Originally Posted by darinp2
No. That was the discussion there and seems to be what you try to deflect things toward, without addressing the seamless branching questions. Is your answer to seamless branching to not put the things on the discs, but use downloads for those who want them?
Sorry, I thought you were only making a statement with your question, and not really asking anything. So here it goes.
HD DVD absolutely can handle seamless branching and has specifications to back the capability. You asked if I know of more titles than MI3 that do it, presumably implying that the capability is not there due to lack of titles. I don't know but then again, I am not a walking encyclopedia of 300 titles out there.
But I would not be surprised to hear it is the only one. To understand why, you have to step back and think of what this feature is really about.
The big problem studios have is that when someone goes to a movie, they are so much less likely to buy the same movie on DVD. So they want to do anything in their power to make the DVD experience different. Branching is one technique where they could show you a different version of the movie and in the process, making you think you are buying something new. It takes more work to create such a title and of course, you need to have the other segments to patch up. Hence the reason very few DVDs have it.
In HD DVD, we have a much wider palette of interactivity to build on. We have full application language, dual video decode, real-time 1080p graphics, animations, video scaling under program control, internet connectivity, etc., etc. All of this has gotten the creative types far more excited than trying to recreate the DVD experience with branching (which requires having more of the movie to stitch up). And by using techniques not in DVD, they get to entice you to buy even DVDs you already own. All of this explains why the interest in seamless branching in the classic sense is not there.
I said classic for a reason as we are working on developing tools to make it much easier to handle seamless branching. Why? Because it will be used for a completely different application. I can't say what it is but I will say that you will not know it is even there! It won't be used to advertise a feature to you, but will help reduce the cost of producing titles. And fortunately for us, the issue of making sure the data rate at the splice point is managed, is a totally non-issue for this application. The request has come from a major studio btw.
FYI, and to partially answer Tom's question earlier, HD DVD requires a 64 mbit sector buffer which can essentially buffer any seeks across the disc. The drive runs faster than real-time and as such, is able to fill the buffer after a short while, letting us read out of the buffer while the drive seeks to another sector. So we don't need to deal with kludges such as using angles and such to manage seamless branches. One simply makes a playlists and jumps to it as soon as the buffer is filled.