Where Things Stand In The Hi-Def DVD Format War

After Time Warner Inc.’s announcement today that they’ve chosen to support Blu-ray exclusively, here’s the current breakdown of studio support for each format—and things aren’t looking good for HD DVD.


Blu-ray format   HD DVD format
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Walt Disney
  • Lionsgate
  • Warner Bros
  • Sony
        – MGM/UA
        – Columbia TriStar
  • New Line & Fine Line
 
  • Paramount
  • NBC Universal

So the future is tilting more and more toward Sony’s Blu-ray format, it seems. Honestly, though, will anyone be buying movies on discs by the time this is all settled?

[8:14pm 1/4/08: Updated to include more studios pointed out in the comments below.]

“Warner Bros to back Blu-ray DVD format exclusively” [Reuters]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. dix99 says:

    And lets not forget that Paramount is only in as they got a cash payment, to do so.

  2. KashmirKong says:

    Blu-ray has won and IMO it was all about who had better branding.

    Say the words “blue ray” and “HD DVD” out loud. Blu-ray just sounds cooler.

  3. Buran says:

    Yes, I will buy movies on disks because you don’t get captions with downloads. Enough said.

    I’m a Trek fan though. So I need a dual-format player. But where are the $500 ones?

  4. Buran says:

    @dix99: So did Warner.

  5. Buran says:

    @KashmirKong: “HD DVD” also does a better job of explaining what the new format IS.

  6. nick_r says:

    Don’t forget Sony in the Blu-Ray camp, as well as MGM since their video releases are handled by Fox. And New Line via Warner. It’s all over but the crying.

  7. unholycinna says:

    I have a PS3 so Blu-Ray is what I have to buy. So far, so great.

  8. Chris Walters says:

    @Buran: That’s messed up. I mean, that captions can’t be transmitted with digital downloads.

  9. pylon83 says:

    @Buran:
    Seconded. I’d buy a dual-format player in a heartbeat if I could get one for less than $1,000. I really want something that will do 1080p (I’ve got an LCD TV that will support it). However, I’m not willing to pick a side and I’m not willing to pay $1k for a dual-format, so as it stands, I’m sticking with my old Sony DVD player.

  10. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    You forgot a major player in the Blu-ray camp. Sony Pictures, which also has Columbia/Tristar and MGM.

    Now this war can end and HD DVD can go the way of Beta…

  11. Norbit says:

    As Nick_R points out you have forgotton MGM, New Line & Sony on the Blu-Ray side. Blu-Ray now have exclusivity on 70% of all movies and its now only a matter of time before Paramount and Universal defect.

  12. hapless says:

    You forgot a major player in both camps: normal DVD.

    Now this war can end and HD DVD and Blu Ray can both go the way of SACD and Sony’s proprietary digital audio tape standard from the 70s…

  13. privatejoker75 says:

    Oh man, i guess my $100 hd dvd player is now going to spontaneously combust.

  14. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    And there’s more:

    I believe Apple will be offering Blu-ray drives on their desktops as an option next year. And Panasonic will be releasing BD drives that conform to the current form factor for laptop optical drives. So it will be easier for computer manufacturers to offer BD drives on their laptops, and it will allow current laptop users an easy upgrade path.

    I also think Blu-ray is winning. Not only because of content, but because there’s are more manufacturers developing hardware for it.

    home BD players: Sony, Samsung, LG, Pioneer, Panasonic, Lite-On, PS3, a few more Asian brands.

    computer BD drives/burners: Sony, Lite-On, LG

    home HD-DVD players: Toshiba, Xbox add-on

    computer HD-DVD drives/burners: Toshiba (not released yet)

  15. Buran says:

    @cwalters: They can be. Technically. But no one does it, which makes all the hype about digital stuff worthless. That, and I’m a Mac user; most of the stuff out there doesn’t work on Macs. Fortunately, iTunes now supports closed captioning — but has anyone found something that has them? (if so, what?)

