playback experience than past digital audio standard upgrades. In my opinion the original DVD spec was far too conservative in the first place.
    Not my exact quote, but the sentiment was accurate.

    I agree with you about the original DVD spec. With the HDTV specs already in place when the DVD format was getting prepped for market, I've said for years on this board that the DVD got introduced before the underlying technology was ready. As much of an improvement as 480p was over VHS, the DVD format was introduced pretty much as an interim format until the HD market was ready. Unfortunately, the product has proven so successful that it will be extremely difficult for any HD disc format to supplant the now-entrenched DVD as the primary home video carrier. IMO, the parties involved should have positioned the DVD as a true HD format from the outset, even if it required waiting a couple of years for the disc storage technology to catch up with the video encoding. As things stand, we have a format war looming with all kinds of arbitrary market barriers in place as HD-DVD and Blu-ray get ready to launch. If the HD disc formats fail in the market, then we're stuck indefinitely with the 480p DVD as everything else in home video moves forward in 720 and 1080 resolution.

    It's a similar story with digital audio where the CD format was locked onto the 44.1 kHz/16-bit standard because of prevailing disc storage technology limitations, even though higher resolution audio formats were already in use at that time in recording studios. All these years later, digital audio technology has grown and evolved so much further, yet the playback format remains wedded to standards that were written based on late-70s technology. Think about it, the CD standard was set in stone before the original IBM PC was introduced [4k RAM -- NOT MB, 360k floppy drives, 8088 chip with a clock speed of less than 5 MHz, and a list price of more than $3,000], back when modems were the size of a suitcase and required that you stuff a phone receiver into a couple of foam pads, before the space shuttle first flew, etc. Now, we're stuck with this format, and with the apparent failure of SACD and DVD-A in the market, the CD will likely remain the dominant carrier format for at least a few more years. Ironically, the future of high res audio very well might depend on the success or failure of HD-DVD and Blu-ray, because the mandatory audio formats for both HD disc types will allow for high res lossless multichannel digital audio.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Do you really think that buying public is going to support a format that requires not only a new receiver, but a new television/projector AND player? The public didn't even buy into DVD-A or SACD which required far less of an investment, and you could still watch DVD's on the player.

    I have visited many a A/V site in the last 3 months. If you have read any polls(which are not scientific by any means) on the high def formats, many say they are going to wait this one out. I understand the copy protection issues, but the record companies destroyed DVD-A and SACD by requiring the use of analog outputs, I think the studios are going to destroy these formats be requiring that manufacturers use outputs that aren't already in widespread use in the field. I just don't think the support is there for a major equipment overhaul.
    I guess my question is why are these formats getting rushed to market at this time? I understand that the growth curve on DVD has begun to slow down and all of the players are looking for a new cash cow to milk, since the high margins on the DVD format evaporated a lot sooner than anybody had anticipated. The video software dealers are lobbying everybody involved to unify behind a single format, and they are ultimately the final arbiter of whether these formats sink or swim -- no shelf space for HD-DVD or Blu-ray (mail order still constitutes a small percentage of DVD sales), then the formats will not succeed as anything other than an expensive niche format.

    And who knows, maybe the goal for HD-DVD and Blu-ray is to remain an expensive high margin, low volume product where the prices for players and discs remain at a premium. I know that there was plenty of grumbling over how quickly the DVD hardware and movie titles became commodified. But, with HD broadcast and satellite rapidly coming online, there will be plenty of HD options to choose from over the next few years. So, I don't see how these market barriers at the outset can benefit the prospects for HD-DVD and Blu-ray. I read that a poll taken on the AVS Forum found that 45% of the respondents with HDTVs did not have digital video connections. That's a lot of potential customers who will be locked out of the market at the outset, unless external devices come out that will enable them to view HD-DVD or Blu-ray at full resolution. And with any HDMI digital to analog converters, who knows how much they will cost at the outset, or what the picture quality will look like.

    Getting the parties to unify behind a single HD disc format will supposedly delay the introduction by about a year as technical issues get resolved, but I say what's wrong with that? One more year means that many more HDTVs sold, and that many more potential consumers for the new HD discs. It also gives more time for DD+ and DTS-HD processors to make their way into high end receivers/processors in anticipation of the new discs coming onto the market. I just don't see the logic behind yet another botched launch and format war. Get behind one format, prepare the market, and do the product launch right. Even the DVD didn't really take off until Circuit City's idiotic DivX format failed and all of the studios finally united behind the DVD format.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 07-28-2005 at 02:59 PM.

