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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed today at Best Buy that a number of dvd's are coming out in Blu-Ray format. Will a Blu-Ray player also play
regular DVDs?

thanks
 

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From what I have read they are backward compatible so they will play your regular DVDs. And supposedly they look better. Not as good as the Blu-Ray DVDs but better than on a regular DVD player. I haven't seen them so am not sure if that's true or not though.

From what I also read if you get a Blu-Ray player the only real gamble you are taking is that if HD-DVD (supposedly also plays regular DVDs) wins out your Blu-Ray DVDs that you buy won't play on a HD-DVD player (and vice-versa).

Brent probably knows more acurate info so hopefully he will chime in.

James :)
 

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This is a subject that I've been giving a LOT of thought to. I plan to go hi-def soon and I've been following the "format war" on a daily basis for about a year.

To answer the first question, a Blu-ray player should play regular DVDs. Actually, at this moment, only Samsung is selling a BD (I will use "BD" for Blu-ray disc so that I don't have to type it every time) player although others will hit the market soon.

Here is a brief recap of the format war. After opposing sides were unable to agree on a single standard format for the next generation of discs, two incompatible formats emerged: Blu-ray (largest backer: Sony) and HD-DVD (largest backer: Toshiba). Some studios support both formats but some have taken sides. Sony's movie divisions plus Fox and Disney only support Blu-ray. Universal only supports HD-DVD. Warner and Paramount suport both.

Blu-ray was believed to have an advantage with more advanced technology and studio support. HD-DVD got to the market first though.

Blu-ray has stumbled and gotten off to a rocky start. Most BD discs have been the victim of older mpeg-2 encoding which is not as advanced as the VC-1 encoding on HD-DVD's. VC-1 BD's are making their way to market however. But the intial batch of discs showed the HD-DVD's geting better image quality reviews. BD is also having trouble manufacting the dual layer "BD-50" disc. This caused several titles to be delayed. It also calls into question the vaunted high capacity of the BD. Some industry people say the BD-50 may only make up 20% of the BD market which pretty much trashes the BD capacity advantage. Also the senstive nature of the BD was supposed to be mitigated by a hard, scratch resistant coating developed by TDK...but initial reviews indicate the scratch resistant coating is NOT being used.

HD-DVD has delivered more discs to market. BD will certainly catch up but HD-DVD has held a suprisingly strong sales lead.

As more players and discs enter the market, I expect the format war will become more heated. The PS-3 will play BD and Microsoft is about the release an HD-DVD add-on for the X-Box.

MY OPINION AS TO THE WINNER: It will be a draw! People have assumed a format "war" will be a war like WWII with a winner and a loser. I'm betting it will be a war like Korea with both sides staking a claim and holding firm. More people are coming around to this way of thinking.

HERE'S WHY: BLu-ray had an advantage on paper but they have had a lot of problems getting the ball rolling. There have been bad reviews of the mpeg-2 encoded discs, difficulties with the BD-50, an expensive player and, frankly, some very boring titles. HD-DVD managed to get a solid beachhead. Their discs have been well reviewed. The movies are generally more interesting and the player is cheaper. Toshiba now thinks they can have a 700,000 dedicated HD-DVD players instaled by next spring. Toshiba just announced the introduction of it's second generation of HD-DVD players and Liteon has just announced that they will now start producing an HD-DVD player also (they had previously committed only to BD).

It seems likely that neither side will surrender anytime soon. Blu-ray has more clout although Sony has an incredible history of being on the wrong side of a format war. HD-DVD (which is favored by Microsoft...that doesn't hurt) got off to such a strong start that they are unlikely to concede anything.

MY PERSONAL CHOICE: I'm very close to getting an HD-DVD player. If the local software selection were better, I'd buy one today (and I almost did). I personally favor HD-DVD as the more robust disc but I doubt that my personal feeling will have any influence in the matter.
 

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Brent Gair said:
MY OPINION AS TO THE WINNER: It will be a draw! People have assumed a format "war" will be a war like WWII with a winner and a loser. I'm betting it will be a war like Korea with both sides staking a claim and holding firm. More people are coming around to this way of thinking.
Consumer Reports, who are pretty dependable, came to the same conclusion. In fact they think future players that will play both formats are inevitable.
 

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Warner Brothers has actually patented a system for putting BOTH formats on one disc. I'm not talking about one format on one side and one on the other. I mean a system that has both formats on the same side of a disc. The idea is that you can have the BD on one layer and the HD-DVD on another layer. The laser could read the BD layer or focus past it onto the deeper HD-DVD layer.

Hopefully, the various hold-out studios will come around to providing reasonable support to the formats. If I buy HD-DVD now, I'll lose out on future Fox titles. It would break my heart to lose the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. On the other hand, if somebody buys Blu-ray, they lose the Universal movies which would be hard for many of on this BB because Universal is closely associated with the horror and sci-fi genres. For example, Universal has already announced HD-DVD of Peter Jackson's KING KONG, ARMY OF DARKNESS and John Carpenters THE THING. Plus we know the original 1931 DRACULA is slated for HD-DVD release...and HD-DVD only, not BD.
 