  16. Buran says:

    @hapless: I’m using normal DVD for now since it looks good enough but once the dust settles or once someone starts putting out sub-$500 dualformat players, I’m going to upgrade. I have an HDTV and there’s a definite difference even between 480i and 720p; 1080i is far, far better. CSI Miami and Jeopardy are both strikingly better-looking in 1080 res, and a lot of that is due to the much-better color gamut HDTV has. Look at the same two shows in SD and there’s no contest; they look blurry and washed out.

  17. SOhp101 says:

    @Buran: Actually you can get captions for your downloaded movies. Takes a bit more searching and a media player that supports it but it’s hardly more effort. In fact, you can probably just download DVD images of the movies you want and burn your own copies.

    I agree with you though… HD-DVD sounds better than Blu-Ray. I’m still sticking with traditional DVD with an upconverter.

  18. impudence says:

    Doh! Just got an hd-dvd player for xmas. Oh well at least it only cost 120 bucks and is an excellent upconverting dvd player.

  19. sunwukong says:

    @Buran: Actually, a great deal of anime and “foreign” movies are often embedded with caption streams. It’s a little tedious to do, but there’s no technical reason why downloads don’t have them.

  20. asujosh1 says:

    @hapless: You have obviously not seen how nice Blu-ray looks over normal DVD. Even with upscanning, there is no competition…

  21. chutch says:

    I understand wanting to get a dual player, but for less than 1000 dollars you can buy both. You can even get the PS3, which currently costs more than the regular Blu Ray players.

    This is the route I went. I own both BluRay and HD-DVD. PS3 Blu-Ray is the better of the two for my money. The upconversion seems to be cleaner too (but that may just be the player I have).

  22. vongarr says:

    I don’t care who wins. I just want a winner so I can watch Conan the Barbarian in 7.1, 1080p glory.

  23. Raziya says:

    You guys seem to forget that the real winner in this war is still regular old DVDs, lol. HD formats account for like…5% of the market. So yay for being the winner of the losers I guess!

    I’ve got an HD-DVD player…the thing I like about HD-DVD better than Bluray is that the HD-DVD player will play and upscale regular DVDs…the Bluray players can’t do that. *shrug*

  24. dvsman says:

    I never could understand the HD disc wars.

    HD-DVD and BluRay movies costs the same at the store right? BUT the big justification for HD-DVD was lower costs of production since they used existing dvd production lines and theoretically these lower costs were to be passed to the consumer, right?

    Did these savings ever appear? No.

    So if we assume that Blu-ray is entirely new and technically superior to HD-DVD – can someone explain to me why I should buy and pay the same amount of money for an HD-DVD format movie vs. the Blu-Ray counterpart?

    No fanboism at all – just dollars and cents.

    Why pay the same amount of money for “Evolutionary” tech when you can get “Revolutionary” tech?

    Or is there something about HD-DVD that I have just plain missed – outside of the exclusive movie deals they have with NBC / Universal & Paramount?

  25. randombob says:

    HD format war:

    I really felt that BD was going to win this, simply because their similarities are such that where one pulled ahead technically, people would clamor for it. BD offered almost everything HD-DVD did, but with twice the disc capacity. It’s really a no-brainer, esp. when you consider MORE than just movies. These drives will make it to / are in Computers. Computer peeps (myself included) want as much storage as possible. BD wins that hands-down, so it seemed to logically follow that BD would eventually come out ahead in the movie wars, too.

    Oh, and I disagree on the branding. I think “HD-DVD” is far more recognizable and better marketed to the “normies.” In fact, when the players were FINALLY released onto the market, that fact alone had me fearing that the “VHS” of the battle would win again….

    Dual-Format Players –
    Sucky deal. Cheaper to buy two, and you get a better experience. both HD-DVD & BD players offer up to 7.1 surround and other extras. All the Dual players I’ve seen seem to limit playback to 5.1 and lack some other key features, as well.

    IF you just HAVE to play both, do yourself the favor of saving a buck whilst getting a better set of players. ALSO, keep in mind that Paramount & NBC will have to come around eventually, and they’ll bring their libraries with them…. meaning dual-format players will be obsoleted too. Just wait until your titles are available in BD format. That’s what I’m doing. A say a year from now, that’ll be the reality.

