March 7, 2006

Stupid Movie Studios
   by ericball <>

For those of you who aren't techo-geeks let me give you a quick summary:

The big electronics manufacturers have created the successors(!) to DVDs : HD DVD (arriving March 23rd) and Blu-Ray (arriving May 23rd). Both are CD-sized optical discs like DVDs and are capable of HDTV resolution. But, because the two camps couldn't work out their differences we're stuck at the moment with two incompatible formats. Which one is VHS and which one is Beta remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, most studios have decided to back only one of the formats. So titles will be exclusive to one or the other. Combo players are on the drawing board but won't be available as part of this initial push. The only good thing is the first round of players will have a fairly high price tag, especially for people used to bargain DVD players.

There's also this little twist of needing an HDTV display. And not just any HDTV display, but one with HDCP - digital copy protection. Yup, those of you who have HDTVs with only analog inputs or digital inputs without HDCP are SOL. You'll be getting a picture which is better than DVD, but much less than it's capable of. And you can be sure that anyone who creates an adapter to "work around" this limitation will be visited by a squadron of lawyers bankrolled by the movie studios who forced this limitation on the electronic manufacturers.

My advice to anyone tempted by HDTV, HD DVD or Blu-Ray is to exert some self control and wait until next year. Maybe by then the choice between HD DVD and Blu-Ray will be more clear. If a clear victor hasn't been declared, then maybe the combo players will make the choice moot. And more bargain HDTV displays will have HDCP, rather than just the high end models.

And tell your friends and co-workers too.

Published: March 7, 2006
Editor: stacy

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