For those of you with Crystal balls...

theo cupier

Active Member
I've had my HD plasma screen for almost a year now and I'm itching to see some actual HD content on it, so I'm eagerly awaiting the official EU launch of HD-DVD players (if only because it could force my hand to buy a US version!).

However, I expect I am not alone in wanting to balance the desire for HD now versus having HD 'right' - ie spending my money on something which will last.

No, this is definitely not meant to be another format wars question... but I've seen a fair few threads on this board about upcoming improvements to HD-DVD and BD (eg higher capacity disks, true HD audio) and it makes me wonder whether the upcoming players are the 'right' things to buy in terms of long-term value.

Leaving aside the usual question of whether first generation sets are sensible purchases, does anyone have views on the following:
1. Based on the technology roadmaps of HD-DVD and BD camps is anything going to happen 'just around the corner' which could be incompatible with current players and make them a bad strategic purchase.

2. Is there anything we can learn from previous formats (eg DVD) in terms of how the technology could improve in the coming months/years to make future players significantly better than today's?

Like I said, I really want to buy something soon, and all the positive feedback I've read on here about how good it is to finally have some HD to watch is pushing me on. But, I waited 6 months or so for the 'right' HD plasma to come along so, if it means making a more strategic decision I think I can wait a while to buy an HD player. Of course if there really is nothing to stop me then... :smashin:
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
nothing technology wise stopping you buying a HDDVD or bluray player right now. Its all down to software.

Assuming most studios move to VC1 by 2007, then both players will use the same codec, and discs should look identical. Then its a straight fight between how many studios are supporting each format, how much penetration you get quickly, aggressive pricing, marketing etc.

So the technology is sound, but you still run the risk of an obsolete machine if you pick a dead format. Of course you may still get enough return on your investment for that to be worthwhile (I never play my gamecube anymore, but I got enough out of it to not regret the purchase)
 

Uruloke

Active Member
Heh heh, I'll have a go at answering your questions.

1. Sorry, it's too early to tell. If anything a small concern might be that HD-DVD get 45Gb triple-layer discs working, but that the first generation of players won't be able to read them. But that is HIGHLY unlikely, and I'm sure that even if that was the case, a firmware upgrade could fix it.

2. Yes but not much, players will eventually be more compact and quiet while running, though build quality may suffer, The current machines are 'battleship' models, built like tanks and (mildly) noisy (at least the HD-A1 is, I can't say about the Samsung BD-P1000 as I aint heard it running). But other than that, probably not much. Future players will provide 1080p playback as standard, but as you bought your plasma a year ago it's gonna be a 1080i panel. So the current crop of machines fit the bill nicely.

There are more informed posters here who can answer your questions better though. :thumbsup:
 

Evil Engineer

Active Member
The only thing we can predict with any certainty is that no matter when you buy, there will be a better and cheaper model coming along a few months later. :)
 

Uruloke

Active Member
Evil Engineer said:
The only thing we can predict with any certainty is that no matter when you buy, there will be a better and cheaper model coming along a few months later. :)
So true.
 

theo cupier

Active Member
Evil Engineer said:
The only thing we can predict with any certainty is that no matter when you buy, there will be a better and cheaper model coming along a few months later. :)

No doubt. The comparison I was trying to make to DVDs was how have they technically improved as players in the handful of years since the format was created?

Yes, the players have got smaller, cheaper (and flimsier) and have added all sorts of whistles and bells (new format compatibility, new outputs etc). But in terms of their fundamental ability to play a disk and get a quality image from it have DVD players taken great leaps forward. And can we predict anything about HD players from this?

How much "better" will "better" be in HD players?
 

Evil Engineer

Active Member
theo cupier said:
No doubt. The comparison I was trying to make to DVDs was how have they technically improved as players in the handful of years since the format was created?

The DVD first players didn't have DTS sound and only did interlaced picture.
Then DTS sound got added.
Then Prog scan for NTSC only.
Then Prog scan for NTSC and PAL.
Then some players with DVD-A support & some with SACD support.
Then Universal DVD-A/SACD players.
And finally, upscaling and DVD/HDMI added.

This doesn't include other benifits like general improved pictures due to improved electronics/decoding etc. or same performance for less money.

But just like shares, "past performance no guide to future prices" etc.
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
theo cupier said:
How much "better" will "better" be in HD players?

If you look a great battleship players from 5 years ago, like the Tag, forgetting it's poor reliability, it gives very little away to current players. What developments happened were down to the optimising of the MPEG2 decoder used in DVDs and a better understanding on how to design these complex analogue and digital boxes cheaply.

For HD DVD we already know how to design these things as it is a straightforward step up from DVD. This leaves the codec which is where I expect we will see performance gains but this will encoder end and not the player end. I expect MS will really push the VC1 which will benefit HD DVD and BD. The design of BD players will be more challenging and will I feel be a longer learning curve on the hardware side.

Future HD DVD players may add tripple layer reading, 1080p and HD Lossless but I would look to any future firmwares to give you further hints on additional features that might be. The bottom line is you need to look at what current players offer, can offer in the immediate future, and make your decision on that. I, who was going to sit this one out, was won over by the quality that HD DVD gives. I suspect BD will do the same eventually as well when it launches.
 

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