A lot of consumers are under the impression that are the only thing that HD DVD offers over traditional DVDs. Whilst dramatically increased video quality is certainly one of the most visible features of the new format (“visible” – get it? Ha ha ha), there are many other new features in HD DVD that make it a very compelling format that leaves plain old DVDs in the dust.
First of all, if you haven’t seen the 2006 CES demo of , you might want to take four minutes out of your busy day to (jump to 1:10:00 to get straight to the demo… or watch the whole thing if you want to see even more cool stuff 🙂 ).
A handful of things to note about the demo:
·The demonstration was done “live on stage” using real code on a pre-release of Windows Vista, but the demonstration is just that — demo content. The real Bourne Supremacy disc will be very different
·Nothing in the demo was pre-determined by HD DVD — the way the menu was laid out, the features that were chosen, etc. are all decided upon by the studio / content author. Want your menu to appear vertically instead of horizontally? No worries. Want your chapter thumbnails to appear tiled over the whole screen? Sure thing. The possibilities are endless
·A lot of people think the “disembodied head” commentary is kind of creepy, and I tend to agree :-). The point though is that with full picture-in-picture (PIP) support on HD DVD you will see all sorts of cool features that were never possible with standard DVD. The floating head is just one potential application of this feature
·Although networking support was briefly mentioned in the demo, you should note it’s completely optional for users to jack in. Whilst HD DVD players will support network connectivity to get access to the latest features and updated content, there is no requirement for users to do so; you can still watch the movie without connecting to a server
Anyway, I’ll start to post more information about iHD — the technology that drives the interactivity layer on HD DVD — over the following weeks. It is this dramatically improved interactivity — along with the vastly superior audio and video quality — that makes HD DVD such a great new technology.