  26. parad0x360 says:

    This sucks because HD-DVD has the clear edge in video quality, and blu-ray wins for audio.

    This is because of the codecs used in each format, HD-DVD uses a custom codec from Microsoft which in all honesty is amazing, Warner always used this codec on HD-DVD and because MS did not license it to Sony…it cannot be used for Blu-Ray.

    I have players for both formats but this pisses me off because I’d rather own a movie on HD-DVD because of the video.

    I just dont get it. HD-DVD was catching up. Movie sales have been great, player sales in are very good. HD-DVD players outsell blu-ray in the US..so this is very strange.

  27. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Man, I still haven’t made the switch from VHS to DVD yet — not entirely, anyway. I plan to stick with DVD at least until I have to replace my current TV with an HD model, and even then I’m not sure I’ll really care to replace my favorite movies again. Hopefully DVDs won’t become as obsolete as VHS is right now for a good long time.

  28. Juncti says:

    Raziya…

    Sony makes a very good Blu-ray player that upscales. It’s called a PS3. Might I also add, it does so very nicely.

    That plus a Netflix subscription and I’m set. when Blu-ray is available for a movie I want, I order Blu-ray, when it’s not, I do DVD and upscale it.

    Really impressive to see the studio list. I had no idea the format war was tipping so strongly. I’ve just been upset and not being able to get Transformers.

    Overall, studio support, and from a previous poster the number of hardware developers will win this battle for Blu-ray.

  29. bronsthermonster says:

    For whatever reason, possibly because I own the HD DVD add-on for my 360, I’ve got a sinking feeling about HD DVD. It never ceases to amaze me that the studios learned nothing from VHS/Betamax; why not invest more effort in negotiation than going to format war?

    Regardless, I’m not too sore if HD DVD loses; it’s not like I have to give back the movies I already own and my HD DVD player doesn’t take up much space next to my 360.

  30. Oshawapilot says:

    As someone else mentioned, by the time this silly format war is settled digital delivery of movies is going to take hold and in a few years it may all be moot.

    As soon as I can “rent” a HD movie on-demand from a set top box (or via iTunes, or whatnot) that will be about the last time I bother to go and rent a physical disc from a rental store.

    At that point, the market for HDDVD or Blue Ray (whatever wins) will be relegated increasingly to a data storage medium, and with the crashing prices of large format HD’s, even that future seems limited.

  31. clyde55 says:

    Let them fight it out because I think the general public still doesn’t give a rat’s petoot about either one. If it weren’t for the fact that Blu-ray capacity comes with the Playstation 3, the sales would be even more dismal for both formats than they already are. No one cares except the electronic and me first geeks.

    I can’t think of too many people who thinks the jump is that great as to start replacing their film collections once again. The VHS to DVD quality jump was huge. So when Disney and WB starts quadruple dipping their libraries once again, count me out.

    If and when I do buy either format, it’ll only be when the prices dip down to about a hundred to a hundred twenty five bucks which is approximately when DVD sales started to take off.

  32. Shadowfire says:

    Considering this is the Consumerist, I’m surprised more people aren’t discussing the sad parts of this, i.e. HD-DVD being more consumer friendly, and this being kind of a blow to consumers.

    I’m kinda sad about this, but my HD-DVDs will still work, I’ve got a great upscaling DVD player out of the deal, and hopefully a few more movies worth having will come out. Eventually, we’ll get a PS3, and have a Blu-Ray player. Until then, I’m happy with DVD, and whatever comes out on HD-DVD.

  33. goodkitty says:

    @parad0x360: Most of the new flms use the same codec though I thought… AVC/MPEG4 or VC-1. Both formats have the same codecs, but obviously with HD DVD’s capacity you might need to squeeze the bits more.

    I really was cheering on Blu-Ray for its technical specifications, but now that this has all but won the war for the BD camp, I can’t help but to feel a bit sad that Sony (the evil monopolist) got the upper hand.

