Great thread and great occasion. Making me come out of my shell and post outside of the insider thread and say a few things
For me there were two noteworthy events. The first one was a couple of weeks (?) before the product launched. I got a nice gift from my team in the form of the XA-1 (Japanese model) and four check disks. I lugged the stuff home, made a quick connection into my home theater, and got ready to find compression artifacts and other problems to go and complain about to me team.
With remote control in my hand (so that I could seek quickly to problem areas,) I put in The Last Samurai. My jaw fell off as the movie started to play. Instead of problems, I saw an incredible image that just froze me in my spot. I could not take my eye off the screen. I must have stood in front of my rack for 20 minutes before getting tired and went to sit in my normal chair. I put down the remote and watched the rest of the movie, totally uninterested in debugging problems. When The Last Samurai finished, I put in the next movie, and then the one after that. Soon I looked at the clock and it was 1:30am!
I went to bed, incredibly proud of the work that went into producing this experience. The work the studios had done even on their initial titles to produce such great quality. The VC-1 and HDi teams for pulling through with custom tools and hand holding to create these early titles. Toshiba for building what must be the most complex piece of CE equipment to date. All of it held together and worked amazingly well, even for this jaded, compression freak who is always on the lookout for that minor imperfection. Before going to bed, I fire off an email complementing the team for their hard work, and the emotional experience they had created for me that night.
Not having the ability to discuss my experience in public, I created a thread, talking about seeing things with HD DVD one has never seen. Like Tom Cruise spit showing in the shaft of light as he spoke. Or dust particles in the same light. Folks didn't take kindly to those comments
. Then I realized that they had not experienced what I had just gone though. So the painful clock started to tick until the product got out. And wondering if my experience was unique, or would be shared by others.
The second major event of course, was the runaway HD DVD thread. Yes, I remember Ron P. But I also remember every new person getting a unit and using superlatives on how great the picture (and sound) was. I started to bookmark those and soon I had so many of those links, they were getting out of control. So I made a doc just to keep track of it all. I circulated them internally, putting a smile on the developers who had stayed up night day for 6 months, working with Toshiba to get the HDi working in their product. And the codec team. It sure made their day.
All in all, when one works hard on a project, it is easy to lose sight of how great the end result can be. You focus on the task at hand, and the difficulty of finishing it. Such was our experience with the launch of HD DVD.
At a personal level, I fell in love with audio when I was teenager in 1970s. I used to pester my dad for money to let me buy high-end audio gear. He always thought I was wasting money that way but let me have enough money to get me hooked. I never thought 30 years later, I would become part of the history of audio and video in this major way. And that I would be doing it by working for Microsoft. Who would think that your hobby travels so far? And that you go from watching a sport on TV, to being one of the players?
Throughout this era, you all paid a critical role. Your compliments gave us the energy to keep going. Your feedback changed the specs and features of products and deliverables. And your probing questions made us think. And those of you rooting for BD, made us work even harder
What a joyful year it has been.