Vote for HD DVD

Its November and its time to place your vote. No, not for US Presidential candidates, but for the optical high definition format you want to be the winner in the format war, which of course for me means HD DVD. This holiday season might be the last chance for your vote to be considered by the studios, and its they who really hold the key to how HD DVD vs Blu-ray is going to work out in the long term. If lots of players get sold this quarter, that will translate into lots of movies sold for the format, which is what the studios look at when deciding their HD future.

Lets look at the most common reasons that people give for not choosing between HD vs BD right now:

Players are expensive

Well BD players certainly are, but HD DVD players start at around $200 now (and even $99 on occasion). That's about the same price as the Oppo players, and they don't even support either of the HD formats. If you already have an Xbox 360 then you can get the add-on drive for less than that. Most players include five or so free movies to boot. If you see a suspicously cheap BD player tread carefully: chances are high its a Profile 1.0 player and those won't be able to play some of the features of the BD discs coming out next year. (HD DVD players have had these same new-to-BD features for years now). If you want to hedge your bets, and can afford to, look at one of the forthcoming dual-format players that also plays BD.

I'm Waiting for a Clear Winner

Be careful what you ask for. If you don't bother choosing now, you may not have a choice at all and be stuck with a consumer-unfriendly format controlled by a big studio that only offers overpriced player hardware. Remember: without the competition, BD would be a 25G MPEG2/PCM only format and titles would look as bad as The Fifth Element.

I live outside the USA, what does it matter?

If you are European or Australian then either vote for HD DVD, or quit moaning about region coding. If you hate region coding, then HD DVD has to be your format of choice because it doesn't do that. Buy a disc anywhere on the planet, play it anywhere on the planet, giving you the maximum choice of movies.

I can't tell the difference between high definition and standard definition

I'd wager that your TV must be connected via a composite cable (or s-video): upgrade to component or HDMI cables. You don't need a 1080p set either: the difference in video quality is huge, even on small TVs (I have a 30" 720p LCD and the difference is clear), plus you get more features on the HD discs (picture-in-picture commentaries, network downloads, in-movie extras etc).

I don't have an HDTV

Well get with the program: its almost 2008. In the USA analog TV is going to be turned off in just over a year, as a part of your TV upgrade you should also get an HD DVD player. Your new TV will be upset if all you feed it is a low quality standard def TV feed.

OK, You Convinced Me: I Want To Vote!

  • If you don't have an HD DVD player, go out and buy one before the end of the year. There are probably going to be some great bargains around Black Friday and through the holidays.
  • If you already have a player, make sure your favorite HD DVDs are on your Xmas list. If Santa doesn't deliver them, be sure to go out and pick them up yourself.
  • If you've done all that, then go tell your friends. Show them now great it looks. Explain to them what a tragic waste their HDTV is without something decent to show on it.
  • Remember: your vote counts!

Comments (9)
  1. I very much want HD-DVD to win, I’ll probably pick up a player in the next few months. The BR spec is such a mess, I just hope their better studio support doesn’t push the war their way

  2. CW says:

    Just out of curiosity, do you know which studios are still releasing titles in MPEG2?  I know most have switched to AVC…


    Ordered my A3 from Amazon last night…now i have one more thing to be thankful for!

  3. Andy-Pennell says:

    CW: The few MPEG2 releases nowadays seem to be from sources that already have the encodes lying around e.g. HDNet who broadcast in MPEG2 anyway. I don’t think anyone bothers to freshly encode HD in MPEG2 any more, I mean why would you? Thanks for your vote CW!

  4. CW says:

    Thanks Andy. That’s what I thought as well.  Although I poked around on and was able to find a few features on Blu-ray getting the MPEG-2 treatment.  "Pathfinder" & "Home of the Brave" from FOX released this month & "Robocop" from MGM last month.

  5. Andy-Pennell says:

    Thanks CW. I was meaning on HD DVD, I know from AVSForum that "fast encoding" is sometimes the priority with BD studios so they can churn titles out. The only advantage MPEG2 has is that it encodes really fast thanks to its mature age.

  6. Alan says:

    I vote HD-DVD. I get sick of hearing that BR is ‘technically superior’ and refer them to your post Andy.


  7. Matthew Smith says:

    I vote HD-DVD.  At some point BD will have to recover the costs of their production infrastructure and the losses they have incurred attempting to stay price competitive with HD-DVD, not to mention continued developement costs.  If they win, the consumer will be the one paying those costs.  The only reason BD is even in this is consumer ignorance.

  8. The Dude says:

    It’s funny because the public support is there for HD DVD’s considering that it has most of the consumer advantages such as price and regional coding. What does blu-ray have that the film studios want and hd dvd’s do not provide? I understand that it is a larger format and is capable of storing more data…but is that really what I want on a movie; to spend more money on extra features and games and crap…not really. I would rather spend the 20 an HD DVD with just the movie than the 30 for the blu-ray extra crap.

    Now, blu-rays for high def video games…now were talkin…

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