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DVD-A dead?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by paiger, Mar 1, 2002.

  1. paiger

    paiger
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    In HCC this month there is an interesting piece about Sony and SACD. It looks like it's winning the battle with DVD-A as there are many more titles about. Manufactureres are reported to have gone cold on DVD-A as well. I was previously of the opinion that SACD would be the looser. I kind of hope it does win as it's supposed to be the better technology, not had any experience myself though. I've been holding off getting a new player for a while until we see a winner. If I was to do anything it would be one that could play both. Bit of a shame if you've spent a grand on a DVD-A player though. Pains of the early adopter I spose.

    S
     
  2. Nic Rhodes

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    Dead no but certainly crippled, mind you I don't think SACD is much better IMHO.

    Could be two dead ducks here:(
     
  3. encaser

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    Throw blue lasers into the mix (supposed release end next year) and further confusion/buyers beware. How many units are we to buy at this rate? So much for the old ideal of a future multi-purpose unit. But then ideals are just that in a comercial market.
     
  4. museumsteve

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    I've just about given up on DVD-A, had my Pioneer 939-A for a few months now and have had enough of Metallica & The Corrs to last a life time. I still get more play time out of DTS audio discs..
    gutted..but as you say..early adopters and all that...:(
     
  5. GarethH

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    Buying a Pioneer 747A i have bought into both markets. However, i don't think the companies are doing enough to market the product. Saying that though, whats the point in marketing the little range thats available.

    I don't know if you remember, but DVD-Video got off to a slow start!

    Anyway, what they need to do is!

    1) Every new album that gets released should be available on DVD-A or SACD!

    2) Ensure that popular artists released either DVD-A or SACD discs!

    3) Market the product a bit more

    4) Keep SACD and DVD-A at the same price as CD's!
     
  6. MarkB

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    Sony has learned through experience how to make a format survive by forcing it through – like mini disc. Sony's approach for SACD is to integrate playback functionality into their DVD players and to release SACD titles, steadily but surely.

    Eventually I suspect that we will see DVD-Audio playback filter down to budget DVD player models from China etc which will add to the awareness of the format, and people will suddenly realise that they can play the new DVD format.

    In the long term I don't believe that the formats will die because the record companies will become anxious to use a non copy-able format such as DVD-Audio or SACD. This is as soon as they decide on a format.

    Mark
     
  7. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Guys,

    Whenever I talk to other contributors of HCC, they always say that DVD-Audio is a dead duck, or at least that’s the impression they give. Alvin Gold is largely to blame, since he appears to have an inherent dislike of music with any more than two channels.

    But, I’m here in the midst of DVD-Audio (and SACD) having recently launched High Fidelity Review - http://www.highfidelityreview.com/ - and we’re absolutely snowed under with software from a whole host of labels.

    Sure, you have to know where to look for discs – let’s face it your local Our Price doesn’t even have any DTS music titles stock – but once that’s taken care of, there should be enough titles to keep everyone happy. And you don’t have to be in America, since many small European labels are releasing software in both formats.

    Contrary to what some would have you believe, there are a fair number of superb discs, so in my mind the supposed doom and gloom is grossly over-stated.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  8. Rob

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    I think both formats are going to have a hard time surviving in the current climate. Most people now seem to have bought into the idea of DVD video and its easy to see why. You can pick up players and discs cheaply and see a great deal of improvement over VHS in every way. A high resolution sound format was always going to be harder to push. Many people don't have a system that would get the full benefit anyway, and with the price of hardware and software being higher, and thin on the ground its tough for many people to justify. DVD video survived because of the big advantages. I think it will be a while before there is a thriving SACD/ DVDA market, whichever comes out on top.

    Rob.
     
  9. Matt F

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    Will DVD-A and SACD take off? The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that they won't. I hope that I will be proved wrong but I just can't see it.

    Why not? Because they need to have mainstream appeal - Mr Average has got to crave DVD-A and SACD before we will see the shelves of Virgin/HMV stacked full of DVD-A and SACD titles.

    Mr Average is just getting into DVD players now that he can buy one for £100 or so. He can play DVD-V and all his old CDs on this machine. He loves the picture quality of DVD-V but he probably hasn't heard the benefits of DD/DTS sound yet - when he does it will blow him away. If he wants surround sound music he'll buy a music DVD-V.

    Tell Mr Average that he can get even better stereo/surround sound quality with DVD-A and SACD but that in order to do this he'll have to replace his DVD player, buy lots of new software (replace many of his CDs) and, in some cases, give up the video that goes with the surround sound and he's likely to say "Thanks but no thanks - I'm more than happy with things the way they are".

