High Definition DVD
While we previewed this concept last year, itís coming in full forace after the start of new year. Supporting the 1920 x 1080 pixel matrix of wide screen with 5 channel sound at about twice the quality of current DVDs (which are rated at about 480 lines, so the new offerings will be over 800 lines). Thatís the good news...
The bad news? Theyíll be two formats and no, you wonít be able to buy your movies in either flavors. Itís one or the other. And some of the hardware makers are the creators of each format so, just to add insult to injury, donít expect to see a lot of name brand units sporting both technologies for a few years...
Yes, itís VHS vs. Beta all over again!
But, on the plus side down the line because of the quantity of DVD disks all makers will probably produce units that read all disk formats for a few years at least, but that wonít be until at least 2008!
Blu Ray is basically from Sony and HD DVD is basically from Toshiba and both are in talk to unify the standard (is there a Henry Kissinger in the house?) but donít hold your immediate breaths as the talks broke down just before this issue hits the web.
Fox, Universal Music Group, Lions Gate are all in the Blu Ray docket, with Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Dell, Sony and Zenith licensing the technology and making hardware (DVD players supporting Blu Ray), which will include the Sony Playstation.
New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., along with Apple, NEC and Microsoft are supporting the Toshiba HD DVD format.
Both formats have some similarities including the MP4 encoding and use of a blue laser to read the data which is recorded at a size of 405nm, which is slightly different from standard DVDs which use MP2 encoding at a size of 850nm with a red laser (or LED) to read the data.
Blu Ray feels their format will ultimately hold more data (up to 50 giga bytes) and that might make it a winner, however HD DVD holds enough data to get a whole movie on the disk in high definition with the extras (and they also claim some backwards compatibility with existing DVD players), but this means Blu Ray may be able to offer both Wide Screen and Standard Screen version on the same disk, along with the goodies, while HD DVD may have to use two disks or separate offerings (not that the Blu Ray people will shoot themselves in the feet by not breaking things into two editions, one for Wide Screen users).
It is easier to make a DVD player that can handle either than to make a DVD player that will handle standard DVDs, CDs and the newer high definition DVD disks, because of encoding, reflectivity and other issues.
The biggest issue, however, is going to be technology licensing fees which will drive up the prices! A Blu Ray (or HD DVD) only machine will cost the least! Add the other technology and you drive up the price by whatever they charge to license the patents. Add compatibility with older DVDs and CDs and the price goes up even more. This means a multi-format TV top DVD player or computer tower DVD/CD player will probably cost $400 or more in the ďall formatĒ flavors during the early years. Considering the fact you can get a standard DVD player for as little as $50 right now, a VHS/DVD combo for $80 or a DVD burner and player with VHS for $250, any price above $200 will be too pricey for people without HDTV sets at the current point in time.
Does everyone need high def DVD? Yes and no. Current low cost TV sets offer resolution of 600 lines while standard DVDs are rated at 480 lines, so a hi-def DVD player that is compatible with your current TV set will offer you better sharpness in full screen format. Plus if you move to HDTV (and the rate of this is growing exponentially) youíll be ready for the best quality available!
Video Special 2005 |
Intro To Digital TV |
DVD or DV Camcorders?
Our video special continues with these offerings from 2004:
Doing Video On Your Computer |
The Pinnacle Capture Card |
ATA Hard Drives