Blu-Ray vs. DVD: The New Format War?

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
Here's an interesting article:

With HD DVD now buried six feet under and all major Hollywood studios onboard in the Blu-ray camp, the stars are aligned for next-generation format sales to finally take off. Surprisingly, prices aren’t falling, and customers still aren’t buying.

The War Has Just Begun

Don’t laugh, Blu-ray vs. DVD is really THE new format war. When comparing specs from Blu-ray and DVD players, on paper, Blu-ray has a clear advantage. But on the field, it’s a different story. Truth is, there are many reasons why consumers are happy with the traditional DVD format:

  • They barely see the audio/video improvement
  • They already own a DVD player
  • DVD Players are much cheaper to buy
  • DVDs are 30% to 40% cheaper than Blu-ray disks
  • Video stores have considerably more DVDs for rental
  • While this one may seem odd, the fact that DVDs are easier to copy also plays in favor of the old poorly protected format
Upconverting DVD Players: Simply Too Good?

If you want to take your DVD collection to the next level on your sexy high-definition television, get yourself an upscalling DVD player, also known as an up-converter, such as the Sony DVP-NS700H/B, the OPPO DV-980H or the Panasonic DVD-S54K. Equipped with an HDMI cable, these players upscale the 480p signal to 1080i/1080p by using complex maths to improve color ratios, contrasts and the overall picture quality. Of course, with a native signal of 480p, they cannot beat the native resolution of a Blu-ray disk that’s 1080p. But the wow effect is not significant enough to make people drop 400 bucks (and up) on a Blu-ray player.

Not Enough Bang For The Buck

This is where DVDs overtake Blu-ray by a mile. Looking at the concept of bang for the buck from a mathematical and graphical perspective, we understand that when prices go up, devices usually provide more features. At a certain price though, quality cannot sustain value as cost increases substantially, while the product itself has less and less to offer. DVDs and up-converting DVD players are comfortably sitting in the bang for the buck area of the graph, while Blu-ray has not yet fallen from the overpriced zone.

Christmas 2008

While many of you may be tempted to wait for the holiday season before taking the next-generation format highway, experts are expecting no significant decrease in price in the upcoming months. Surprisingly, Blu-ray prices have gone up since the death of HD-DVD. Also, the rising price of oil increases transportation costs, and directly impacts the production of plastic.

The format war is far from being over, and the economical situation resulting may restrain the Blu-ray group from making it to your living room. All things considered, DVD may end up being a stronger contender than HD DVD ever was.

http://www.reuters.com/article/blog...4Y8V&bbParentWidgetId=B8jR2GIu7TLKBj1N4Ufg5Sg

I've been saying this to friends all along. The average consumer isn't going to get into Blu-ray until you can get cheap players in places like Asda and even then they have to upgrade at least their TV to take advantage of it, and that's if they can get past the fact that to this audience the jump from DVD isn't that noticeable, especially with the cost involved.
 

deckingman

Well-known Member
Yes I think there is a lot of truth there. Personnaly, the only reason I'll be looking at blue ray is to take advantage of the new HD audio formats, and that is only because I'm one of the small percentage of the general population with the equipment which can handle them. To this end, for me at least, the price of both the players and discs need to fall dramaticaly.

But I guess, as with most things, a lot will depend on marketting hype which may convince "joe public" that this is what he has to have to make the most of his new HD or HD ready TV (that he has probably already bought).
 

nil102

Active Member
I can agree with that.I have a PS3 and have been so busy watching upscaled DVD`s that I have only bought about 10 Blu-Ray discs compared to my 70+DVD`s.I do think the Blu-ray discs "look" better when compared to a upscaled DVD of the same film,but am not prepared to pay 3 times as much for that benefit.Lower the prices and I will buy some more...Perhaps..The problem with HD in general is that we are being educated to watch the picture and listen to the sound rather than watch the film!
 

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
It's not really the 'new' format war as the the war always was High-def vs SD DVD.

In my opinion the demise of HD-DVD has done more harm to the High-def cause as two forebearers were better than one.

Whilst High-def is technically superior the market is awash with cheap upscaling players and upscaling panels that make a great fist of SD material. The consumer is not convinced massively so otherwise.

Add to it the prices involved and the whole thing is no longer black or white. It's all becomes a distinct shade of grey.
 
D

Deleted member 241106

Guest
Add to it the prices involved and the whole thing is no longer black or white. It's all becomes a distinct shade of grey.