  34. RvLeshrac says:

    @cwalters:

    It isn’t that you can’t get them. Downloaded movies can include multiple audio tracks, multiple angles, multiple subtitle languages – it depends entirely on the content provider.

    @Shadowfire:

    I’ve tried, and I’ve all but given up. It is becomeing more and more obvious that most people don’t give a rat’s ass about giving up all of their rights.

    The part that people seem to fail on consistently is when you tell them that Blu-Ray will *only* give you HD content if your player *AND EVERY SINGLE COMPONENT OF YOUR HOME THEATER SYSTEM DOWN TO YOUR SPEAKERS* is compliant with the copy protection used.

  35. sonichghog says:

    A major group was left out here. Isn;t much of the porn industry going HD-DVD?

  36. RvLeshrac says:

    @goodkitty:

    Which technical specifications were you cheering on? The ones that impose draconian restrictions on how, when, where, and on what *brand* of devices you can use *YOUR PROPERTY* that *YOU HAVE PURCHASED*?

  37. RvLeshrac says:

    @sonichghog:

    With luck, that’ll be the tipping point. Porn drives technology.

    One major reason for the failure of Betamax was that Sony refused to license it to any porn studios.

    Of course, the porn industry is far more progressive than any of the others – they’re already deep in digital downloads and on-demand streaming, and most of the studios even have their entire back-catalog available for download. I doubt they *really* have a dog in this fight.

  38. Buran says:

    @SOhp101: I have no interest in wasting my time searching for subtitle files that probably don’t exist. It’s gotta be included with the media.

  39. RvLeshrac says:

    @Buran:

    SRTs are available for 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the movies available. The only films which you might not find them for are ones starring Mssr. Chaplin.

  40. RvLeshrac says:

    @Buran:

    There’re a good 330k subtitles available here, even:

    [www.opensubtitles.com]

  41. t0fu says:

    @Buran: you aren’t looking hard enough

  42. dialing_wand says:

    @ A LOT OF RESPONSES:

    One thing many people wrongly assume is that digital downloads will make the disc go the way of the Dodo bird in the very near future.

    I’d like to say that I certainly hope that’s the case.

    But at this point in time, if you read any networking trade publications you’d realise that bandwidth on the Internet is becoming increasingly scarce. And that’s the current incarnation of the thing; flooded with measly, low-bandwidth you-tube-style streaming videos and low-resolution compressed audio (shall we forget to mention porn, spam and virii), not on-demand HD video downloads.

    With a 9 minute Ratatouille 1080p trailer/preview coming in at 700MB, digital High-Def content delivery is a long way off, especially if the ISPs and bandwidth providers don’t start bulking up their pipes ASAP. (Pause to think that a similarly compressed film that has a running time of 1hr 30mins, will take up about 7GB of space/bandwidth.)

    While the apple certainly is there for the picking, it’s a lot harder than just reaching out for it. We have a pretty tall ladder to climb – bandwidth, storage and distribution wise. Hopefully the fruit will ripen as we ascend.

  43. JayDeEm says:

    Has anyone heard anything (good or bad) about LG’s dual format pc drive (GGC-H20L)? I’ll assume a decent video card with HDMI would pair well with this.

  44. Boberto says:

    Blue Ray is the winning battle of a failed concept. And it will fail because eventually, the draconian DRM/Hardware requirements will overwhelm. Not just in economic terms, but technical challenges as well. Think of the nonsense they tried on us with HDMI. And that’s JUST a cable.

  45. @CumaeanSibyl: When we switched from VHS to DVD, we really had to re-buy or abandon the tapes… after DVD, VHS is pretty unwatchable.

    The new HD formats aren’t the same leap, this isn’t a re-run. Upscaled DVDs look pretty damn nice, frankly they are very competitive with the next gen HD discs. Outside of Star Wars / Trek / Matrix / Lord of the Rings, replacing a DVD with an HD disc would be stupid.

    Keep all your DVDs, don’t replace ‘em. When you buy a new movie, you just look for the HD version first.

