First, comments on everybody else's comments. My original comments follow....
Originally Posted by BenRoethig
Depends on how quickly they and HDTV sets go down in price.
Most TVs larger than 30" already have some amount of HD support. Many smaller ones do as well. This covers just about everything people are going be using in their living rooms, where movies are typically watched.
Sure, the differences will be more noticeable on a giant 60" screen, but that doesn't mean you need a 60" screen to watch HD movies.
Originally Posted by TBaggins
When you start seeing good name-brand HDTVs (not EDTVs) for $299 that are larger than a postage stamp, THEN it'll be the year of HDTV. I'm guessing 2010.
So, to you, not only do people have to be able to receive HD content, and have an HD capable TV, but it has to be sold for throw-away prices, and you have to be able to get those prices from the most expensive brands.
By your definition, the year of standard-def TV hasn't arrived yet, nor has DVD. After all, the cheap $30 devices are all from no-name brands.
Originally Posted by 1984
Blu-Ray will replace DVD for me when Apple gets off their collective duff and starts offing it in their computers.
You only plan on watching movies on your computer?
Originally Posted by Kolchak
I also hated Walt Mossberg's column last week, where he told people not to buy into either format and wait for universal players or discs instead. That's not the way to settle the war.
Most consumers aren't interested in promoting the technically superior format. They just want to watch movies. If hybrid players are sold, that solves the problem.
If you pick a side and invest in lots of equipment, then you may be forced to throw it away if you happen to have picked the losing side. Maybe that's OK for you. I wouldn't do it.
Originally Posted by bevos
The thing about blu-ray to get the best of it you need buy a 1080p TV Until they come down to 1/2 or 1/3 of what they are now. Its out of range for most.
TV store mostly have 720p range, if you going to buy 1080p is a must.
Sure, a 1080p set may look better, but even a 720p set will look better than DVD on an SD set.
The typical consumer doesn't care about specs. They just want better-looking movies.
Originally Posted by bevos
The only place I've seen Blu-ray is at the sony style store, then they only had 9 discs
That's in New Zealand. In the US, they are more common. Best Buy (a common electronics store chain) has several dozen titles in both BD and HDDVD format.
IMO, both BD and HDDVD have market penetration similar to what DVD has in its first year.
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And now my comments.
I think it really doesn't matter, if all you're thinking about are movies. Both HDDVD and BD use H.264 video encoding. Both will end up looking just as good on whatever device you choose to show them on. Sure, BD can hold more (25G vs 15G per layer, and support for more layers), but even at 1080p, most movies will fit comfortably at either capacity.
Do the math. H.264 gets a 2:1 compression advantage over MPEG-2 (used by DVD). HD content has about 6 times as many pixels (HD=1920x1080 = 2MP, SD =720x480=0.35MP). This means a movie on BD or HDDVD will be about 3 times larger than the same movie on DVD. A dual-layer DVD has a maximum capacity of 8.5GB. 3x that is 25.5GB = well within the capacity of either disc (30G for a dual-layer HDDVD, or 50G for a dual-layer BD).
The additional capacity of BD will only be significant for two applications, and I don't think either one is going to sway consumers in their choice.
The first is for compilations and box-sets. BD's 66% higher capacity means more episodes can be shipped on a single disc. With DVD, you typically get 4 hour-long TV eposides per disc. This is up to 2.125GB per episode. With HD-DVD and BD, we get H.264 compression, making each episode up to 1.06GB (assuming the video is still SD, of course. If old film stock is re-digitized at 1080i, then we're looking at 6.375G per episode, which changes all the numbers quite a bit). This means an HD-DVD disc can hold 28 episodes, and BD can hold 47 episodes. Since a typical TV season is 22-26 episodes, we're looking at whole-season releases on a single disc.
The other justification - the one I'm most interested in - is for data storage. DVD is not very useful as a backup medium, because it takes multiple discs to back up a typical system these days. For those who don't want to use hard drives as their backup media, tape is the only viable option today. VXA-1 tape (one of the few large-capacity tape formats that most individuals can afford) stores up to 33G per tape. HDDVD's 30G per disc is comparable, but BD's 50G capacity is significantly superior. Even at today's prices, BD-RE is price-competitive against tape backup devices, and BD's prices will almost certainly come down in a few years.
All this discussion is based on today's standards - 2-layer discs only. In the future, HD-DVD is promising 3-layer discs (45G capacity), and BD is promising 4-layer discs (100G capacity), with a theoretically possible 8-layer (200G) BD disc.
Neither of these will matter for single movies, but the difference will be tremendous for box sets.
3-layer HD-DVD will be able to hold 42 episodes, 4-layer BD, however, will be able to hold 94 episodes, and 8-layer BD will be able to hold 188 episodes. This means it will become possible to sell box sets of daily shows (like soap operas, or evening talk shows) can become a possibility. With these capacities, a typical season of an hour-long daily show (about 250 episodes) could be packaged on 6 3-layer HD-DVD discs, 3 4-layer BD discs, or 2 8-layer BD discs.
It also allows the possibility of whole-series box sets. For instance, Seinfeld's 9 seasons consist of about 175 episodes. This can fit on a single 8-layer BD. It would require 5 3-layer HD-DVD discs.
But the real advantage of BD over HD-DVD is for computer backup. HD-DVD's top capacity of 45G (for 3 layers) is still smaller than BD-RE's 2-layer capacity. And BD's 4- and 8-layer formats will sport capacities that rival today's industrial tape formats (like SDLT, which stores 400G per tape). And it is far more likely that 4- and 8-layer BD-RE drives will become affordable to consumers than high-capacity tape.
But none of these advantages mean a thing for single-movie discs, and I think that is the content that will ultimately determine which format wins the war.