HD-DVD clearly outshines Blu-ray


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Ironman273

HD-DVD clearly outshines Blu-ray

By Don Lindich

Q: What are your thoughts regarding the new HD-DVD and Blu-ray high definition video discs?

Thaddeus Mark, Castle Shannon

A: HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc are the two new formats competing to be the high-definition video disc of the future. Each promises to provide much better picture quality than standard DVD. The formats are not compatible. HD-DVD players will not play Blu-ray discs, and vice versa. (Think Beta vs. VHS again.) You can buy the Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player for $500. The only Blu-ray player currently available, the Samsung BDP-1000, costs $1,000.

I recently saw demonstrations of both. The Blu-ray demo was at a top-notch home theater specialty shop. It used a front projection system and a prototype Sony player, and it was led by Sony executives using custom-made demo material. I saw a regular production HD-DVD player with a 50-inch plasma TV in a Best Buy store. Both looked great to my eyes. Obviously, the Blu-ray demo was bound to be more impressive given the environment and demo material.

Even taking this into account, I was very impressed and left with no reason to think Blu-ray would be anything but incredible in production form.

Given that the demonstrations used radically different equipment, software and surroundings, I did a little follow-up research online and was shocked at what those who own both formats have to say about their real-world experience.

Based on the first round of reports, the HD-DVD format is garnering praise, but Blu-ray is garnering almost universal scorn from reviewers and enthusiasts alike. Reviewer Evan Powell, of projectorcentral.com, commented of Blu-ray: "The image quality does not measure up to what we would expect from a high-definition source, and it certainly falls short of the hype."

At the AVS Forum, home-theater buffs had even harsher reactions. A sampling of their comments: "There's no getting around the fact that, at this time, BD is not as good as HD-DVD"; "I watched one and a half movies when I realized that they look horrible. ... needs to go to the scrap heap"; "This has to count as one of the greatest AV disappointments I can remember!"; "I took it back after two days. ... I just couldn't justify keeping the Samsung when I considered what I'm getting from the Toshiba at half the price"; and "Too much money, too little performance. It went back!" You can read these and more comments under the Blu-ray player and HD-DVD player forums at www.avsforum.com.

The bad launch does not mean Blu-ray is doomed, as more movies and players are to come, and they are likely to improve.

Industry politics and money will play a role in the format war, too. In two weeks, I will discuss more on HD-DVD, Blu-ray and DVD.

Don Lindich is the creator of the "Digital Made Easy" series of books. Submit your audio, video and digital photography questions to donlindich@yahoo.com

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OfF3nSiV3

i'm interested in these formats for storage purposes, not video crap..so for me is all about reliability and capacity

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Arckon

I just wish for once that companies could learn to get along instead of fighting with each other and ultimately screwing the CONSUMERS! The people that buy this stuff are not going to be happy when they realize what has been going on.

What's worse is that both of these will be obsolete rather soon because HVD is going to kick the crap out of both of them! I'm currently voting for HD-DVD mostly because it's more consumer friendly (cheaper price and good performance ratio for one).

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Ironman273
i'm interested in these formats for storage purposes, not video crap..so for me is all about reliability and capacity

Well, that's why I posted this in the Media Room ;)

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chconline

So PS3 == screwed soon lol

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Orange

No not really as PS3 will have the player already pre built in side so you getting a games consoles and blu-ray player for less the price. Good deal in my view (Y)

When Xbox 360 doesn't have HD drive so ure gonna have to wait for HD player or when Microsoft bring out a drive for the Xbox 360.

Me i'm gonna wait for the prices to come down before i buy i mean at the mo i watch dvd's on a 27inch tv and it's good enough for me.

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velocity3k

Most of the quality issues are down to current Blu-Ray titles still using MPEG-2 compression for the video which is nowhere near as good as VC-1 and H.264 which current HD-DVD titles use, why they went with MPEG-2 is beyond me.

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poorman

HD-DVD is cheaper. Blu-Ray does 1080p tho, tho hddvd will do that too soon. Btw you could wait till they turn off analog tv, i'm waiting till then to switch.