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The VHS/Beta war eventually had a winner. However, since the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs are the same physical size, it wouldn't be that hard to make a player to read both formats. I have no idea how this is going to shake out.
 

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spe130 said:
The VHS/Beta war eventually had a winner .
"Eventually" being the operative word.

Sony started selling the stand alone Betamax recorders in 1976. They didn't introduce a line of VHS machines until 1988. Pre-recorded movies were available for each format for about 15 years before the Beta movies dissappeared. Even though VHS took a lead not long after it's introduction, it took a long time to drive a stake through the heart of Beta.

I'm now 48 years old. I've had cancer once and my family has a history of bad hearts. If I want to see high def discs before I die, I don't think I can count on outlasting another format war :).
 

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I have the Toshiba HD-D1 which Walmart sells.

I'd wait for their 2nd gen as the 1st gen is big and bulky and the power up and load times are slow. Not to mention, the remote is crap. I could live with the slow power up/load times but the design of the remote was cheap. I bought a $30 Logitech Harmony remote just to replace it.

So far the only releases I've seen that really look great are The Searchers, Serenity, Grand Prix, Blazing Saddles and Last Samurai. Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) just came out and is supposed to look stunning as well.

I rent all my HD movies from Netflix before I decide to buy.

Microsoft just announced the other day that the HD-DVD add-on for the XBOX 360 will include the HD version of King Kong.

I'll have BD with the PS3. No way am I spending $1000+ for just a BD player. Where I'll have spent $498 HD-DVD, $499 PS3 and have HD, BD AND gaming.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Personally, I think Sony made a big blunder in adopting the "Blu-Ray" name. Most ignorant people will order online or walk into places like Best Buy and buy High Definition (HD) because they will understand the name. "Blu-Ray" will be a big enigmatic and a strange name to them and will likely avoid something that they don't understand. Everyone has heard the name "HD" and "High Def". People understood that Sony made great TV's but "XBR" was never fully understood by the average Joe except that it was a LOT more expensive.
 

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Brent Gair said:
"Eventually" being the operative word.

Sony started selling the stand alone Betamax recorders in 1976. They didn't introduce a line of VHS machines until 1988. Pre-recorded movies were available for each format for about 15 years before the Beta movies dissappeared
1976? That's stretching it a little bit, Sony may have been selling them to guys like Bob Crane, but not to the average consumer. I bought my first RCA VCR in 1983, it cost $699 and very few other people I knew had them.
 

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PhilipMarlowe said:
1976? That's stretching it a little bit, Sony may have been selling them to guys like Bob Crane, but not to the average consumer. I bought my first RCA VCR in 1983, it cost $699 and very few other people I knew had them.
No. Willem Dafoe was selling them to Bob Crane.
 

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Discovery...

I just looked downstairs because I was sure I had a special item saved for sentimental value.

I found the family's original Sony Betamax SL 8600 which, according to the betainfo website, was introduced in 1978!

Maybe I'll drag it upstairs to get picture of me with my 51" HDTV and the old Betamax :)
 

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If I had to put money on it, I'd go with the HD-DVD format. For the reasons stated above (bad name, initial troubles, Sony's history of backing loser formats) I don't think the Blu-Ray will make it.
 

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I'm sure a guy I worked with in the late 70's bought a Sony Betamax and he paid quite a bit (maybe over a $1000.00). That was even with the discount that we (I worked for a Customs Broker) had since Sony was our account.

I recall at the time that it caused quite a stir in the office as he was one of the first people that anyone knew to get one.

James :)
 

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My dad paid over $1200.00 for our machine. That also included a discount because one of the guys who worked with my father was married to a woman who worked for Sony. At that time, Sony Canada was part of Winnipeg based Gendis Corporation and they had a large facility here.

My father was a lead hand mechanic ("lead hand" being equivalent to a foreman but in a non-union shop). I would guess his income in 1979 to be about $15,000.00 a year. You can imagine that $1200.00 for a gadget was a HUGE expense.

But my dad was a guy who loved gadgets.
 

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Brent

Does your old Betamax work?
I seem to remember them being realy heavy (mostly made of metal) and pretty much indestructable.

A 'modern' VHS player is mainly plastic and way lighter...

Jim
 

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Ya' know...I'm not sure. I seem to think that there may have been a belt problem that was causing intermitent problems but that was a long time ago. I do recall that it was serviced for that problem at one time (remember when these things were so expensive we actually had them serviced?). If I can find a Beta tape (note to self: Check old brown paper bag in back of closet) I'll check it.

Physically, it is a tank. It seems to weigh about 5 times more than a modern unit.
 
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