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hobbes_fan 2008-01-07 07:24

HD wars redux
Well it looks like it's over. Bluray looks like the winner.

Warner has dropped hd dvd leaving only one or two hollywood studios supporting hddvd

People will argue consumers will prefer the cheaper HDDVD players, but it's a moot point if there's no movies for it. New Line is ine of two major studios left to my knowledge supporting HD DVD and they're owned by Warner Bros. The other being Universal.

Anime studios will also likely follow suit. To date I only know of ADV having a clause in almost all their licenses with Japanese studios with a provision to provide high definition (either format). So it will be still a while before we see widespread bluray releases. Not sure whether Viz, Funi, the late geneon, Manga have a provision in their licenses to allow the release of High definition formats.

while I don't think HDDVD is completely dead I don't think it will have a place outside the XBox360 field.

2H-Dragon 2008-01-07 07:36

While more expensive. It is logical. Making the inbetween step with HD DVD's is just pointless. The future is already here so why not use it? If you are poor just keep on using DVD's they aren't that bad. If you want the best go for blue-ray.

hobbes_fan 2008-01-07 07:43

I guess what people don't really understand is no matter what format its also dependant on what you play it on. HD/Bluray is for big tv's; playing an bluray disc on a 34cm tv is not going to make a difference over your standard dvd. Once you get to 26" tv's and up the higher resolution and bitrate's start to come into play

SeijiSensei 2008-01-07 08:20


Originally Posted by hobbes_fan (Post 1331175)
Anime studios will also likely follow suit. To date I only know of ADV having a clause in almost all their licenses with Japanese studios with a provision to provide high definition (either format).

Do Japanese anime DVDs come in HD formats yet? Are they releasing in 1080p? I've wondered where the 1080p raws for Ureshii's Ghost Hound release came from. Perhaps there are Japanese channels that telecast in 1080p? In the US, I don't see that happening for at least another decade.

jpwong 2008-01-07 08:43


Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 1331233)
Do Japanese anime DVDs come in HD formats yet? Are they releasing in 1080p? I've wondered where the 1080p raws for Ureshii's Ghost Hound release came from. Perhaps there are Japanese channels that telecast in 1080p? In the US, I don't see that happening for at least another decade.

I haven't been looking very hard, but I have seen HD/Blu-Ray DVDs for some anime over at CD-Japan, so it does exist in some quantity. No idea if the HD broadcasts correspond to HD releases though.

And they're completely correct in saying that not getting it down and out with one of the two formats is hurting the market. God knows how many people have put off purchasing either format until someone decisivly comes out on top just so you aren't stuck with the HD equivelent of Betamax.

GHDpro 2008-01-07 09:14


Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 1331233)
Do Japanese anime DVDs come in HD formats yet? Are they releasing in 1080p? I've wondered where the 1080p raws for Ureshii's Ghost Hound release came from. Perhaps there are Japanese channels that telecast in 1080p? In the US, I don't see that happening for at least another decade.

Ghost Hound is not in that list, so it's possible they're really airing it in 1080p in Japan. Actually there are very few TV series in that list, which is a bit odd considering the large amount of shows airing in (proper) HD these days, but I suppose it comes down to money (HD=more expensive to produce and fewer potential customers at the moment). I do hope this changes soon, because some shows simply need to be seen in HD (like say Gundam 00).

Interesting point: while with DVD Europe & Japan formed one region (2), for Blu-Ray USA & Japan form one region (A). So with a US PS3 and a European DVD player, I could import any anime DVD from Japan I want :) Btw, HD-DVD has no region encoding.

anime_layer 2008-01-07 09:17

I still say that there will be no war.

Like hobbes_fan pointed out, a player is not the only thing needed for HD-Playback. More important and also more expensive is the TV that needs to be able to display the signal in useful resolution and size.
There will be early switchers who can afford an expensive TV and player but the overall transition is going to be much slower than with DVD, where the advantage was bigger and all was needed was an existing TV and a cheap DVD player.

The important point is: When the big chunk of consumers is going to switch, they might not have to make a choice anymore. Not because one format died but for the same reason as with DVD-/+R: Combo players.
The first HD-DVD/BluRay combo players are already available and once they drop in price, no one is going not to buy the combo option.

Fynal_Fyre 2008-01-07 11:55

For me, perhaps I see HD-DVD coming out as a media for Xbox360 games in the future, Microsoft is lucky it didn't DECISIVELY support a side in the format war, it didn't FORCE customers to get the HD-DVD add-on unlike the PS3's built-in Blu-Ray Drive.

