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Why the Combo Players are a better choice than Standalone BD players

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
This is to summarize a lot of thoughts which have been expressed on the threads lately.

The main contention is that buying a "Hybrid" player from Samsung, or the second-gen Hybrid player from LG, is a better choice than buying a standalone player from the Bluray camp.

Why?

Many varied reasons, but which essentially boil down to the following:

1) Bluray standalone players are more expensive than HD DVD standalone players, and more similar to the prices of the Hyrbid players. For example, the Samsung UP-5000 is rumoured to be launching at under $1,000 and so is the second-gen LG Hybrid player also.

2) Bluray standalone players are not compatible, nor will be compatible with the "proper" standard Bluray Player Profile which becomes mandatory (after another delay) on November 1st 2007. It has been admitted that current BD players do not have to hardware required to be able to meet the 1.1 BD-Video specs. However, the Samsung UP5000 has been confirmed to use the Broadcom 7440 Chip, which means that it can inddeed do the 1.1 spec, and they have announced that it will launch at the time when the spec becomes mandatory.

3) HD DVD standalone players can now be had for close to $350, and the most expensive XA2 unit can even now be found for under $600. Yet some Bluray players still have list prices of $1,500 and the cheapest versions still sell for $600. (We're talking NEW units here folks, not refurbished returns).

4) Bluray standalone players lack many basic features that the Hybrid players have already included. For instance, because these Hybrid players must meet the HD DVD minimum player specs, the Hybrids must include Ethernet Network ports, DD+ and Dolby TruHD decoders. In reality, these hybrids have also included DTS-HD decoders and 1080p, even 1080p24, video output.

Even the most expensive BD players at higher prices are having trouble matching these specs.

In Summary - while HD DVD buyers may ingnore the Hybrid players due to their higher prices, these hybrid players are a very real and also very SMART choice for anyone who is about to spend that kind of bread on a Bluray Standalone Player which is lacking in many of the same capabilities, and is not compatible with future BD specifications.

Discuss nicely...
post #2 of 70
Thread Starter 
Wow - logic must be pretty good.

No response?

(...crickets chirping...)
post #3 of 70
You know I have to respond.

In a market in which there are two competitors for indemand product a hybrid player is a good solution to end the pain.

For every DVDA/SACD hybrid failure there is DVD-r/DVD+r win.

Universals help defray the risk for consumers but they do nothing for studios especially the neutral ones. So the next step is for today's neutral studios to find a way to deliver to both formats with one SKU.

The exclusive studios are in a quandry as well. How long is Disney going to hold out and miss potential millions in movie sales for HD DVD? I don't think they'll wait that long honestly. In fact if Wal-Mart is getting HD happy Disney will follow the scent to the money pile waiting.
post #4 of 70
Looking for a fight? not from me! i have an LG already and waiting for the second G !

Athansios
post #5 of 70
I'm looking forward to affordable PC playback drives that support both players. I wonder if anyone will be able to make a Universal recorder
post #6 of 70
I would like to see SACD, DVD-A and I-Link support from the combo players. I think Audio is an afterthought at this stage but maybe eventually a company will release a true universal player.
post #7 of 70
Hi ALL,

I agree 100% that a dual format player is very desirable. I have a nice HD setup and the only thing that's missing is a way to play back pre-recorded HD movies. I really do NOT care which format will win, but I will NOT buy two players. I was real excited when the LG came out, but at $1200 its still too expensive. Now hopefully we'll have two choices: the 2nd gen LG and one from Samsung. They are both rumored to come out at less than $1K so hopefully I'll be able to get one soon!!!

Gerry
post #8 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krobar View Post

I would like to see SACD, DVD-A and I-Link support from the combo players. I think Audio is an afterthought at this stage but maybe eventually a company will release a true universal player.


I guess VCR's should also have played 8 track tapes too.

Sorry. I couldn't resist.
post #9 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdjam View Post


In Summary - while HD DVD/ buyers may ingnore the Hybrid players due to their higher prices, these hybrid players are a very real and also very SMART choice for anyone who is about to spend that kind of bread on a Bluray Standalone Player which is lacking in many of the same capabilities, and is not compatible with future BD specifications.