    The reason CD was so successful is that what went before it was fragile and inconvenient - music search and auto-reverse on tape decks was about as good as it got. CDs came along offering better sound quality than budget (non-audiophile) turntables/tape decks, a huge amount of convenience (skip to track x, random play etc) and were/are pretty much unbreakable.

    Millions of CD players and billions of CDs have been sold. Many thousands of DVD-V players and probably 20 times that number of DVD-V discs have been sold. What does DVD-A or SACD offer to the man in the street in addition to what he's already got with CD and DVD-V? I think the answer is "nothing".
     
  10. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Rob,

    I’m not sure there will ever be a huge market for either DVD-Audio or SACD, just as there will never be a mainstream market for Lexicon or Meridian processors. But there is enough momentum behind each for them to become the choice of all discerning listeners and those in-the-know – such as the people on this board.

    DTS and especially Dolby Digital have both been ‘dumbed-down’ for the mass-market DVD-Video audience, with soundtrack dynamics and low frequency content deliberately curtailed for the sake of the lowest common playback denominator; I’m just hoping that this never happens to either DVD-Audio or SACD, even if that means the two formats have to remain in the audiophile ‘fringe’.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  11. Rob

    Rob
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  12. MarkB

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    That's what they said about DVD-Video!
    Mark
     
  13. paiger

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    Just out of interest, can SACD or DVD-A disks be played on a standard DVD player to get high quality 2 channel sound? If they can then I can see them surviving but if not then who knows.

    S
     
  14. gavan

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    Many SACD disks are on 'hybrid' media meaning that one layer is a regular CD (and playable by any CD player and presumably DVD player in CD playing mode) whereas there is a second SACD layer which can be read by SACD players.

    I understand that most DVD-A discs also contain a two channel stereo (or even multichannel) Dolby Digital mix which is playable via the audio outs on any DVD player.


    I think the SACD approach is the best - people can buy albums in advance of getting the equipment and play them on their CD player in full CD quality. Then when they get the proper hardware later, they can enjoy them with SACD quality.


    Gav
     
  15. MarkB

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    Agreed. Also, if Sony and others made it known more publicly that these discs can be played in normal CD players it could go along way to securing the format.

    Interestingly though – if you have a decent DVD-Video player you can play hybrid SACDs that contain the CD track and DVD-Audio discs that have the Dolby Digital or dts tracks.

    Mark
     
  16. rigman

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    That would be great if the discs were similarly priced but the cheapest I have seen SACD's is £25. It is a lot dearer than normal CD's which can be bought for £8.99 from the net. They should drop the price to half that and make more available then the format will definately be a winner.

    Darren
     
  17. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Gavan,

    “I think the SACD approach is the best - people can buy albums in advance of getting the equipment and play them on their CD player in full CD quality. Then when they get the proper hardware later, they can enjoy them with SACD quality.”

    Just one problem; all that approach gets you is CD quality and two-channel reproduction, so to return to another aspect of this discussion, why would Joe Public bother? I can’t see the average consumer going into a store and purchasing an SACD disc if he/she hasn’t got a player, the CD version will be £10 cheaper and sound exactly the same.

    DVD-Audio has the advantage of being playable on all DVD-Video machines, and that means a big step-up for Joe Public from what’s available on CD, since he’s going to be getting a multi-channel mix, even if it is DTS or Dolby Digital (to answer Paiger’s question).

    SACD would have a distinct advantage if DVD-Video were a fringe format, but these days DVD-Video players are everywhere and in multi-channel systems, whereas most CD players are in two-channel installations.

    Incidentally, SACD discs can be troublesome to replay on DVD-Video machines, sometimes they’ll work, and sometimes they won’t.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  18. paiger

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    Thanks Stuart. So, are you saying that I could buy a DVD-A disk and it may have the same recording in DD or DTS on it as well?
     
  19. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Paiger,

    “So, are you saying that I could buy a DVD-A disk and it may have the same recording in DD or DTS on it as well?”

    Yes, that’s it exactly. All DVD-Audio discs are designed to be compatible with DVD-Video players. You won’t get the MLP DVD-Audio track, and you may miss out on some supplementary material, but there will always be a Dolby Digital or DTS (or both) 5.1 version of the DVD-Audio content. Usually – aside from some AIX titles – the Dolby Digital and DTS versions will be identical to the DVD-Audio version, aside from the added fidelity, of course.

