HD DVD vs Blu-ray 4 newbie

I am entering the Hi-def world,and was thinking on HD-DVD.I know everyone has thier own opinions.I am finding the A3 toshiba players on ebay for less than 150$. I know very little about either formats.I do have a hi-def plasma tv to hook it up to. I welcome all comments and opinions to help me make my choice between HD-DVD and Blu-ray.Thanks all.

Jim Scarpine

:bow:

This is a hard question, HD-DVD is really nice but I am gonna wait a little longer and use my upconverted dvd player until one wins or they both become the accepted. Hopefully like +R and -R do now?

[QUOTE=jimzcatz;1976478]I am entering the Hi-def world,and was thinking on HD-DVD.I know everyone has thier own opinions.I am finding the A3 toshiba players on ebay for less than 150$. I know very little about either formats.I do have a hi-def plasma tv to hook it up to. I welcome all comments and opinions to help me make my choice between HD-DVD and Blu-ray.Thanks all.

Jim Scarpine

:bow:[/QUOTE]
You can buy an A3 from a reputable seller for the same price as that. Just be patient and watch the sales. CompUSA.com and TigerDirect are the best prices today.

There’s about 500 titles available for each format, look them over and decide which ones you can’t live without that are exclusive to one format.

[QUOTE=CDan;1976525]You can buy an A3 from a reputable seller for the same price as that. Just be patient and watch the sales. CompUSA.com and TigerDirect are the best prices today.

There’s about 500 titles available for each format, look them over and decide which ones you can’t live without that are exclusive to one format.[/QUOTE]

I was at the CES show and HD-DVD booth camp claimed that they have 1,400 titles out

I haven’t seen more than about 350 or so available, not unless they are including their overseas releases in those figures (given the fact that the format is region free). Either way it is a tough call right now given the flux of studio support going on. Blu-Ray definitely carries the bulk of the major studio support at this point.

Here is the current breakdown:

Sony/Columbia/Tristar and MGM/UA are Blu-Ray exclusive
Disney/Buena Vista/Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures are Blu-Ray exclusive
20th Century Fox and their affiliates are Blu-Ray exclusive
Warner Bros. announced last week that they are going to be Blu-Ray exclusive as of May of this year (although they will continue to release titles on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray up until then). Warner Bros. also owns HBO home video, Image Entertainment (Discovery Channel Documentaries, ect.) and New Line Cinema.

In response to the Warner Bros. announcement the remaining major movie studios have reaffirmed their commitment to HD-DVD but then again who knows if that will remain true for a while.

The following movie studios and affiliates are still supporting HD-DVD exclusively:

Universal studios (including Rogue and Focus Pictures)
Paramount studios (including Dreamworks/Dreamworks animation, MTV films, Nickolodeon films, Comedy Central DVD, and CBS and PBS Home Video)

I concur with the others that it would be wise to wait at this point. Furthermore only about 30-40% of the titles currently out there on either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray are really worth owning over regular DVD if you have a decent up-conversion DVD player.

The bottom line is that HD-DVD is the better format for the consumer but unfortunately enough people have bought into the Blu-Ray marketing scheme that it doesn’t look like it will be able to hold on. Then again HD-DVD has really been in the hole before and has managed to hang on (partially due to backing from Microsoft). Anyways, even though I believe it is wise to wait on a purchase for either, I will go ahead and copy and paste my reasons why I feel that HD-DVD is better for the consumer strictly comparing the two formats.

Here are my reasons:

  1. HD-DVD has DRM but not the double protection that blu-ray has. Furthermore the HD-DVD camp wouldn’t waste millions of dollars trying to keep developing hacker proof protection measures that only last a few weeks (Arccos protection, anyone?)

  2. Existing DVD production lines can be used to produce HD-DVD (only a little hardware modification is required) so no one is required to specially build production lines for a totally different format.

  3. Region Free. The idea of being able to play discs from anywhere in the world is something that most probably wouldn’t appreciate but I sure do. Blu-Ray still has the lame region coding which makes it a royal pain when you would like that obscure title or if you have a friend from overseas who would like to exchange movies with you.

