NOTE: This is also posted in the Blu-ray Software forum. I posted it again here since this is a dual-format release and not everyone reads both forums.
I had this disc in my Blockbuster Online queue and coincidentally received it on both formats the same day! I watched the HD DVD version first and was blown away with what I saw. Remember the first time you saw High Definition TV, when you SWORE you were looking through a window? That's how good this looks... and I'm not exaggerating in the slightest.
Since this is a concert, I'll discuss the audio part of the presentation first.
Both discs feature identical DD 5.1 640k and DTS 5.1 1.5mbit tracks, though no loseless audio. Fortunately, the DTS track is excellent and an improvement over that of the standard def DVD. It's crystal clear, though I have the same complaint with the audio mix on all 3 discs; the supporting players are often barely audible, overshadowed by Metheny, Mayes, Rodby, and Sanchez. When the supporting players have solos or highlighted sections, they are given focus in the mix. There was one section in particular where they echo what Metheny plays. It sounds fantastic on the CD, though it's almost non-existant here thanks to the mix. I'm really just picking nits here, as the overall presentation is excellent.
So, the all important comparison: video.
The concert appears to have been shot in 1080p HD and I can't begin to tell you how detailed it is. You can see fine scratches on Lyle Mays' piano keys, the texture of the frets on Metheny's guitars, the hand hammering Zildjian used in making Antonio Sanchez's Constantinople cymbals, and even the dials on Cuong Vu's wristwatch. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture (no pun intended).
The HD DVD version uses VC-1, while the Blu-ray version uses MPEG2. While both look absolutely stunning, the HD DVD version wins due to the occasional blooming and compression noise I observed on the Blu-ray version. I also detected slight differences in black level between the two versions, with the VC-1 encoded HD DVD edging out the Blu-ray disc ever so slightly.
For the geeks in the audience, I kept an eye on the bitrate meter while watching the Blu-ray version. The average is 35 Mbps, with peaks of 41 Mbps and valleys no lower than 30 Mbps. Not sure on the HD DVD version since the HD-A1 doesn't display video bitrate.
With that said, I'm really just being nit picky since the Blu-ray presentation is among the finest spectacles on the format. THIS should be the demo material Sony uses in stores. Then again, it would be nice of Toshiba HAD demos in stores... but I'll save that for another thread.
If you like jazz or want a demo disc that will get people's attention, you'll want to add this to your collection. You can't go wrong, regardless of which format you choose.