Jan 08 2007: Blu-ray declares itself 'winner' ?
Jan 08 2007: Blu-ray declares itself 'winner' ?
Dec 07 2006: Digital Trends declares Blu-ray dead; HD-DVD the winner
Why you should boycott Blu-ray and HD-DVDThis page details all the things that are wrong with the next generation DVD players, and why you don't want any part of it. If you purchase a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player to watch high definition movies, you are essentially saying that you are perfectly ok with everything on this page, and that's no good. Therefore, I ask you to vote with your wallet and boycott Blu-ray and HD-DVD.
If you've ever watched HDTV, you know what a treat it is. At 5 times the resolution of normal television, it looks fantastic. I would love to be able to purchase or rent HD movies to watch at home. But I just can't bring myself to do it, for the reasons listed below. This is all very unfortunate. They have lost me as a customer. I hope to persuade you as well.
There are a lot of acronyms on this page, so here are some quick definitions for you:
DRM - Digital Restrictions Management - technology to restrict what you can do with media you purchase
AACS - Advanced Access Content System - the DRM infection used for both Blu-ray and HD-DVD
BD+ - an addition to AACS for Blu-ray discs, that provides additional restrictions to what you can do
MMC - Mandatory Managed Copy - a theoretical way for you to make a legal copy of a movie
HDCP - High-bandwith Digital Content Protection - Encryption of data over digital connections
HDMI - High Definition Multimedia Interface - A digital connection found on most new HDTV's, all HDCP compliant
DVI - Digital Visual Interface - Precursor to HDMI, found on many older HDTV's. However, many DVI connections are not HDCP compliant, making them worthless for Blu-ray and HD-DVD.
MPAA - Motion Picture Ass. of America - trade organization representing the major movie companies
RIAA - Recording Industry Ass. of America - trade organization representing the major music companies
Reasons to be outraged by Hollywood
- If your HDTV does not have an HDMI port, or an HDCP-compliant DVI port, you won't be able to watch HD movies in high definition. Bad news for the 3 million people in the US who don't have digital HDTV's and will only be able to connect over analog (component) cables - your movies will be downsampled to 1/4 their resolution, making them essentially the same as a standard DVD. The studios are understandably scared of an open, high quality, digital video interface, so they are insisting that your TV supports digital encryption to fully enjoy its new movies. This helps them to sleep better at night, but realistically only the honest people will be inconvenienced. Someone will likely figure out a way around it, given enough time. Some studios have said they won't enable this restriction for their initial movie launches, but remember they can enable it at any time in the future.
- On a similar note, you will also have problems playing these movies on your computer with an internal Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive. If you don't upgrade to an HDCP compliant video card and monitor, you're screwed. An HDCP compatible video card is different than a compliant one, and will not work.
- AACS means that Blu-ray and HD-DVD will never be compatible with free software, affecting nearly everyone that wants to view these movies on their computer but isn't running Windows or Mac OS X. While this is a minority of computer users, they should not be ignored. Some might say history is doomed to repeat itself.
- Mandatory Managed Copy (MMC) theoretically allows things such as making legal backups and streaming content from one part of your house to another, but the studios have the option of charging you money to do that. The first batch of HD players won't even support MMC. As well, all aspects of MMC will require your player to be connected to the internet, which isn't inherently bad, but is certainly open for abuse. Besides, what if you don't have an available internet connection close to your home theater? What if you don't have broadband? Answer: Too bad. More details re: MMC can be had in this insightful interview with an HD-DVD rep.
- It's amazing that MMC even exists, considering this. Choice quote: "Even if CDs do become damaged, replacements are readily available at affordable prices". Translation: please purchase another copy of content you have already paid for, thank you.
- The MPAA and RIAA think that DRM is more important than human life. Wow.
- "Hacking" your player, for example to remove the region coding, or playing a bootlegged disc, may lead your player to self destruct. (Only applies to Blu-ray and BD+ from what I can gather).
- More about internet connections: the MPAA originally wanted that to be a requirement just to play these movies. They have since changed their mind.
- They also originally considered having each disc being playable by only one player, meaning that if you played a new movie in your player, your friend couldn't watch the same disc in his player. Again they changed their mind, but that it was even considered is pretty shocking.
Other reasons you don't need HD-DVD or Blu-ray
- The jump from VHS to DVD was dramatic and obvious - superior video quality, digital surround sound, non-degrading storage format, multiple audio tracks, bonus features, etc. The jump from DVD to the next generation does not provide any benefits other than higher resolution, which to be fair is a great reason to want that upgrade, but that's it! Plus, DVD's still look pretty damn nice to most people. Don't fall for the "better sound" hype either. 5.1 channel Dolby or DTS is pretty much the best it's going to get. Do you really want more speakers behind you than in front of you?
- Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD will be a format war, leaving both consumers and retailers very frustrated. Do you want to gamble with investing thousands of dollars in a technology that may not be around in a few years? Some studios will only release their movies on one or the other format (Sony Pictures obviously will only do Blu-ray), which means if you want access to all possible movies, you will either have to buy both players or get a dual-format player. Chances are both formats will not be very successful, because of the insane costs and the fact that most people do not own HDTV's. Besides, the future is probably video on demand, not on disc. Even Bill Gates agrees.
- You will need to compare the best blu ray player deals as players and the media are going to be expensive. HD-DVD players will run $500, Blu-ray will be $1,000, and those are minimum prices. Most of the movies will retail for over $30. For computer storage, blank media will also cost around $30 minimum. Surely these costs will drop over time, but that combined with the format war makes it obvious that you should wait a bit before jumping on.
- The biggest lie of all is that we even need these new technologies to have HD video on a disc. DVD video has been around for almost 10 years now, and since then vastly superior video compression technologies have been introduced, namely MPEG-4 and all its variants (h.264, DivX, XviD, etc). These compression formats are absolutely amazing in regards to size vs quality. A hi-def movie in any of these formats could easily fit onto a normal DVD, let alone a dual layer one. The only problem is that you can't really 'update' your existing player. In the consumers' best interest, what they would do is release new DVD players that not only supported these newer formats, but also had the ability to be upgraded for future technologies. We wouldn't need these expensive blue lasers to fit more data on a disc. Unfortunately, this solution doesn't line the pockets of shareholders and executives, so it is unlikely to happen.
- The public is not ready for a new format already. A lot of people have spent a lot of money building their DVD collections, a format that just became mainstream ~5 years ago. Do you really want to go out and replace all of those movies? These new players will be backwards compatible with your old movies for sure, but if you just blew a grand on a shiny new player, you're going to want to watch your favorite movies in all their HD glory, right? Haven't you ever heard someone say, "Well, looks like now I have to buy another copy of the White Album" ?
If you have suggestions to add to this page, or additional links with more information, or whatever, please comment below.
Be sure to check out the news as well, updated as often as there is news about Blu-ray, HD-DVD, or AACS.
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