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bangbang023

One report I read said that the blu-ray image improved when they unplugged the HDMI and went with component. I'm not sure of the validity of the review, but it's something to keep in mind. The Samsung unit may simply be the weak link. I've seen it playing, myself, and the picture quality is nice, but you can tell something is off. Mind you, I was watching it on a 1080 Samsung LCD. Comparatively, I was more impressed while watching HD-DVD on a crappy Westinghouse LCD.

Either way, time will tell. You'd have to be a fool to choose a format now and dedicate yourself to it.

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poorman

dl.tv said the grain on terminator and fifth element was kinda bad, but after the first few reels it came back to being good. anyone know stuff about the way they transfer the film?

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SonComet

One report I read said that the blu-ray image improved when they unplugged the HDMI and went with component. I'm not sure of the validity of the review, but it's something to keep in mind. The Samsung unit may simply be the weak link. I've seen it playing, myself, and the picture quality is nice, but you can tell something is off. Mind you, I was watching it on a 1080 Samsung LCD. Comparatively, I was more impressed while watching HD-DVD on a crappy Westinghouse LCD.

Either way, time will tell. You'd have to be a fool to choose a format now and dedicate yourself to it.

The samsung doesn't properly output 1080i/p over hdmi. To get it to properly output you need to use component cables and set it to 1080i. Doing this made it almost indistinguishable from the 1500 pionner outputting over hdmi.

The samsung also fakes 1080p. It uses the same broadcom chip to convert the 1080p24 movie stored on the br to 1080i as toshiba's hd-dvd player. It then uses another chip to convert the 1080i60 to 1080p30. Even if it didn't have problems with the hdmi output 99% of TVs that support 1080p would do a better job scaling the 1080i back to 1080p24 than the samsung player. Just like with hd-dvd at 1080i, br will look the same outputting at 1080i as it would at 1080p24 because as long as the scalers are adequate in the tv, you won't lose any of the information from the 1080p24 movie on the hd-dvd or br.

Also, one of the leading problems with image quality on br is not only mpeg2, but also some very very poor authoring jobs done when making the br rips. They are rushed and in many cases below the quality of hd movies on hbo. That should not happen, but in many films (like the fifth element) it happened either due to a rush job, or on purpose so that a double dip superbit version could appear later. Also, mpeg2 is much faster than VC-1 when making a movie from the master, so it may also relate to Sony's and other br studio's rush jobs (in the same way I am sure that warner bros accidently ripping in 540p on a few of their hd-dvds is also due to a rush job). However, there is no way that mpeg2 with 25GB of space can compete with VC-1 with 30GB of space.

People are now arguing that it doesn't matter since 50GB brs will be available that this won't be an issue anymore. However, 50GB brs are still very very far away. The defect rate of dl 30Gb hd-dvds is less than 10%. So it's pretty close to dvd in terms of production effieciency. On the other hand more than half of the sl brs are coasters still (only a couple out of every 100 50GB brs are good). So it doesn't look likely that the majority of movies will be at 50GB anytime soon. Also, 50GB brs won't look any better than 30GB hd-dvds unless they start encoding with VC-1, H.264, or something other than mpeg2.

As it is right now 25GB brs are much more expensive to make than 30GB hd-dvds, use a codec far less efficient, have many rushed and horrible authoring jobs, and the only player out has a faulty hdmi out, fakes 1080p, and is twice as much as the hd-dvd players.

I think I'll sit this format war out until most of the bugs are worked out. It's just that hd-dvd has much fewer bugs to fix :p.

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b@nned

The samsung doesn't properly output 1080i/p over hdmi. To get it to properly output you need to use component cables and set it to 1080i. Doing this made it almost indistinguishable from the 1500 pionner outputting over hdmi.

The samsung also fakes 1080p. It uses the same broadcom chip to convert the 1080p24 movie stored on the br to 1080i as toshiba's hd-dvd player. It then uses another chip to convert the 1080i60 to 1080p30. Even if it didn't have problems with the hdmi output 99% of TVs that support 1080p would do a better job scaling the 1080i back to 1080p24 than the samsung player. Just like with hd-dvd at 1080i, br will look the same outputting at 1080i as it would at 1080p24 because as long as the scalers are adequate in the tv, you won't lose any of the information from the 1080p24 movie on the hd-dvd or br.