Discuss nicely...

If you haven't committed money to either format, it would be totally silly to purchase either standalone at this time. You have to spend $600 to get a 1080p player in either format. If this puppy does 1080p, it'll be a steal at $800 or $1000
post #10 of 70
Great summary rdjam.

Personally I am sick of this format war already. Screw all these greedy studios and corporations. Give me a player that allows me to choose. That is what I want. Thank you LG, and Thank you Samsung. Two companies tuned in to the consumers and tuned out to forced purchase.
post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutgar View Post

I guess VCR's should also have played 8 track tapes too.

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

If I had lots of 8 track tapes and was running out of rack space then yes they should have
post #12 of 70
I bought the LG combo player knowing it was a stopgap solution to allow me to play HD video. The combo player lets me remain "format neutral" (?) while waiting for a winner, if any, to emerge. Also, I didn't want to wait a year or more before the issues with the early players have finally been resolved with newer players/specs.

I personally want Blu-Ray to win simply because of the significantly better storage capacity which allows for higher audio and video bitrates, translating to higher AQ and PQ, everything else being equal. I expect Blu-ray to rule in the computer world as well because of the storage capacity. I don't understand the reasons anyone (other than an HD-DVD owner and certain commercial interests) would want HD-DVD to thrive at the expense of Blu-Ray.
post #13 of 70
Quote:


I don't understand the reasons anyone (other than an HD-DVD owner and certain commercial interests) would want HD-DVD to thrive at the expense of Blu-Ray.

Just devil's advocate here - why?

- there is no shown difference in PQ. the codecs are equal even with the higher bit rate (nothing anyone can see)
- it's driving down the price to mass acceptance level much faster = sooner SD dies
- it's cheaper to make = sooner we get cheaper discs

And (not a fanboy bash)

- Sony, they are most assuredly a crap company. I can see another rootkit in there future. Their over zealous DRM schemes & everything proprietary manure gets old fast. I don't dislike Blu-ray nearly as much as the fact Sony is "CEO" of the group.

But hey if Blu-ray wins I can live with that, especially if I have a nice hybrid player
post #14 of 70
I'm all over one of these once the price dips a bit. Stuff like this is what is going to end the format war - not necessarily for the companies behind Blu-Ray and HD DVD, but once these become more prevalent and affordable....in the eyes of the consumers it won't matter anymore. That's all I care about.

If you can afford it, it's a sure bet.
post #15 of 70
Thread Starter 
I think one of the reasons I support HD DVD is because regardless of the BD advantage of space on disc, they have come short on almost everything else, including things that have squandered said space advantage.

Most importantly for me, is that the HD DVD studios appear to be committed to next gen codecs like VC1 and TruHD. The picture quality on VC1 has been better than the other options, particularly Mpeg.

The BD studios, starting with Sony, generally appear to be committed to using anything BUT VC1, and it shows in many, many of their releases.

It's a calssic case of where, on paper, someone might feel that something is better, but in reality, it's not.

Add to that the fact that LPCM soundtracks on BD discs eat up the space advantage folks often talk about. Why? Because they didn't mandate TruHD or DTS-HD, and so are forced to use LPCM if they want to compete on audio quality. Heck - even the DD+ version used by Bluray is limited to only 640K for 5.1 audio tracks, whereas DD+ on HD DVD can run at 1.5 megabits for 5.1

The matter of pricing is only the clincher for me, as I know I'll have lots of company and feel safe about the format. That Bluray is not yet finished designing but is happily trying to sell effectively obsolete equipment due to themn not having finished the format, is another gripe.

The Hybrid players are the best way forward for someone who feels they definitely want a BD player.
post #16 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spektricide View Post

If you haven't committed money to either format, it would be totally silly to purchase either standalone at this time. You have to spend $600 to get a 1080p player in either format. If this puppy does 1080p, it'll be a steal at $800 or $1000

If it weren't for price issues, I might agree with you.

For someone who want in on HD, $300 is simply affordable, and lowers the risk for anyone concerned about "losing".

Some of these folks might just not be readfy to plunk $800 or $1,000 on an HD player, even if there wasn't a format war.

