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 Why HD DVD is more technically advanced than Blu-ray


Since forever it seems that there is this idea that Blu-ray is "more technically advanced" than HD DVD. This was based on Sony's PR as far as I can tell, so now I feel it is necessary to call out the gaping holes in Blu-ray to prove how much more technically advanced HD DVD is in fact. [Note I am talking about Blu-ray Movies here, not the older, incompatible data-only format].


There is of course one way where BD is more advanced: disc capacity. 50G BD discs can now be made, and a few movies are using these (though for no good reason: the extra capacity isn't being used for anything terribly useful, its just wasted with uncompressed audio, or two copies of the movie, or huge bitrate MPEG2 video. Ug).


BD Missing Features



What many folks don't realize is that there are different Levels for BD, and all of today's BD players only support the lowest level (1.0). This means that these players do not support these features:


* Advanced audio codecs (Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Master Audio, DD TrueHD) [a few players offering a smattering of support here but it isn't mandatory]

* Network hardware

* Secondary video decoder

* Persistant storage

* Reliable interactivity

Why are these good features?


Advanced audio codecs get you kick-ass sound, but without wasting all your disc space doing it (like PCM does). I mean you could in theory rip your CDs to uncompressed WAV files, but who does? You use a lossless format if you have the space or demand maximum audio quality, or a lossy format to save space. BD doesn't have those choices: audio is either DVD-quality DTS/DD or WAV-equivalent files.


Network hardware is very handy for firmware updates. However very soon the first network-aware HD DVD titles will be released (starting with Blood Diamond ), and we'll start to see the potential this adds to the high definition experience.


A secondary video decoder allows for two simultanous video streams, i.e. Picture in Picture. This has been often used on HD DVD titles for Directors Commentaries that you can actually watch the director (and how scenes were shot etc) at the same time as the movie itself. Elephants Dream uses it to show the difference between HD and SD side-by-side.


Persistant storage allows titles to save information in the player, and the most common usage right now is Bookmarks. I find this great for recording those classic demo scenes to show off the format (e.g. King Kong meeting the Dinos). It can also be used to remember user preferences (e.g. language choice). With networking, a whole lot more use can be made of it in the near future.


Reliable interactivity means a lot: it means nice menus; it means PIP; it means games; Blu-ray's interactivity is Java-based (BD-J) and is simply not up to the task: try running the Disney title Gauntlet on the Samsung player for example: there is a great video on YouTube of how embarassingly bad BD-J is. "Chicken Little" is another deeply inconsistent and flaky BD-J title, though it appears to work on the PS3 at least. As it should: the PS3 has way more horsepower than any stand-alone player, and is probably the only current player that stands a chance of being software upgradable to Level 1.1 and maybe beyond.


All of these features are mandatory for HD DVD players. As every player has them, title authors can confidently use them on their discs and know they will work for everyone.


The BD folks have often talked about "Level 1.1" and "Level 2 Players" which have these features, and that they would be coming in July 2007. However that date recently got moved back to October 2007 , and note that this is the date for new players to be released: titles that use these new features will be later still, plus the old players will still be available for sale. This also assumes that title creators will be willing to put in the time to add Level 1.1 or 2 features, despite the fact that most of the user base won't be able to use them for an unknown amount of time. BD-Live, which is BD's networking support, remains an optional feature even on the October-timeframe players.

The PS3 Factor


It is my personal opinion that without the PS3, Blu-ray would have died by now. With almost every BD player costing over a grand and selling in low volumes, BD support would have collapsed had the PS3 not come along at a low-ish price point and offering the best BD performance. If the PS3 remains the only mass-market BD player, is that enough to keep BD going? (UMD anyone?)

Player Support


Ah but the BD folks say, there's all those BD player manufacturers. Samsung, Pioneer and Panasonic are it right now (the other players are ODMed versions of those). BD players are still strangely expensive (considering they have less hardware in them than HD DVD players: no ethernet, no storage, no secondary video decoder etc). Pioneer just proudly announced a "next generation BD player" which is exactly the same as the original one, except it has TrueHD and DTS-HD audio support and a cheaper price: features HD DVD has had from the get-go. Still no networking, PIP, Level 1.1 etc.

