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Do We REALLY Need HD-DVD, Blu-ray (and other items)?

Posted at 30 December 2007 01:29 CEST by Seán Byrne

Thanks to Quema34 for writing in with the following:

This article (as it reflects the blogger’s views and observations) on HD-DVD and Blu-ray in some cases really expresses what I feel about this very well–especially 3-5 and #7. We don’t really need HD-DVD or Blu-ray for a better life (nor for a better movie experience for that matter). The phenomenon is not unlike the current unneeded (and poor quality) attempts by camera makers to have several 18x zoom cameras on the market. The result? People thinking the bigger zoom is better, when the image quality (especially on the Olympus SP-560) really bites.

"Bigger" is not always better, and it really seems foolish for this whole format conundrum to have gotten started in the first place, when people weren’t complaining en masse about DVD prices nor lack of viewing quality. Simply put, there was no NEED for more and what this boils down to is just more "bling," not anything really substantive.

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There are 22 comments

No longer with us
Posted on: 30 Dec 07 02:55
    Don't be stupid. We don't most of what man has created. But as technology advances it almost always makes life easier. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will allow us to store more information in less space. That means less clutter and easier organization of data. Now, relating to the visual quality of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray over current DVDs, I would agree that there is no real reason to upgrade. So, if thats what you were talking about, then ok.
    No longer with us
    Posted on: 30 Dec 07 03:08
      I agree with this. In fact I think the whole push to HD tv is doomed to fail. In Oz the TV channels have been trying to push HD for years. This December they have started again but a bad movie is bad even if it in HD. I have a 50"" plasma with built in hd tuner. I can see very little difference between hd and sd, in fact I often don't bother switching to a hdef channel, and my pvr is sd and I'm happy with that.
      Bekali
      New on Forum
      Posted on: 30 Dec 07 06:25
        I am a nerd looking at SD quality movies, and play games at 640x480. And the damn Windows is bugging me to change to 800x600 I lied, first HD i've seen is 2 years ago, and with more HD material watched, looking at crappy SD is harder and harder. Farewell DVD & SDTV, the grave is near VHS and B&W TV. :X The problems with HD...is price, the mass adoption will be when the dual format players will be under 100$ & the disks will be at the same price as DVD-s . 1 year, maybe 2....who knows.
        ivid
        MyCE Resident
        Posted on: 30 Dec 07 07:14
          "Need" - what it this word "need" ? Since when has the luxury of DVDs and home theater been considered a "need" ? As someone who can speak from EXPERIENCE of watching gorgeous HD DVDs in all their magnificent beauty, I can surley say we WANT it. If you have the TV for it and good equipment, a well mastered HD DVD is a fantastic upgrade over DVD. SD is dying fast, face it and get over it !
          This message was edited at: 30-12-2007 07:15
          Anthony1uk
          MyCE Senior Member
          Posted on: 30 Dec 07 12:43
            I bet this guy said this about 2x DVD writers when they came out, and then 4x and 8x. If people listened to this type of article we would all still be waiting 1hr to burn a DVD5. Or probably we'd still be using CD's as DVD's wouldn't have even been invented. The only thing in this hidef war that we don't need is Region Coding that is all.
            CDan
            MyCE Resident
            Posted on: 30 Dec 07 15:18
              They used to offer the same arguments against color TV, and DVDs for that matter. People like this shouldn't have access to public blogs.
              No longer with us
              Posted on: 30 Dec 07 17:25
                Need? Well no I don't need HD. With that out of the way I agree with some of what he says. Having watched the record industry try twice, with SACD and DVD Audio, there's nothing inevitable about format replacement .
                Quema34
                MyCE Resident
                Posted on: 30 Dec 07 19:59
                  Well, if people don't have equal access to public blogs, whether we agree with them or not, then we stop believing and allowing for freedom of speech in the U.S., and that would be a sad day indeed. Abraham Lincoln expressed a concern about the very loss of real liberty by saying, "When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty - to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy." In other words, so long as the things expressed do not constitute libel nor constitute a threat to an individual nor to the public, this liberty is to be respected--even if we disagree with what's said. As for what "this guy" said, some it may appear to be reactionary. However, would we not be better served by either supporting or opposing what he says based on fact? By reading the structure of the article, "this guy" isn't opposed to all technological advances, but rightfully points out the issue could have been avoided and that there are other things that we could better spend our time on, that are more newsworthy. Is SD dying fast? That is still being debated, since people don't always go for the most expensive new toys. DVD and SD is still more affordable than HD-DVD and Blu-ray. In fact, these very points have been well-articulated inside the forum in one thread and has indeed been a far more balanced and factual discussion about the real "state of the question" regarding DVD compared to HD formats. As for technological advances, could we benefit from using HD-DVD and Blu-ray as storage mediums? Perhaps...but wouldn't there be far less clutter with an (eventually) much cheaper 1 TB HDD than with the equivalent in HD-DVD or Blu-ray for data storage? Also, have all or even most technological advances benefitted us? Many could argue "no" and name several good reasons why not. Such "advances" call for new equipment, finding ways to safely dispose of/replace the old, then require new costs to companies to switch production over, which means making some products obsolete that were actually better and less computerized parts then newer models (take older Maytag washers/dryers...some could say newer models are better, but if they croak after maybe 5 years and require replacement and the older model lasts for 25 years...which is truly better?). Also a careful reading of the article speaks to was there a need for these formats when consumers weren't complaining about DVD and that lack of quality or lack of a quality viewing experience? Can anyone find references to "this guy" being opposed to all technological advancement? I re-read it again and find no such implications. He's against the apparent futility of having something consumers weren't demanding, and is against the "culture of excess."
