Investors cheer Toshiba plan to drop HD DVD
Shares surge on claim it'll ditch format
Toshiba shares jumped more than six per cent today as investors voiced their approval of the company's alleged decision to abandon the HD DVD optical disc format.
There's still no word from the company on claims made this weekend that its board will meet this week to formally accept defeat in the HD format war, but when the Tokyo stock exchange opened this morning, Toshiba shares began gaining value.
From an opening price of ¥784, Toshiba shares quickly peaked at ¥837, a 6.7 per cent increase. Trading continued, and the stock is currently 5.7 per cent up on the opening price to ¥829.
Sony, the company leading the efforts behind HD DVD's rival format, Blu-ray Disc, saw its shares rise more than one per cent during the day.
So far, Toshiba has said only that no decision on the future of HD DVD has yet been made. However, it did concede that it is indeed having to reconsider its plans, citing this year's announcements from Warner Home Video, and US retail giants Best Buy and Wal-Mart, to adopt Blu-ray Disc exclusively.
Back @ highlander again
I do not concede that additional compression NECESSARILY results with noticeable, let alone significant, artefacts. You clearly have glossed over what I said in my last post. to repeat again: as compression is increased, there will come a point where the artefacts become significant and noticeable; before that point it isn’t an issue; hence you are wrong to say that. The trick is knowing where that cutoff is and applying refined processing to extend it.
“Nope, I'm not under the impression that H264 is a fixed level of compression, I'm well aware that you can tweak it for specific bitrate requirements “
You miss my point: the codec can be tweaked to get better compression without quality loss for a given bitrate.
The comparison to audio is false. For a start: the ear is much more sensitive to artifacting then the eye. Also, there are only (up to) 8 channels for the ears to concentrate on, compare that to the 6 million (sub-pixel) channels for a 1080P picture (granted you look at only a small portion of them at any one time but you get my point). Also, audio had a lot of random components which are critical to sound quality, the video stream doesn’t. Also, video is relatively easier to encode because the pixel behaviour is more easily predictable due to the activity of many neighbouring pixels over time (not something an audio stream has).
As I said before, the quality of current HD content on disk isn’t that great anyway (compare the details of a game against a movie) – for a start a lot of the viewable objects are out of focus (this is inherent), there is much noise, then there is motion blur – al these lends video to easier coding without perceived quality loss.
The cost to consumer of broadband is irrelevant. Broadband suppliers charge what they can get out of people, it doesn’t mean that bandwidth is actually that costly (take SMSs for examples); hence buffered HD content needn’t be expensive. You also gloss over what I mentioned about the broadcast issue. Either way your arguments against compression and available bandwidth is invalid because multiple channel, real-time, HD content is already available to all right now and it can be retained for later use. The simple fact is if one can receive HDTV then one can BUFFER (remember what I said about not being real time) a wide range of HD content. I don’t expect to have real-time individual HD content streams for all, obviously that’s impractical – for now. A quick calculation shows that the entire current BD and HD-DVD collection can be nationally broadcast through 6 channels in 1 week – job already done!
Given the exponential rise of broadband speeds (and their value) and the broadcast bitrates already available, for you to say we won’t have a practical solution until 5-10 years time is laughable. Do you also so easily dismiss the inexorable rise of processing power so enabling better utilisation and refinements/extensions of today’s codecs?
“Without those three things download video will be the preserve of [those] who enjoy watching movies on their 22-inch LCD rather than a 52-inch 1080p TV.”
Oh please. I know people who are doing EXACTLY that - that right, with a modern 52-inch 1080P TV (coincidence?). You really shouldn’t so easily swallow the propaganda the MPAA feeds you.
The comparison of flash with optical is irrelevant.
“is simply no other way to increase the compression ratio by that much. “
From your post, it is clear to me that you don’t know what H264 can do when it is pushed. Your judgement is based on something you haven’t seen while assuming a level of appreciation; unlike me, you pass comment from a position of bias and ignorance.
Nope, I'm not under the impression that H264 is a fixed level of compression, I'm well aware that you can tweak it for specific bitrate requirements. However you have to concede that increasing the level of compression to hit a specific bandwidth target has an impact directly on the quality of the content at playback. You also have to concede that applying H264 tweaked to provide 8 to 10 times more compression of a video source has to reduce the quality of the eventual output. The evidence will be seen in false color gradients, macro blocking on fast changing pictures such as explosions or quick pans. There is simply no other way to increase the compression ratio by that much. You have to sacrifice at least one of three things on a video source, color depth, resolution, frames per second. Then there is the audio... I'm not saying it can't look good, but there is simply no comparison, I've seen all the comparisons performed , the stills and moving images, the zoomed in images. You know what, H264 compressed video from AppleTV looks about as good as DVD, which is remarkable. However that's with a target bit rate of about 5Mbits/second. Most DSL subscribers barely get that, and it's not sustained. Nor will it be sustained if someone else in the house has a PC or game console fired up and online, not to mention Vonage service. Bandwidth is not unlimited.
