HD-DVD fans and their spin

I first saw this story which had the following blatant inaccuracy:

This news comes on the heels of wavering support for Blu-ray due to recent reports of it’s restrictive copyright protections policy… Only HD-DVD has added Managed Copy and iHD and made the spec part of the mandatory format for their discs, all discs would have to have the ability to provide a copy of the original for private use and the iHD portion is a navigation or menu system to accomplish the goal.

To clear things up, what wavering support for Blu-ray are they talking about? HP asking Blu-ray to add Managed Copy and iHD? I hardly call that wavering support. The only movie studio still supporting HD-DVD alone is Universal, while Fox, MGM, Columbia/Tri-Star pictures are all supporting Blu-ray only. Second thing is Mandatory Managed Copy is part of the Blu-ray spec now, so they are wrong there. iHD is indeed missing from the specification, but this is no big deal. Blu-ray uses a Java based navigation format over Microsoft’s iHD format. While iHD will be part of Windows Vista, seeing how Windows supports Java there is no problem with Blu-ray discs being accessed on Windows. Anyone selling a Blu-ray drive for computers will simply add a player or Windows Media Player add-on that will allow the computer to play Blu-ray movies just as easily as it would HD-DVD. They also miss the fact that HD-DVD’s managed copy isn’t always free, that is you may need to buy the right to stream the movie to your home theater network. As a mater of fact, given the direction studios are going in, I would expect them to charge for Managed Copy period, so even if Blu-ray wasn’t including it, there is little difference since you would have to pay for the rights the HD-DVD fans are so admit about.
Later the same story says:

On the other hand, Blu-ray has left Managed Copy a voluntary decision for the content providers on a disc by disc basis.

Again… oh, just see the part above… Stop lying to the American Public. Even if Blu-ray’s Managed Copy is voluntary per disc, the studios will likely include it simply to charge people just like they will for HD-DVD.
They go on:

In addition, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) are pursuing their own menu system based on Java and have not endorsed iHD.

As if this is a bad thing? Pay Sun for the Java license (if there is a fee at that level) or to Microsoft for iHD, either way who cares? Especially as an end user. As a programmer, the idea of a XML based menu system does have appeal, but it isn’t like Java is that hard.

So after all that I was about to comment to them, then I saw they had a source of some of those inaccuracies, the usually reliable CD Freaks. At this point I may have to research to see if Managed Copy is ineed Manditory or not on Blu-ray. Then again, as I pointed out above, as if the studios will leave it off since it is a chance to make money off the same disc again, just like HD-DVD.

Sadly, it appears this once exciting new blue laser format has been torn from the brilliant engineers grasp, handed to marketing and become nothing more than a tool to wean us off DVD. Soon, the possibility to charge the end user for actions that we now can perform for free will be possible to implement, thereby increasing cash flow to the studios. This is only possible by divorcing themselves from the weak Content Scrambling System or CSS that is present and easily defeated on todays DVDs. The use of a blue laser makes the switch irreversible and complete.

Which one are they talking about here? Blu-ray or HD-DVD? The studios will likely charge for Managed Copy with both formats. I will give that some of Blu-ray’s copy protection features are draconian, but since HD-DVD would have to be replaced so soon and it’s replacement would have those features added anyhow, why not take a format that has a much longer shelf life and is cheaper for the consumer in the long run? HD-DVD maxis out at about 45GB of storage, perhaps 60GB, compared to Blu-ray doing 50GB out the door, with some discs possibly being able to hold 200GB in the not to distant future. Also, Blu-ray has demonstrated far cheaper discs then HD-DVD made out of paper. Imagine a Blu-ray disc being part of your breakfast cereal box, cut it out, put it in the player and there you go…
They quote their source as saying:

But Fox and other studios like the strict technology that will prevent consumers from utilizing future movies as freely as current DVDs. HD DVD employs more lax copy controls and ensures support for streaming movies to different locations throughout the home.

This is fine as Beta News does indeed say that, however, CD Freaks makes it look like it was said by Fox the way they have it placed and the wording following the quotes. Again, Blu-ray will allow for this, just like HD-DVD. Just like HD-DVD you’ll probably have to pay for that privilege.
Beta News goes on:

Bill Gates, however, recently labeled Blu-ray’s content protection as anti-consumer. “The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense consumers and it won’t work well on PCs,” Gates explained.

I have to ask, how is HD-DVD’s sceme of forcing us to pay to steam content around the home any less friendly then Blu-ray’s?
They continue:

The rift in future DVD support could prove damaging to the technology before it even gets off the ground. Consumer electronics companies and computer manufacturers excluding Dell have staunchly backed Toshiba’s HD DVD. Movie studios have pushed Blu-ray, although many have plans to ship films in both formats.

Staunchly backed HD-DVD? Apple is in the Blu-ray camp as is most computer companies except Microsoft and Intel. Most movie studios support either Blu-ray alone or both formats, only Universal supports HD-DVD alone and most insiders expect them to support both formats as well. You likely will not see Fox support HD-DVD and until the format war is over, and then only if HD-DVD wins the war, will you see movies from Columbia/Tri-Star and MGM come out on HD-DVD since Sony owns those studios they will be Blu-ray only. Since Apple’s are used in lots of media production, I would say this gives high favor to Blu-ray.
They then go on about iHD:

One key issue is the use of iHD, which would provide new interactive features to the next-gen DVDs. Blu-ray has rejected calls to utilize iHD, instead relying on a Java-based menu system.
But iHD is already slated to be part of both rival standard HD DVD and Windows Vista. And with sales of entertainment PCs beginning to surge, companies like HP don’t want to miss the boat when it comes to a potentially valuable feature that will be natively supported by Windows.
“Based on that discussion and technical reviews, we decided iHD is a must, if you will, for the PC implementation of next-generation optical discs,” said HP’s director of strategic alliances Josh Peterson.

How is iHD a key issue? Just because it will be included in Windows Vista? It better be since Microsoft invented it. It isn’t like Windows Vista won’t be able to play Blu-ray discs, it just may not be included in the initial release. If Blu-ray wins the format war, then Blu-ray’s Java based menu system would be included, beyond the fact that every Blu-ray drive sold will have the stuff needed to play on Windows based computers anyhow. I haven’t heard if Apple is going to add iHD to their OS or not, which would be no loss if they don’t since again a HD-DVD drive would include the software needed to play HD-DVDs on OS-X.

The HD-DVD fans need to stop putting such a negative spin on Blu-ray. Yes, the draconian copy protection measures are scary, but that is the only bad thing about the format compared to the number of negatives with HD-DVD. The HD-DVD people are nearly as bad with their spin as MS-NBC who is so far to the left you may as well call them Pravda and I am sure they (MS-NBC) would be glad if we all called each other “Comrade.” (And yes, I know and acknowledge that Fox News spins to the Right, but no more so then CNN does to the Left… and if you add the nearly as bad as MS-NBC NPR, PBS and the New York Times which is so close to Pravda and MS-NBC they are nearly kin… you still have a left focused media.)
Edit to add: Note that I don’t think the HD-DVD fans are nearly as bad as the media at large. 🙂

One thought on “HD-DVD fans and their spin”

  1. This may “swing” a few votes. Bettern than 80% yield rates — not sure if that’s good, but it’s a factual number that cannot be contested. Now that they’ve converted a production line to BR-DVD they can say exactly what the ceiling is to the cost of conversion (the cost can only decrease and the 80% rate can only increase).

    Dec 5, 2005 – Panasonic Starts Pilot Production of 50GB Blu-ray Discs

Comments are closed.