Format Schmormat, I Want My HD Content! - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:58 PM
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Talking Format Schmormat, I Want My HD Content!

I've been a fan of the DVD format since around 1996 (yes, before it launched). I have over 10,000 posts on DVD Talk, used to read DVD File, The Digital Bits, and other sites daily, have about 4,000 films in my collection, and had 80% of the Criterion Collection before I started selling them off last year to lighten my load before I moved from Philly to Chicago. I'm a hobbiest.

I got my first HD set in January and was holding off on either HD format until one side won, but then back in August the game Bioshock came out and I couldn't play it on my PC without a video card upgrade, so rather than upgrade my PC I bought an Xbox 360 and found a deal to get the HD DVD add-on for a little over $100, along with eight free discs (five of which I'm still waiting for three months later...).

So I bought a few more discs. Then a few more. Then of course the new Kubricks... well, I have to get them. It's a slippery slope, friends. In short order I have 50 discs, with more to come, I'm sure.

Now that I'm invested in HD DVD, I hope the red side doesn't die and leave me with all of this orphan content. When the two formats first launched I was hoping Blu-Ray would win only because it seemed to be technically superior at the time (well, higher capacity and supporting more efficient video codecs at the very least), and the capacity may be an issue in the future, although the WB releases that are dual-format seem to provide the exact same releases (due to economy of not having to reencode for two formats, no doubt) so I'm not too worried.

At this point it looks like the "format war" will be a cold war with both sides losing out to standard def DVD for the time-being. Since a lot of my favourite films are put out by Miramax, Fox, and Disney, I expect I'll pick up a combo player once they come down in price, and start to buy Blu-Ray as well. What's the point of having a great HD setup if you can't watch Star Wars on it, right?

Of course, most of my favourite movies aren't available for EITHER format, so hopefully the hardware will be agnostic by that point and the format war will be a non-issue. It's just a shame we couldn't have a single format. At some point one or the other will probably die, and while I expect to be a dual-format household, I'll probably have a substantial number of discs in whatever format is no longer being produced. However, I expect that you'll still be able to play either format for a long, long time.

Ten years from now, I expect I'll be rebuying a lot of these in Ultra HD or whatever it'll be called (Ultraviolet-Ray?) so I'm not too worried.

I have to say I'm on the fence about the "watching extras while you watch the film!" feature, as I'd rather see the extras by themselves, or watch the movie by itself. Having the bonus features in a little tiny PIP window is annoying to me. Maybe I just need a larger display...

In the meantime, I'm all about HD DVD and am loving the content. The sales and package deals remind me of the old days of DVD deals and the early days of DVD where my average price was like $6 because etailers were practically giving the discs away. HD DVDs are a little more expensive, but I still love the buy 2 get one free deals and such, as well as the commercials for the format at the start of many discs, the packaging that promotes the format, etc. When was the last time you saw a DVD that had a commercial about how great DVD quality is on it? 1999?

I'm sure I'll pay extra for being an early adopter, with better quality and more feature-rich double-dips in the future (heck, for a lot of people Full Metal Jacket was already a double-dip) but for now my apartment is more popular than the multiplex for people coming over to watch movies.
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