Studio Support


Here BD does have a theoretical advantage right now. However Fox don't seem terribly interested in actually releasing very much, and Disney who have a great back catalog don't seem to be doing as much as you might expect: Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean are coming soon, but still no classic Disney movies on the horizon. Why not? Also some studios who support both formats choose not to release some titles at all on Blu-ray as it cannot handle them (e.g. Batman Begins, Matrix Trilogy, Constantine) or they release the Blu-ray version with dumbed down features compared to HD DVD (e.g. Blood Diamond, V for Vendetta). For the titles that are ostensibly the same on both formats, the HD DVD version still offers features Blu-ray can't, like bookmarks, zoom, TrueHD audio and Tivo-style time bar. Despite the theoretical studio difference, the total number of available titles on both formats worldwide is almost identical.


Conclusion



HD DVD is clearly the more technically advanced format. It has had features for over a year now that BD still doesn't have, and isn't likely to have anytime soon. Time to call FUD on BD's "technical advantages". As the old adage says, size is not everything...
 

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Let me chime in as a dual format owner.


* Advanced audio codecs (Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Master Audio, DD TrueHD) [a few players offering a smattering of support here but it isn't mandatory]


Give me a PCM track and I could care less for the lossless.


* Network hardware


I don't need this to watch a movie.


* Secondary video decoder


I don't need this to watch a movie.


* Persistant storage


I don't need this to watch a movie.


* Reliable interactivity


I don't need this to watch a movie.


In fact, if there were a dual format player for $500, but the catch was that it will never play interactive content and whatnot for EITHER format (like the LG with HD DVD) I would jump on it in a second.


I'm sure MANY MANY others would too.


I think that people overestimate the extra features thing. Most people watch them once and then never see them again. Neat to have, I guess, but I would rather have the storage/bandwidth for a better transfer and PCM.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brywalker /forum/post/0


Let me chime in as a dual format owner.


In fact, if there were a dual format player for $500, but the catch was that it will never play interactive content and whatnot for EITHER format (like the LG with HD DVD) I would jump on it in a second.


I'm sure MANY MANY others would too.


I think that people overestimate the extra features thing. Most people watch them once and then never see them again. Neat to have, I guess, but I would rather have the storage/bandwidth for a better transfer and PCM.

Not me. for $500 bucks I need a little more. Try to downplay it all you want. Most people care about the added features. Cause after you've watched the movie, you need a little extra.


The extra features of HD-DVD is the first thing that attracted me, then the price!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightWatcher /forum/post/0

Conclusion


HD DVD is clearly the more technically advanced format. It has had features for over a year now that BD still doesn't have, and isn't likely to have anytime soon. Time to call FUD on BD's "technical advantages". As the old adage says, size is not everything...

Great post! So, so, so true!!


I almost went dual format, glad I didn't.
 

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I'm with Brywalker.


I own a PS3 and an A2 but would love to have a dual format player for $500. I could care less about network connectivity, PIP, smoke and mirrors sounds for menus, and persistant storage.


I've never viewed the extra features in DVD's or listened to alternate audio. After I finish a movie, the last thing I want to do is rewatch it with one of the characters talking or two videos on the same screen.


Just give me movies in HD with PCM audio.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnickersonjr /forum/post/0


The extra features of HD-DVD is the first thing that attracted me, then the price!

And, on the flipside, the *lack* of extra features is one of the things that has kept me away from BD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brywalker /forum/post/0


Let me chime in as a dual format owner.


* Advanced audio codecs (Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Master Audio, DD TrueHD) [a few players offering a smattering of support here but it isn't mandatory]


Give me a PCM track and I could care less for the lossless.


* Network hardware


I don't need this to watch a movie.


* Secondary video decoder


I don't need this to watch a movie.


* Persistant storage


I don't need this to watch a movie.


* Reliable interactivity


I don't need this to watch a movie.


In fact, if there were a dual format player for $500, but the catch was that it will never play interactive content and whatnot for EITHER format (like the LG with HD DVD) I would jump on it in a second.


I'm sure MANY MANY others would too.


I think that people overestimate the extra features thing. Most people watch them once and then never see them again. Neat to have, I guess, but I would rather have the storage/bandwidth for a better transfer and PCM.


He said WHY it's superior overall. Not what do YOU want out of a format.
 

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Quote:
Studio Support


Here BD does have a theoretical advantage right now.

Theoretical?


