Blu blues

teamerickson

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 20, 2006
1,716
0
El Dorado Hills, CA
I’ve covered the high-def format battle longer, perhaps, than any other reporter. I started writing about it sometime back in 2002, when JVC came out with its tape-based D-VHS format, and I had to fight to get stories about it in the paper.

From there, I followed the development of what became Blu-ray Disc, first as an MPEG 2-based recording format and later as a prerecorded format, as well as HD DVD from its earliest days as the Advanced Optical Disc format.

And now that the format war is well and truly over, I have a strangely empty feeling inside, as if I don’t know what to do with my life…

Just kidding! Thank God that’s over. No one was more tired of writing about that mishugas than me. And it’s to everyone’s benefit that the industry has finally settled on a single, high-def format, particularly the consumer, who can now make a rational decision about whether to upgrade to high-def.

Still, it has been a remarkable story to cover, not least because it’s a story of how individual companies, pursuing narrow, often parochial interests, led to the industry’s adopting what—I’ll now confess—I’ve always believed is the wrong format.

I don’t say that lightly; I have many friends and sources at Blu-ray-affiliated companies whose judgments I respect, who appear sincerely to believe in the benefits of Blu-ray over HD DVD. And as a reporter and analyst, it wasn’t my role to take sides. But I never did buy Blu-ray’s alleged benefits, and I think the industry will pay a price for getting it wrong.

Capacity

Blu-ray supporters long touted the benefits of Blu-ray’s larger single-disc capacity than HD DVD, pointing to the ability to include more bonus features, or use higher bit-rate encodings, or accommodate new, future applications. But the more-is-better theory seemed to me both a rationalization and to fly in the face of what we know about the direction of technology change.

The reason Blu-ray has more capacity is because it was developed to record MPEG 2 video, a relatively inefficient compression format that requires more capacity to store a respectable amount of programming.

In order to achieve that higher storage capacity, however, Blu-ray engineers had to completely reconfigure the structure of the disc, moving the data layer closer to the surface. That may be fine for a recording format, but it completely changes the physics of pressing prerecorded discs, requiring new processes and the retrofitting of replication capacity worldwide.

Going to such lengths to engineer more capacity into the disc itself, moreover, seemed like a very “analog” approach to the problem. Digital compression formats and encoders have only gotten more efficient over time, requiring less space and lower bit rates.

If I were worried about “future-proofing” my format, I would have bet on better software, not bigger discs.

If I some day needed more capacity, I would have put a flash drive in the player itself and downloaded any additional content.

Interactivity

Baking a Java-based interactivity layer into the format itself also seemed like a rather retro approach.

The clear trend in consumer electronics is toward network-enabled devices capable of interacting across the Internet or a home network. The idea that implementing “cool” new applications requires devices natively capable of executing every type of complex code programmers may some day come up with strikes me as another bad bet. Especially when you consider the additional royalty costs it imposes on player manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers, and the more complex (and therefore expensive) authoring required to implement even relatively simple features.

Timing

The fundamental misconception Blu-ray supporters in the industry held, in my judgment, was that time was on their side.

It is not. The industry had a relatively short window to get a viable high-def format into the market before standard-def DVD sales turned negative and before new forms of delivery began to chip away at the upside for any new optical-disc format.

The priorities, apart from high quality, should have been speed and cost, not features future-proofing. That may not sound sexy, but it would have made more business sense.

Had the industry adopted HD DVD two years ago, when it was ready and Blu-ray (and the PlayStation 3) was not, the format could have ridden the peak of the wave of consumer upgrades to high-def displays by attaching HD DVD players to those purchases and building the installed base in time to head off the decline in standard DVD sales.

What the industry has instead is a higher cost format, inadequate replication capacity and a shorter window in which to recoup its investment.

There, it’s off my chest. Viva Blu-ray!