Add to that the poor quality HD transfers on many Blu Ray discs that looks no different to upscaled SD :thumbsdow
 

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
Yes, in the chase to win the consumer some titles have not been given the full on transfer treatment.

Trying to convince consumers to buy their favourite films 'yet again' on a newer format is not easy to begin with anyway. If it's all based around quality then the quality needs to be evident.
 

saguk1234

Well-known Member
I remember back in the days (1997 I think) when I went into a Sony Centre to buy a £700 715 dvd player. And the dvds (Jerry Maguire and Jumanji) cost about £25 each!
The same that is being said about blu-ray now were said about dvd in those days too. It will take time but blu-ray is here to stay and the prices of blu-ray players seem to be dropping quicker than the dvd player prices back in 1997. However I went to Zavvi (aka Virgin Megastore) and their prices of their blu-rays are from £13 to £35!!!
 

cinemagary

Active Member
I have been collecting DVD's since 1998 and have about 160 and have always checked at least 3 review sites including this one to see what rating the picture and sound quality are before purchasing a title.

I have a good DVD player that upscales and most of my DVD's look great, I will wait to get a Blu-Ray Player in October when they are all singing all dancing onboard decoing of DTS-HD and DOLBY-HD.

I am currently buying region free Blu-Ray Disc's for when I get my player in October and replacing some of my DVD's where the picture quality is (poor mosquito noise haloing etc), I am again checking at least 3 review sites before making a purchase of Blu-Ray Discs.
 

DeadKenny

Active Member
I've thought this all along, although I'd say "HD" vs DVD is no war at all. It's just niche formats trying to break into the world of DVD.

Thing is, whilst we got carried away arguing between HD DVD and Blu-Ray, the reality is that the vast majority of the real population out there have small standard def TVs and would see no benefit to HD. They also have little interest in buying a huge TV to see the benefit of HD (and personally I believe you need at least 40" to really appreciate HD unless you sit very close to your TV).

Now usually at this point people trot out that all the TVs on sale in Dixons, Currys, Comet, etc are HD TVs. The problem is you cannot conclude that therefore everyone has or is buying HD TVs. What's in the shops is just what is available should you actually want to buy a new TV.

I mean, most people likely have a little TV tucked away in the corner of the living room that they've had for 10 years. Some have widescreen TVs that they bought in the last 5 years and have no intention to replace them.

Remember too that "most people" aren't the male 20 to 30-somethings who frequent AV and DVD forums. They include kids who are happy with a small TV in the bedroom and a vast amount of middle aged and old people who have no interest in home cinema.

Bang them over the head about how much better it is and they still wouldn't be interested in it.

Convenience is what really sold DVD. Small (and supposedly at the time indestructable) shiny discs vs big bulky tapes that took up shelf space (inconvenient in the home and for retailers) which frequently would be chewed up.

Second to that was just the fact that VHS was so crap, and DVD really was night and day quality. Problem with HD is DVD isn't crap, and is around broadcast quality, and upscalers make it better still.

As much as I'd like HD to take off, I don't feel it really will any time in the next 5 years.

Given we're only just moving towards digital SD telly and that's a struggle, I can't see we'll all be getting broadcast TV in HD as standard anywhere within 10 years. Without everyone getting HD broadcasts the majority of the public doesn't see so much need to "buy" HD.

What will happen though probably is the majority of people will eventually have HD ready TVs. This won't happen overnight though and still the problem is most people are clueless about HD and think that they have HD already if they have an HD TV.

Which leaves Blu-Ray really of only interest to those who really understand it, and still currently limited to PS3 owners until such time we get truly cheap players that aren't seen as games consoles by Joe Public (even though yes a PS3 is much more, but Joe Public doesn't understand that).

The danger is that if Blu-Ray remains niche for a long time it could become another laserdisc whilst something else comes along. Yes, even downloads. I know it's dismissed a lot and broadband quality is poor, but a lot can happen in 5 years (and look at how much broadband speeds have improved). More likely though is that low quality downloads will take preference over HD quality. That's what's happening with music sadly.
 

DolbyDan

Well-known Member
Hi,

I have been recently been upgrading my setup with Blu-Ray, in mind.

My gfs brother has got a 360 HD-DVD drive and with his 42" LG 720p Plasma gives a very good picture quality, with films like Chronicles of Riddick, Batman Begins etc Sound quality was a tad better, but it wasn't lossless just DTS 1.5.

