Thursday, October 06, 2005

Another War Coming to a Close

The next wave of high definition DVD players cannot get here soon enough. Due to the Six Year Old, the Three Year Old, and the Almost One Year Old, very few movies are attended and little TV is watched in our house. Therefore, plunking down 2 grand for a 50 inch LCD screen doesn't make much sense.

We do, however, rent a boatload of movies and TV shows once they are released on DVD (note: do NOT waste your time on "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" - what a pathetic use of excellent source material). An investment in a 1080i capable TV would make sense if there were 1080i (or even 720p) DVDs available.

Looks like the availability is about six months away.

There are two competing technologies for high def DVD. The first is Toshiba's HD DVD, the second is Sony and Blu-Ray. HD DVD is, supposedly, easier to manufacture as existing DVD pressing lines can be easily converted to the HD pressin process. Blu-Ray offers a better copy protection AND up to twice the storage capacity (up to 100 GB on a single disc).

Toshiba had an early lead, but Sony is putting a Blu-Ray into Playstation 3 which is due in the early Spring. The studios, which were in line with Toshiba, are now starting to fall in with Sony.

Business Week has two fascinating articles on the whole thing. The first is about Time Warner's decision to endorse Blu-Ray. The second goes over the history of the format war.

Check them out and be sure to note the Bill Gates stuff. Bill Gates may have a huge point on distribution. If the future is going to be "discless", then Blu-Ray may, ultimately, be a transitory technology unless they adopt some of what Microsoft is proposing.

I just want whatever's gonna give me the best picture.

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