No, Really: Consumers Want A Third Potentially Obsolete HD DVD Format To Choose From

Just when you thought the HD DVD/Blu-ray format war was starting to work itself out, here comes something called “HD VMD.” Yeah, it sounds like something you might get prescribed an ointment to treat, but it’s actually just another HD format.

Although this new format doesn’t have the backing of any major studios (yet) the company that produces the format says it’s cheaper to manufacture than HD DVD or Blu-ray.

From Variety:

“Blu-ray is running $3.40 a unit, and HD DVD is $2.50 — it’s hard as an indie to get into that marketplace,” Adelman says. “It’s coming down to manufacturing, and we think HD VMD is a fantastic format.”

New Medium Enterprises… CEO Mahesh Jayanarayan believes these kinds of value enticements will be hard for some content creators to ignore.

“In the first six months we are giving free authoring tools to studio partners to make our content popular in the format,” he says. “Many production houses can’t make the investment with (Blu-ray or HD DVD). We want to make the industry feel comfortable with high-def.”

Of course, consumers have to feel comfortable, too — New Medium plans to debut its HD VMD players at under $200, with European retailers, including Tesco in Poland and Boulanger in France, selling the device from $150 to $199.

This crap should be hitting our shores by September, according to Variety. Our advice? Stay away! Format wars are bad! Never forget our war-cry: “Remember the Betamax!”

A new format: HD Versatile Multilayer Disc [Variety]
(Photo: Larry G.)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Televiper says:

    I’ll just wait for the player that does them all. Till then I’ll start enjoying a steady decline in the price of DVDs (yah, as if).

  2. markedward says:

    I personally don’t understand the hype Blu-Ray is receiving. Sure, it might have better audio and video than the standard DVD, but how many consumers actually own the proper television and speaker system to even tell the difference? If you have an extra $4000 to shell out on a HD TV and six speaker surround sound system that isn’t made of crap, by all means, buy a Blu-Ray player and Blu-Ray DVDs… but most people don’t have that kind of entertainment set to be able to enjoy the Blu-Ray High-Defness. I’m perfectly fine with a non-HD DVD as long as it doesn’t look or sound like a 20-year old video cassette.

  3. Ikki says:

    Even though it’s cheaper I doubt that the savings will get passed on to us.

  4. shades_of_blue says:

    This is the China HD optical disc standard, correct? I remember they were talking about China developing their own ‘rival’ HD standard to duck royalty fees and provide content at a much lower cost, but that was the middle of last year. Talk about fashionably late; Cinderella already lost her glass slipper.

    Wonder what encryption methods are used to ‘combat’ piracy. Wouldn’t it be funny if bypassing encryption on one of these things was like enabling ‘all region’. It could turn into a hot seller, if that were to hold true. That is, until the MPAA board members denounce it and cease all future releases.

  5. TechnoDestructo says:


    But you don’t understand…it’s BETTER than DVD.

    Seriously, you think 9 out of 10 people buying them know the difference? Do you think half of them could tell the difference even if they did know?

  6. markedward says:

    Which is exactly why I think it’s an overhyped format of DVD. My post that you replied to spelled that out: “how many consumers actually own the proper television and speaker system to even tell the difference?”

  7. MonkeyMonk says:

    The sounds a lot like the HD version of the Asian VCD which was a widely popular format used in Asia around the time that DVD was just getting off the ground in the U.S.

    The quality was like a bad quicktime file but they were incredibly cheap to buy and produce.

  8. shades_of_blue says:

    @markedward: Who says you need a 4000+ dollar setup to enjoy HD content? Just download the 480P and 720P King Kong, Spiderman 3 and Transformers trailers from Yahoo’s movie trailer section. Then compare the video quality, the difference is very night and day.

    Provided that you have your desktop at 1280×1024 or 1280×768 or higher you WILL see a difference. If for some odd reason you can’t, do a screen capture with both trailers and compare stills. I recommend the King Kong trailer for this, especially where Kong squares off against the final T-Rex. The details and color depth this scene offers as HD content are very noticable. You’d have to be blind not to see the difference. After you see the difference, you’ll have a better understanding of ‘the hype’.

  9. shades_of_blue says:

    and yes, most customers don’t know the difference. They just buy it because it’s the newest thing, then revel in the smugness. I’ve got many relatives which fit that description.

  10. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I think that Blu-Ray’s future is in data storage as it holds a lot more gigabytes than HD-TV.
    HD holds 15 gb per side, 30 gb total, while Blu-Ray holds 25 gb per side, 50 gb total.

  11. tcp100 says:

    If you’ve ever seen HD-DVD / Blu-Ray on a good display, you’d change your mind right quick.

  12. tcp100 says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Moot point currently, since HD-DVD has released a 3-layer disc, bringing its storage total to 45GB vs Blu Ray’s 50.

    That, and no movies have yet to be released on double layer Blu-Ray; that is, nothing’s currently breaking the 25GB barrier.

    (And you mean layers when you say sides.)

  13. SBR249 says:

    I for one will wait until either HD-DVD or Blu-ray disks become cheap as dirt and then decide which one to use. By that time, I expect the format war to be long over anyway.

    The way I see it, it’s just like the double layered DVDs. It was the shit when it came out with 9GB of storage, until we saw the 0.50 per disk price, then everyone just turned away. When compared to the pennies per disk price of CD-R and the slightly higher but still cheap price of single side DVD, the double layered bullshit suddenly didn’t seem so hot anymore. Then hard drives became cheap as dirt and everyone discovered the joys of spinning magnetic platters. It’s the same thing with these 50GB disks, instead of shelling out $400+ for a burner (which is still nowhere to be found) and then hand over fist for disks, why not just wait until the holidays and buy yourself a nice big fat TB harddrive that you can write to over and over again.