My cousin has just brought his PS3 round with Hitman on Blu-Ray. Hitman got a 8/10 for PQ from AVForums review http://avplay.avforums.com/index.php?showtitlereview=9233. I was at least expecting PQ of the standard of the 360 HD-DVD drive, considering the PS3 uses HDMI, is rated very highly for PQ and my 42" Panasonic 720p Plasma is better than the LG (I know that my Panasonic is capable of amazing PQ with HD material as I have watched a few HD films (Rocky Balboa, Transformers, The Departed etc) converted to WMV-HD on my 360).

Hitman picture quality was in my opinion and my cousins no better or worse than a good DVD (which was proved once I tested the PS3s up-scaling quality against my Panasonic DVD player, with Transformers). I played around with different resolutions, but it just didn't look any different to DVD quality. Surely this is no fault to the PS3 or is it? The film did get 8/10 for PQ, if this was a DVD I would give it 9/10, as its meant to be HD I give it 5/10.

Sound quality I must say is the saving grace, awesome! :thumbsup: The film's soundtrack is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and I must say it blew me away with the level of detail and clarity, the realism of sound, bass tighter, surround effects tighter. The voices are so clear and realistic, the guns especially the silencers have so much punch to them, the most realistic gun effects I have heard. The film for audio is a treat to be hold.

On for what I was looking for I was more expecting to get wowed by the PQ but for the dissappoint, the SQ certainly made up for it. Once I upgrade my subwoofer my next purchase will be a PS3, anyone after a 360?
 

berkeley384

Well-known Member
Hi,

I have been recently been upgrading my setup with Blu-Ray, in mind.

My gfs brother has got a 360 HD-DVD drive and with his 42" LG 720p Plasma gives a very good picture quality, with films like Chronicles of Riddick, Batman Begins etc Sound quality was a tad better, but it wasn't lossless just DTS 1.5.

My cousin has just brought his PS3 round with Hitman on Blu-Ray. Hitman got a 8/10 for PQ from AVForums review http://avplay.avforums.com/index.php?showtitlereview=9233. I was at least expecting PQ of the standard of the 360 HD-DVD drive, considering the PS3 uses HDMI, is rated very highly for PQ and my 42" Panasonic 720p Plasma is better than the LG (I know that my Panasonic is capable of amazing PQ with HD material as I have watched a few HD films (Rocky Balboa, Transformers, The Departed etc) converted to WMV-HD on my 360).

Hitman picture quality was in my opinion and my cousins no better or worse than a good DVD (which was proved once I tested the PS3s up-scaling quality against my Panasonic DVD player, with Transformers). I played around with different resolutions, but it just didn't look any different to DVD quality. Surely this is no fault to the PS3 or is it? The film did get 8/10 for PQ, if this was a DVD I would give it 9/10, as its meant to be HD I give it 5/10.

Sound quality I must say is the saving grace, awesome! :thumbsup: The film's soundtrack is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and I must say it blew me away with the level of detail and clarity, the realism of sound, bass tighter, surround effects tighter. The voices are so clear and realistic, the guns especially the silencers have so much punch to them, the most realistic gun effects I have heard. The film for audio is a treat to be hold.

On for what I was looking for I was more expecting to get wowed by the PQ but for the dissappoint, the SQ certainly made up for it. Once I upgrade my subwoofer my next purchase will be a PS3, anyone after a 360?

I haven't seen Hitman, but what I will advise is that (IMO) many people come on here and suggest that the difference is small between BD & DVD, but on some films you have to ask yourself what is there that you expect to see jump out and smack you saying wow look at how good a picture this is...

Take for example the Simpsons movie, fabulous colours that make DVD look shameful, bright primary colours that make you realise the clarity available in High Def, then compare this to something like Tears of the Sun which lots of it are filmed at night and in the jungle making it harder for the picture to really POP ! if you get my meaning.

OK maybe not the best two films to use an example but I hope you get what Im getting at - My PS3 often makes mit sit there thinking WOW that looks fantastic, some movies just look ok, normal, good but its the way in which the film is made / shot that just doesnt have any WOW factor , the sharpness and the clarity is still there but it just doesnt have anything about it that says WOW ..

Hope this makes sence, Ive been pained and possibly affected by fumes :cool:
 

phelly

Novice Member
The SACD v DVD-Audio war was one CD! SACD produced a much better sound on the right (expensive) equipment. But CD is very close behind with good equipement too. Not so good on an Alba CD Player, but they still sell...

IMHO I think the war has only lasted this long due to the PS3. Without it, I suspect the war would be already over.