Unequivocal.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland /forum/post/0


Theoretical?


Unequivocal.

How so? Not to bring up the obvious... but the total number of titles released/announced between formats is a virtual tie. And the studios "supporting" BD include Fox (which has not one bloody thing scheduled for release) and Disney (which just delayed some major stuff like Cars and is now saying that animation classics ain't coming during the calendar year).


Plus "neutral" studios like Warner that have titles (big ones) that aren't on BD yet.


Studio support is most definitely an advantage in theory only...
 

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More exclusive movies, more exclusive studios, more Disney (Pirates, etc) and on the HD DVD side, Universal, the 'big' HD DVD supporter, refuses to release any Spielberg or the best library releases. Moreover, they are mailing out flipper discs (many defective) that are priced sky high.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland /forum/post/0


More exclusive movies, more exclusive studios, more Disney (Pirates, etc) and on the HD DVD side, Universal, the 'big' HD DVD supporter, refuses to release any Spielberg or the best library releases. Moreover, they are mailing out flipper discs (many defective) that are priced sky high.

That doesn't address any of what I asked. How is the "studio support" -- as currently implemented -- more than a theoretical advantage for BD?



More exclusive movies? I don't pretend to know that stat, but I'd like to see it. Universal alone has 100 titles released/announced through August. I'd imagine the number of 'exclusives' per format would be pretty darn similar.


More exclusive studios means less than the bits it takes to type it if those studios aren't actually releasing stuff. Hence the "theoretical" comment.


Refusing to release Spielberg titles? What does that have to do with BD's "unequivocal" advantage. Where are the Disney animated classics? Where's Star Wars? Both formats have yet to bring out a lot of their big guns.


The defective and sky high comments I find to be both untrue and off-topic. It has nothing to do with studio support.
 

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Hey bland, why don't you review HD DVD at upcomingdiscs.com??
 

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Instead of watching TV, I often end up watching the extras from movies I have recently seen. In fact my TV viewing has gone wayyyyyy down since I've had HD DVD and BD.


Right now I'm rewatching the extras from Enter the Dragon. How appropriate
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brywalker /forum/post/0


I think that people overestimate the extra features thing. Most people watch them once and then never see them again. Neat to have, I guess, but I would rather have the storage/bandwidth for a better transfer and PCM.

And many underestimate the impact of extra features as well. Your final statement is incongruent with any form of logical thinking. You state that you'd rather have the extra bandwidth and storage for PCM and better transfers which conflicts with your ambivalence toward lossless audio. Lossless audio delivers the same "bit for bit" accuracy that PCM does at signifanctly lower datarates. Thus it's a bit foolhardy to cast off lossless audio and the bandwidth/storage efficiences gleaned only to ask for more bandwith/storage to store less efficient data. If you want the highest quality you want lossless audio and a comfortable bitrate in AVC or VC-1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane /forum/post/0


Just give me movies in HD with PCM audio.

I've noticed a trend here. While I will agree that the Blu-ray hardware has sounded better with PCM soundtracks I attribute this to Toshiba hardware more than Lossless versus PCM. Dolby TrueHD is based on Meridian Lossless Packet technology which is well known and offers identical performance to the master. PCM is not superior in any technological way thus the cultprit here would seem to hardware playback. However I continue to see people intimate that PCM is somehow desirable over Lossless audio which doesn't cut muster in any scientific manner.



I find this thread has quickly gone off topic. That's usually the case when solid evidence is presented by the OP. HD DVD is a superior platform to Blu-ray as evidence by the need for a new platform 1.1 spec this October for the BDA. That's proof positive that their were coasting on the laurels of the "promise of 50 and 100GB" discs.


The topic at hand was not about anecdotes about the basic needs of some but rather confronting the myth that Blu-ray is this format that is so obviously superior that HD DVD shouldn't have even been in the game.


Persistent storage is important---or Blu-ray wouldn't be adding it as a mandatory

Secondary a/v decoders is important- or BR wouldn't be adding it

Networking -is imporant " "



It would be one thing if these features cost a premium but the ironic thing is HD DVD users get the features at a price that is significantly lower than less featured Blu-ray players.


We all know that if the studio support issue was a level playing field Blu-ray would be dead. I've never seen a format more propped up. The market is supposed to decide a format battle but this is one of the few in which DRM and copy protection is affecting the battle.


