Tonight Or Appropriately Enough In Japan Er Tonight

Tonight (or appropriately enough in Japan, er tonight…er make that tomorrow), Microsoft and Intel announced their plans to support HD DVD and join the DVD Forum’s HD DVD Group.

Both companies have been undergoing extensive reviews of the competing formats, and have determined that only the HD DVD format delivers unique and crucial advantages, including PC and connected device interoperability, superior capacity, and an easy, affordable transition to HD for consumers. The companies believe HD DVD will bring more high definition video to the consumer faster, with the potential for more affordable hardware and more interactive features than other HD optical formats.

Microsoft and Intel rationalized this by noting the following strengths of the HD DVD format:

    • Managed Copy – A First for DVDs: Managed Copy is a guaranteed feature within HD DVD that gives consumers the freedom to make copies of their discs to a hard drive or home server, including Media Center PCs, and enjoy them in every room of the house over their home networks. HD DVD discs also will allow copies of the movie to be played on portable devices.
      Sean’s take: Imagine that, a balance of consumer and intellectual property holder rights. Yes others are going to belly ache that DRM is evil but come on, give it up- the day DVD was released with CSS, that decision was made. This puts fair-use rights in the hands of the end-user than a draconian DRM system that locks the user out.
    • Future Proof Compatibility: Using HD DVD “hybrid disc” technology, a single disc can store both high definition and standard definition versions of a film, allowing consumers to immediately enjoy the standard definition movies stored on these discs on today’s DVD players, while HD movies can be replayed later on the HD DVD platform. This is an opportunity for consumers to buy discs at launch that “future proof” their collections.
      Sean’s take: Let’s see- multiple formats on a single disc, which means no more accidentally buying the wrong disc like when I bought the pan & scan version of Apocalypse Now: Redux instead of widescreen and they wouldn’t take the return because I opened it? “The horror… the horror.”
    • Proven low-cost, high-volume manufacturing. HD DVD uses the same manufacturing equipment as existing DVDs, meaning that production of HD DVD can ramp extremely quickly and at a very low cost.
      Sean’s take: Ok, so cheaper media. Hopefully this translates to cheaper prices for the consumer.
    • Superior Capacity: HD DVD-ROM discs will offer dual-layer 30GB discs at launch, compared to BD-ROM discs, which will be limited to 25GB.
      Sean’s take: Ok, not a big deal, except when combined with the hybrid feature. Can full-featured (yet locked) versions of the movie’s PC game also be on the way? Hot damn that would be cool. Love the movie? Install the game demo and unlock it right there.
    • Superior Interactivity: HD DVD discs will offer greater interactivity using iHD technology, allowing for enhanced content, navigation, and value added functionality for high definition films. For example, HD DVDs can offer advanced picture-in-picture capability where other video, such as a director’s commentary, could play on top of the movie.
      Sean’s take: That’s great, let’s get back to the putting games on the disc too eh? I think this has real viability, even just related games. Hopefully someone over at Bungie is taking notes here. Major Nelson, pass this over to Pete for when the DVD release of Halo comes out?

For those of us who suffered through the DVD format wars and cringing at the thought of doing the same with High Definition DVD (HD-DVD), this news may be enough to bring all the players together and unify a format before we get to Betamax vs. VHS. Here’s to wishful thinking 😉 What do you think?

9 responses to “Tonight Or Appropriately Enough In Japan Er Tonight”

  1. I wonder how the Managed Copy implentation is going to work, if it’s simple then it will be a big hit, but if means going online to active a new DVD when you get it home I am not sure it will be taken up by the masses

  2. 30 gigs seems like a lot of space on your Media Center hard drive. How will the files be archived in Media Center and what will be the loss of quality.

    How will I be able to replace scratched DVDs that my kids ruin with HD DVD?

  3. The “Managed Copy” feature must use some type of activation system that ties the DVD to the OS. This brings up the problem of recovering from a system failure that requires reinstallation of the OS. Will the “Managed Copy” feature be useless without some type of reactivation? Apple’s iTunes requires a phone call to customer service to recover locked DRM songs. I hope the movie studios do not go that route. Perhaps Windows Vista will have support for this new “Managed Copy” feature and simplify the process.


  4. just say no to hd-dvd Avatar
    just say no to hd-dvd

    HD-DVD is a dead-end. the capacity is too limiting compared to blu-ray. MS is only announcing ‘support’ for HD-DVD as it’s not Sony – otherwise, they should be objective and show support for both. On the other hand, there’s no way that MS will include support for both HD-DVD and blu-ray built into the OS, as MS would then have to play license fees for every copy of Windows that included the functionality…

    die HD-DVD already…

  5. Nice write up although I’ve got to agree with the last post that HD DVD does not provide superior capacity. Single layer HD DVD is 15GB while Blu-ray is 25GB. True, dual layer HD DVD provides 30GB per disc but Blu-ray is working on 8 layer discs with up to 200GB per disc and already has 4 layer 100GB discs.

    The comparison to the Betamax versus VHS wars is right on target. Sony had the initially superior product in Betamax but is making the similar mistakes with Blu-ray (most notably the lack of compatibility with standard DVD) which will ultimately lead to HD DVD as the standard.

    Either one though seems like a fairly modest incremental step forward in optical technology. I’d prefer to wait a bit longer for holographic storage and 1TB discs.

  6. I think that this Managed Copy is a good idea so that I can put it on my home network.

    However, as far as the security is concerned, I want more. Pirates are an issue, but I want new security measures that IDs the electronics so that any copies made won’t work on a friend’s copy. Pirates really do hurt other people, so I think that they need special piracy history, so that unlike DVDs, HD-DVDs will have a feature that allows copies to be made with consumers with good behavior, while a security feature that prevents consumers with bad behavior from making copies. Afterall, good consumers should be rewarded wtih the right to copy their lawfully purchased material. This leads to new innovation, new ways to enjoy media, and more. After all, if we would of allowed people to make personal copies of movies before, than we would have had more usages of movies today.

  7. I think it’ll be really a profitable one to all.

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