8 Responses

  1. MegaZone
    MegaZone May 31, 2008 at 3:59 am |

    They’re not adding HD to DVD, they’re just ‘super-upscaling’ conventional DVDs. It’s lame. The data isn’t there on the disc, they’re interpolating it and making up image data, just like any other upscaler. Toshiba is just claiming to do a better job of it.

    Whoopdedoo. It isn’t really HD, and it is frankly kind of silly since pretty much every HDTV has a video scaler built-in, and even cheap $50 DVD players have upscalers these days. So Toshiba is just going to gouge consumers for fancy upscaling. Its a sucker’s bet.

  2. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price May 31, 2008 at 10:23 am |

    We don’t know that yet. I suspect that Toshiba is using these devices to slip HDi into them, and then stream over the web HD content.

    The sooner they can get HDi-capable players into the market, the more devices they can count as HDi-ready… which will help Toshiba with the uphill battle of getting studios to support it.

  3. MegaZone
    MegaZone May 31, 2008 at 7:32 pm |

    It is a lost cause. BD-J gets more traction every day, and the BDA has already announced a number of Chinese manufacturers have been approved to start selling Blu-ray decks in 2009. That is going to add a lot of competition to the market, just like it did with DVD. And the same Chinese manufacturers had been on-board with HD DVD – but now they’re pulling out. The BDA now has more members than the DVD Forum – and the BDA’s membership is increasing while the DVD Forum’s is decreasing.

    Unless Toshiba can find some major allies in selling decks with this new technology it is a foolish move. One company cannot shift the market – they basically tried that with HD DVD, and that was a better bet than this.

    The window is closing, if not already closed. Toshiba is going to be selling in a no-man’s land. On one side they’ll have ultra-cheap upscaling DVD players which offer upscaling, and many of them are also DivX capable and even DivX Connected, allowing access to online content from the DVD player. On the other side you’ll have Blu-ray with higher quality sound and pictures than upscaled DVD, BD-J, which is more powerful than HDi, and an increasing number of those will be BD Live with Internet content. It looks like some may also be DivX Connected, and it looks likely that some (especially from LG) will also support Netflix Streaming. And the PS3, of course, is getting content online.

    They’re going to have to convince people to spend more on a DVD player – but not spend enough to just get a Blu-ray deck. And with the price gap between the two closing (BD decks with sub-$300 MSRP out already, expected sub-$200 by the holidays) they face a real challenge.

  4. Daniel H.
    Daniel H. May 31, 2008 at 8:44 pm |

    I love watching you guys go back and forth. I could watch this all day.

  5. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price May 31, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    I don’t really disagree with MegaZone on any point. DVD with HD is going to be an uphill battle… with one exception. Toshiba can get Microsoft to push out updates so that every WIndows Vista box and every Xbox 360 is already a DVD with HD system.

    That will be a huge boost, as Xbox 360 won’t need some add-on to play HD movie discs (and no, I’m not counting WMV HD discs, as that is long gone).

    But yes, it’s an uphill battle, and BD drives won’t fall in price unless the trend takes off. However, getting DVD with HD to take off won’t require as much as BD, as all it really needs is to re-mix the DVD disc, and set up some servers to stream the content.

  6. MegaZone
    MegaZone June 1, 2008 at 1:35 am |

    But his isn’t really HD content on DVD, this is standard 480p DVD content being upscaled. Maybe they support HDi on DVD, most people don’t use their PCs to watch DVDs, so it doesn’t necessarily help boost the format.

    But lets take real HD content on DVD media as a concept. DVD9 doesn’t have the capacity to store high-quality HD content. Even if they use H.264 or VC-1, 8.4GB isn’t enough for a full-length feature without *massively* compressing the video. Given 8.4GB and say 120 minutes of content, that’s just over 9.5Mbps, max. Not surprising, since DVD is spec’d at about 11Mbps max transfer rate. So that’s better than some of the downloads, which can be as low as 4Mbps, but HD DVD is 36Mbps and BD is 54Mbps. And that’s everything – if you start putting HDi content on the disc, advanced audio codecs, etc, that’s fewer bits for video.

    But we know all of this, because there are two standards for HD content on DVD already – 3X DVD, which was part of the HD DVD suite, and BD9, which is part of the BD suite. Both are HD content on DVD media using the respective codecs and software of the ‘parent’ formats. Now, if Toshiba is going to support HD content on DVD I would hope that they pick BD9, and not 3X DVD, because BD9 is in widespread use – all HD camcorders that record to disc use BD9 specs. And every BD player plays BD9. 3X DVD and BD9 are actually extremely similar, but there are some differences in the specifics on the tuning for the compression in each codec, so you could really support both. But 3X DVD without BD9 would be suicide.

    I actually fear downloads taking off too soon, because all of the HD downloads are *massive* compromises in quality. Personally I’d rather have quality over convenience until such time as we can have both. I don’t want 4Mbps HD content that I can download instead of 54Mbps HD content on disc. There is a visual difference, and the larger the screen the more noticeable it is – and I have a 61″ 1080p screen. I do believe downloads will be the next step in content, but rushing into it means giving up quality since the pipes are fat enough yet.

    I think Toshiba is taking a huge gamble by not embracing BD. If BD *does* take off and they’re not a player, they’ll be doubly burned – no BD revenue, and shrinking DVD revenue. And it impacts their PCs and laptops too, as there is increasing demand for BD capable units – for video and data.

  7. MegaZone
    MegaZone June 1, 2008 at 1:38 am |

    BTW, I wish you’d use Subscribe to Comments: http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/

    It makes following comment threads so much easier. 😉

  8. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price June 1, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    I highly doubt Toshiba would ever put 3X or BD9 onto DVD. It’s purpose defeating for them to add it to the disc. And, with streams over the internet, using 3X is fine since it puts Blu-ray in the position of having to embrace HDi, or have a continuing format war.

    Toshiba would much rather gain a foothold, and make Blu-ray makers burn a hole in their wallets embracing HDi.

    Having broadband movie deliveries explode won’t compromise super-high-quality releases on Blu-ray… if anything, it will put BD makers under pressure to drive costs down, in order to compete. Videophiles win, and non-videophiles win.

    And, that’s exactly where I want Blu-ray. Stuck having to fight between Toshiba adding HD to the DVD, and having to cut costs in order to compete with internet streams.

    And yes, Subscribe to Comments was just deployed network-wide. Haven’t done extreme testing on it yet, but it appears to work great right now.


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