Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PODCAST + Pour one out for HD-DVD, as if you need another blog to tell you.

Howdy Folks,
Another show for the books, you heard music from the following:


The Wiz - Charlie Smalls - (1978)
The City of Lost Children - Angelo Badalmenti - (1995)
The 13th Warrior - Jerry Goldsmith - (1999)
Starship Troopers - Basil Poledouris - (1997)
Splendor - Armando Trovajoli - (1986)
Selections from Various Werner Herzog Films
Heavy Metal - Elmer Bernstien - (1981)


In other news, like 99.99% of the other movie bloggers out there, I'm going to have to pour one out for Toshiba's HD DVD format. If you haven't heard the news, then you need to step up on your net game, cause it's all over "teh interwebz" like voyeur cams and free ipods. With that said, I'm not going to bore you with the details but I will give you this warning. Do not go run out and buy a Sting-ray, Blu-Beam, Heat-ray, Blu-jay or whatever the hell it's called player. The technology just isn't polished enough yet, plus it's mad $$$ to get it. Sony is notorious for releasing newer versions of their hardware as they slowly start to improve their technology leaving us consumers left to keep purchasing upgrades. Now that they have the market cornered...who knows what they'll do. Be patient. You really don't need to watch 300 in Hi Def yet. It doesn't look THAT much better, plus it's a terrible movie. Granted if you're locked into a dick measuring contest with your neighbor and his home theater set up, then go blow your cash on fancy equipment you'll trash in a few years, like a MCA's LaserDisc or Sony's betamax and mini-disc players as well as their abandonded SDDS, ATRAC and HiFD formats...oh, and the struggling UMDs. I guess one victory in seven isn't bad.

Do yourself a favor and go to your local A/V store and stand in front of the Blu-Ray demo booth and actually WATCH it for once, just be sure it isn't a pixar movie, cause that stuff was made for Hi Def. Guess what? It doesn't look that great. Cause Hi-Def isn't that great yet. Watch carefully in places with lots of motion, you can see giant pixels everywhere from the encoding of the digital video. I suppose if you want to watch nothing but CGI movies and PowerPoint presentations, then you're good to go. Though, I don't know about you...but I like to watch all kinds of movies.

Betamax wasn't so bad...it just never took off.


Ursell Anning said...

Go listen to ye ol' cassette tapes, you tight-pants-wearing beatnik.

Quit Hatin' 101 said...

DVDs offer 720 x 480, which is 345,600 pixels on screen. Blu-ray offers 1920 x 1080, which comes out to 2,073,600 pixels (aka exactly 6 times the resolution of DVD). Oh, but since the technology "isn't that great yet," perhaps we should wait for it to bump up to 18 times the quality of DVDs before it's worthwhile.

But I won't argue too much cos everyone who walks into a Circuit City and observes demos on uncalibrated screens with bad warehouse lighting and no sound system is definitely an expert on all things HD and Blu-ray.

The Boom Operator said...

Ursell....funny hearing that coming from you, especially since you run a lo-fi folk music blog. Hipster.

Hatin' 101 - Boy oh boy, was I waiting for someone to take that bait. Nothing says "flame war" like someone stepping up the the tech-game Olympics with a bright and shiny "I know my crap more than you badge". It's so seldom I get a chance to stop cracking jokes and actually flex my true geek-dom. So, where do I begin?

Let's start with what Blu-Ray has to offer. I'm not going to ramble on and on about Blu-Ray not being a fantastically powerful format, because it is. My argument is that the technology is not ready for itself yet. Sure, Blu-Ray OFFERS 1920 x 1080 resolution...but not everything ACCEPTS that. In fact, most of the stuff out on the market doesn't. This has absolutely nothing to do with whatever "player" you buy either. It has everything to do with what you watch it on. Being a realist, I understand that not everyone can afford a 5.1 Dolby Surround sound system by Bose to fully capture the phenomenal audio power of the blu-ray format (which in my opinion, is it's greatest asset, as we can really get theater quality audio at home, but this has been around a little while) Though, given the benefit of the doubt, or rich parents, let's say you have that. Good for you, the technology exists to take advantage of that, and it's widely available as well as the norm for 5.1 audio consumption.

Let's move to the meat of the issue. Your TV. Take a look at it. You got $3000 to drop on a new boob-tube that is perfectly engineered by sony for sony and blu-ray discs? Hell, let's say YOU DO. Let's compare how "rad" your HD television subscription is going to look on your state of the art TV. In case you weren't aware, HDTV signals take advantage of MPEG-2 compression encoding to send their signals which is capable of 4:2:2 YCbCr chroma subsampling and 10-bit quantization. However, HD broadcasts use 4:2:0 and 8-bit quantization to save bandwidth, which is creating an encoding loss right out of the door. MPEG-4 is being talked about for future stuff...but no dates or promises have been made to justify your investment. Also, many HD providers currently encode their HD signals at different formats and ratios just to save bandwidth to offer more channels!

But let's talk about blu-ray some more and not HD in general. Let's get down to those "optimized discs". Okay, so you say Blu-Ray has the disc market on lock down for 1920 x 1080 (Which in advertising terms is 1080i/1080p). Sweet right? Well not if you already own a tv. Oh just buy a new one you say? Which one? There are currently several resolution types of various TVs ranging from the "HD ready" 1024×768 up to the Blu-Ray magic of 1920 x 1080. You get the wrong one and your stuff is gonna look wonk. Cause it has to adjust it's self to be compatible with whatever your plugging it in to. What if your TV doesn't have a fast enough refresh rate to keep up with the all might power of blu-ray? It's going to look slightly flawed. What if your inputs are component, or what if you want to use HDMI, hell, what about DVI? They're all slightly different and all widely used, and all look the same on DVD...but differences are noticeable in the super high definition spectrum.

My point is the crazy high resolutions leave more room to notice these flaws, they stand out and become irritating (like picture shake in the DLP theaters), as where a lesser format such as DVD can hide some of them rather nicely. The technology surrounding HD is not universal, and it's a long way from it, as we're still pioneering it. It's these compatibility issue that make HD a waste of money for now, until the dust settles and we can figure out if we want plasma or LCD, DVI or component, Blu-ray or HD-DVD, satellite or cable, cable or fiber optic, wired or wireless.
I'm happy with DVD, it's soft, it's clear and it works on whatever the hell I plug it into without hefty manuals and nerdy configurations each time I boot it up.

Though I know that arguing with a equipment junkie about new technology is about as easy as convincing a class room of kindergarteners that ice cream is yucky. So I'll save the rest of my rather long winded breath, and recommend you install Linux if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

true- but which kind of ice cream are we talkin' 'bout, here? 'cause if you hand those kids mocha-coka-peanut-butter-peppermint-squash-cherry-frappucino, then it might be easy to convince them that it's gross.

but if you hand them chocolate with those tiny rainbow sprinkles, yr SOL my friend.