IMO, the main reason BR won is due to Studio support, that's just me though, that, and this shiny chart:

But in the end, consumers will most probably be the ones who benefit most, with HD-DVD player and BR-player price cuts, bundles, etc...

That, and soon we'll have players, just like anime_layer said, that can read both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, thanks to companies like NEC.

More on that here

Jinto 2008-01-07 14:47

I am not yet convinced that the HD optical medium has a future. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the vulnerability of the medium. I'ld imagine even tiny scratches turning out to be troublemakers.
In the past days one was afraid the vinyl would lose quality when played too often... now those times come again but with digital media? Would be a funny thought. I stay away from HD optical mediums until the a 5 year or so masstesting is finished.

Gladly there are so many volunteers testing new technologies and even paying lots of money for it. Really nice :)

hobbes_fan 2008-01-07 17:34

I don't know this isn't anything but decisive. The only major Hollywood studio left supporting hddvd has reportedly only one year left on its hddvd exclusivity contract ( reports suggest it was for $150 million for 2 seasons up to next xmas) and its desperately trying to get out of it. If that is true what content will there be on HDDVD other than xbox360 games and whatever's on the shelves now? The lack of content will kill it.

I'm one of the early adopters who gambled and to be honest the technology isn't anything amazing. It isn't a major leap forward like tape to dvd where you got multiple audio, subs, fast seek times and non degenerating media. The only thing it's really offering is what it looks like on a big screen. They talk about adding all this interactivity to these discs but from a viewing standpoint it means nothing.

Potatochobit 2008-01-07 19:43

the future is NOT here.

first of all, have you seen what anime titles have been released in HD so far? they are all crap.

consider the fact that most NA sales on anime are based solely on DVD sales (not like in japan where television advertising and product goods have good revenues)
do you believe people will be consistently shelling out 40-50$ for a single four episode blueray/ HDDVD disc? most people believe the market is already strained, increasing the price is not going to help matters.

as to which format, blue ray or HD. I personally, don't care as long as the quality is consistent. HD DVD seems to have a lower overall storage rate. Is 30GB of H264 good enough? probably. Blue ray sounds cool, but DRM problems can be very annoying. have you ever had an old video game that refused to play after it was a year old? it's most likely because of the DRM boot-up at start. and SONY has never been a company that would give consumers a 'good deal' on their products, they tend to milk stuff as much as possible. of course, they are usually the ones to take the first risk in new technology so 'part' of the exuberant price is justifiable.

Do I want my anime collection in HD? Oh, yeah. Am I going to pay 350$ for my Air box set of 12 episodes? Heck, no.

the price of players has been brought down to a good level, but until disc prices are lowered, I would say the format wars are still here.

hobbes_fan 2008-01-07 22:26

Pricing is not an issue here. HDDVD/Bluray disc prices are in line with what DVD prices were at this stage of their lifetime. Now I assume you're American so I can't say for sure what your pricing structure is for DVD's but here for movies in bluray/HDDVD are fairly competitively priced in comparison to their DVD cousins. Transformers for example is selling from anywhere between $25AUD to $35Aud on DVD, HDDVD from what I've seen is $35 to $45 Aud. Remember DVD prices are what they are now because of market penetration of DVD players. It took close to a decade for VHS to die. The last VHS movie I saw for rent or sale was in 2004/2005, so it's pretty safe to say DVD only releases are/were fairly recent. What this is signaling IMO is the choice between HDDVD and Bluray as the successor, which in turn will allow the transition process to begin. With something like 70% of future content being bluray only what real choice is there?

Now anime is probably per disc is one of the most expensive DVD genre's around and well outside the norm of DVD pricing AFAIK. Take for instance Macross Plus (feature is about 2hrs screen time) at $27USD. The recent release Tranformers on Amazon is about $15USD. Now yeah you can argue that licensing costs etc etc are the reasoning for the price difference but at the end of the day comparing a 2hr movie to a 2hr movie there's quite a big price difference and one I tend to see in most DVD anime releases. Even a similiar niche market - Foreign Language films are not as expensive, Amazon has Amelie for $15USD and the Seven Samurai for $20USD. It gets worse in Australia and most other parts of the world.