                  This message was edited at: 30-12-2007 20:07
                  No longer with us
                  Posted on: 31 Dec 07 01:37
                    As far as the need goes of course we don't need HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. That being said HD is being forced into everyone's lap here within the next couple of years. Best Buy has officially stopped carrying standard def sets and others will follow soon in anticipation of the forced high def conversion that will take place in early 2009. When I purchased my westinghouse 37" 37W3 1080p HDTV set last year I noticed immediately how crappy my standard DVDs looked on the thing and so in order to compensate I had to go out and purchase a high-end Oppo Digital up-conversion DVD player to satisfy my picture quality needs. So at this point most would argue, okay then why not stick to a solid HD up-conversion DVD Player? The fact of the matter is that when comparing my Oppo Digital up-conversion player to my Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD Player, there definitely is a significant difference on some titles. Warner Bros. classics such as Battle Of The Bulge, Mutiny On The Bounty and 2001: A Space Odyssey definitely stand out from their standard def counterparts (even when using up-conversion). Other titles such as Batman Begins and the documentary series Planet Earth also definitely stand out. That being said I concur that there isn't enough high-def content currently out there that makes enough of a difference to invest more than $200 in. If you can get it for $200 or less there is enough content that you could get your money's worth out of it. Anything more and you are throwing away money (not unless you are a die hard PS3 gaming fan).
                    Quema34
                    MyCE Resident
                    Posted on: 31 Dec 07 03:11
                      yeah, the 'going digital' thing is a bit of a surprise to be sure on that Feb 2009 date. I just hope the price for the HD TVs will continue to come down in price, as they still seem to be at a premium price right now for the really good brand names. It's sad about the forced conversion, as it creates an artificial demand that in theory could allow for charging more, instead of if that forced demand weren't there.
                      headquarter84
                      CD Freak
                      Posted on: 31 Dec 07 05:50
                        well, to be honest, the most important thing in all these "hi-def" stuff is, do they REALLY last like our old Metal-AZO CDs or our old 4x Verbatim DVD-Rs? be it HD-DVD or Bluray, if it's gonna die after 2 years being made from unstable organic material, then i think it'll be a big NO NO for archival HD-DVD or Bluray, and then the only use would be for movies, which would be released on the metal-based materials i hope... conclusion: i got rid of my TV in 2002... if those discs are not trustworthy for storage, then nope... thank you... i'll stick to Floppy discs instead
                        rack88
                        New on Forum
                        Posted on: 31 Dec 07 06:26
                          I can see that a lot of people favor HD formats over SD and for good reasons, but I think the best idea is to stick with watching DVDs (which can be unconverted if necessary) and waiting for holographic media disks. The rumor is that when they are ready for the public in a few years, they will be able to hold hundreds of gigabytes of data if necessary. It was easy to say look at DVDs and see that the picture quality was double that of VHS tapes (plus, the smaller media format is nice). On the other hand, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are maybe 50-75% better than DVD and the disk size is the same. It ain't worth it.
                          Dr. Who
                          MyCE Resident
                          Posted on: 31 Dec 07 21:56
                            I know I am in the dark somewhat still as I don't even own a hidef TV yet. I am waiting to where it is at reasonable prices myself. When that happens I plan on upgrading all my equipment then.
                            btspm
                            CDFreaks Resident
                            Posted on: 01 Jan 08 00:03
                              What's really going to make the luddites eat crow is when Google or some other darling of the tech crowd buys up the vacated VHF spectrum in 2009 and creates a killer wireless app with wi-max class range. The ATSC spec was pushed by the US government because the huge obstacles to infrastructure development that a nation spanning an entire continent face would have let the status quo persist for perhaps another 30 years before the economics allowed market forces to bring DTV to the masses. Blu-ray and HD-DVD are simply a natural outgrowth of the propogation of sets capable of HD-resolutions. Watch a standard DVD on a first gen HDTV with a poor internal scaler and keep talking about how a new format is completely unnecessary. Newer sets with capable upscalers are simply doing their best to trick the eye into seeing a level of detail that isn't there. If you rip your music to anything more advanced than 128k MP3s, you're a hypocrite to go after the next-gen HD formats. If the VHF spectrum is used to even a fraction of its potential once it is auctioned off in 2009, then the twin bastard children of the transition- ATSC and HD-DVD/Blu-ray- will turn from harbingers of doom to heralds of progress.
                              This message was edited at: 01-01-2008 00:05
                              FidelC
                              CDFreaks Resident
                              Posted on: 01 Jan 08 01:40