  46. adrocks says:

    OK. I just want to give a few opinions as a television professional in the business for almost 20 years. Everybody just slow down. Remember the VHS/Betamax wars? Who won? The format with the porno industry behind it. More people buy porno for their home than regular releases. Moving on; the most important thing about this war that I can say is if you don’t have a 1080P television, Blu-Ray is a waste of your money. 1080i television must convert 1080P to 1080i in order for you to view on your 1080i HDTV. Even more important is the fact that- as a professional editor I have a hard time telling the difference between HD DVD and Blu-ray. So if you are actually looking for an opinion as to which is better I would say that Blu-Ray is better, BUT only from a technical point of view. I would be surprised if anyone (TV professional OR NOT) could tell the difference between the 2 formats. Yes, some people are right this is a moot point, one day all of TV will be “on demand”, but not so soon that if you bought a HD DVD player it would be a waste of your money. Looking at the past and comparing the storage and bandwidth capacities it becomes obvious that one day 7GB of space/bandwidth will not be a tenth of the demand there is now. So forget about Blu ray you don’t need the extra zing, in fact you couldn’t see it if you tried.

  47. meballard says:

    @dialing_wand: Some more focused publications (and my own belief) show that the issue is more with bandwidth to the consumer, not so much the backbone(s) of the internet. With the amount of fiber running the backbones, most of the time it takes relatively simple equipment upgrades and sometimes lighting up new strands, and capacity can be dramatically increased. On the to the home side, expect for providers doing fiber to the home (or at least to the curb/apartment/etc but not neighborhood), they will be able to increase capacity to keep up (ie Verizon FIOS in the US), but those relying on DSL and Cable (ie basically everyone else in the US, especially DSL) are likely to run into capacity bottlenecks in the not too distant future, and this is where the real problem will show up (especially for AT&T).

    On the format war, my thought has been that it will largely be over if and when someone manages to come out with a dual format player that is both inexpensive and works well. Most consumers don’t care about the individual formats, just how good it looks, what the audio is like (at the level of what HD-DVD and Blu-Ray provide), but they do care about cost and ease of use. My thought has been that it may end somewhat like the +/- standards (just on a different scale with potentially different implications), where there was a lot of confusion and lack of purchasing when the formats were separate, but will become largely a non-issue once both can be handled easily.

  48. Ecoaster says:

    @adrocks: I doubt porn alone is gonna do it this time. As already mentioned, they’re really doing a lot of streaming, online, and on-demand content these days…. and THAT is even hurting because of the rise of free sites like youporn.

  49. Sparkstalker says:

    @adrocks: One thing that you and everyone else seems to forget about the porn argument. Back when VHS and beta were fighting it out, the Internet didn’t exist in common culture. But now, I’m sure most people get their porn online. Why buy it when all you have to do is open up your trusty browser?

  50. WolfDemon says:

    @Buran: Actually I’ve downloaded AVI’s with captions in 3 languages and audio in two languages

  51. xJake says:

    I don’t quite understand why people are waiting for a $500 dual format player when you can get a $100 HD-DVD if you watch the sales, and a $3-400 Blu-Ray player… Is it just the space and convenience?

  52. snoop-blog says:

    i thought a blu-ray disc could hold up to 50gigs? i thought that was the number 1 reason to adopt it. think about having every season of the sopranos all on just one disc. but then again, when your ONE disc gets scratched, your f’d. which side of the sword do you prefer?

  53. stevegoz says:

    Call me kooky, but just as I still buy CDs instead of iTunes, I don’t plan to give up buying movies on disc. Beyond the DRM thing, the physical disc is (counterintuitively, since it’s more than 5″ across) just more PORTABLE than a download-based system. Right now the wife and I watch DVDs everywhere from the big LCD in the living room (upconverted, of course) to the ancient 27″ TV down by the exercycle to the small TV in the bedroom to our laptops when we’re on the semi-go. (While she also watches downloaded video on her iPod, the whole idea gives me a headache.) Couple that with my love of DVD extras and I’m pretty darn happy in the disk-y present and not at all psyched about our all-downloaded future, especially a future around fallible hard drives.

