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New Formats

Forums - Discs & Movies - New Formats 


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Quote: Originally posted by Matt Joseph
...can you remember a company creating a video player that played both Betamax and VHS cassettes?
Ahhh just being picky Matt, but from memory the reason why they did not do this was that it was too hard too combine the different parts together that were unique to each format - i.e. gears, spindles, etc.

I have heard that JVC are looking at a combined HD & Blu Ray device as soon as both formats are released.

Also, my first DVD player purchased in 1997 was $1100.00 (AUS) and is still going but will not play CDR's but it does play DVD-R (go figure).

And one more thing, the australian government was planning to turn off all analog free to air TV and have digital only by 2008 but now that is looking like it will not go ahead as apparently only about 10% of people (some people say less) have purchased the equipment to handle it at home..
Either an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player will support current DVD right out of the box. There is already talk of combo players that will play BOTH HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, from 3rd party manufactures and the big name manufacturers who have taken sides. It would be suicide for either side not to support the other format.

As for buying up copies of movies on a hi-def format, pick and choose wisely. I'm a movie and home theater nut, so when I say this I think it's more then just wishful thinking - Most people won't notice a difference between HD movies and current DVD resolution. On an average sized set there can be little difference. On a wall sized screen then there may be a point to upgrade an entire collection, but if thats not the case select titles only may be better to invest in. Also, there is content on DVD right now that won't look any better. Older TV Shows, low end film sources and other similar things can't look any better, so better to get those now then wait for no real reason.

Finally, if your display is 720p and most movies come at 1080p then either the player will scale down the image to match your displays resolution or you can use your tv to do it if its so equipped. Also just for anyone reading this be aware, just because a TV is plasma or DLP don't think its an HDTV. A lot of lower priced displays are NOT true HDTV resolution. If it doesnt go beyond a res around 800 X 600, then all you have is a fancy regular tv that will take an HD signal and downconvert it to regular resolution. True HDTV is a display that can do more commonly 720p, 1080i or 1080p naturally. Read the specs of the TV carefully and research on the net if you have to.
hd-dvd & Blu-Ray
I have just purchased a 50" B&O plasma TV, which I am told is HD compliant. Correct me if I am wrong, surley when the new format or formats are released in UK, be it HD-DVD or Blu-Ray format a new DVD player will be compatible to both formats even the old standard DVD. I cannot see how THEY expect people to purchase 2 new DVD players, retain there old one and buy new copies of thier old films and buy a new bloody TV to boot?. Or am I just hoping?
Quote: Originally posted by Malcolm Campbell
...DVD-R is probably slightly more popular.
I am finding that down here in Australia that this is the case due to the actual price of the media more than anything else. Is that the same where you are?
I suspect we'll just get dual format players. It'll be more expensive at first but some OEM manufacturer will come up with a cheap solution that all the other manufacturers will rip-off or buy in to.

It's unlikely one format will disappear, Sony own enough major distributors to keep its format popular and will be using it in their own game systems. They've learned their lesson from Betamax and successfully did this with the whole DVD-R / DVD+R format wars. They both co-exist though DVD-R is probably slightly more popular.
No need to panic about new formats
From the few technical details I've actually seen so far, it seems the new HD formats will not make your existing collection redundant. What they will offer is greater resolution to those lucky people (mainly in the US and Japan for the next few years at least) who already own high resolution displays (some plasma's, LCD's and projectors). There seems to be no point in investing in DVD-HD or Blue Ray technology if you have a standard resolution NTSC or PAL display as such will be incapable of displaying the 720p or 1080i lines of information stored on the new discs.
Quote: Originally posted by Michael Bergeron
Invest tons of money into dvds only for them to change the format, what are we suppose to do with all these dvd throw them anyway?

Keep'em, cause they'll still be the predominant format for several more years and the new players will be backwards compatible. But if you still intend on throwing your collection away, you could just hand it over to me and I'll find a good home for them all. Wink
We get ripped off again
Invest tons of money into dvds only for them to change the format, what are we suppose to do with all these dvd throw them anyway?
Who know?
New format? Huh? DVD shold live longer. When are the official dates the new formats will be launched?
You also have to put into perspective the manufacturers that will not affiliate themselves with one format or the other and hopefully this means that they will produce dual format dvd players (including current dvd capability).
Usually the public will vote on which format is or is not better by what they buy but this may be persuaded by which studios put out the most popular titles.
Quote: Originally posted by Me You
But $19.99 for DVD's? What part of the woods did you get those. My first movie was a barebones (not even a real menu) version of In the Line of Fire and it was $45.

I bought the player and the discs with my handy dandy Best Buy card. Even now I rarely pay $19.99 for new releases, and the trick has always been with the bigger discount chains to buy the new releases the week they are released...I usually save anywhere from $5.00-$10.00 dllars per disc. Usually I pay $13.99-$16.99 depending on who is having the best sale that particular week and then there's a local chain here that sells newer movies at a price that usually undercuts the big chains...I think the best deal I have gotten lately was The Shield: Season 3 for $29.99.
Thanks for the help.
Quote: Originally posted by Matt Joseph
Back in 1997 when I purchased my first Panasonic DVD player for roughly $450.00, the price of the first discs I ever bought ( The Right Stuff, The Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for anyone curious) was about $19.99 per disc.