Also, one of the leading problems with image quality on br is not only mpeg2, but also some very very poor authoring jobs done when making the br rips. They are rushed and in many cases below the quality of hd movies on hbo. That should not happen, but in many films (like the fifth element) it happened either due to a rush job, or on purpose so that a double dip superbit version could appear later. Also, mpeg2 is much faster than VC-1 when making a movie from the master, so it may also relate to Sony's and other br studio's rush jobs (in the same way I am sure that warner bros accidently ripping in 540p on a few of their hd-dvds is also due to a rush job). However, there is no way that mpeg2 with 25GB of space can compete with VC-1 with 30GB of space.

People are now arguing that it doesn't matter since 50GB brs will be available that this won't be an issue anymore. However, 50GB brs are still very very far away. The defect rate of dl 30Gb hd-dvds is less than 10%. So it's pretty close to dvd in terms of production effieciency. On the other hand more than half of the sl brs are coasters still (only a couple out of every 100 50GB brs are good). So it doesn't look likely that the majority of movies will be at 50GB anytime soon. Also, 50GB brs won't look any better than 30GB hd-dvds unless they start encoding with VC-1, H.264, or something other than mpeg2.

As it is right now 25GB brs are much more expensive to make than 30GB hd-dvds, use a codec far less efficient, have many rushed and horrible authoring jobs, and the only player out has a faulty hdmi out, fakes 1080p, and is twice as much as the hd-dvd players.

I think I'll sit this format war out until most of the bugs are worked out. It's just that hd-dvd has much fewer bugs to fix :p.

great post :yes:

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Arkaic
The samsung doesn't properly output 1080i/p over hdmi. To get it to properly output you need to use component cables and set it to 1080i. Doing this made it almost indistinguishable from the 1500 pionner outputting over hdmi.

The samsung also fakes 1080p. It uses the same broadcom chip to convert the 1080p24 movie stored on the br to 1080i as toshiba's hd-dvd player. It then uses another chip to convert the 1080i60 to 1080p30. Even if it didn't have problems with the hdmi output 99% of TVs that support 1080p would do a better job scaling the 1080i back to 1080p24 than the samsung player. Just like with hd-dvd at 1080i, br will look the same outputting at 1080i as it would at 1080p24 because as long as the scalers are adequate in the tv, you won't lose any of the information from the 1080p24 movie on the hd-dvd or br.

Also, one of the leading problems with image quality on br is not only mpeg2, but also some very very poor authoring jobs done when making the br rips. They are rushed and in many cases below the quality of hd movies on hbo. That should not happen, but in many films (like the fifth element) it happened either due to a rush job, or on purpose so that a double dip superbit version could appear later. Also, mpeg2 is much faster than VC-1 when making a movie from the master, so it may also relate to Sony's and other br studio's rush jobs (in the same way I am sure that warner bros accidently ripping in 540p on a few of their hd-dvds is also due to a rush job). However, there is no way that mpeg2 with 25GB of space can compete with VC-1 with 30GB of space.

People are now arguing that it doesn't matter since 50GB brs will be available that this won't be an issue anymore. However, 50GB brs are still very very far away. The defect rate of dl 30Gb hd-dvds is less than 10%. So it's pretty close to dvd in terms of production effieciency. On the other hand more than half of the sl brs are coasters still (only a couple out of every 100 50GB brs are good). So it doesn't look likely that the majority of movies will be at 50GB anytime soon. Also, 50GB brs won't look any better than 30GB hd-dvds unless they start encoding with VC-1, H.264, or something other than mpeg2.

As it is right now 25GB brs are much more expensive to make than 30GB hd-dvds, use a codec far less efficient, have many rushed and horrible authoring jobs, and the only player out has a faulty hdmi out, fakes 1080p, and is twice as much as the hd-dvd players.