However, for those that are ready for $800 to $1,000, the Hybrid player is the only sensible choice, instead of a BR player which will not meet the new spec, and is missing many of the features that these Hybrid players must include, simply by virtue of the fact that they must meet HD DVD player specs which are more extensive.
post #17 of 70
A lot of people say the longer the war goes on for, the more it spells doom for HD in general. My opinion is that it will simply create more demand for cheaper dual format players. I would happily trade in any single format stand alone, for a $600 Samsung dual player
post #18 of 70
Again, there are so many mentions of if so and so wins, wins what!?!??! Neither format is going away any time soon. There is no "war" other than what some of you are claiming. The fact that HD DVD has the coin to get Goodby Silverstein on board for advertising, and Blu-Ray has the financial monster that is Sony behind them, should be enough evidence that no format is dying anytime in the next decade. Companies like Toshiba and Sony could take a financial loss for five maybe even ten years on these formats, heck take apart your PS3 and I'll put money on parts being made by Toshiba Semiconductors in there.
post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar_in_fw View Post

I personally want Blu-Ray to win simply because of the significantly better storage capacity which allows for higher audio and video bitrates, translating to higher AQ and PQ, everything else being equal. I expect Blu-ray to rule in the computer world as well because of the storage capacity. I don't understand the reasons anyone (other than an HD-DVD owner and certain commercial interests) would want HD-DVD to thrive at the expense of Blu-Ray.

It's simple. Cost. Digital Video is one of my hobbies so i'm pretty familiar with multiple codecs and why you'd use MPEG2 or AVC versus DVC Pro etc. The interesting thing is the assumption that

Higher bitrate= better video quality.
Higher bitrate= better audio quality.

The reality is that both AVC and VC-1 were created to be efficient. They are 2x-3x more efficient than MPEG2. So what requires a 45Mbps MPEG2 datarate could be done with AVC/VC-1 in 15-22Mbps datarate and maintain the same quality. Thus the extra storage for packaged media is superfluous.

If Blu-ray cost the same as HD DVD and had players that were as fully spec'd then I'd be singing their praises. But to date the players have been more expensive, less featured on the player side and haven't delivered better quality. Thus the "carrot" of "I think Blu-ray may look better someday because of storage" will never be caught. Mastery of codecs will improve over time "lessening" storage requiremens further.

So on one hand I have a concrete deliverable today in cheaper HD players vs a rather whimsical "hope" that Blu-ray can deliver better quality in the future. My experience tells me both formats will look identical.
post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by danieledmunds View Post

A lot of people say the longer the war goes on for, the more it spells doom for HD in general. My opinion is that it will simply create more demand for cheaper dual format players. I would happily trade in any single format stand alone, for a $600 Samsung dual player

I would too. I'm going to replace/add to my standalone HD DVD player with a Universal late next year. By then we'll be on second or third generation Universal product and I expect that $599 should be an easy price for them to hit.

It really isn't about HD DVD to me or Blu-ray. It's about getting HD Movies in my home for a good price and the least amount of encumberance. I knew I wasn't going to be happy with Blu-rays "We have the best security" mantra because that doesn't affect my bottomline. I simply want access to high quality movies without the hassle (region encoding, draconian DRM etc)

Universal players will likely become the "sought" after player for those who are willing to pay for the consolidation. Less clutter..less HDMI ports used on your AVR, less remotes.

Uni players will be popular if their price decreases scale well enough. Think about how popular the bare drives will be for HTPC environments were one tray has to be able to play multiple optical formats. The market is there.
post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

It's simple. Cost. Digital Video is one of my hobbies so i'm pretty familiar with multiple codecs and why you'd use MPEG2 or AVC versus DVC Pro etc. The interesting thing is the assumption that

Higher bitrate= better video quality.
Higher bitrate= better audio quality.

The reality is that both AVC and VC-1 were created to be efficient. They are 2x-3x more efficient than MPEG2. So what requires a 45Mbps MPEG2 datarate could be done with AVC/VC-1 in 15-22Mbps datarate and maintain the same quality. Thus the extra storage for packaged media is superfluous.
....

