HD vs. Blu-Ray


OK, so this isn’t security related at all, just felt like grumbling about the latest development. If you’re not interested in my thoughts on this, skip it now.

A few years ago, I remodeled my basement, and took an odd room with only one window and wired it for home theater. It gathered dust until this last November, when I finally decided that HD TV had come down enough to be reasonable. The whole thing was quite an adventure of figuring out what to buy, then where to buy it. For example, Tripp-Lite makes some really good power conditioning stuff that is as good as the Monster product, and ½ the price. Also managed to buy the monitor for 30% off list, which was a good trick. It became like a 2nd job, and I’ve thought more than once that hiring someone to do this may have emptied my wallet much more quickly, but maybe worth the headaches.

So this then put me in the quandary of how to feed it 1080p inputs – just a few months ago, HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray was a fairly evenly matched fight. I naively thought that it was pretty well the same feature set, just some differences in storage formats. Not being sure which would win, I went for the cheaper bet – I was going to buy an Xbox 360 anyway, so another $150 getting me HD-DVD seemed like a great way to hedge bets. Great picture, interactive stuff, good times for geek toys.

Now comes along Warner ditching HD, which prodded me to investigate the situation a little more. Seems that Blu-Ray costs more and does less. Feh. So what that you can put more on the disk? What’s there does less… To make matters even worse, they of course have plans to upgrade to be just as technically good as HD-DVD is now, and the most recent players (in the $500 range) are starting to do that. This means anything I feel like buying now is going to be either obsolete or ½ (or less) the price within a year. If this were just a matter of spending $200 to go get something about as good as what I have now in order to play the other format, no problem. Spending twice that so I can be not as good as what I have now, and then want to buy it again in 6-12 months is too much to spend for it to be obsolete that fast.

They’re wondering why we’re not adopting this stuff – maybe it isn’t so much a problem with dual format – after all, I had VHS and DVD co-exist for years, and vinyl, cassette and CD co-exist for longer than that – and maybe it’s a problem with the price point being just too high. And now that all the bills from this little consumer adventure have come home to roost, that seems like something to pay attention to.

While the picture from the Dish is only 1080i, it’s pretty nice, and now that it looks like Blu-Ray is really going to win, I suppose I’ll wait until the feature set stabilizes and the prices drop – and just watch things on DVR, which doesn’t cost anything more than I’m spending right now. My bet is that by the time the next Great American Buying Frenzy starts again, it will be reasonable. I’m really looking forward to the day that I can just download this stuff – Verizon claims they’re laying fiber to everywhere (good luck getting it to the boonies, like my house), but that will get us out of the whole problem of needing individual physical media at roughly $1/GB when disc storage costs me $0.20/GB – and to heck with time-shifting things – if I want to watch episode 52 of Star Trek, I can just go do that – I can do this to some extent with the Xbox now.

I’ll be back with more secure programming thoughts next week. I have some thoughts on the whole LoadLibrary search issue – our information in WSC2 is out of date, and some cool template code to make sure your allocation sizes are correct.


Comments (2)

  1. Rosyna says:

    Actually, HD DVD is technically inferior in every way to BD. It’s not just an issue of space on the disc. Many of the things considered “superior” on the HD DVD by the HD DVD side are actually workarounds necessary due to the low maximum bit-rate of HD DVD and how it handles multiple audio tracks (this is why the Harry Potter BD release has 12 audio/language tracks compared to the HD DVD’s 3 audio tracks)

    But the entire thing is moot, even Toshiba is pulling out of HD DVD. http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNewsAndPR/idUSL1627196120080216

    [dcl] The storage media is one thing, the player is another. HD-DVD players generally meet Blu-ray spec 2.0 right now, but very few players support the 2.0 spec, and those that do are very expensive.