Yes BD is far superior than DVD, but if quality really mattered to the mass market, no one would ever buy a £20 DVD player! Yet they outsell BD players by miles...
 

iain1970

Standard Member
I'd say one bright spot for Blu-ray is the poor quality of a lot of older DVDs. I've a got a fair number of titles that are non-anamorphic and I'll make an effort to replace them when they appear at a decent price.
 

DolbyDan

Well-known Member
I haven't seen Hitman, but what I will advise is that (IMO) many people come on here and suggest that the difference is small between BD & DVD, but on some films you have to ask yourself what is there that you expect to see jump out and smack you saying wow look at how good a picture this is...

Take for example the Simpsons movie, fabulous colours that make DVD look shameful, bright primary colours that make you realise the clarity available in High Def, then compare this to something like Tears of the Sun which lots of it are filmed at night and in the jungle making it harder for the picture to really POP ! if you get my meaning.

OK maybe not the best two films to use an example but I hope you get what I'm getting at - My PS3 often makes mit sit there thinking WOW that looks fantastic, some movies just look ok, normal, good but its the way in which the film is made / shot that just doesn't have any WOW factor , the sharpness and the clarity is still there but it just doesn't have anything about it that says WOW ..

Hope this makes sence, Ive been pained and possibly affected by fumes :cool:

Well like I said, the picture quality of the WMV-HD films and HD-DVD films did make me WOW, but I was just expecting more from a film that gets an 8/10 for PQ in an unbiased review. What I look for is the much improved colours and 3d effect the extra res gives, but Hitman had neither :thumbsdow and I was wondering if this was just a downside to the PS3 or the actual film.
 

shagaboopon

Well-known Member
Surprise surpirse, as many HD-DVD supporters were saying Bluray prices wouldn't drop if it died look at the scenario we're left with. Mass adaptation was never going to happen until the price point was right and with no HD-DVD to artificially drive the prices down we will all suffer now as the Bluray groups keep prices high to increase their profits. With HD-DVD still around I reckon we would have had high penetration inside of 2 years, as others have said it could be 5 years or more now (if indeed ever).
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
I think people are missing the point. There will never be another DVD or CD format that dominates as they did. HD will always be a slower burner simply because you first need an HDTV and then some kind of HD source, unlike DVD or even CD, which only required an analogue input.

The rise of online downloads will always mean that no one media will dominate going forward.

As to the argument that 2 HD formats benefited the consumer, I'm sorry, that's just wishful thinking. Not ONE studio on either side priced themselves noticably lower than any other. Sony Pictures had arguably the lowest prices, Fox as usual just took the p***. Neither HD-DVD or BD could claim the moral ground on software prices, both were high compared to DVD.

As for hardware, yes HD-DVD players were cheaper but not because that was what they really cost. If HD-DVD players turned a profit at their incredibly low prices then there would have been NO NEED for Toshiba to pull out so quickly. They were artifically low, and not a single other manufacturer produced an HD-DVD player as a result.

We are now suffering from an unrealistic expectation on player prices that no-one can meet, and have nothing at the high end either, because everyone wants a profile 2.0 BD player at £200.

Anyone who thinks BD vs DVD is the new format war is in for a rude awakening. It's far more complicated than that. DVD is going nowhere and neither are downloads in a variety of formats. The only question is what percentage of market share will each take.
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
I largely agree with the article, but what war?

Was there a 'war' between LaserDisc and VHS? I don't think so - I think many people with VHS were happy enough with it, compared to the bulky, expensive LD discs and players. LD owners were people with higher-end kit who were happy to pay the extra. That's how Blu-ray Disc is with SD DVD.

The difference is that LD & VHS were totally incompatible. With BD you can still play your old SD DVDs. As prices of players drop, people will buy a BD player as their next SD DVD upscaler. If the disc prices drop they might even buy some of those!

We already have a 2.0 player on sale in the US for $350, and a 1.1 model for under $300. Prices will fall, and I think the public will sleepwalk into high def by default.

A shame about HD DVD, as it was cheaper quicker, and might have speeded up adoption sooner. But that's history, HD DVD is no more, and Blu-ray Disc has won.

I'm sure there are enough BD owners to keep the format going, even if the user base didn't expand much.

Sony Pictures had arguably the lowest prices, Fox as usual just took the p***.

One of the more pleasing aspects of BD is the appearence of catalogue Sony titles for c.£13. :smashin: Fox can cram their prices up their fat, hairy backsides. :thumbsdow

I think the format war did help bring player prices down, but I agree the discs are still a little steep.

Steve W
 

Chappers78

Active Member
It's now making me chuckle that adverts for films that are out on blu-ray in the UK are now being marketed as "Hi-Def Blu-Ray". I thought detractors were saying that HD-DVD was too much of a mouthful.
 