I think I'll sit this format war out until most of the bugs are worked out. It's just that hd-dvd has much fewer bugs to fix :p.

I'm sitting this out for now at least. I'll wait at least a year or two and then see really which format is superior. Which does offer more for your dollar, which is more widely accepted. so on.

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theyarecomingforyou

Sounds like Blu-Ray was rushed. I would still prefer it to win, if they can sort out all the problems, as the huge amount of extra storage is a real asset.

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CY:G

So what does this format war represent for the regular consumer, lets say Joe wants to buy X movie in high definition but he only owns a HD-DVD player and the movie was only released for BluRay?, is Joe screwed?

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XerXis

So what does this format war represent for the regular consumer, lets say Joe wants to buy X movie in high definition but he only owns a HD-DVD player and the movie was only released for BluRay?, is Joe screwed?

joe is very much screwed

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MrKuro

Just wait a year or two . . . players/burners that support both will eventually be out, and it really won't matter.

Until then the cheaper format will be the one more widely adopted (consumerism at its best), and even thought enthusiasts will support the one with superior quality and capacity, the average joe just doesn't care as much, and will buy the movie he wants as cheap as possible. Personally I think both will take a while for the average consumer to adopt, they are usually unknowledged and to them DVD's work fine as is. . . and if any format wins it will probably be HD-DVD . . just because it is the cheaper way to HD.

When the consumer wants to invest in HD, he will look at Blueray ( and go hmm never heard of that . . OMG! look at that price) and he will see HD-DVD (HD + DVD hey thats exactly what i want, and the price is slightly more affordable)

Time will tell I guess . . .

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CY:G

joe is very much screwed

lol, joe wont be buying 2 HD players i can tell you that, and Joe likes stuff cheap, so he will probably get HD DVD

Edited by CY:G
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TruckWEB

You know, some people are just getting around buying a DVD player... Those no-name cheap at 30$....

Since it's realy not everybody who are running out buying new HDTV, I would say that both format will have a hard begining. You need to have a HDTV to enjoy HD-DVD or Blu-Ray movies. So, who is going to win this format war? The cheaper of the two.

On a side note, look out for porn... what format will they use? That format will be the winner.

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Pink Floyd

Personally, I don't care since I will probably not jump in the boat this time. Nobody knows how this war will end, I hope not like Betamax and VHS did! For thos who are old enough to have lived the betamax and vhs war, they will tell you that the best format doesn't win automatically ;)

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P!P

I don't understand why one can say HD-DVD is better or worse then Blu-Ray. They have the same codecs. The only reason people are saying Blu-ray isn't doing well is because of crappy HD movie transfers. It has nothing to do with the hardware.

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bangbang023

I don't understand why one can say HD-DVD is better or worse then Blu-Ray. They have the same codecs. The only reason people are saying Blu-ray isn't doing well is because of crappy HD movie transfers. It has nothing to do with the hardware.

The current Blu-ray movies are only using mpeg2.

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TruckWEB

I don't understand why one can say HD-DVD is better or worse then Blu-Ray. They have the same codecs. The only reason people are saying Blu-ray isn't doing well is because of crappy HD movie transfers. It has nothing to do with the hardware.

Do you know the cost/quality ratio? You pay 1000$ to play Blu-Ray movie or 500$ to play HD-DVD. Just that make one format better than the other. Second, like Bangbang said, the first batch of Blu-Ray movie are encoded in MPEG2 and it's worst than HD-DVD.

And finaly, even if they got space to spare on Blu-Ray disc, the HD transfer is terrible. I saw a couple of movie in Blu-Ray and they all look grainy and much less sharp than HD-DVD movies. They could have reduced the compression level in order to have better picture quality. After all, they do have 10 gig more per disc....

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Nashy

Ok ok ok.

Blu-Ray will be doomed. Simple. They have made mistakes, and that hasn't helped. But when people who have no idea about these things, what are they going to see?

I round disc. Or a sqaurish roundish thing with a disc in it.

Tey'll choose the disc over the "new" thing.

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