    Now excuse me while I go feed the horse and chop some wood….

  54. XianZomby says:

    Download? Yuck. And what do you have to have in the way of network and storage space and connectivity to get a movie from the Internet to play on your high-def TV and surround sound? I don’t want to be involved. I rent movies I don’t want to own, and buy the ones I do. Then watch them whenever I want. I don’t need to account passwords or monthly bills to be part of some movie download club.

  55. XianZomby says:

    Oh and porn? Do you really want to see the pores and all the pubes and pube stubble in high definition? I think not. Porn is something that should remain low-res. Otherwise the fantasy becomes too real.

  56. it5five says:

    What a shame.

    The region locked format wins.

    I would have liked to order discs from overseas and been able to watch them. Too bad.

  57. n/a says:

    They should just combine and form Blu-HD-DVD-Ray format and stop this retarded “war”.

    That or form voltron whichever comes first.

  58. xamarshahx says:

    This sucks, I hate Sony cause u can’t trust any shit they come out with, once they win they will probably start implementing more DRM into the movies. HD DVD is region free, new discs will have larger capacity, HD DVD discs work in old players when you flip most new discs, it also plays in 1080P now, is cheaper, and already is standardized across the manufacturers so that the online content works with all players.

  59. TonyTriple says:

    Dammit, lets bury the argument that porn will win the format war this time around, right now. Back in the VHS vs DVD war, the internet wasn’t a factor when considering distribution. Now thanks to the internet (i mean, that’s what its for, right?), the stuff is widely available. No one hardly buys the stuff on DVD when its readily available online for free.

    Not that I..y’know…

  60. b612markt says:

    I’m totally uninterested in any of these physical formats. I’m happy downloading HD video files online and will continue to do so.

  61. lpranal says:

    I’ll start caring when my job starts paying me enough to afford a somewhat decent HDTV… thanks bush economy / sub-prime meltdown

  62. ajn007 says:

    Hopefully the end of the format war will mean people will understand the format and technology better. This comment thread is chalk full of so much wrong information I don’t know where to start.

  63. RvLeshrac says:

    @ajn007:

    Won’t help.

    And there’s not much misinformation here.

    The key points where BD and HD-DVD differ are:

    1) Capacity

    2) Copy protection.

    Most people can barely tell the difference between DVD and HD formats as it is. You can’t produce higher quality than the original recording. Short of CGI and other post-production effects, this means that you don’t get much better than DVD-quality video for most movies anyway. This makes quality a nonissue. One could also point out that most people own Sorny and MagnaBox TVs, in addition to those amazing JPL and Panosonic receivers. $100 HDTVs and $5 7.1 stereo systems don’t exactly show the difference.

    Capacity is only important for storage – and BD-R drives are so ridiculously expensive, as are discs, that this is also a nonissue.

    Copy Protection (/Region Locking) is a much bigger issue. If you play a BD on your Sorny TV with your Panosonic system, you’re never going to get anything more than DVD quality. You’re actually going to get *LESS* than DVD quality, since the player will automagically downgrade the signal. The reason this hasn’t generated many complaints (yet) is because, well, the people who can afford Blu-Ray players are people who can also afford expensive, compliant TVs and receivers.

    Blu-Ray also allows the studios to make your player worthless with updates to the BD keys. I shouldn’t even need to state why this violates many, many laws, including Magnuson-Moss.

    There’s a shitstorm brewing, and it will hit just after BD players have reached sane selling prices. By then, it will be too late.

  64. Sasquatch says:

    I am an HD-DVD user, and I love it. My only problem is that the
    studios have really screwed themselves with this stupid format war.
    Now, I can’t buy movies by certain studios, and they, as a result, lose
    out on the revenue from a certain segment of the market. While it’s
    obvious Sony pictures has a real stake in who wins this format war, I
    can’t say that anyone else really stands to gain anything. I can’t
    think of any precendent for this moronic decision on the part of the
    studios. Why forego a revenue stream from one segment to get exclusive
    rights to another, smaller one? It boggles my mind.