Now onto DRM, DRM is also enforced by Microsoft not only Sony I'd like to point out, both using a method know as AACS on these new formats. Which is not either Sony's or Microsoft's initiative but is a requirement of Studio's producing the content ie Disney, Universal Paramount etc etc. (AACS already has a workaround anyway). Now I don't exactly understand your gaming comment. DRM is mainly copy protection and in DVD's they mainly used CSS. Now if you're using an original disc, (and have not lost your PC key if its a pc game) I don't really see how it could happen. Sure it might happen with odds of one in a couple of thousand but I fail to see how it would be a regular critical error.

kujoe 2008-01-07 23:56

Well, for one thing I was very tempted to pick up the Blu-ray version of Paprika. And there was the Blu-ray version of Tekkonkinkreet before that as well. However since the format war is still somewhat hazy, I settled for the DVD versions and my upscaling player instead. I think DVD for anime is still ok, but for theatrical releases an HD version would be more enticing.

I don't think online distribution is the future, contrary to what some physical media agnostics are saying, and I'm still the type of guy who prefers to hold something tangible, with a nice case, that I can display on a shelf for safe keeping. Moreover, there are still a lot of people who prefer that kind of simplicity, especially the collector types.

So yeah... I just want this format war to end already dammit!

EDIT: Well, here's something to think about.

GHDpro 2008-01-08 03:14


As already pointed out, the current winner of the format war is neither HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. It's still good old DVD. And this will stay that way for years to come. With VHS>DVD there was an obvious and clear improvement in both easy of use and video quality. But without the proper hardware you won't notice any improvement with the current HD formats.

But the era of HD will come. It just will take time for people to replace their old CRT TVs with new LCD TVs and notice (at a friends house for example) that HD content can look great on a LCD TV of 32" or larger. And those kinds of screens are not extremely expensive and should be getting more and more common, although arguably hordes of people will stick with smaller TVs for years to come.

So anyway, I envision HD formats to become mainstream around 2010~2012 when enough LCD TVs have penetrated the market and the cost of players has gone down enough.

Now as for anime on HD... unfortunately that's a niche inside a niche at the moment, so choices are very limited and prices relavitely high. I don't think this will change until HD formats have gone mainstream and you can find a HD player in at least 50% of all households that currently have a DVD player.

(Note that when I say "HD player" I mean either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray or a combo player)

problemedchild 2008-01-08 06:46

Does anime upscale as well as regular films though? I know that the medium which films were captured on had the capacity to be redone into 1080p. Which is why you see a lot of old classics being marketed again in HD. On the other hand, I've heard of Air HD which turned out to be a pretty underwhelming experience.

Potatochobit 2008-01-08 07:19

If it's a hollywood movie, yes, the chances are very high the master is in HD. remember all hollywood movies were shown on a giant silver screen and most footage is kept preserved well for the exact purpose of re-releasing future content on new media.

if it's an anime series that aired on TV recently I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say you are looking at less than 20% of a chance without the company having to completely red-do all the masters unless the show actually aired in HD, such as the current season of One Piece.
if the show is older than 5 years, you have a 2% chance, limited mostly to movies and popular media like maybe macross.

that is why wings of homenaise is already available in the US on HD format. it was a theatrical feature.

Interesting enough, alot of television producing companies are focusing on LCD technology, which I prefer. I hear that the plasma market is shrinking fast.
Plasma looks much better, but when you consider the cost, and it's life span (and it's relative power usage) I just don't find it appealing enough to invest in.
of course the most important thing about power usage is how much it's sucking up in standby mode, but most TV's are relatively reasonable with that.

problemedchild 2008-01-08 08:06

Plasma's life time is as long as LCD's, not sure where you got that LCDs last longer.

Cost? Plasmas cost less than most LCDs.

It's a shame BR's pretty much won at this point in the game. This will cause the BR camp to pretty much have an monopoly over the players and medium alike. I'm hoping HD-DVD holds out until combo players become common......

2H-Dragon 2008-01-08 08:14

Still a lot of people already have a proper big lcd screen. Atleast in the living room they should have one by now. So yeah people will notice a diffrence. I never said anything about watching it on a small screen. I'm still going on DVD's though. Still w8ing for blue ray to go down in price though and am w8ing for it to get more main stream.

Potatochobit 2008-01-08 08:25

because it is true

at least it was true 3 years ago when I was shopping for plasma TV's!


lamer_de 2008-01-08 08:47

Ghost Hound is just your standard 1080i/MPEG2/AAC broadcast. The people who make 1080p raws perform IVTC on it, and you have 1080p. Nothing special and is similar to the situation in the USA (other than the fact that they use AAC instead of ac3 for the audio). The situation in the US might be different, but in europe hdtv is merely starting and for huge screens or projectors you need huge rooms as well, so that's probably a deciding factor as well.

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