    That’s just my $0.02

  14. mikemar42 says:

    what ever happened to hd-vhs

  15. shades_of_blue says:

    I thought 3+ layer HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs were not backward compatible. IIRC The Blu-ray camp stated that their format could do a max of 6 layers. More of a concept at this point, as a pissing contest against rival media formats.

    BTW don’t hold your breath waiting for a dual format player, I may not happen. HD-DVD and Blu-ray position the laser at different distances from the media surface. Blu-ray positions the laser closer to the media; which allows them to generate a faster response back. Shorter the delay, the more data you can cram in the same area. This is why Blu-ray has larger capacity discs. I assume the laser positioning issue is also the reason DVD backward compatibility is optional for Blu-ray player manufacturers.

  16. I heard of this… We don’t need another format encroaching into the territory.

  17. SilverHammer says:

    @ shades_of_blue

    You mean like the LG BH-100? Not only does it exist, you can buy it if you’ve got $1200 in your pocket.

  18. eli_b says:

    One disc to rule them all!

  19. Thrust says:

    Is HD worth the money? Most people who have it don’t even know it’s not actually running in HD mode, and I for one can’t tell the damned difference. My eyesight isn’t the best, but my brain aint gone sour yet and my brain says I have a last-gen tube television, a nice system with a 5 disc DVD player, and a small (or not so small) fortune in regular format DVDs. Why pay for all that crap again when I still haven’t replaced all my VHS with normal DVD? Keep your BluRay, HD, and VMD… Do Not Want!

  20. SilverHammer314 says:

    @ Thrust

    HD is worth the money to upgrade if you like nice things, and definitely worth it if you’re buying anyway. I mean, I don’t see how anyone goes out and buys a 27″ CRT to sit 30 feet away from anymore. I would think most big brands are making HD tvs almost exclusively, so you’re probably buying a Coby or Magnavox tube tv if you go that route. Anyway, if you can’t tell the difference between SD and HD, I don’t know what to tell you; you’re probably sitting too far away. But it’s not a subjective thing, it’s obvious. My guess is you’re looking around Circuit City’s setups and thinking “What’s the big deal?”. Go somewhere else, and you’ll see it. OTOH, you’re probably right about DVD. DVDs still look fine in a nice player, so there’s no rush to buy a $500 player, but broadcast television and digital cable are sorry-looking.

  21. bluwapadoo says:

    What about “Remember the Laserdisc!”?

    There is a difference between DVD and BluRay/HDDVD, clearly, but I’m not sure it’s a $600+ difference at this point. Plus, you will never know who will win the format war.

    I’ll take the picture quality I get with the upconverting DVD player I have and the dozen of DVDs I already own.

  22. DojiStar says:

    I was reading in Home Theater Mag this past month regarding the various HD media formats. And the author concluded that the actual increase in picture quality didn’t warrant paying the premium cost of the players.

    Meaning, the picture quality wasn’t that much better than watching it on a standard progressive scan DVD player at 480P.

    Most people don’t have the 1080P native TV’s to get true HD pictures and 720P over 480P wasn’t worth the $500 for the player.

    I agree. Wait for the format war to get ironed out and the players to get mass produced. Then buy.

  23. mikyrok says:

    @markedward: I do

  24. Bye says:

    We’ve made a pact in our household to enjoy our existing DVD player and library of DVDs. We have determined that anytime either of us is up for a high-definition experience, we will walk out the front door.

    Pretty colors! Such richness! What saturation! And surround sound that beats DTS in its authenticity!

  25. Thrust says:

    @SilverHammer314: Actually, it’s a really nice 36″ Toshiba, about a year and a half old. And yes I can see a difference in picture quality with HD, but thats comparing CRT to LCD/Plasma anyways. When you compare HD to regular LCD/Plasma the difference is much less, and not worth shelling out tons of money for.

  26. @SilverHammer314: “HD is worth the money to upgrade if you like nice things”

    No it isn’t. JEWELRY is worth the money if you like nice things! Electronics aren’t nearly so pretty and become obsolete much faster.

  27. shades_of_blue says:

    @SilverHammer Are you sure it ‘actually’ exists? Last I knew one of the Korean manufacturers was being sued over falsely claiming to have a dual format player ready for production. I’m fairly sure it was LG, as a doubt Samsung would jump the gun that quickly. So until I see said player at Best Buy, it’s just vaporware.

    Quote – “LG has confirmed that the BH100 also lacks the ability to access the HDi” HDi is a part of the HD-DVD standard, if it’s missing that then it’s not really a dual-format player. Just a pretender. Besides you could buy a PS3, a standalone HD-DVD player and still have money to spend for that MSRP.

  28. Morgan says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I disagree. Jewelry will always be useless (and therefore a waste of money), whereas you can actually do something with an high definition player, even if they will be obsolete in a few years.

  29. @Morgan: “Jewelry will always be useless”

    Beauty is never useless. :)

    But you are mistaken. $600 spent on earrings for the wife = much spousal sex. $600 spent on useless HD player before format wars are settled = much spousal grumpiness, little spousal sex. ;)

  30. Morgan says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I’ll be really depressed if I ever need to trade shiny rocks for sex. I haven’t bought an HD player (I’m waiting til format wars are over and prices on the winner drop), but if I had to make the choice between spending $600 on earrings for my girlfriend and $600 on an HD player, I’d buy the electronics every time. So would my girlfriend, given the same choice, and she certainly hasn’t been withholding sex in the hopes that I’ll buy her earrings at some point. So I guess if you’re in a relationship that requires shiny rocks to avoid strife, they’re not useless, but I’ll never really understand people who consider diamonds to be “nice things” when compared to a purchase that actually does something.