Industry Insiders Master Q&A thread III: ONLY Questions to Insiders - Page 81 - AVS Forum
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post #2401 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:12 PM
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Amir or Ben, (I think my question was lost in the middle of Paramount debate)
I'm very excited that XBL movies are coming to Canada soon; I cant wait to rent HD movies on my xbox360.
I have a question regarding the audio format. If a movie comes with WMA Pro 5.1 (Which I assume is the format you encode the 5.1 mix) what happens to those whose receiver doesn't support WMAPro?
Does X360 re-encode the WMA 5.1 into DD5.1(or DTS)?
If so; how much quality loss do you think that can cause? (just curious. I'm no serious audiophile indeed )

A Home Theater Enthusiast!
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post #2402 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunkaroo View Post

Amir,

Forgive this very rudimentary question, but I have not been part of the Insider's thread since the beginning.

After reading Bill Hunt's comments, I find myself wondering, what is Microsoft's stake in HD DVD? And I'm not insinuating I believe the payoff comments.

I understand Sony's stake in Blu-Ray. I'm not clear why Microsoft cares one way or the other about HDM. Obviously studios use VC-1, but the codec is in use on both formats.

I know I'm probably missing something obvious, but if you (or anyone) can point me to information on this I would appreciate it.

+1 ?

Support The Facts - Not Opinions
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post #2403 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

I also want to emphasize that not having sexy features like web connectivity is a big, big deal for some titles.

Hi Amir,

Thanks for your insights.

There's been a lot of debate from both sides on the value of connectivity and interactivity to the consumer. I was wondering if you would provide us with your views, if any, on how the studios see this? In addition, to providing a value-added differentiator do you think that the studios see interactivity as a potentially powerful means of marketing their titles or even cross-marketing other's products?

For example, supposed I've just finished viewing a title from a particular studio that I enjoyed. Wouldn't that be the perfect time for the studio to offer me the opportunity to buy more of their HD titles via my player? I see it as a very attractive extra that benefits both the studios and the consumer because the consumer only uses the extra feature if they wish, rather than having it thrust upon them like typical commercials.

Thanks.

Larry
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post #2404 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

To talk's claim that is needed, I ask him one question. If BD+ gets hacked, then what? Fox stops publishing period? And if he thinks BD+ cannot be hacked on the PC, can he explain where he gets his confidence in this stance?

I can't speak to how much DRM is "enough" for studio execs, but clearly AACS alone isn't enough in Fox' case.

As a major provider of DRM technology how do you justify it to your content partners? Do you say "Windows Media DRM will inevitably be [has already been] hacked, so don't bother"?

I'd love to see a DRM-free content world, but I don't own the content so I don't get to make those decisions. I can choose whether to consume given content under its owner's terms, and so far from my perspective those terms are far less onerous than the value of the content.

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post #2405 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:27 PM
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This is some interesting possible FUD from Bill Hunt again:
Quote:


Here's another interesting story I've heard through the grapevine. People at Paramount who were working on the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of Blades of Glory had actually been planning to do some kind of elaborate interactive feature on both versions... except that they discovered the 35GB HD-DVD disc didn't have enough space to do what they'd wanted to do. So they were planning to include this feature exclusively on the Blu-ray version. Now, of course, that's all changed. But this casts some doubt on comments made by Paramount's chief technology officer, Alan Bell, in the media since yesterday, to the effect that the studio considered HD-DVD the superior format from a technical standpoint. Apparently someone didn't tell that to the guys actually WORKING with these formats at the studio.

Disregarding his factual error of the capacity of HD DVD...
What he says is interesting if true, but I'm having a real hard time envisioning what would be such a crazy interactive feature.

Any insiders care to comment?
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post #2406 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob.D.inToronto View Post

I would like to know if there are any plans for both sides to sit down and resume talks to end this pointless war, a war that is not only causing confusion to some (heartache to others, ulcers to many) but also cost all players a lot of money.

I see no reason why, technically, something cannot be worked out.

Because at this point with millions of BD players and 100's of K's of HD DVD players you can't form a technical compromise without leaving one or both camps stranded. You can't support Blu-ray's physical format with HD DVD optics, and you can't support HD DVD's mandatory secondary video or HDi processing requirements on most Blu-ray models. That only leaves combo players as a compromise, and that's a poor compromise indeed.