Blu blues - 2/22/2008 12:41:00 PM - ContentAgenda.com - CA6534710
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More Blu bashing! :D
 

KingofKaty

SatelliteGuys Guru
Dec 1, 2006
146
0
Katy, TX
Good summary. I could never figure out how having to add a protective coating to the disk to protect the layers jammed near the surface made Blu-Ray the superior product. Or being forced to buy a game console to ensure getting Profile 2 future-proof player made any sense.

For those nostalgic about HD-DVD here you go: HDDVD Forever

Maybe if they come out with a Profile 2 player I'll buy. But in the meantime I'm recording HD movies on the 622 and storing them on external hard drives.
 

nonrev

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 2, 2007
685
0
NJ
Watchin plenty of movies, haven't you heard about the hollywood video firesale and many others. Just got Beowulf today for $7.50, 5 disk Blade Runned for $7.50, got a total of 20 HD DVD the last few days from the surrounding HV.

I want to encourage all other to continue to post any relevant articles as you see fit. Don’t allow anyone to bully you away.
 

ONUOsFan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 14, 2007
2,160
0
Fishers, IN
I want to encourage all other to continue to post any relevant articles as you see fit. Don’t allow anyone to bully you away.

At least until March 31, when Scott is forcing you to get over it and get on with your lives....

Nevertheless, the article makes some very good points. Honestly, I got my PS3 for the games and only went Blu because I already had it... had that not been the case, I probably wouldn't have forked over the cash for either until the $98 sale came around. That being said, Blu has always had more movies I wanted, so I would have preferred it anyway, apart from some major shift in studio support.
 

JoeSp

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Oct 11, 2003
2,284
0
There is still seems to be enough spoiled milk to go around. If HD-DVD was supperior in all ways, why did Toshiba have to discount the players so heavily? Why did Toshiba have to give free movies to entice sales? I think the problem here is that everyone thinks that either HD-DVD or BD actually had a chance on their own but they did not. CE manufacturers and Studios preferred BD over HD-DVD or else the BDA would of never got the upper hand over HD-DVD. M$ pushed the XBOX360 out early so as to beat the PS3 (which was supposed to hit the market in March and did not arrive till November) and Toshiba pushed HD-DVD out in June when it was supposed to arrive a year earlier. All of this moving of the timeline did not help HD-DVD in the market place. Had HD-DVD came out the year before maybe the Xbox360 could of had one included or if the XBOX360 had of come out 6 months later maybe then it could of included one -- at least M$ could of built a better 360. Who knows what would of happened to the market then?
 

nonrev

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 2, 2007
685
0
NJ
You don't think this would go in the Blu forum? It's an opinion. Like it or not he's intitled to it.
Thank you there seems to be an epidemic around here of trying to suppress opinions. Why are people so scared of the truth? And yes if is have an opinion then I will be all over the BD forum.
 

JAG72

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 16, 2006
8,524
57
Earth
Thank you there seems to be an epidemic around here of trying to suppress opinions. Why are people so scared of the truth? And yes if is have an opinion then I will be all over the BD forum.

Just becuase you have an opinion doesn't make it the truth. :eek:
 

rockymtnhigh

Hardly Normal
Supporting Founder
Apr 14, 2006
30,193
917
Normal, IL
I am finding these endless debates tiring. BD won the format war; whether or not is was a good thing, time will tell.

And no reason for HD DVD users NOT to add to their collections at bottom basement prices. I know I did. Indeed, Watching T3: Rise of the Machines as I write. ;)
 

ONUOsFan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 14, 2007
2,160
0
Fishers, IN
You don't think this would go in the Blu forum? It's an opinion. Like it or not he's intitled to it.

I don't make the rules - but from what I read, the intent of the individual forums is for people to share information about those particular formats without having to worry about being drawn into a debate about it's merits.

I don't have a problem with this article, as I said - I'm just not sure how long this thread would survive before being shut down in the Blu-Ray forum - that's all I'm saying.
 
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