Paramount poised to drop HD DVD
The beginning of the end for the high def format?
Paramount Studios could soon drop its support of HD DVD following Warner's recent backing of Sony's Blu-ray technology, effectively killing off HD-DVD and bring the format war to a definitive end.
According to the Financial Times, in a story that broke only a few hours ago, Paramount is understood to have a clause in its contract with the HD DVD camp that would allow it to switch sides in the event of Warner backing Blu-ray.
Paramount and DreamWorks Animation came out in support of HD DVD last summer, joining Universal Studios as the main supporters of the Toshiba format.
Warner's decision last week to exclusively back Blu-ray saw it join Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and MGM Studios as backers of the Sony format. The recent move gives Blu-ray about 70 per cent of Hollywood's output. Universal meanwhile, has declined to comment on its next-generation DVD plans and speculation is rife that an announcement at CES by Bill Gates unveiling an Ultimate Xbox 360 with a built-in HD DVD player was cancelled at the last minute following the move by Warner.
@seri - the spec
I read that as: you're supposed to support region coding. I frankly do not know enough about the format to say for sure, but it certainly sounds like region coding is already in the spec to me, even if all the current discs and players don't implement that part of the spec. All the people screaming about how 'there's no region coding in HD-DVD' seem to be standing on thin ice.
Region-coding is a non-issue for me, but driving the big LCD I just bought is. If BluRay has the potential for a better picture quality, I'm all for it if only one is going to survive. If I did end up with a pile of region-coded discs, I'd just buy an extra drive or two to read them. A BD-ROM drive is already down to US$190, so it's not *that* much of an expense, considering how much it would cost to have those import discs shipped over here with the exchange rates.
Speaking of cost, a quick look at Amazon shows that for the few discs I checked, the Blu-ray and HD-DVD versions are the same price. I thought HD-DVD discs were way cheaper or something?
What so many HD-DVD boosters seem unable to grasp is that it's a dead-end technology. It's little more than a glorified DVD, and it's extremely limited in future improvements. Blu-Ray already has a greater bandwidth and capacity than HD-DVD, and more importantly, has a good dead of room to grow as the specs are expanded -- it has the potential for over double the capabilities projected for HD-DVD. And unlike HD-DVD, will be able to handle the next-generation HD standard (1440p), while HD-DVD won't have that ability, and an entirely new format will be required. We all know how well that goes over.
As far as region locking, yes it is definitely part of the HD-DVD spec, and don't imagine for a moment that the studios would not implement it immediately if they had won the format war. In effect, the HD-DVD camp has already said that the only reason it hasn't been implemented yet is because it was one of the very few advantages it could get over Blu-Ray. But with few Blu-Ray studios implementing their region encoding, that advantage very quickly disappeared. In any case, the scare hype over OHNOESREGIONLOCKING!!1on3! is no different than it was when DVDs were originally released, and look how long that lasted.
Blu-Ray is by far the more future-proof technology, despite it's few small and easily circumvented shortcomings. Downloadable HD content replacing physical media is still a pipe dream; and will continue to be until high-cap broadband availability and reliability is increased by at least an order of magnitude.
When it was BetaMax vs. VHS it was hands down VHS.
BetaMAx had better picture quality but VHS was licensed to adult content providers and the licensing was cheap and easy to acquire.
In BD vs. HD, HD still licenses to adult content providers but licensing costs are similar and Sony is not a content producer and owns labels like Paramount.
If there is none there should be a rule that says as soon as a media type becomes a defacto standard perhaps by number of sales or number of titles they should have to license the technology for a universal disk.
These "standard wars" only benefit manufacturers since when a media type "loses" they get to sell everything over again to consumers who want a player with new features or as a replacement for an existing player that does not support the losing media type.
@matt piechota - you're confirming my point... no?
Matt, the section you quoted is what I was saying that "There is the potential for the specification to be revised at a later time to incorporate some form of RPC but there would be no requirement for any of the manufacturers to issue an update to the players".
All they are doing in the paragraph you quoted is making a nod in the direction of RPC, but nowhere is RPC defined.
On-demand HD is here
> For those of you that think that really media is going to end soon, wake up and smell the coffee. Streaming HD on demand takes a huge amount of bandwidth. Imagine 20-40Mb/s. Thats a LOT of bandwidth.
If you deliver it over IP. Lots of cable subscribers already get HD on demand over cable, at 1080i with very good picture quality (i.e., very hard to see compression artifacts.)