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post #2407 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpHeRe31459 View Post

What he says is interesting if true, but I'm having a real hard time envisioning what would be such a crazy interactive feature.

Any insiders care to comment?

There are many possibilities. It could be a feature which requires significant bandwidth (i.e. seamless branching) which is more difficult to do on HD DVD because of the much lower bandwidth maximums, or it could be a feature requiring some form of computation for which HDi's ECMAscript isn't well-suited, or it could be the ability to use the disc as a coaster (which HD DVD's lack of hard coat would make dicey)!

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post #2408 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:48 PM
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Amir,

I realize you have no knowledge of the deal for paramount. That being said, this brought up a question in my mind while driving around today:

Let's pretend for a minute that Paramount, or any other HD DVD studio is getting subsidies, help, replication for free etc. type help. If that does happen, why isn't HD DVD group pushing to actually replace DVD's with combos?

I know I'm just a dumb user, but in my mind, the very best way to offer incentive to a studio would be to help cover any extra cost that a studio might incur by ceasing DVD production all-together for new titles in favor of combos. This would by far be the most deadly blow possible to BD in this war, and it irks me that I see no evidence of it in the plans.
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post #2409 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

I suspect you know what I meant but just in case, we help other companies build dual format players if they so wish. The other side seems to think that is a bad idea. I was not picking on Sony only shipping BD player in PS3. So hopefully the reverse can be true of us stubborn bunch .

Amir,

How do you help other companies build dual-format players? Has MS provided funding to LG or Samsung to develop thier players?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

A top title can cost up to $500K to produce if it has nice interactivity and bunch of extras. Let's assume that a studio wants to come close to what Universal has done in releasing > 100 titles in a year and half. That puts the up front cost at $50M right there! Who should pay for this? One could make the argument that studios should because they will reap the benefits later. Others say no, the people with the patents should.

Are you saying that Microsoft as the patent holder is assuming the production costs? If so, are you assuming these costs for Paramount? Universal? Warner?

Thanks,

Mike
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post #2410 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

We've already seen that many BD players won't play back home authored BD discs due to the copy protections that BD uses (movies edited at home can't be digitally signed, etc).

This is not as simplistic as you would suggest. First, the player has to support BD-R and/or BD-RE media. This isn't required, just as DVD +/-R or RW support aren't required in DVD players (and I suspect HD DVD -R/-RW support isn't required by HD DVD players). If the media is supported than BDAV (which can be used for home video including menus) will work. BDMV (providing full HDMV and BD-J support) will also work on most first generation players and on any future players which support the BD-RE 3.0 media spec. The PS3 supports everything.

"Many players"? I only know of two models for which support hasn't been promised (one being the LG combo, which initially validates my theory that combo players will handle neither format particularly well), and one additional model which will support it with an upcoming firmware update.
Quote:
Maybe you'd like to comment as an insider on the "BD Vision" of home media with BD discs authored on computers, captured with camcorders and then re-edited into movies, etc, playing back on standalone BD players and the PS3?

The vision is spot-on, and further enhanced by Blu-ray's superb writability characteristics, including 8cm camcorder discs!

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post #2411 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 01:58 PM
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Does any insider have any information regarding The Weinstein Company?
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post #2412 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZHTGeek View Post

Thanks paidgeek for the info. Do you know which titles were done like this so we can do some comparisons. Most Paramount titles reviewed scored the same on both formats and it would be nice to be able to compare these on our own.


Check out "Black Snake Moan" and "Disturbia"

Sony Pictures BD Insider
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post #2413 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Because at this point with millions of BD players and 100's of K's of HD DVD players you can't form a technical compromise without leaving one or both camps stranded. You can't support Blu-ray's physical format with HD DVD optics, and you can't support HD DVD's mandatory secondary video or HDi processing requirements on most Blu-ray models. That only leaves combo players as a compromise, and that's a poor compromise indeed.

I don't know with $150M one side could buy the early adopters from the other side new players :-)
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post #2414 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

This is not as simplistic as you would suggest. First, the player has to support BD-R and/or BD-RE media. This isn't required, just as DVD +/-R or RW support aren't required in DVD players (and I suspect HD DVD -R/-RW support isn't required by HD DVD players). If the media is supported than BDAV (which can be used for home video including menus) will work. BDMV (providing full HDMV and BD-J support) will also work on most first generation players and on any future players which support the BD-RE 3.0 media spec. The PS3 supports everything.