  20. #20
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abstracta
    Yep.

    Also, (IMHO) the leap from standard DVD to HD-DVD is far more extreme in terms of improved playback experience than past digital audio standard upgrades. In my opinion the original DVD spec was far too conservative in the first place.

    Broadcast FM radio just can't compete with even the basic CD audio format, but a subscription to any HD channel humiliates a top end DVD player. I've always found that kind of ironic.
    Oh! Which HD-DVD did you watch? What DVD did you compare it to?
    Look & Listen

  21. #21
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    I think these next few months to a year are going to be very interesting regarding HD formats. I was at Barnes and Noble last night and was flipping through some audio mags and some census/stats periodicals. The estimate of HDTVs in the U.S. household was 8% as of 12/2004 and increased to 10-13% as of last month. Not sure of the accuracy of these stats, but that tells me over 80% of U.S. households still don't have HDTVs. The prices are still too high (eventhough they did fall a lot of the past 8 months) and the technology is still too fresh.

    After reading those articles, Woochifer's last post makes more and more sense- maybe firms are going toward a high margin, low volume product. At least in the beginning.

    Has anyone else heard other stats of HDTVs in households? The 10-13% at first seemed a bit low, but then again not one of my friends/relatives/coworkers have an HDTV.

  22. #22
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    I think these next few months to a year are going to be very interesting regarding HD formats. I was at Barnes and Noble last night and was flipping through some audio mags and some census/stats periodicals. The estimate of HDTVs in the U.S. household was 8% as of 12/2004 and increased to 10-13% as of last month. Not sure of the accuracy of these stats, but that tells me over 80% of U.S. households still don't have HDTVs. The prices are still too high (eventhough they did fall a lot of the past 8 months) and the technology is still too fresh.

    After reading those articles, Woochifer's last post makes more and more sense- maybe firms are going toward a high margin, low volume product. At least in the beginning.

    Has anyone else heard other stats of HDTVs in households? The 10-13% at first seemed a bit low, but then again not one of my friends/relatives/coworkers have an HDTV.
    How does a format survive as a high margin, low volume product? SACD and DVD-A couldn't do it, how will this?

    If Toshiba is really banking on those early adopters, they are in a world of trouble. There is a huge thread at hometheaterforum.com about HD-DVD and BlueRay, and more than 90% of the people that responded in that thread say they are going to wait this one out until either one is adopted for the standard. Even the most ardent of early adopters say they are not going to buy until one wins the war. There are a few that say they'll buy a player when they become available, but they are definately in the minority. Even here not many are going to early adopt either format. Hometheaterdiscussion. com has pretty much the same response as everyone else. Every site that I have visited that had discussions about these formats, the consensus was about the same.

    I have been early adopting just about every audio and video format for the last 20 years. I have been burned many times from this, and have many a heavy paper weight as a result. Toshiba cannot count on me this time, even though I have the necessary inputs and outputs for the video side of these formats. ONE FORMAT PLEASE!!!!!
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  23. #23
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    There is, of course, the possible outcome that both formats will co-exist...After a few years, quality Universal players should be cheap enough. Not my first choice for all the headaches it would create, but maybe we're looking at this all wrong...who says we can only have 1 format?

    At any rate, if every 5--6 years we're getting new upgraded formats, then I don't really care who wins this. Actually, HD-DVD seems far more practical now, cheaper, more compatible, and faster. Better than nothing. Sooner or later something's gonna come out that smoke's BluRay anyway.

    When all I had was pro-logic, I was pretty happy to upgrade to Dolby Digital for two years before I could afford a receiver with DTS...this might be the same sort of thing.

  24. #24
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    While I agree 100% with your sentiments

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    How does a format survive as a high margin, low volume product? SACD and DVD-A couldn't do it, how will this?