  4. Hardware costs. The Toshiba ranges from $140 with 7 free movies (A3) to the flagship A35 which runs about $300 with 7 free movies. The cheapest Blu-Ray Players have been players such as the Samsung 1400 and the Sony S300 which ran for about $270 with 7 free movies and were pretty much non-upgradable units. The more expensive main line players run around $500 with 7 free movies. The best selling Blu-Ray player (the PS3) runs from $400 for the 40GB model to $500 for the 80GB model and both come with 6 free movies. One can argue that the PS3 is a better deal since it is also a videogame console and multimedia player. However this is only a better deal for those who would actually use it for such features and indeed even many die-hard PS3 fans have pointed out the number of lack-luster titles available for the PS3. So once again for a number of people it still comes down to a $400-$500 Blu-Ray player. Also keep in mind that on the PS3 that Sony loses an average of about $125 per sale. Hardly a moneymaking machine. Furthermore it also means that there is much less flexibility for price drops in the future since they are already selling the machines at a huge loss. This is important to note since the PS3 is by far the best selling Blu-Ray player on the market.

  5. HD-DVD has a finalized spec that even it’s cheapest model the A3 can support. Blu-Ray on the other hand has V1.0, V1.1 and V2.0 specs. While some will argue that the only difference is for interactive content, but heavens only knows what sort of playback issues there will be for the low end V1.0 players (The Samsung and Sony models that I listed above). The only player that seems to be well equipped to deal with the upgraded specs is the PS3 but once again we are talking about a machine that will set you back at least $400 versus an entry line Toshiba A3 which already supports all sorts of cool interactive features on HD-DVD and only runs $180.

  6. Blu-Ray forces you into 1080p/24fps technology. While it is great that they all support this high standard, there are a number of people out there with 720p/1080i sets or people such as myself with 1080p/50/60fps sets who cannot take advantage of such technology but would still end up paying for it with the purchase of any blu-ray player. HD-DVD offers the A3 which supports only 720p or 1080i but as a result they can introduce it at a much lower cost since the specs have been around longer and so for those who don’t have the latest specs on our sets, we have an option for a great player that doesn’t force us to pay extra for technology that we can’t use. For those with 1080p/24fps who really wish to use it there is the A30 and the A35 models that will do a great job in this department ranging from about $250 to $350. So once again the hardware offers better value on the HD-DVD for a much broader range of people.

  7. Despite the supposed lead in sales that Blu-Ray claims to enjoy, the honest truth is that their sales are absolutely pathetic compared to the amount of money that has been invested into the technology. All development costs aside for the Blu-Ray technology itself, the PS3 is estimated to loose around $1 billion a year for the sales of the PS3 and also keep in mind that Sony intentionally purchased MGM/UA studios to keep them Blu-Ray exclusive. The cost of purchasing the studio was $4.5 billion, which is well more than it was worth at the time. I’m not saying that Toshiba is making big bucks off of their hardware but they certainly aren’t dealing with those kind of expenditures. Anyone care to take a stab at who ultimately ends up paying for these rediculous costs? Yup, you guessed it. . .THE CONSUMER!!! To go along with this a big part of the Blu-Ray camps numbers sales were from the 30 or so various BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) type sales. In otherwords the studios and companies take a hit to try and get people to invest in the technology. Nothing wrong with this from a consumer standpoint. . .AT FIRST but watch them disappear when HD-DVD fades away and then you will end up paying a premium for them. Anyways, in a nutshell there is alot of money being lost and precious little coming in when you factor all of these things together.

Thus far the only advantage I have seen to the consumer for Blu-Ray is the larger capacity per layer that would come in handy for really long films but once again this could be countered by HD-DVD releasing discs with more layers to deal with these titles that are relatively few in number (ie the Triple Layer HD-DVDs which are supposed to be coming out in the not too distant future).

Once again I’m not suggesting these as why HD-DVD will win, I am strictly saying that on the basis of the advantages of format that HD-DVD is definitely better for the consumer.

Jesterrace,thanks so much for the information.I was leaning towards the HD-DVD players anyway.What are your thoughts on a dual format player? I know they are really expensive still.

Jim

[QUOTE=jimzcatz;1976908]Jesterrace,thanks so much for the information.I was leaning towards the HD-DVD players anyway.What are your thoughts on a dual format player? I know they are really expensive still.

Jim[/QUOTE]

It’s cheaper to buy 2 separate players, plus both of the currently available dual players have significant technical issues. So you also get better performance from separate players.