"Many players"? I only know of two models for which support hasn't been promised (one being the LG combo, which initially validates my theory that combo players will handle neither format particularly well), and one additional model which will support it with an upcoming firmware update.
The vision is spot-on, and further enhanced by Blu-ray's superb writability characteristics, including 8cm camcorder discs!

Talk,

Do you know when BD-RE 3.0 media will be available for sale in the states?

Also, if I shoot a wedding video (including BDMV features) and make a master on BD-RE 3.0, can I make multiple copies of that master? Is there anything special required since it's AACS protected?
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post #2415 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

I can't speak to how much DRM is "enough" for studio execs, but clearly AACS alone isn't enough in Fox' case.

Talkstr8t - paidgeek has indicated in the past that BD+ was not an immediate priority for Sony, and he could not provide a time line for when they might be testing it.

Considering Fox's release announcements yesterday, are you aware of any progress Fox has made with respect to testing and implementing BD+ on their titles?

Thanks.
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post #2416 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 02:42 PM
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As I had hinted recently, PacificDisc has just lowered the minimum order size for HD & BD replication from 5000 discs to just 1000 discs.

More details, including prices can be found here:

http://www.pacificdisc.com/PricingHD-DVD.html

http://www.pacificdisc.com/PricingBluRay.html

This is due to a pent-up demand in the independent market, with many content owners wanting to release product in HiDef formats.

Will let you know how things go and as ever, if you have any questions - shout!

- Owen
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post #2417 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificDisc View Post

As I had hinted recently, PacificDisc has just lowered the minimum order size for HD & BD replication from 5000 discs to just 1000 discs.

More details, including prices can be found here:

http://www.pacificdisc.com/PricingHD-DVD.html

http://www.pacificdisc.com/PricingBluRay.html

This is due to a pent-up demand in the independent market, with many content owners wanting to release product in HiDef formats.

Will let you know how things go and as ever, if you have any questions - shout!

When does Pacific plan to offer BD50?
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post #2418 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 03:25 PM
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Talkstr8t,-

With BD+ still having more questions than aswers, can you confirm/deny that there won't be any additional restrictions put in place for PC playback of said disks?
Will existing players (WinDVD & PowerDVD) still get a license to play those disks (BD+ keys or something)? WIll those disks come with its own player?

Thanks.
Diogen.
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post #2419 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 03:34 PM
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Amir,
I have asked this before in the past (some time ago) and would like an update:
When will we be able to make a managed copy of HD DVD on vista and have the movie play through the house to the 360 or other PC? I don't remember if you said after the AACS finalization or not

Paid,
On my PS3 I now notice in the menu where you can search for media servers. What type of server specifically is it looking for? Do I need to install some software on my PC or is it a "prepackaged" media server?

Paul Seng
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post #2420 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

When does Pacific plan to offer BD50?

Seems others have a lock on these for right now. I'm hearing "no time soon" from management. All subject to change of course, but that's what we're hearing

- Owen
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post #2421 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificDisc View Post

Seems others have a lock on these for right now. I'm hearing "no time soon" from management. All subject to change of course, but that's what we're hearing

Thanks.
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post #2422 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 04:26 PM
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amirm,

3 questions 2 serious 1 not.

Have you not been to the AACS meetings in months because this thread has kept you too busy?

Do you know if MS had any involvement, say, etc. in the development of the SE2 Labs ITC One? I just think it is interesting to see such a device and for it to incorporate a built in game console/game console add-on. As a follow-up, can we expect to see the 360 or 360 HDDVD add-on integrated into other devices in the near future?

Thanks, and thanks for the previous response.
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post #2423 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talkstr8t View Post

Because at this point with millions of BD players and 100's of K's of HD DVD players you can't form a technical compromise without leaving one or both camps stranded. You can't support Blu-ray's physical format with HD DVD optics, and you can't support HD DVD's mandatory secondary video or HDi processing requirements on most Blu-ray models. That only leaves combo players as a compromise, and that's a poor compromise indeed.

If combo player can be made near the cost of Blu-ray only profile 1.0 or BD-Live players why is that a poor compromise?

To any insider:

How much extra does it cost now to convert a Blu-ray player into a combo player, and how much would it be in a SoC commodity priced future, since a player of this type already has to read at the DVD level in addition to the CD and Blu-ray level.

I mean if it can read a DVD, an HD DVD is physically about the same besides the pits and lands and pitch being a little different.

If you already have the optics and the memory, besides the software and the royalties what else do you need above the BD-Live profile to run HD DVD?

Maybe the future will evolve to bargain basement DVD only players, upconverting DVD players with HD DVD capability and slightly more expensive combo Blu-ray / HD DVD players as they might cost little more than Blu-ray only players if more CE companies thought the software market was going to be broken into two camps equally.

LG and Samsung's dual format solutions currently cost a lot more than a Blu-ray only player, but that will come down and a lot of the price premium may be profit or market positioning.

.
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post #2424 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 04:48 PM
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To Talkstr8t - You may want to go back and check your math in your example a few pages back. Folks have been quoting it, but you may want to revise the original. Since I need to make this a question, 10% of 2 million is 200,000, right?

Amir/PaidGeek - Could you both lay out what your respective companies have put out into the public domain at various industry conferences regarding various related ideas like "the digital living room", "digital convergence" and "the electronic home of the future"? You have gotten several questions from AVSers regarding how this fight fits into the overall corporate strategies of the two firms.

Bill

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post #2425 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Do you know who Alan Bell is? The CTO of Paramount? I will give you time to google him if you don't .

I'm only using this quote as a jumping off point, so it's not necissarily directed to Amir.

I did do a Google search, and one of the top hits is this article.
Quote:


Warner Brothers is undergoing development of a single-disc Blu-ray, HD-DVD and DVD hybrid as an elegant alternative to packing video stores with three copies of each film.

While Toshiba already as a triple-layer HD-DVD and DVD hybrid in the works, the new disc from Warner Brothers Studios is the first offering to bring Blu-ray functionality to the table.

Designed by top Warner engineers Alan Bell and Lewis Ostrover, the new hybrid disc works by stacking a Blu-ray layer on top of an HD-DVD layer. As both Blu-ray and HD-DVD use a blue laser with a 405-nanometer wavelength to read data, information for each format can be stored in the same medium. However, because Blu-ray data resides 0.1 nanometers beneath the disk surface and HD-DVD data is written at 0.6 nanometers deep, the two types of data can co-exist on the same side of a disc without interference.

The Blu-ray layer, which works like a two-way mirror, is opaque enough to be read by a standard Blu-ray player, but lets enough light through to the underlying HD-DVD layer so that HD-DVD players can read the disc as well. The opposite side of the disc could be used for a standard DVD layer, or, if necessary, another Blu-ray HD-DVD hybrid layer.

There's no word yet as to when the new discs will be available, but a patent on the technology was filed on August 10th of 2006.

It's been over a year since this announcement, but there haven't been an recent mentions of it yet.

Is this something that is still being looked at, or was it something that wasn't really practical and is pretty much dead?

Thanks,

Scott

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post #2426 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

If combo player can be made near the cost of Blu-ray only profile 1.0 or BD-Live players why is that a poor compromise?

I second that question. Why can't the studios see DF as an acceptable solution to all this bickering and tugging of war? Why always the "all or nothing" mentality? Wouldn't universally produced DF players restore consumer confidence immediately, rendering all this debate moot while permitting the studios to pocket their little format royalties quietly without any fuss? Why should the consumers care about the "colour" of the discs' packaging when they can play both equally? Let the studios care about the proprietary formats; let the consumers choose the films they want, period.

Does anyone still have objections to the dominance of dual DVD+-R drives? Why should this be any different?
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post #2427 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryChanin View Post

Hi Amir,

Thanks for your insights.

My pleasure .

Quote:


There's been a lot of debate from both sides on the value of connectivity and interactivity to the consumer. I was wondering if you would provide us with your views, if any, on how the studios see this?

Oh, the studios we work with (and some in BD camp) think it is the best thing since sliced bread. I would venture to say that they may even consider it a better selling factor than HD audio/video, especially for some titles. They know that average person can see these features, but may not at all appreciate the difference in audio/video quality.