HD DVD could very well lose....and in the end we all lose because the prescedent for future format survival will be based solely on the ability to control the data and less about what is beneficial for consumers.
 

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I own both and all I have to say is... HD DVD produces a better picture. Everybody that watches movies at my house say this. they aren't even video junkies like me and even they can notice.


why pay 600 bucks when for 300 (or even 200 with an 360 add on) you get a superior picture AND more features. BD is ripping people off at current prices far as im concerned. I have a BD player for the exclusives but anything that goes both formats ...I get HD DVD version...cause its usually better and has more features.


As for studio support...there just isn't much exclusive wise that BD has far as im concerned that I consider a "AAA" film..main reason why I own many many many more HD DVD's than I do BD. What the hell are people raving over BD's studio support for? whats the killer must have "exclusives"? bond??? crank??? Black Hawk Down??? give me a break. those aren't bad movies ...but then again they are far from "timeless" movies. I never get the bluray studio support argument....


I'll take scent of a woman over any of those movies any day of the week. All the studios have gems...they do. BUT...between the studios that produce for both formats and universal...I think HD DVD has more gems than the BD camp does. my 2 cents... and my taste in movies.


HD DVD really only needs to do one thing to put a hurting on BD in my opinion.... release "SCARFACE" a "universal movie", in a superior quality transfer....put commercials all over tv with the famous "say hello to my little friend!" blastin the S%^* out of a ps3 or other bluray player and every rapper in the country will endorse it...then you'll see it all over mtv cribs...all of a sudden its the new hot gift.
 

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BD is more technically advanced.


It just that the BD cartel doesn't have their act together.


HD DVD is more consistent. Almost always a solid HD pic.

With BD you either get amazing or dvd quality. PCM is awesome.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellraiser /forum/post/0


I own both and all I have to say is... HD DVD produces a better picture. Everybody that watches movies at my house say this. they aren't even video junkies like me and even they can notice.


why pay 600 bucks when for 300 (or even 200 with an 360 add on) you get a superior picture AND more features. BD is ripping people off at current prices far as im concerned. I have a BD player for the exclusives but anything that goes both formats ...I get HD DVD version...cause its usually better and has more features.


As for studio support...there just isn't much exclusive wise that BD has far as im concerned that I consider a "AAA" film..main reason why I own many many many more HD DVD's than I do BD. What the hell are people raving over BD's studio support for? whats the killer must have "exclusives"? bond??? crank??? Black Hawk Down??? give me a break. those aren't bad movies ...but then again they are far from "timeless" movies. I never get the bluray studio support argument....


I'll take scent of a woman over any of those movies any day of the week. All the studios have gems...they do. BUT...between the studios that produce for both formats and universal...I think HD DVD has more gems than the BD camp does. my 2 cents... and my taste in movies.


HD DVD really only needs to do one thing to put a hurting on BD in my opinion.... release "SCARFACE" a "universal movie", in a superior quality transfer....put commercials all over tv with the famous "say hello to my little friend!" blastin the S%^* out of a ps3 or other bluray player and every rapper in the country will endorse it...then you'll see it all over mtv cribs...all of a sudden its the new hot gift.

I'm probably in the minority here, but they need to charge *a lot* less for the "timeless" catalog titles. There's no way I'm paying $25 -$30 for a movie older than I am, with the star wars trilogy being the only exception.


Of course, I guess I'm not really an enthusist. I'd rather just have my new movie releases, which is why the offering from universal seems a bit thin to me. (and consequently don't currently own a player)


To each his/her own though.



Great news on that $100 rebate thing. I can only imagine what prices Christmas sales will bring. It should be awesome for both blu-ray & hd-dvd. If people haven't bought into the hi-def market yet, I say hold off until christmas specials for the best deals!
 

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"It just that the BD cartel doesn't have their act together."


then why support them?


If I didn't love movies the way i do...i would have never bought a bluray player to be honest.


they claim technical superiority...but cant deliver. where the hell are the 100 GB disk they so proudly throughout in coversations? they are stuck a 25GB for 99.8% of the movies...they barely can get to 50GB....while HD DVD does 30 GB with no prob.


At this point I hope they both stick around...im too invested in both. But I absolutely hate the bluray propaganda going around whn they aren't delivering the goods.
 
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