Yup, I concur. dual format players are a waste of money at this point unless you are talking about the LG drive for the PC. My advice is to wait a few weeks until the price on the Toshiba A3 comes down to under $100 and then it is a win-win situation for you. Even if HD-DVD tanks you will still have gotten your money’s worth and the player also does a great job of up-converting regular DVD to high-def and so you will still be able to use it for that feature.

[quote=CDan;1976525]There’s about 500 titles available for each format, look them over and decide which ones you can’t live without that are exclusive to one format.[/quote]I definetely agree with this one. I think movie selection should be the main reason for newcomers to choose a format.

I have been enjoying both formats for almost a year now. Back then, Fast and Furious was my first HD DVD movie. King Kong, Hero series, Transformers and Bourne Ultimatum also made me stay in this format. But then, it is clear that I had to get a Blu-ray player for my family. Disney and Pixar are the main reason for me. Then of course other good titles from the blu-ray camp, ie Live Free or Die Hard, Pirates of the Carribean and as said above Disney and Pixar movies.

With Warner studio announcement last week that they will go Blu-ray, and a [I]rumour[/I] that Universal and Paramount will back out from the HD DVD deal, I would think twice getting a HD DVD player now unless there are HD DVD movies you really want to get or you’re going to use it for DVD upconverting. Take other suggestions and wait for a few more weeks. :wink:

You forgot a few things.

  • PC Burners support. Newcomers to the high definition probably don’t care much about it. They usually started by getting an HDTV then a player. Watch, enjoy and store the discs safely. Then at some point they will be interested in a burner. Well we know that there’s no HD DVD burner yet in the market. Meanwhile, there are more than 10 brands and models for Blu-ray burners. Also some companies and offices I’ve seen own 10+ Blu-ray burners for their daily/weekly data backups.

  • Disc capacity. I think this is one of reasons, among others, why blu-ray is prefered by studios especially for their 2+ hours titles. Hardcore hi-def people won’t settle for less than lossless PCM and for 2+ hours, the PCM audio stream alone can be 4-6GB or more. Plus the regular Dolby Digital for English, Spanish etc etc which is around 800MB each. Casino Royale which is a 2+ hours movie, the video stream (AVC) is more than 26GB. For that title, total with extras is close to full BD-ROM DL (50GB). I’m not sure it will fit on a HD DVD-ROM DL 30GB even if its using different codec.

There is one Hd-DVD burner in the market, coming from Toshiba in a Laptop (902).

[QUOTE=zevia;1977530]You forgot a few things.

  • PC Burners support. Newcomers to the high definition probably don’t care much about it. They usually started by getting an HDTV then a player. Watch, enjoy and store the discs safely. Then at some point they will be interested in a burner. Well we know that there’s no HD DVD burner yet in the market. Meanwhile, there are more than 10 brands and models for Blu-ray burners. Also some companies and offices I’ve seen own 10+ Blu-ray burners for their daily/weekly data backups.

  • Disc capacity. I think this is one of reasons, among others, why blu-ray is prefered by studios especially for their 2+ hours titles. Hardcore hi-def people won’t settle for less than lossless PCM and for 2+ hours, the PCM audio stream alone can be 4-6GB or more. Plus the regular Dolby Digital for English, Spanish etc etc which is around 800MB each. Casino Royale which is a 2+ hours movie, the video stream (AVC) is more than 26GB. For that title, total with extras is close to full BD-ROM DL (50GB). I’m not sure it will fit on a HD DVD-ROM DL 30GB even if its using different codec.[/QUOTE]

I mentioned disc capacity already (or maybe it was just in the other thread). As far as the burners go, I don’t think they are as major of a player as one might think, at least not until disc prices fall well under $5 per disc. Furthermore the prices on them at the current price-point are just too high to consider them a viable option. A decent Blu-Ray burner runs about $400 and then if you use that as your only drive you are tied completely to your PC. A standalone HD-DVD player can be had as low as $135. From the standpoint of the average joe-blow who has just invested in an HDTV, it would be more logical for them to invest in a cheap player that they can just plug into their player and then worry about a burner when prices finally come down. What I am getting at is that a cheap standalone has a much better chance of appealing to a much broader group of people (tekkie and non-tekkie alike) whereas a PC drive, burning, ect. really only pertains to people such as ourselves. :wink: