Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: College Station, TX
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Funny story, my mom of all people bought me the A20 Toshiba HD-DVD player. I had no intention of going format neutral, but fate had different plans. So I decided it was time to buy some movies on HD-DVD. I chose:
40 Year Old Virgin
Hot Fuzz (I havent seen it, but I had to check it out since many people say it represents the best PQ on HD-DVD)
Ill decide which 5 free ones I want tommorrow
Anyway, the first question that pops into my mind is this:
How does Hot Fuzz, the (un?)disputed PQ HD-DVD champion, compare to Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Mans Chest and Casino Royale, the (un?)disputed Bluray PQ champions?
The short answer: Pretty darn well, I was impressed with Hot Fuzz's picture quality, eventhough I honestly felt it wasnt quite as good as the bluray champions, it was CLEARLY better than most of my BD-50 blurays, even Rise of the Silver Surfer, which was slightly disappointing to me in terms of picture quality.
As for films such as the Bourne films and Knocked up. They certainly look as good as a pretty good looking bluray film (ala the Prestige is a good comparison). I didnt get to watch the whole thing, but did scan through the film to get an idea. As well as check out some IME features. More on that in a second
However, 40 Year Old Virgin and Breach looked pretty bad and were a HUGE disappointment for me. Digital artifacing and a lack of sharpness plagued the whole movie almost looking like an upconverted dvd. What can you do? Not all HD-DVDs or blurays are created equal. Some will look outstanding and others will look barely better than dvd.
Casino looked just fine. No complaints. Id say its better quality than Goodfellas on bluray (and presumably HD-DVD, since one can assume that the same codecs were used for both formats)
So how were the extra features?
Before I answer this question, I will say that prior to getting the HD-DVD player, I had felt that PiP and ultra cool web features were overrated. Do I still feel that way?
In two words:
I found the extra features to be quite intriguing and I can now see why HD-DVD fans brag about their interactivity vs. bluray. It has often been said (by bluray fans of course) that BD-Java 1.1 will be able to do all the things that HDi can do and more. If this is the case, I can safely say that bluray supporters will be in for a treat once the 1.1 profile comes to pass. Obviously, we wont know for a few months, once 1.1 titles such as Cars and Master & Commander are released. Until then, HD-DVD is king as far as interactivity is concerned.
Despite my appreciation of the interactivity offered by HD-DVD, I can safely say that bluray is still my format of choice, but I can also say with 100% confidence that if HD-DVD wins and bluray loses that it wont be the end of the world and Im glad to know that I will still be able to enjoy my favorite movies in a solid HD quality.
DO I have any complaints about the A20 player itself?
Just one: It takes for freakin EVER for my HD-DVD player to get to the main menu and load the damn menu. FOREVER. I do have the latest firmware. Version 2.5
In the meantime, since I do have an HD-DVD player, I might as well buy movies like Transformers, Shrek 3 and Bourne Ultimatum. For the time being, I do plan on buying all of my WB titles on bluray, since I still believe that it has the best chance to win the format war. But Im human and I reserve the right to change my mind.
Please share some other titles to recommend for interactivity. I will NOT be rebuying 300, since I already have it on bluray. Like I said, interactivity is cool, but the movie itself is what is most important and Im not going to rebuy 300 in HD-DVD just for this feature.
HD-DVD: 12- YES I will be keeping them so I can own a piece of history