    DVD-Audio discs can also have two-channel mixes, sometimes in the form of linear PCM, and this too is playable on DVD-Video machines.

    If you have a look at what DVD-Audio reviews we have up so far, you’ll see we’re trying to mention and/or list all of the sound formats on each disc and that all of them have Dolby Digital and/or DTS alternative tracks: http://www.highfidelityreview.com/reviews/dvdaudio.asp


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  20. paiger

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    OK, thanks again. I may invest in a few in that case and see what's up. As long as they have 2 channel as well.

    S
     
  21. Rachael Bitchlist

    Rachael Bitchlist
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    Since when did a Sony label, Columbia & Epic, SACD have a CD layer? They sure don't in the U.S.! The audiophile label SACD's that I have all have a CD layer. Sony, as the inventor of SACD (actually I think Phillips helped), should absolutely, positively be putting a CD layer on! The other labels surely have to pay Sony a liscensing fee and are at a competative disadvantage and yet they offer a CD layer.

    I don't see how Sony even dreams that SACD can succeed without a CD layer. IMO, it would be an uphill battle even with one. Their regular line budjet 5-disc changer that was $350 at most outlets was reduced to $250 at several major retailers last week, the rest will proably follow suit soon? I doubt this will have any major effect on sales. Joe 6-Pack doesn't know or care what SACD is, he'll buy a $79 bargain of the week CD player if he needs one, IMO.

    SACD, atleast, muti-channel Sony ES models have one major advantage over DVD-A, they have some semblance of a working, effective bass management system. The crossover point is locked at 120 hz which I think is a bit high. I wish it was adjustable. I don't know of a DVD-A player with anything close to an effective bass management system. Pioneer's new top of the line reciever has a bass management system built into it, but the 747A/ 733A/47A players don't, ugh!

    Another SACD advantage over DVD-A is that I don't know of any properly functioning SACD players that can't play a given disc. The software authoring standards for DVD-A are even worse than the ones for DVD-V. Player, disc compatiability issues abound.

    DVD-A might be sonically superior, potentially, to SACD but it sounds very bass shy on my system. If the players only had a digital output I think my pre could rectify that. I think you need a system with power tower speakers all the way around to hear DVD-A's full potential as things stand. As long as the players are going to be limited to analog outputs, the advantage goes to SACD IMO. It should be noted that Outlaw Audio has a 5.1 bass maagement add-on unit that can be used with SACD and/or DVD-A, but that means 6 more analog cables, ugh!!!!

    None of the other majors want Warner to succeed with DVD-A. They don't want to pay Warner liscening fees, same as they must for DVD-V, and they're paranoid that DVD-A will be napsterized. Universal has announced suppourt for SACD, but where are their releases? Are they waiting for Christmas or what (!)? It appears that the majors think SACD will be harder to bootleg or file-share than DVD-A. That may be true but what difference will it make if SACD continues to go nowhere?

    Right now I like SACD better but that's subject to change. I don't see much hope for either format, realistically. I just hope the audiophile labels continue to offer SACD's after Sony gives up...That's my take anyway.
     
  22. MarkB

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    The upcoming DENON DVD-A1/DVD-9000 should remedy this. I personally believe, though, that Bass/Multichannel Management should be done in the processor/amplifier, not the player.

    The take-up of SACD or DVD-Audio will not be fast. For the case of SACD I believe that Sony know this and are willing to wait - years if they have to. If Sony (and others) keep steadily releasing software and compatible players, with the proper marketing at the right time, eventually SACD may become a buzzword that the public will be interested in.

    Mark
     
  23. brunobastille

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    my little experience of comparing some SACD samplers (chesky, telarc, sony) with dvd-audio (warner, aix) on the same player (pioneer 747a) has showed to me that, generally, the SACD gives a lot of 'air' between the instruments.
    The dvd-audio has a more straight image (widht and depth) but seems to be warmer, especially on the voices.
    Of course, unfortunately, I've not been able to compare the same musical titles on SACD and dvd-audio, because I believe that the only available program on both support is the Telarc Tchaikovsky 1812 overture, that I don't own.

    About the dvd-audio : I own two EMI dvd-audio (Messiaen and Mahler). These dvd offer 4 tracks : 2 (stereo and multichannel) on the dvd-audio side and 2 (stereo PCM and Dolby 5.1) on the other side.
    I've been very much suprised to realize that it was absolutely not possible to read the PCM stereo track on my actual CD players (Linn, Philips), which is a shame, and is the proof and the non-compatibility of the dvd-audio with our actual CD redbook machines.
    The SACD (except the SONY single-layer SACD, thank you Mr SONY !!!!) are based on this compatibility that is, IMHO a big advantage !!!!!
     