                                HD optical formats were made up not because ppl asked for it and bugged walmart staff with stoopid questions but because the studios wanted to protect their content and flog another round of old movies at even higher prices. Now that the hackers made them more consumer friendly I will probably get one or the other in the near future, but not for the image resolution. I'm hoping in 1-2 years from now some company will bring a player capable of playing individual x.264 files and that could be the moment I will be sold on whichever Blue or HD it will be. A few days ago I could get a Toshiba for a 100 bucks, but I wouldnt even spend a 50 on it - there is no guarantee any of the formats will survive and I already have too many metal boxes around the house, I even started using them to play CDs when the PC is not on. Just my $ 0.02
                                Quema34
                                MyCE Resident
                                Posted on: 01 Jan 08 02:21
                                  Fidel, that's the sort of reaction that's always hoped to be seen, one that hits the nail on the head (about trying to protect content). And you are also right that for all the talk about if Blu-ray or HD-DVD will win, it might very well come down to if both the media and players get down to DVD player and media prices. It does make one wonder if 'keeping up with the those with the latest gadgets' is ultimately worth it, and that's part of the main point.
                                  Rich86
                                  MyCE Senior Member
                                  Posted on: 01 Jan 08 18:54
                                    Do I need HD-DVD or Blue-Ray? No, of course not. Do I LIKE watching material in high definition instead of the old standard definition? You bet I do. A message to the person who says he cannot see the difference between a 1080 high definition broadcast vs. a standard definition broadcast - there is something radically wrong with your system! The improvement in video quality when going from a standard broadcast on any TV to a true high def broadcast (meaning high def source material being broadcast in 1080 mode) on a properly set up 1080p set is amazing. I now have a HD-DVD player, thanks to a gift, since I had decided to not get involved until the format competition was resolved. Will that format be the ultimate surviver? I sure hope so. In the meantime, the only dvd purchases I intend to make from now will be HD-DVD releases. All other interested videos will be rentals. My upconverting player makes anamorphic standard dvd's look quite good on my 1080p set. :X
                                    This message was edited at: 01-01-2008 18:56
                                    DeadMan
                                    MyCE Resident
                                    Posted on: 02 Jan 08 01:17
                                      To experience HD you need a BIG HDTV or projection system. PLUS you need to be reasonably close. If you have a 32" set you won't notice the difference much unless you are right on top of it. Even if you have a 50" or bigger TV you won't notice the difference much if you are sitting at the back of a large living room. You really do notice things once you get into the realms of projection where 100" or is the norm and you are not sitting miles away from the screen. That being said even a 40" screen will be a big step up from SD if you are only a few feet away from the screen. It's all about size of screen vs. viewing distance. I don't notice problems with SD broadcasts on my parents 42" Tosh until I get up and walk across their large living room.
                                      This message was edited at: 02-01-2008 01:19
                                      Zod
                                      MyCE Resident
                                      Posted on: 02 Jan 08 17:35
                                        I've got a 42 inch HD tv, and I think blu ray/hd dvd looks really good on it, compared to upconverting standard dvd. TV in itself isn't really necessary to survival, neither is dvd, or bluray/hd dvd, but they are nice distractions, and I think HD is worth it for the part of the population that has bigger TVs. that being said alot of the population has old crts and what not, and theres no benefit to them.
                                        Quema34
                                        MyCE Resident
                                        Posted on: 03 Jan 08 02:42
                                          Deadman, BIG THANKS for pointing out that viewing difference. To hear people in Best Buy or just advertisements on TV, just because it's an HD TV means it will automatically "blow you away." What's also good about your point is that I would imagine right now that the people that can't really afford a huge HD TV can maybe only afford a 32" screen--which by what you've stated means they might notice some difference, but nothing major because they won't have a big screen (because of the fairly big jump in price) from 32" to something a lot bigger.
                                          No longer with us
                                          Posted on: 04 Jan 08 17:16
                                            I have a 32 inch akai hdtv with a max res of 1080i that I got on sale for $389.00 (remanufactured). I bought an (HD upconverting) Pioneer dvd player for $99.00. There are many people out there who would have paid $1,500 for the same combo if the TV was new and the dvd player was a full blown HD player. With what I have, my standard dvds look about 90% as 'HD" as the ones they're playing on the displays at Best Buy. For the little bit of money I spent, my regular dvd collection (of which I have about 3,000 movies on DVD) look almost IDENTICAL in quality to HD. I'm perfectly FINE with that. I will stay with what I have until they make a hybrid HD DVD/Blue Ray player that is less than $200.00, and until HD and Blue Ray discs cost no more than $15.00 to $20.00 (for NEW releases).
                                            Quema34
                                            MyCE Resident
                                            Posted on: 05 Jan 08 03:44
                                              That's the way a LOT of consumers (like me) will have to go that don't make the big $$$ and therefore can't afford to spend big $$$ on these currently VERY high-dollar items for the most part. It's funny that with all the so-called 'competition' that prices for the really good HD sets aren't lower, and I think since they've been around for a while now, that it personally bothers me why they aren't lower. We'll see what the future brings, and what people can afford to end up buying.

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