HD DVD


After watching the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD competition for a bit, I decided it was time to pull the trigger and add an HD disc player to the home entertainment system.

I chose the Toshiba HD-A30 1080p HD DVD player as it was relatively cheap at $232, in stock (the A35 was not), it can do 1080p, and the reviews are solid. Coincidentally, like my TV, the player came with a copy of the GPL license and is running Linux (can’t find the download link, though).

Overall, HD DVD is a cheaper, simpler, format and the spec is actually complete. Blu-ray seems to be mired in incompleteness and disagreements amongst the consortium behind it. And the players are more expensive ($100 price different between entry level HD DVD and BluRay players).

At this point, it seems unlikely that Blu-Ray will “win”. Even if it does, there is enough critical mass of content on HD DVD, that I won’t run out of content any time soon. As well, I’m certain that the lifespan of this generation of high-def optical discs is limited, to be replaced in the next five years by a shift to online delivery of high definition content. Discs are inconvenient and fragile.

I also picked up The Planet Earth [HD DVD] along with the player (Sorry, Ann).

It is just flat out stunning. It is like watching a nature documentary composed of individual frames shot by a 2 megapixel digital camera. Just gorgeous.

As well, regular DVDs look amazing. The player does an excellent job of upsampling.

Setup was relatively easy in comparison to other similar devices, but catasptrophically stupid in the grand scheme of things. It is inexcusable that a digital device talking over a digital interface (HDMI) to another digital device while being plugged into a wired LAN with DHCP requires any manual setup at all.

The player still hasn’t quite figured out how to talk to the internet. But, unlike Blu-Ray (from what the review’s indicate), the player came out of the box running the full HD-DVD spec and, thus, has no problem playing the limited number of discs I dropped into it.

We also grabbed a copy of Serenity [HD DVD] (impulse buy at Target while obtaining an HDMI cable). Should be amazing. And today, I stumbled upon The Big Lebowski [HD DVD]. SCORE!

I also upgraded our netflix account to automatically deliver HD DVD discs, when available. This, of course, led to a browsing of the HD DVD selection and I was surprised by the quantity of remastered classics available on HD DVD; Blazing Saddles, Trading Places, Animal House, Caddyshack, Being John Malkovich, The Breakfast Club, Army of Darkness, Dune, Happy Gilmore, etc…

(Yes, my notion of “classic” is a bit different than many.)

I’m also looking forward to watching Transformers, What Dreams May Come, and a Scanner Darkly on HD DVD. All three should be flat out visually stunning.



9 Responses to “HD DVD”

  1. n[ate]vw says:

    Glad to see some HD DVD adoption, from all the marketing I thought Blu-Ray had won already. HD DVD looks like a better option for archiving photos as well, being naturally more scratch resistant, unless Blu-Ray’s magical coating ends up being affordable/effective.

  2. Fitz says:

    Looks like HD DVD is starting to break away:

    Google trends: Blu-ray, HD DVD

  3. psu says:

    If you think HDMI is retarded (and it is) look at the setup instructions for your average audio/video receiver these days.

    It never ceases to amaze me that setting up a device to play audio recordings can be harder than the entire network for a workgroup (which, by the way, takes 3 or 4 steps and requires no manual).

    Look at it this way: as long as the home theater crowd is around, they will make even the worst computer user interfaces look awesome.

  4. digdog says:

    If you can get some japanese import HD DVD titles, you will be surprised on some of their fancy menu designs beside the HD video/audio that already shocked you.

  5. digdog says:

    Also, if you like “Planet Earth”, don’t missed “映像詩 里山 命めぐる水辺“, “夜桜 京都・東北編” and “さくら

  6. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » HD DVD: End of Week 1 says:

    […] It has now been nearly a week since we added an HD DVD player to the home entertainment system. […]

  7. n[ate]vw says:

    Hmmm, maybe Blu-ray’s dominance wasn’t just marketing polish: http://www.macrumors.com/2008/01/04/hd-dvd-vs-blu-ray-battle-over-warner-switches-to-blu-ray/

  8. HD DVD says:

    […] HD DVD the consortium behind it. And the players are more expensive ($100 price different between entry level HD DVD and BluRay players). At this point, it seems unlikely that Blu-Ray will “win”. Even if it does, there is enough critical mass of content on HD DVD, that I won’t […]

  9. mike says:

    Looks like the blu ray battle continues on. Funny how that is something industry can’t agree on while they continue to lose share directly to the internet. You are right, in about 5 years, maybe even less, the who thing will be moot.

    BTW- I loved transformers on regular DVD, and wish I had seen it in the theatres as the cinema and effects were soo cool and clear….You must have loved it on the HD DVD

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