[Nagnagnag] [ot:reply] -> _more_media_issues_

Mark Kolmar mark at burningrome.com
Sun Jan 12 20:05:31 EST 2003

On Sun, 12 Jan 2003, -1 wrote:

> inexpensive (sub US$100) is relative i guess, if i had a working VHS,
> and didn't buy movies, or had something else, the price isn't really
> the issue..especially since they can't record, (and the ones that can
> are very expensive)..

DVD Video is currently pretty much a playback-only format, yes, as
LaserDisc always was.  And keep in mind how long it took for recordable
CDs to happen.  The recordable DVD formats are very much up in the air,
and even playback compatability for those is dependent on the player.  
That will start to change as a standard emerges.

> i think to fully experience DVD-quality video, and sound, you really
> DO NEED to have a large screen, or widescreen, with surround sound,
> otherwise is the quality really that much better?

This emphasizes my earlier point that the current DVD quality is already
higher resolution than today's typical display that most people are
already pretty happy with.

> i have a ton of laserdisc ONLY releases, that will never come on DVD,
> or are taking a long time (ie: original star wars trilogy)....so
> there's even less of a reason for me..VHS is ok for me also..

Again this isn't really an argument against what the DVD format can do.  
In the case of Star Wars in particular, it has to do with weird marketing
issues from a mentality I can't begin to understand.  For instance, I
think E.T. already went out of print after a short time on the market, and
Raiders of the Lost Ark is being withheld.  Those would be consistent
sellers, I expect, but for whatever reason they don't want them on the
home video market.

> they'be a pretty big failure for data, how many
> games/programs/etc come on DVD-ROM? hardly any..

I don't follow games too much, except to be able to say that as that
market demands better and better textures and so on, it will start to be
more of an option to get a game on DVD-ROM rather than a lot of CD-ROMs.  
Same type of thing happened with floppy disks.

> playing mp3's through a DVD player is an iffy-affair at best,
> since they have to be created in different ways for
> different players..i don't use that feature...

Yes, this is a problem.  I have a higher-end Panasonic region 1 player
that definitely has better picture and sound than the TYT-manufactured
(Korean), Akai- and Daewoo-branded player.  The Panasonic has some trouble
with MP3s.  But the TYT players (they go under different brands, and in
UK/Europe too, probably elsewhere) handle any MP3s I've tried.  And of
course they are able to play any DVD from anywhere in the world....

That's the major consideration for me.  Finally video standard is just a
factor to consider, but not an obstacle to getting access to movies by
Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch, Akira Kurosawa...  This is stuff I couldn't
get access to before at all, or maybe in lower quality on VHS.  Prices are
much lower.  And even on LaserDisc, a lot of the time the aspect ratio was
wrong.  And widescreen was letterboxed so it couldn't take full advantage
of the resolution either.

> >Any future format is totally up in the air.  People will demand players
> >that handle all discs of the same form factor, so future players will
> >surely handle CDs and current DVDs.
> anybody can demand backwards comptability,
> but that doesn't mean that it will happen..

The electronics companies make what people want, or another company will.  
Now even Sony makes DVD players that play MP3s now -- and they are also a
record company!

> as it turns out, the lasers required for reading higher density disks
> CAN'T read the current DVD disks...(unless you made a player with both
> in them, which would be expensive)

Again, the electronics companies will add a laser pickup to handle the
other media.  This type of demand is why DVD players read CD-Rs now.  At
first most of them did not....

> as far as HDTV goes in the US, they're slowing coming along, but the
> more important issue is that there is a mandate that all broadcasts
> will go digital in 2006...

This will keep getting pushed back.  It's a goal, mainly because the US
gov't wants the spectrum back.  But nobody is going to take TV away from
the last voter who is clinging to his 13" set.

> when you say 'you don't think higher resolution would add much'..
> surely you don't think we should just keep things as they are
> now? what about when large screen flat panels become cheaper,
> and everyone has one????

Things as they are now are mainly still 480 (*) interlaced lines, i.e. 240
lines alternating (more in PAL).  Normal TV display is about double VHS
resolution both horizontally and vertically.  Progressive DVD, i.e. 480
lines not alternating, is already a big step up from that.  I think 480p
is going to be by far the most common HDTV format.  The effective
resolution is maybe 1-1/2 times more than analog broadcast, with less
flicker, and the displays are sharper on top of that.  Most people don't
really know or care about higher resolution, particularly for sitcoms and
other ordinary programming.

And I don't even want to start about how long it will take to get HDTV
signals over cable.

As for protection, that's a complicated issue -- but as with DVD, people
who take in interest in the finer points will be able to dig inside all
this stuff.


(*) actually 525 lines in NTSC, 625 in PAL, but not all those are usable,
and it's all rather complicated....

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