Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Ongoing War...

Hey everybody, sorry no posting yesterday but I couldn't think of anything to write about. My mind kind of blanked out around 1pm and never fully recovered. But there's something to talk about today...The War!

Don't worry, no talk of politics. The War I'm referring to is a format war. Here in Hollywood, the studios all seem to have gotten a case of the crazies over high definition versions of DVD. For those not in the know, there are two competing formats- Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. For all intents and purposes, these formats are identical. Hook up one of each kind of player playing the same movie side by side and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. People who work professionally with video can't tell the difference. But the studios are insisting that there's a difference and taking up sides to make consumers choose. Blu-Ray was looking like a clear winner, with every major studio except Universal showing support for it, but then yesterday happened. Stupid yesterday.

Yesterday Parmount and Dreamworks Animation announced that they would no longer be supporting both formats and that they were switching to HD-DVD exclusively. Why? They say it made more business sense, but what it really means is that the HD-DVD people (notably Microsoft) gave them a total of $150 million to do so. That's a lot of scratch. Now, Microsoft didn't create the HD-DVD, Toshiba did. But they are it's biggest supporter (mostly because their rival in the gaming world, Sony, is the creator of Blu-Ray). This is essentially a Microsoft cash grab. Their interest seems to be in prolonging this format war as long as possible so that people will stop buying any DVDs and switch to their Xbox Live Marketplace to download high definition movies. It's moves like this that make me even more proud to be a Mac owner.

I was seriously considering buying a Blu-Ray player sometime after Christmas once the prices get reasonable. This move by Paramount has changed my mind. Now I'm not going to be buying either format, possibly ever. And I'm not going to start downloading my movies either. Call me crazy, but I like to have some kind of physical representation of the media I buy. I can't help but envision buying a bunch of digital movies, having a hard drive crash, and the online store folding so I have no record of my purchases. Just like that- no movies. So what to do? Stick with plain old DVD. I have an HDTV and a DVD player that upscales my current movies to 1080i. And you know what? It looks fantastic. There's nowhere near enough of a difference in picture quality between what I watch now and the HD formats to justify switching unless I'm forced to do so.

Now if they release Star Wars or Indiana Jones in Hi-Def, well, ask me my opinions again.

1 comment:

  1. It'll be a while before I feel the need to upgrade past DVD. Probably til DVD hits the kind of status VHS is at nowadays. I'm not nearly as concerned with hard copy as before, but I don't think anything can now be released that'll make me want to go much higher def than I am now. Just how clear DO Jabba's wrinkles need to be?