I promise I’ll get back to security stuff shortly, but over the weekend I ran into a couple of articles that explain the issues a lot better. So HD-DVD is quite likely going the way of the 8-track – no need to fight the tide (and no, I have no internal info on this at all – I work on Office, not Xbox). Now the real question is what to do next, and when. My options in terms of getting 1080p content in the future are limited to Blu-ray, and downloads. I don’t have enough bandwidth at home to make downloading multiple gigs worth of movies practical, so I’m stuck with the 1080i content I can record and watch coming from the dish – which isn’t bad at all.
As far as Blu-ray goes, we all know that timing is everything when it comes to techno toys. It really stinks to buy something and then have something much better come out next week at the same price. Or you can wait forever and not enjoy the technology. But Blu-ray has some interesting issues just at the moment – seems that it was rushed out without a fully developed spec (seems this happens a lot, and we’re not without sin in this area), and that it’s shifting rapidly at the moment. An article at Audioholics sums it up – basically, there’s the 1.0 spec, the 1.1 spec, and the 2.0 spec, each with associated marketing buzzwords to confuse us. Basically, one of the reasons I’m most annoyed that Blu-ray won out is that I already own an HD-DVD player that’s equivalent to Blu-ray 2.0 spec, which I can’t buy yet >8-(
Video Business has an article here that explains the issue in terms of which available players support which spec – for example, the Samsung BD-P1400 can be had for a reasonable cost right now, but it only supports the 1.0 spec, can’t be upgraded, and it isn’t guaranteed that you can play all future movies with it – there have been issues with this already. Buying a 1.0 spec player seems like a Bad Thing™. Personally, waiting for a 2.0 spec player seems like the right decision – hopefully, the spec will have settled down and there won’t be a 2.1 or 3.0 anytime very soon. However, it seems like you can’t buy any of these at the moment. Options there are to get a PS3 – but I already own an Xbox, so that’s expensive when I already have more games than time, or there’s a couple of players coming out RSN, like the Panasonic DMP-BD50 – looks nice, but you can’t buy one now, and everyone seems to think it will be expensive (~$700). There are a couple of 1.1 spec players that are upgradable, but these are currently $629 at Amazon. Still too much. I can almost build a media center PC with a Blu-ray reader for that price, which would do a lot more and can be upgraded when I feel like it.
Looks like the 2.0 spec will start getting common around the summer, but I expect them to remain expensive for a while. I think I’ll add an external hard drive to my DVR, and watch movies off the dish until this settles out and prices drop – and the Xbox does a _great_ job of up converting. My prediction – I predict that they’ll find that while the format war didn’t help adoption that the biggest blocker is going to be price. I’m also looking forward to when there’s enough bandwidth commonly available that I can just download these things. Why worry about scratched discs when I can just stick stuff on a media center box, and pipe it anywhere in my house I like?