Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Betamax All Over Again

Next-Gen DVDs' Blurry Picture OK, the High Definition DVD fiasco is even worse than I thought.

Not only are there 2 competing, non-compatible standards, they won't even play on most of today's High Def TVs anyway.

First, the 2 standards mean that you will not be able to watch the movies you want unless you buy both versions. Remember that during the Betamax war, Sony was not a movie studio, so movies were (for a while at least) issued on both formats - Beta and VHS. Do you really think Sony's competitors are going to do Sony any favors and issue movies on Sony's format? Not unless that format is THE standard - and it isn't.

Then we get this gem.
New software included on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD releases, however, will automatically slash the image, making it only marginally better than current DVDs, unless consumers have a relatively new connector and cable called HDMI to hook up players to their televisions. Only one in 20 HD sets sold to early adopters over the past few years has the right version of the connector. Only 15% of new sets sold this year will include it, and deliver the full 1080 resolution capable of showing such detail.
So why bother? Spend all that money on HDTV, and you still won't be able to watch movies in High Def unless - by chance - you bought one the right sets. How many people even knew this was a selection criteria?

Stay away. Don't waste your money trying to predict the future. Wait until a true standard emerges. Then spend your money.

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