The other reason might be strange to you all. But it is also about bragging rights. You can walk up to your boss, and show all of these "cool" features and show that you are not behind times in era of internet delivery and fancy PC/Console games. This is very similar to putting together cool web pages for the movie. Selling ideas internally is super important when the business itself is not profitable.

Quote:


In addition, to providing a value-added differentiator do you think that the studios see interactivity as a potentially powerful means of marketing their titles or even cross-marketing other's products?

They do. The larger picture is having a connection with their customer to understand their needs and desires to fine tune their future products. Today, they can put a ton of interactivity on DVD, and sell it through Wal-Mart and have no idea if anyone ever touched them. With networked interactivity through HD DVD, they get an immediate pulse. For example, Warner knows now how useful the clips feature is in 300 because people register with them to share the lists. This is incredibly valuable to them and puts them way ahead of where they are today. They now know what else they need to do on that front.

They can also keep the content fresh and build up brand loyalty. While you all know who made which movie (I am continuously amazed at the knowledge of who has made which movie in this forum!), how many consumers know Warner made this movie and Fox another? By going on-line, you get to build that awareness and goodwill if you do a good job.

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For example, supposed I've just finished viewing a title from a particular studio that I enjoyed. Wouldn't that be the perfect time for the studio to offer me the opportunity to buy more of their HD titles via my player? I see it as a very attractive extra that benefits both the studios and the consumer because the consumer only uses the extra feature if they wish, rather than having it thrust upon them like typical commercials.

Absolutely. This is why I say that if you have long term vision of this space, it must include a world where the lines are blurred between physical and virtual delivery. You buy what you like on optical, and get the rest through digital distribution.

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Thanks.

Larry

My pleasure. Good points btw .

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post #2428 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bunkaroo View Post

Amir,

Forgive this very rudimentary question, but I have not been part of the Insider's thread since the beginning.

After reading Bill Hunt's comments, I find myself wondering, what is Microsoft's stake in HD DVD? And I'm not insinuating I believe the payoff comments.

I understand Sony's stake in Blu-Ray. I'm not clear why Microsoft cares one way or the other about HDM. Obviously studios use VC-1, but the codec is in use on both formats.

I know I'm probably missing something obvious, but if you (or anyone) can point me to information on this I would appreciate it.

I am amazed that someone wants to ask me about it, rather than debating it in other threads without it as I constantly see . Alas, it is a longer story than I have time for right this minute. Hope to come back to it after my dinner meeting tonight or possibly tomorrow morning. Feel free to ping me if I forget .

I am going to catch up on a few other questions for now....

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post #2429 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 05:18 PM
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Amir!

Thanks for spending so much time with us.

Can we expect any more good news coming out of CEDIA? Robert from VE says some major news coming down. Any comment?

I hope you guys are not evil enough to wait untill CES

I'd love to get my hands on a Blu Monster's Ball.-LilStinky

Refering to a possible release of said movie on BD LOL
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post #2430 of 3651 Old 08-21-2007, 05:22 PM
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IAs a major provider of DRM technology how do you justify it to your content partners? Do you say "Windows Media DRM will inevitably be [has already been] hacked, so don't bother"?

It is the first bullet in our presentations. That is, the DRM system has been broken, and will continue to get broken. Period. We do not mislead them into thinking there is some magic technology which all of a sudden, cures this situation. If they require an unbroken DRM, they should not release their content!

And this is the whole issue we have with BD+ (OK, there are other issues too ). It seems that people have over promised what BD+ can do. BD+ provides the appearance of increased security but unfortunately, opens new paths for the system to be breached. I worry that people have not explained all the weaknesses that goes with this system in their desire to win a studio's support. When the day comes that the system is broken, there will be some hard questions asked as a result.

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I'd love to see a DRM-free content world, but I don't own the content so I don't get to make those decisions. I can choose whether to consume given content under its owner's terms, and so far from my perspective those terms are far less onerous than the value of the content.

None of us have experienced what is means to run a program on disc before we can play our content. Nor has BDA provided any information on what impact there is on the user for them to evaluate the "cost." Why not provide the specifications as we have done with AACS so that people can make their own evaluations?

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