Phantom Of The Opera, 300, and Constantine on HD DVD

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The HD Experience
- Part 3 -
Choosing HD DVD
November 10, 2007
The HD Experience: Part 1 (HDTV) The HD Experience: Part 2 (HD DVD or Blu-ray?)
The HD Experience: Part 3 (Choosing HD DVD) The HD Experience: Part 4 (HD & TV Size)
The HD Experience: Part 5 (Integrating HD) The HD Experience: Part 6 (Upconverting vs. HD)


I had finally chosen an HD format. It felt good, but at the same time, it didn't feel so good. It was too bad I had to choose, because I would have preferred both formats on my new 50" Panasonic Plasma screen. But like most people, while my urges to spend money were unlimited, my budget reminded me it certainly was, and I had to choose one format or the other. Given the history of Sony and their way of handling electronics for the consumer, the choice was made.

"I like HD DVD. But what would I really want? I want BOTH formats, coexisting with each other..."
Today, we're smack in the middle of a heated Sumo wrestling match (given we have Sony and Toshiba as corporate giants, I think the description is even more appropriate). If you're reading this, you're probably wondering if you should choose HD DVD or Blu-ray, and if you do choose, will it be the right choice. Because the possibility of one format becoming obsolete, is very real. I honestly can't predict the end of the format debate, and which format will rise as the winner. However, I will say I am perfectly fine with BOTH formats. I like HD DVD. But what would I really want? I want BOTH formats, coexisting with each other. This might seem odd, but let me explain.

Can Both Formats Exist?

Exclusive Blu-ray and HD DVD owners probably won't agree with me, but I believe both formats can coexist. Many single format owners want one particular format to win. Period. They seem to think if one format wins, the other will concede, and HD will live happily ever after. This isn't going to happen. The amount of legal fighting and stalling will prevent both formats from moving forward. There will be severe losses from either side, if only one format is viewed as the winner.

While I currently do support one format, I'm also open to Blu-ray coexising as well. This CAN happen. If HD DVD does come out the winner, Sony will be very reluctant to admit defeat, and will probably withhold titles it has on Blu-ray from seeing the HD DVD format for a long time. And if Sony wins the format war, I'm guessing this will be the worst-case scenario. Because once Sony has control, prices will increase, and more proprietary measures will be used to control the consumer as they've done in the past.

In order for two formats to coexist, Sony will have to agree to make their Blu-ray titles but also be obligated to release them on HD DVD. In order for Blu-ray to have an edge, Sony could put more features and extras on the Blu-ray version rather than on the HD DVD version. For HD DVD users, they would at least have access to the title. For exclusive HD DVD movie companies such as Paramount and Universal, the same process would happen--more features and extras on the HD DVD version, but still providing the titles on Blu-ray.

So, in order for HD to survive in its current format, the two competing formats will need to sit down with the movie companies, and negotiate a dual-format industry. Now, there might be hybrid alternatives, which could satisfy both HD DVD and Blu-ray users. This would have to be discussed between both Toshiba and Sony, but more importantly, making sure current Blu-ray and HD DVD users won't be hit with brand new hardware costs and the possibility of defunct HD discs. Backward compatibility would be key to keeping current HD owners interested in the new hybrid disc format.

For those who still haven't made the decision to go Blu-ray or HD DVD, you're probably saying to yourself, there's no way in hell I'm going to get myself involved with this. And I would empathize. In Part 4, we'll discuss the proper HDTV sizes for HD viewing, and further along into Part 5, where we have those who are debating getting into HD for the first time, and the prudent steps involved.


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