Well, the price you paid for your player sounds familiar. I paid about $600 canadian which was about $450.00 US at the time.

But $19.99 for DVD's? What part of the woods did you get those. My first movie was a barebones (not even a real menu) version of In the Line of Fire and it was $45. In fact, up until just a little while ago (around 2000), I don't ever remember movies commonly being less then $30. I include US prices in there too. I routinely shopped in Michigan and the Buffalo, NY area. Hmmmmmmmmm.Confused
For this new HD format to survive there is going to have to be a quick resolution to the competition between these two formats because if the companies and studios involved do not settle on one format, it will die a quick but painful death.

The same thing happened thirty years ago with Sony's Betmax format and JVC's VHS format, (check out the history of this rivalry) only at that time there wasn't really an alternative in the home video market for people to enjoy their movies in the comfort of their own homes.

The difference today is, however, consumers have an alternative that they seem very happy with, our beloved digital versatile disc format. When the two, new competing formats confuse the average consumer, most will reach a point of just sticking with what they have because it’s good enough to them and they don’t want the hassle associated with the expense and possibility that the new player they buy today may be obsolete tomorrow with the new HD format.

This compounds the problem that these companies will already face trying to get people to switch to the new format in the first place, having already purchased a large collection of DVD discs and players and left feeling a bit betrayed in the first place. The second problem facing these companies out of the gate is the fact that HD television units haven’t caught on as the industry expected them to, and without the right television for these new players they are no better visually to begin with. For anyone to get the biggest advantages of the format, most people are going to have to upgrade their current televisions at the same time, which I don’t think I have to tell anyone reading this that such a move is quite a costly conversion.

Third, besides the costs of the players themselves and probably the most important element of any new technology, is the cost of the media in the new format. Reportedly, a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray movie will cost consumers approximately $40.00 at launch and more than likely will not drop in price for the foreseeable future. What made the conversion to DVD so appealing was the relatively low price of the media when the format was first introduced. Back in 1997 when I purchased my first Panasonic DVD player for roughly $450.00, the price of the first discs I ever bought ( The Right Stuff, The Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for anyone curious) was about $19.99 per disc. Comparing the improved benefits of DVD as well as the price difference over laserdiscs at the time, I thought it was a great deal and so did nearly all of the other home video enthusiasts who considered themselves part of the niche laserdisc community.

As the prices of the players themselves came down, the average consumer came in droves and the DVD format exploded almost over night. The relatively low cost of DVD media and it’s lifespan over VHS has trained people to buy their movies instead of renting them as evidenced by sales figures for movies on DVD over the past few years. Now, what happens when you bump the prices up nearly double for a movie on the new format when most are content with what they already have?

Now onto the possibility of hybrid players that would play both formats; players that play both won’t happen for a long time, if at all. It seems unlikely to me that the competing factions will license the technology for their respective HD format to a company in order to produce a hybrid player, even if such a player could be made given the differences in the technology of each and it would make such a unit cost prohibitive to manufacture. Try this brain scrambler on for size… can you remember a company creating a video player that played both Betamax and VHS cassettes?

I’ve only touched on what I feel are the major issues with the new HD format, but there are many others such as distribution, exclusivity contracts… the list goes on and on. I love the possibilities of either of the new formats and cannot wait to get my hands on a player and watch my favorite movies in all of their high definition glory, but I’m not stupid and don’t like to throw my money away either…and to be quite honest, for most of the films I own DVD is just fine. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be one format that is besting the other and each of the participants have a lot of money riding on their own particular technology, nearly enough so that losing the battle would be disastrous financially, so until a clear winner is declared in this little war going on in the industry and all of the questions have been answered, I’m keeping my cash firmly planted in wallet.
Hmmm, depends.

First off, NO - either format WILL NOT work with any current DVD player, its totally different mechanics.

You'll have half of hollywood producing movies on HD-DVD while the other half does for Blu-Ray. Along the same lines, half of manufacturers will make HD-DVD players, while half will make Blu-Ray.

Each player will probably be $1000 when they come out and despite what the studios promise, I bet $40 or more for a single movie on either format. Eventually there will be combo players from 3rd parties not interested in either side, but dont expect that for sometime afterwards. Also, there is talk that certain retailers will only support certain formats. Get a Blu-Ray at Best Buy, drive across town to a Wal-Mart for HD-DVD.

At anyrate, I cant see the average person even bothering for like 2 years after launch. I dont even know many people with an HD display anyhow.

Both formats will likely be a niche product for some time.

The real tricky issues will pop up when movies like Titanic get put out in High Def. Fox will distribute it internationally in Blu-Ray while in North America Paramount will in HD-DVD. Does that mean different features and options?
New Formats
When HD DVD and Blu Ray come out, will I have to get a new player, two new players, or will they work with my current player?  I understand that some studios will use Blu Ray and some will use HD DVD, but is it true that now some stores will also be exclusive.  I don't feel like having a day when two movies come out, but I can't just go to Target and get them.  My prediction for later this year:  Mass Confusion