    I have been early adopting just about every audio and video format for the last 20 years. I have been burned many times from this, and have many a heavy paper weight as a result. Toshiba cannot count on me this time, even though I have the necessary inputs and outputs for the video side of these formats. ONE FORMAT PLEASE!!!!!
    As a marketing strategy I see this as a very bold move. Already there's a hundred HD-DVD titles going to pressing as we speak. If they can get the finished product to market before the 2005 holiday season then they stand to sell thousands of units. Thank heaven my direct-view 36" 1080i capable TV doesn't have HDMI, or I'ld be tempted to buy into this tech. Especially if the players come in at or below the $500 price point! (that's what I heard they are shooting for)
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  25. #25
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    I think these next few months to a year are going to be very interesting regarding HD formats. I was at Barnes and Noble last night and was flipping through some audio mags and some census/stats periodicals. The estimate of HDTVs in the U.S. household was 8% as of 12/2004 and increased to 10-13% as of last month. Not sure of the accuracy of these stats, but that tells me over 80% of U.S. households still don't have HDTVs. The prices are still too high (eventhough they did fall a lot of the past 8 months) and the technology is still too fresh.

    After reading those articles, Woochifer's last post makes more and more sense- maybe firms are going toward a high margin, low volume product. At least in the beginning.

    Has anyone else heard other stats of HDTVs in households? The 10-13% at first seemed a bit low, but then again not one of my friends/relatives/coworkers have an HDTV.
    Actually, those numbers look very generous (optimistic). Consider that there are 105 million households in the U.S. and the estimates of total HDTVs shipped range from 4 to 6 million. Comparatively, the total number of DVD players sold in the U.S. to date is about 91 million (the market penetration is lower than simply dividing the total DVD players with the households because a lot of households have bought more than one DVD player).

    With most new format launches, manufacturers and software providers have tried to keep the products in the higher margin range. When Beta and VHS were in their protracted format war (which actually lasted for nearly a decade), VCR prices still remained relatively high for a long time. Even CD players did not become commodified until at least 10 years after their introduction.

    The DVD is actually very unusual in that the bottom dropped out of the price structure after less than six years on the market. The influence of Chinese companies producing boatloads of cheap generic DVD players caught a lot of the manufacturers by surprise. The rush to get HD-DVD and Blu-ray onto the market is probably more an overly hasty reaction to the quick price erosion with the DVD. Right now, manufacturers simply do not make much from DVD hardware.

    HDTV has actually managed to keep its price structure intact for a while now. However, sales have picked up a lot over the past year, and a lot of new manufacturing capacity is coming online.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    How does a format survive as a high margin, low volume product? SACD and DVD-A couldn't do it, how will this?

    If Toshiba is really banking on those early adopters, they are in a world of trouble. There is a huge thread at hometheaterforum.com about HD-DVD and BlueRay, and more than 90% of the people that responded in that thread say they are going to wait this one out until either one is adopted for the standard. Even the most ardent of early adopters say they are not going to buy until one wins the war. There are a few that say they'll buy a player when they become available, but they are definately in the minority. Even here not many are going to early adopt either format. Hometheaterdiscussion. com has pretty much the same response as everyone else. Every site that I have visited that had discussions about these formats, the consensus was about the same.
    Actually, Laserdisc managed to slog along for about 20 years as a high margin, low volume format. But, I have a feeling that the marketing machinery about to click into high gear promoting HD-DVD and Blu-ray do not envision a Laserdisc type of market niche. (Although with Laserdisc, it was nice because the specialty stores that served that market generally carried an eclectic assortment of movies. Sadly, most of those stores were not able to stay in business once the DVD came along and promptly went into big box stores)

    With SACD in particular, I think that Sony sent way too many mixed signals into the market. The first players were limited to two channels and uberexpensive, and multichannel SACD discs didn't start appearing until a year after the format launched. SACD was marketed as an audiophile-oriented format, and emphasized the remastered two-channel recordings. Then it seemed that almost overnight, the gears shifted and SACD began appearing on midlevel DVD players, and player prices plunged to less than $150. The word at that point was that hybrid SACD/CDs would supplant regular CDs for new releases. Just a marketing disaster all the way around. That over 4,000 SACD titles made it into the market with a format war, and ill-conceived market barriers (analog-only; limited bass management; etc.) in place was a feat in itself.

    I've been picking up similar signals for months on various boards that a lot of early adoptors are sitting out until the different players can get their act together. That's a very bad sign because the mass market seems quite happy with the DVD, and the vast majority of TVs out there right now won't benefit from HD-DVD and Blu-ray anyway. If your target market (i.e. HDTV owners with the necessary digital inputs) is small to begin with, then why antagonize them further with an idiotic format war and equally stupid market barriers that basically flip off people who bought their HDTVs two years ago or more?