A couple of friends and I did a subjective evaluation of a number of samples of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies and saw more motion artifacts with the HD-DVD movies than with Blu-ray. the theory put forth at the time (probably incorrectly because of differences in CODEC efficiencies), was the Blu-Ray movies allowed for higher bit rates so they were able to handle motion better. It turned out that yes indeed, the bitrates were typically higher with the selected Blu-ray titles vs the HD-DVD titles. Coincidence ? Or perhaps there are deficiencies in the VC-1 codecs which most ignore ? There might have been other reasons (e.g. unfortunate selection of source material) for the detected relative "deficiencies" in the VC1 encoded stuff. Don't get me wrong, the PQ was still typically excellent even when blown up on my buddy's 126" 1080p display.

I just got "Night in the Museum" and actually was disappointed with portions of the video presentation, it was still pretty good but I thought it could have been even better if they hadn't had to squeeze an MPEG2 video onto a single layer Blu-Ray. It just makes sense that removing some of the space constraints (e..g using 50G discs) driving video and audio compression should result in a better quality video and audio experience.
post #22 of 70
Why I'm not going to buy a dual format (right now).

I can spend $350 right now on HD DVD (and get 5 free movies). I enter the HD world of movie watching and am set back $350. If a dual format ends up being the way to go in the long run (2-3 years), I'm gambling that players will be ~$400-$600. Total outlay would be at most $950 for both machines (plus I end up with an extra HD player for another room).

If HD DVD goes away (big if), I must pony up the cash for a BluRay player ($600-$900 at todays rates).

So, I figure either way I will spend about the same amount of money, but this way gets me satisfaction now versus waiting to save up the $1000 for a dual format player. It's more about the want today versus waiting for a couple of years until I can afford it that is swaying me.

Then again, I don't really like M$ or Sony, so I kind of want to stay away from both
post #23 of 70
I say buy separate BD and HD DVD players is the smart choice.

That way, when one of the consortia update specs to a level that your player cannot be upgraded to meet, you only need to replace one of your two players and the other is OK....

You only need to update 1/2 as often!
post #24 of 70
A point that I didn't see mentioned here:

Buying a dual player sends a message to the market that you are not interested in
a format war. Buying individual players, even if one of each, gets tallied in each
collumn of sales figures used to "prove" one format or another is "winning".
post #25 of 70
Another point which applies to a select few (including myself).

Only one set of analog outputs is needed for those of us who are currenlty using "HDMI-challenged" prea/pros or Receivers and have six (6) channel analog preamp stages. This allows me to at least take advantage of 24/48 uncompressed PCM audio tracks using the players DACs with the option ot sending 1536 DTS or DD to the pre/pro via Coax/optical if desired. The manufacturers are still probably at least a year away from having a "suitable" HDMI 3.1-compliant pre/pro for my system.
post #26 of 70
I own both and I am still going to by a Samsung Duo if it lives up to all the hype.
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by drj2000 View Post

I own both and I am still going to by a Samsung Duo if it lives up to all the hype.

And I think your reason for doing so would be interesting.
post #28 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutgar View Post

And I think your reason for doing so would be interesting.


Nothing too interesting. Simply convenience, especially for the wife and kids. Two formats, one player, one universal remote ( I have the PS3 and am not a big fan of the remote)
post #29 of 70
I don't like universal players because I don't think they play both formats with the same quality. I hear about the player X who's great playing DVDs but not CDs... or the opposite... so I guess that if you want top performance in both formats you end up having to buy two top players for each format.

That's what I think.
post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdjam View Post

If it weren't for price issues, I might agree with you.

For someone who want in on HD, $300 is simply affordable, and lowers the risk for anyone concerned about "losing".

Some of these folks might just not be readfy to plunk $800 or $1,000 on an HD player, even if there wasn't a format war.

However, for those that are ready for $800 to $1,000, the Hybrid player is the only sensible choice, instead of a BR player which will not meet the new spec, and is missing many of the features that these Hybrid players must include, simply by virtue of the fact that they must meet HD DVD player specs which are more extensive.

That's why I said to get a 1080p player you would need about $600 in either format making the whole price difference irrelevant.
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