D

Deleted member 36193

Guest
I have to agree with most of what's been said so far.
Yes there can be a huge difference between BR and SD. It would be stupid to say otherwise. But it's not as big a difference as there was from VHS to DVD.
Also, DVD is easy to understand. Put the disc in after connecting up to the telly with one lead, and you're off. Better picture by miles.
BR is different. The discs are the same size, and you can connect up with one lead if you wish. But even I'm confused about the different levels of BR compatibility (1.0, 1.1, 2.0), and I read up about it.
I have about 1100 DVD's in the SD collection, and was a very early adopter of DVD. So I'm sitting firmly in BR's target audience. But I'm not tempted yet to jump into Blu Ray.
And when I do, I will not replace any of my SD's, just buy new titles on BR. Maybe if the distributors set up a trade in system I'd get into it quicker than I otherwise will?
The players are far too expensive.
The discs are extortionately priced.
The best new releases this year have been very poor as entertainment anyway-I haven't bought any on release yet, only when they hit the sales. When I can buy a new film (new to me-after all if I haven't seen it, it's a new release) for £3, why would I spend over £20 on a film which may not be better quality than SD because of the poor transfer etc? I've got plenty of DVD's where the quality is no better than VHS, and I don't want to be fleeced again by BR.
I'll wait until there are plenty of discs in the sales under a tenner, and the players are £100. Without that scenario, I will probably never switch.
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
Yes there can be a huge difference between BR and SD. It would be stupid to say otherwise. But it's not as big a difference as there was from VHS to DVD.

All I'd add to that is that, whilst there can be a big difference between SD & HD on a large, well set-up display, the difference on a 32" (or smaller) poorly set-up (out of the box factory settings?) display, in an average UK lounge (maybe 3-5m away) is going to be pretty small.

Overselling high def will go down as a big mistake. It's not helped by some people in the A/V community, for whom hyperbole appears to be second nature.

Steve W
 

Magic_Rat

Standard Member
All I'd add to that is that, whilst there can be a big difference between SD & HD on a large, well set-up display, the difference on a 32" (or smaller) poorly set-up (out of the box factory settings?) display, in an average UK lounge (maybe 3-5m away) is going to be pretty small.

Overselling high def will go down as a big mistake. It's not helped by some people in the A/V community, for whom hyperbole appears to be second nature.

Steve W

I would add to this that a lot of content does not benefit that much from improved picture and sound, most comedy or drama, hell anything character driven, can be enjoyed just as well in SD.

The audio improvements can only be appreciated if ( and that's a big if ) you have a high end audio set-up. The majority of Joe Publics' living rooms, probably, do not have multi-speaker sound systems and often when they do it is a £100 out of the box thing that was given away with the TV with limited capabilities DD5.1 at best.

I can't see Bluray prices for discs or players moving down any time soon, the players will remain reletively expensive as the format is a long way from mass market and prices reflect a share of development costs per player.

The studios are marketing the discs as a premium product with a mark-up to reflect this, perhaps in year or two there will be enough back catalogue to drag prices down to a sensible level.

As for the furure, who knows? The next " Super Dooper Hi-Definition " (TM) may be released in Japan then all bets would be off. :suicide:
 

paulst10

Distinguished Member
As for the furure, who knows? The next " Super Dooper Hi-Definition " (TM) may be released in Japan then all bets would be off. :suicide:

That would be Ultra HD then ;)

makes a 1080p resoultion seem a little small doesnt it ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:UHDV.svg#file :D

Although the screens have to a certain size apparently, Samsung are working on an 82" Ultra HD screen with a 3840 x 2160 resolution :eek: http://gizmodo.com/342997/concept-samsung-82+inch-lcd-worlds-largest-ultra-high+definition The way technolgy is rapidly evolving, I cant imagine Bluray lasting as long as DVD has :(
 

Magic_Rat

Standard Member
That would be Ultra HD then ;)

makes a 1080p resoultion seem a little small doesnt it ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:UHDV.svg#file :D

Although the screens have to a certain size apparently, Samsung are working on an 82" Ultra HD screen with a 3840 x 2160 resolution :eek: http://gizmodo.com/342997/concept-samsung-82+inch-lcd-worlds-largest-ultra-high+definition The way technolgy is rapidly evolving, I cant imagine Bluray lasting as long as DVD has :(

Crikey charlie! that screen is a monster. Sadly, we seem to lag behind our Japanese cousins by about 10 years :eek:
 

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