    As much as I love multichannel music, I still don't own a DVD-A or SACD player because even the best universal players that I've tried lack the kind of consistently implemented bass management that I need to integrate with my equalized subwoofer setup. As it stands, I'm limited to DD and DTS because those formats can use digital connections and seamlessly integrate with my receiver's level, delay, and bass management settings. It's sheer stupidity to launch a format that from the outset gives potential buyers -- buyers who WANT to upgrade -- as many reasons as possible not to upgrade. HD-DVD and Blu-ray so far look poised to repeat the exact same mistakes that were made in the DVD-A/SACD launch.

    And if that's the case, then we're looking at a long reign for the DVD. In retrospect, the DVD indeed came out earlier than it should have. Figure that the first HDTVs arrived in stores in 1998. Sales were stagnant for years thereafter, and didn't really pick up until more HD broadcasts went on the air and satellite/cable operators began offering HD programming. If DVD had arrived in 1999 or 2000 as a full-blown HD format, it could have paved the way for HDTV in general. Everybody's complaint in the early years of HDTV was the lack of programming. The HDTV standards were already set in 1992, everybody knew what was coming. HDTV sales could have picked up a lot sooner, and DVD would have led the charge to higher resolution programming. Instead, now the DVD is entrenched as a 480p format, and in a totally reactive mode with very uncertain prospects for both HD disc formats.

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    There is, of course, the possible outcome that both formats will co-exist...After a few years, quality Universal players should be cheap enough. Not my first choice for all the headaches it would create, but maybe we're looking at this all wrong...who says we can only have 1 format?

    At any rate, if every 5--6 years we're getting new upgraded formats, then I don't really care who wins this. Actually, HD-DVD seems far more practical now, cheaper, more compatible, and faster. Better than nothing. Sooner or later something's gonna come out that smoke's BluRay anyway.
    A universal player might solve things, but I've read that enough differences in the Blu-ray substrate exist to make a universal player more difficult to produce than with other formats. And at the product launch, we're looking at two sides trying to persuade the public to go with their approach. A lot of conflicting (and probably false) information will get thrown around, and if consumers get confused enough, they will quickly tune out and just go back to the DVD.

    If we get new formats introduced every 5-6 years, then I think the end result will be the DVD dominating the market indefinitely. Consumers don't like upgrading unless they see obvious and tangible benefits (tough to see it right now because you need an HDTV to discern the difference between HD and DVD resolution, and the majority of TV sold are still standard definition), retailers don't like carrying multiple format inventories, and I doubt that the studios will have a lot of patience for having to retool their production constantly and support an increasing backlog of legacy formats (if the successor to HD-DVD/Blu-ray is introduced in six years, will the studios continue to make DVDs AND HD-DVD/Blu-ray discs? Or will any of those formats get discontinued, leaving some customers in the lurch?). A lot of inertia to overcome, and the DVD is unusual in that it established itself so quickly. And even there, it took the DVD about six years to overtake a clearly inferior and ancient format like VHS. HD-DVD and Blu-ray do not have the same kind of clearcut advantage and obvious benefit over the DVD that the DVD had over VHS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    As a marketing strategy I see this as a very bold move. Already there's a hundred HD-DVD titles going to pressing as we speak. If they can get the finished product to market before the 2005 holiday season then they stand to sell thousands of units. Thank heaven my direct-view 36" 1080i capable TV doesn't have HDMI, or I'ld be tempted to buy into this tech. Especially if the players come in at or below the $500 price point! (that's what I heard they are shooting for)
    If you're looking to sit out the HD-DVD/Blu-ray upgrade cycle, then the two camps have provided you with plenty of reasons! I think that with only about half of the studio titles being available for one format or another, a lot of consumers will refrain from supporting one side or another. I heard that the first batch of HD-DVD players will price out at about $800, same with the Blu-ray players.

    The more intriguing development will likely occur once the Sony Playstation 3 comes out the first half of next year. That game console will include a Blu-ray drive, and I doubt that Sony can expect to sell millions of units like its previous game consoles have sold if the price is anywhere around even $500. It could very well spark the Blu-ray format the same way that the PS2 provided a huge lift for the DVD format (at that time, the game console sold for $300, while the average DVD player still sold for well over $200).

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