People choose their level of broadband service with two metrics in mind, what's available and how much does it cost. Lots of people don't want to pay $40+ a month for internet and get the basic DSL service which is not going to give bit rates that can manage video downloads or streaming in HD. I'm under no impression that people always choose the maximum speed available, people choose what they can and want to afford. I could have several times the bandwidth I enjoy right now, but I don't want to double the amount of money I pay monthly to do so. Downloads are the future, but the future is 5-10 years away. Three things have to happen first.
1) Universal, *FAST* broadband that is as cheap as chips.
2) High capacity flash storage that is as cheap as a pressed BluRay.
3) Someone to come up with a home video player that is solid state and HDD based that is as easy to use as a CD player or DVD player. The device has to be able to ollow the standard CE pricing model to eventual mainstream adoption at the $50 per unit level.
Without those three things download video will be the preserve of the piracy crown and the techie/geek crowd who enjoy watching movies on their 22-inch LCD rather than a 52-inch 1080p TV.
H264 is not the silver bullet. There is no silver bullet, only long term product development and further market penetration. a 2GB flash stick can be had for $20-$30 right now. If you double the number of GB every 12 months then in 5 years you'll have 64GB available at roughly that price. If you double every 18 months then it'll take about 7 years for those 64GB sticks to hit the 'cheap' mark. Still that's not cheap enough to compare to a 50GB optical disc that in rewritable form is now about a tenth of the cost per disc compared to the flash storage, and a few orders of magnitude cheaper per GB. I'll believe in downloads when people have home DSL connections in the 10's of Mbits per second and the minimum Internet service offered is 5MBits/second, when 64GB flash sticks can be had for less than $5, and when a 20TB home server can be found for $100 or less. Til then, I don't see it happening.
back @ highlander
Please don't state that I'm a proponent of HD DVD, you would be wrong to do so. I don't own, or have plans to own, HD DVD equipment. That's the first incorrect assumption on your part.
Never have I 'switched tack', I'm merely pointing out fallacies that were presented.
Then there is the ‘lossiness to compression’ ratio of reusing a 264 coder again to compress into a smaller container – when does the ratio become significant? Furthermore, you can’t assume that the original video stream was that good to begin with; many of today's HD films don't don’t nearly fully utilise their full resolution (except animations but they’re easy to compress); therefore it is wrong to assume linearity of the said ratio. Besides, the original coding/bitrate process could have been totally overkill (from what I’ve seen I would say it is).
Unless you have seen the results or said recompression for yourself you have no grounds to comment on the effectiveness of the process - I have and I can!
It also appears you are under the impression that the 264 codec offers a fixed level of quality conversion when in fact there is much within it that can be tweaked.
Like I already said: if you can get TV then you already have the necessary BW for buffering HD movies (we're not necessarily talking about real time viewing here). Also, you make the false correlation that the broadband speeds people choose to purchase is always that which is the maximum available to them. And what of the future? Broadband speeds have been rising exponentially since it was first rolled out. Sure not everyone can get it, those that can’t can still rent the discs.
I think you'll find that H264 is already used in Blu-Ray. So, H264 is not exactly the silver bullet here. You and Iain and other proponents of HD-DVD seem to be switching tack now to push downloads rather than HD-DVD. But you know what, the majority of Internet users still don't have access speeds anything like the speed needed for a highly compressed H264 source. That said, Just as with any other form of compression you can increase the compression ratio at the expense of data integrity. So if you're willing to lose some color depth or have increased video artifacts or reduced audio quality so you can squeeze your content through a narrow pipe, go for it. Just don't try to pretend that it's as good as the original article on a 50GB disc. If you have a compression ratio approaching 10:1 over the optical format which is already highly compressed just to fit on the disc, then you're going to have to come up with a lot more than a simple mention of a compression scheme already used.
Sadly most consumers of DSL don't have much more than 1.5Mbit/second access, and a lot of customers have even slower DSL than that. Then there are all the consumers who are still on dial up and even those without any Internet access at all. At least with an optical format those consumers are not left without an option. Before we begin the rush to download we should all be very aware of the compromises made in quality and the lack of universal access.
"At best these new video formats are only about 50% better than existing DVD.
Wake me up when there's a video format which makes me stop dead
and go "Wow!". Until then these are just expensive DVDs."
i'd suggest your using/been shown some pretty rubbish stuff. My PC/surround system connected to my Sammy LE46M87 playing either BD or HD (Gota love LG Combi drives eh!) look and sound stunning.... totaly totaly stunning.
And thats on a mid-price 1080p TV!
After I move house, the next purchase for me is a 1080p projector.