  65. MCShortbus says:

    Here’s my question: Who the hell needs to see Sponge Bob Square Pants in Hi-Def? I can see certain things benefitting from being put out on Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, but come on, some things just don’t warrent the treatment…

  66. cerbie says:

    Does the consumer net any gain from a format war? No. We net gains from competition over content, including its quality, features, and the media involved (tape, disc, download, etc.), but not over similar formats.

    People without DVD players watch movies from or on DVDs. People without CD players listen to recorded music from or on CDs. Make that easy to do with HD, and you will win. Right now, both formats are niche players, like SACD and DVD-A (both of which economically fail against vinyl).

  67. Cad06 says:

    Oh my… I picked a winner in a format war for once?!?

    I need a moment…

  68. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    I work in a company that makes some of the cases and artwork for the porn industry. I can say that 95% of our next gen releases are HD and maybe 5% Blu-ray. One of the reasons why HD is being used is that Disney is part of the companies that controls BD. Disney is not allowing any of the porn companies to make movies on BD if they can help it. The ones that are being made on BD are from pirate or small shops running BD disks.

    So as far as porn companies like Vivid, Digital Playground and PHE go its HD over BD. As regular dvd’s go we still make about 20,000 dvd covers and cases everyday so I don’t think Internet streams and downloads are as big of a piece of the pie as people think.

  69. ajn007 says:

    @RvLeshrac:

    You’re spot on about the copy protection stuff. However, I’m going to slightly disagree with you on image quality.

    The comment that got me going in the first place was someone up there who said that HD-DVD had better image quality than Blu-Ray. Poppycock. Anyone who says that just doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about. 1080p is 1080p in both formats. It’s the same thing. In fact, I met an HD-DVD rep and he told me that the only difference between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD is the extra features (more specifically the HDi functionality of HD-DVD). He said image and audio quality are the same in both formats (though the latter is debatable and certainly depends on your equipment).

    As for what you were saying about image quality, you may be correct in saying that most people can’t tell the difference (thought I’d wager that more people couldn’t tell the difference between HD audio than HD video). But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a difference between DVD and HD. If a studio doesn’t bother to do a new HD transfer of the original film negative and uses their original MPEG encoding, sure, there isn’t going to be a difference. But I’m pretty sure all of these HD disks are new transfers. And I don’t know exactly what film’s “resolution” is, but I’m pretty sure it would come out to be more than 480 lines (standard DVD resolution). It is hard to make a direct comparison like that because film is analog. But I certainly have noticed the difference. And if someone’s got the TV for it, unless they are blind, I’m going to say they would notice the difference too.

    I’m not so sure that we disagree, but I wanted to make that point.

  70. ajn007 says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer:

    Interesting. I read somewhere (maybe it was this thread, I don’t remember) that because of the internet, porn is not going to have the influence in this format war as they did between VHS and Betamax, or even the adoption of DVD. As I understand it, the vast majority of porn is sold through downloads, people aren’t buying disks anymore (this may be a bit of a overstatement, though I’d love to see the numbers).

    If this is the case, and if history holds true, porn will be more responsible for paving the way for the popularity of HD downloads, I suppose.

  71. RvLeshrac says:

    @ajn007:

    You need a decent HDTV to notice the difference between DVD and HD (BD, HD-DVD) formats. Most people don’t have decent HDTVs.

    Image and audio quality are, assuming you have a compliant TV, the same for now. BD offers more room for growth in that area… but not until studios begin using far more expensive (Sony) equipment. For the filmmakers that refuse to use all-digital recording (Spielberg, Lucas, Smith) (for not-bad reasons), they just aren’t going to see any difference at all without a forced switch.

    And no studio is ever going to be able to tell Spielberg or Lucas how they ‘need’ to film a movie. As insane as they are, they’re like tiny gods. They aren’t the only filmmakers like this, either, and more are generated every year.