Thursday, February 15, 2007


So both have been out for a while now and we've had a chance to try them both. Remembering that both formats are completely incompatible, the only real test would be to watch a RECENT released title that is available to both formats, on the same hdtv that has been ISF calibrated. But more on that later.

I remember when the the first Bluray discs were released, everyone was quick to draw the conclusion that HD-DVD was superior. Actually it was down to some really inexcusably poor transfers from the movie studios. The Blu-ray format also took some time experimenting with compression techniques. Now, about 4 months after its official release, they've figured out the kinks. Despite this, both formats still receive less than great releases on a weekly basis. HD-DVD has been out longer, so they're churring out some real crackers, but Blu-Ray is to its' right when it comes to picture quality.

The way things are looking now, Blu-Ray seems to be in the pole position, but as I've stated in earlier posts, its a little too early to make broad statements. The only reason why I even mention this, is because of the exclusive studio support that has remained consistent. New HD titles are hitting the market on a weekly basis, and Blu-Ray has a lot more offerings than its counterpart. Sony's new marketing campaign is "The War Is Over!" This statement came after January BD sales exceeded that HD-DVD 2:1 in retail stores in the US. But we definitely have to remain objective. People take data like this and draw broad conclusions, but the situation needs to be viewed almost like a scientific experiment. Consistent, conclusive data and figures over a reasonable length of time should allow us to conclude a winner. Now, isn't that time!

So we move onto the PS3 and Xbox. The PS3 has been a huge catalyst for Blu-Ray. I love reflecting on the months leading up to the PS3's release. Forums were running wild with all types of speculations for and against the system. Hardly any of it was fact, just one-sided, close-minded opinions. "Blu-Ray is better than HD-DVD," "HD-DVD movies look better than Blu-Ray," "PS3 is overpriced." The list is endless. I never did buy into the PS3 is overpriced crap. I always thought is was a bargain. If millions can spend $400 on a 60GB ipod, then by comparison, the PS3 with its features and capabilities, is a steal. In the same vain, Microsoft were on Sonys neck last year for forcing Blu-Ray onto the PS3 owners. They attacked this angle by stating that "consumers should be given a choice, and early adopters should not be left out." As such, they had not included a built-in HD-DVD drive, HDMI output or 1080p resolution in the xbox 360. They addressed the 1080p issue quickly through software updates, because, if not, they would have been wounded by Sony's 1080p marketing claim alone. Now we hear rumours of a 1080p, HDMI and HD-DVD equipped Xbox 360 on the Horizon! When I total up all the accessories I bought to get my xbox360 upto scratch (wireless adpater, plug and play charger, HD-DVD, xbox live), my cost actually exceeds that off a tricked out PS3.

Pause right there. Let's remember this. All these two companies have done is battle it out using us as their playground. For the next time round, lets say between Ps4 and Xbox 720 or whatever they will be called, remember this scenario, where promises were broken, specs were changed, consumers took sides, and nothing was accomplished but more retail sales. It's all part of the consumer/manufacturer game confused even more by enthusiasts that can't be objective.

Both consoles are playing a huge part in the format war. The majority (made up of non-enthusiasts) are content with DVD's for now. This is probably a combination of cost, having not yet identified the clear difference between SD and HD, and not caring. By the end of this year, that might begin to change as HDTV sales for 2006 indicate that the increasing amount of new HDTV owners will want some hmmmmmm, HD content! Samsung owned the overall TV sales figures for 2006, while Sony had the number one spot specifically for LCD sales. I'll conclude this rambling of an article by stating something that I have yet to hear anyone else say. BOTH the XBOX 360 HD-DVD player and PS3 Blu-Ray player are incredible. Capabilities and performance are not the issue. Content is. But in a smart long-term move, Sony have effectively come up trumps, because if Blu-Ray falls off the wagon like mini-disc (and every other proprietary format they've created), I'm still left with a PS3, the most powerful video game console to date. If HD-DVD fails, I'm left with a useless piece of plastic. Maybe if that happens, I'll take it out the back and do an "office space" on it.