  24. paiger

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    I think you hit the nail on the head. As long as SACD has a 2 channel recording then it could succeed as any Joe bloggs could stick it on their Matsui ghettoblaster and listen away. Obviously he can't do this with a DVD-A. Also, we are assuming that most DVD players today are connected up to an AV reciever and good speakers. I reckon 75% are just connected to the TV and the users have no idea that they can listen to CD's by running a phono cable to the Aux input on their stereos. Who wants to listen to music through the speakers on a standard telly? Not me. I know quite a few people who have a mini hifi system with CD for music and a cheapo DVD just linked to the TV for movies. I think sometimes we need to realise that we, as AV loonies are in the minority and most people are out there saying 'Nice tone' as they listen to their Goodmans micro-system.

    S
     
  25. gavan

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    Being able to buy a CD which you know you can later play in SACD quality is definitely a big plus for the format. What the music publishers need to do is not to charge 10 quid extra for the hybrid disc. The idea here would be to get the music into peoples collections by stealth.

    DVD audio may well play in all DVD video machines with reduced quality, but then that rules out anyone with only a CD player and DVD is by no means ubiquitous yet. And DVD audio discs aren't that cheap either. I'd say most people would opt to get the CD version like you speculate above with expensive SACD discs.

    SACD hybrid discs should play on anything that can play a CD, what DVD players have problems playing the CD layer?


    Gav
     
  26. gavan

    gavan
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    I also doubt that either DVD-A or SACD are set to become mainstream in the short term.

    It's likely that DVD-A technology will eventually become a standard feature on DVD players which should help its adoption by consumers, but if Sony can get a load of hybrid SACDs out at prices around the same level as standard CDs then they can infiltrate the market too.

    At the end of the day, as far as I can see both media are relying on 'stealth' to get into the position of mainstream format. SACD can do it by being backward compatible with the base of CD playing kit and DVD-A does it by being backward compatible with the base of DVD Video players.

    Seems to me that CD playing devices are set to far outnumber DVD players for some time yet, with many homes having multiple devices capable of playing CDs (dvd player, ghettoblaster, personal player, car audio) yet maybe only one DVD player.......


    Gav
     
  27. uncle eric

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    My take on this is that DVD-A wont fail for the very reasons Stuart mentioned. That is to say, most of these disc's are compatable and will play through DVD-Video players.
    Also, the upcoming digital links by Denon and other manufacturers, together with correct bass management applications should push DVD-A to reach even better sound reproduction.

    SACD will also not go away. Sony have learnt huge lessons from flops of the past and the purchases of Epic Records and Columbia Pictures will ensure that Sony will have plenty of software for this and any other tech that they choose to push in the future.

    So far, to my ears anyway, SACD sounds better. It has a translucent smoothness that is very pleasing as opposed to the slightly sharper sound of DVD-A.

    Eric
     
  28. MarkB

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    Yes, this seems to be the general impression of 90% of people I talk to regarding the formats, although I believe that MLP can support 24bit/192kHz multichannel. How this will come to market is anybody's guess.

    Mark
     
  29. Kane D Williams

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    A Denon rep told me at the Bristol Show that all new Denon DVD players would have DVD-A compatibility, except maybe the very cheapest models. He said they had great faith in the format and told me that a couple of hundred titles from various labels will be rolling out soon?

    I believe that instead of giving 3 movies away with DVD players as a promotion, they should give 2 movies and one DVD-A or SACD. This way, the consumer doesn't have to make the choice to spend £10 more over the CD price and they are introduced to the capability of the formats, even if that is only the high res stereo or surround DTS/DD tracks!

    I think the simple lack of public awareness and the high price of the limited software are the major problems. If Dixons or HMV were demonstrating the formats and there were a lot more mainstream titles around, the public would bet more interested.

    I just don't understand the lack of marketing!?

    Kane
     
  30. paiger

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    I reckon they don't want to push it until there is enough software and hardware out there. Sony have a few mainstream SACD DVD players now but it's hardly mainstream. I searched amazon for DVD-a the other day and it came up with about 15, mostly imports that take 3 weeks. SACD have more but I would rather buy DVD-A at the mo as at least I can have a fiddle with the DTS bit on it.

    S
     

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