HD DVD dead. Let’s move on.

jobshd.jpgRemember more than two years ago when Apple CEO, Steve Jobs held the Sony’s HVR-FX1 HDV camcorder up on stage and called it “The year of HD.”

Here we are several years later and, mostly because of the protracted “format war” between HD DVD and Blu-ray, we have been left with almost everyone sitting on the proverbial fence.

The war’s over folks. There’s only one direction to go and it’s been picked for us. 

dvdsp.jpgThe real irony to Toshiba’s announcement to the end of HD DVD’s future is that Apple had (despite Jobs inviting Sony Chairman Nobuyuki Idei on stage with him) picked HD DVD as the only way for Apple DVD Studio Pro users to distribute HDTV- by putting HD video onto a standard DVD.

This is something Toshiba has also toyed with (as I mentioned before) but, despite the incredible efficiency of the new codecs that make this quite doable, nobody seems to be pursuing it with any real effort.vardia-488x147.png

Toshiba itself developed and released a HDTV on DVD (red) recorder, but the release was limited. Maybe they didn’t want to hinder adoption of their own HD DVD (blue) format. Perhaps, since they don’t need to worry about that any more, they could pursue this HD on red DVD again. At least the media is nice and cheap.

bdburn.jpgToshiba’s HD DVD denouement clears the way for every manufacturer to integrate Blu-ray in a big way. One nice feature to starting now is that Blu-ray burners are already down to a few hundred bucks– a far cry from what they were at the outset of this bitter embroilment. There’s no reason for every single desktop and tower made from here on out to not include a Blue-ray burner.

Moreover, with the end of over-the-air broadcast analogue TV, and for the most part, the end of SD TV at home, it sure would be nice to swap out our DVD recorders with Blu-ray recorders. Over in the east, there are numerous HDTV recorders, including those that will let you burn your favorite HD shows to optical disk. Many of these were shown at the Consumer Electronics Show under glass. pannybdburn.jpgDecks like this Panasonic Blu-ray recorder also feature internal hard drives for convenient time-shifting of shows. Then you can burn only the ones you really want to keep.

BD-R 4X drives. HE mode in the hard disk recording high-definition one-hour program, the BD-R 4X corresponding to approximately 23 times (about 2 minutes and 35 seconds) can be fast dub, traditional hard disk recording mode DR 1 hour program, and about 8 times (approximately 7 minutes 30 seconds) it is possible to dub.

pdw-f75deck.gifFrom a production standpoint, it would be wonderful to have a more affordable HDTV record deck than the $16,000 Sony PDW-F75. For certain productions, we need to be able to record right to media we can hand to a client and be done with it. It’s not going to be HD DVD any more. So, unless Toshiba pursues the HD on a DVD (red) that they already have for sale elsewhere, then we’re all going blu.

Yes. I’m well aware that home Blu-ray recorders are not recording the same thing as XDCAM decks. pfd-23.gifBut with 50 GB Blu-ray disks basically being common media between the two formats there’s little stopping any deck manufacturer from recording a really high bitrate onto the media. I actually prefer cartridges to keep fingers, dust and scratches off the optical disk. I can’t tell you how many DVD’s (which use a much wider and comparatively robust signal) have been rendered completely unplayable by scratches. Sure, you can buff off the top layer of plastic to try and ameliorate the optical imperfections, but I’d rather use a system that prevents all that in the first place. We need it to work reliably, every time.

It’s time for those hardware designers and integrators at the forefront of media technology to move to gear that actually is the forefront of technology. Bring on the Blu.


7 thoughts on “HD DVD dead. Let’s move on.

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  1. Well, Microsoft DID include HD DVD. And bear in mind, Blu Ray is much more expensive for companies like Apple to license and more difficult to develop authoring software for than HD DVD was. Just to keep the facts straight. Apple has been working on Blu Ray, but to get it right is not quite as easy. I sure hope the standards will be finalized and registered with the DVD Consortium soon.

    My big question is, which I would have thought a blog for Event Videographers would have discussed are the very expensive duplication/replication licensing restrictions Blu Ray’s DRM company has come up with. Any word on clearing up that mess?

  2. Sure Blu Ray is great, but for content creators it’s a nightmare! Unless you are a Hollywood studio you will not be allowed to join the club; unless, that is, you can pony up the more than $5000 to get a license and continue to pay a royalty on every DVD you sell. As BenB stated, the DRM situation is intolerable, but don’t expect Hollywood to cut you any slack, Ben. DRM was their plan all along.

    Because of this, I would expect that a Blu Ray R/W drive in a G5 will always be an option and not a standard feature. As a member of the committee that developed BR, Steve Jobs really let us down this time.

    Blu Ray is going to be a nice storage medium for us, nothing more.

  3. I’ve been a fan of both formats, but I was getting really tired of the format war. This has slowed down progress & prevented me from investing in either of the formats for content creation. I’ve been doing video editing on Sony Vegas 7 & it supports Blu-Ray burning. but it’s extremly limited, with not chapter creation, menus, etc. I’ve looking into a more robust Blu-Ray authoring software & the high end software such as Sony’s Blu Print Blu-Ray authoring Software, but at $50,000 per license, that’s just not justifiable right now. My main DVD authoring Software is Sony DVD Architect which come bundled with Sony Vegas.

    I would really like to see some more robust Blu-Ray authoring software which my business could utilize, but not a $50,000 price. I see so much potential with Blu-Ray. i would like to invest in a Blu-ray Burner for my PC & I would love to get a great Blu-ray Professional authoring Program, but I think I’ll wait around & see what the manufactures will be bringing to the content creators market. It’s sad to see Hd-DVD go, it would’ve been nice to see a disc format that could have both Blu-ray & HD-DVD combined on one disc & a drive that could read or write both formats!!!

    But anyway, I’m just waiting to see more Professional Blu-Ray Authoring software at an affordable price.

  4. “Moreover, with the end of over-the-air broadcast analogue TV, and for the most part, the end of SD TV at home, it sure would be nice to swap out our DVD recorders with Blu-ray recorders.”
    Not so fast…not everybody at home is going total HD and Blu-ray in February 2009. At least not all at once. Don’t forget that satellite TV will continue to provide SD transmission to subscribers, so we don’t all have to rush out and get all new hardware because the analog goes away over the air. Yeah HD is the fantastic, but the reality of what the mainstream media says and what people are buying is happening at the speed of the market and people’s paychecks…

  5. There’s a nice article in the Wall Street Journal about Toshiba’s decision to pull out of the format war.

    Mr. Nishida: I didn’t think we stood a chance after Warner left us because it meant HD DVD would have just 20% to 30% of software market share. One has to take calculated risks in business, but it’s also important to switch gears immediately if you think your decision was wrong. We were doing this to win, and if we weren’t going to win then we had to pull out, especially since consumers were already asking for a single standard.

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