Sunday, January 08, 2006

DVD TNG: Confusion Reign?

The Blu-ray/HD DVD thingy is hotting up a little, as a handful of films get announced for Blu-ray. In summary, this is the VHS/Betamax battle of the post-DVD generation, with both formats offering larger amounts of storage space and (hence) higher quality films. (For a really techie, in-depth comparison of the 2, see this article.)

But the feedback (at least on Slashdot, anyway) is more hesitant. People have only just finished replacing their VHS collection with DVDs. Are the new generation of media formats coming in too quickly to take hold?

The problem as I can see it is that people want bigger storage formats to replace data media, but won't be bothered about the increase in picture quality (DVDs are good enough on an average TV) or the more stringent DRM protection.

One of the biggest draw of CDs and DVDs is that you can play them on your specific player, or you can play them on your PC. The PC probably isn't going anywhere just yet, despite various players wanting people to take up a separate and dedicated "media centre" machine (and thus another OS license). And people probably aren't going to want to upgrade their sitting-room DVD players just yet - people aren't that greedy or stupid.

Furthermore, the proliferation of DVD formats has left even me confused - DVD-R? DVD-RW? DVD+RW? DVD+/-RW? Heavens. The market expands to provide products that cope with everything. Now throw in 2 more formats into the fray, and where do we stand? "Need a CD-RW/DVD+-RW/BD/HD-DVD drive, Sir?" Bah.

On a personal level, I'm considering just giving up on constantly-replaced technology. I've had enough of it. Media codecs are much easier to update. On the market level too, I can't help but wonder what's going to happen. Computing and Entertainment have now been intertwined as never before, but this move could send a rift through the harmony. It probably won't, but expect confusion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really doubt that Blu-ray/HD-DVD are going to become worth having until we have HD TVs, and they aren't going to be worth having until we have something broadcast in HD. I believe Sky is going to move to HD over the next year or so, but I don't think that Freeview is going to be able to broadcast in HD as they don't have the bandwidth. The only thing I know that supports HD-TV is the Xbox 360

It's worth checking the quality of HD TV. They had one in Dixons in Churchill Square with a HD input. It's rather impressive.