Will There Be A Blu-Ray HD-DVD Cross Player?

One of the biggest objections that I, and many other have with these new High Definition formats (Blu-Ray and HD-DVD) is that fact that we don’t want to get caught in the middle of yet another format war. With many studios already announcing that their movies will only be released in either one format or the other, why would I want to invest $800 in a player that some of my favorite movie won’t even be available in? Or even worse… what if I end up investing $3000 in a new Blu-Ray player and a bunch of Blu-Ray movies… only to find that a year later HD-DVD wins the format war and Blu-Ray goes under (remember Beta anyone?)

One of the obvious possible solutions (if you can call it that) are universal machines that would play BOTH formats. Sounds good right? Well, both Samsung and LG have both announced that they’re are developing such machines… machines that will play both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Let the world celebrate! But wait a second, before you plan that parade there are 2 really important things to keep in mind:

#1) The price. When the first machines came out that had the abilities to play both VHS and DVDs, the price was MORE than what it would have cost you to just buy both of them. Eventually they started to come down… but even today it would be cheaper for you to buy a VHS and a DVD player than it would to buy one of those cross platform machine. So you want a machine that will play both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray? Get ready for a price tag around the $1300+ mark. No thanks.

#2) Now this is the biggest thing. Not too long ago on TWIT (the biggest technology podcast out there) they were talking about the fact that LG had announced they were developing a universal machine to play both formats… but they also had one of the top top dogs from Blu-Ray on who said that they have no intentions of licensing any manufacturer to make a duo machine. Basically he said that they would not allow their player format to be in a machine that played both formats. Period.

So where does that leave things? Samsung and LG are still moving ahead with developing these new machines… but I haven’t heard or read anything about the licensing issue being cleared up yet. One of the following must be going on:

a) LG and Samsung have been told the issues will be resolved by the time their new machines are ready near the end of the year, so they can go ahead and develop them.

b) LG and Samsung are just HOPING the issues will be resolved by the time the machines are ready.

c) LG and Samsung could care less about the licensing and plan to develop the machines and fight it in court when the machines are ready

d) LG and Samsung are hoping that by the time their machines are ready, that both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD won’t want to bother fighting it

Personally, I say to hell with all of them! These big rich companies are all acting like stupid little children. They should have had all these issues figured out a LONG TIME AGO before it came to this. There should have been 1 single universal format. But instead they decided to fight it out… and the only people who will pay the price… is us… the consumers. Screw them and their new HD formats. I’m not giving them any of my money until they figure this crap out.

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12 thoughts on “Will There Be A Blu-Ray HD-DVD Cross Player?

  1. Well thanks for little ‘usefull’ information. So there will be a player that plays both! great thanks for what i already knew!

  2. This reminds me of the region codes on DVDs. Companies were claiming there was no way you would ever be able to buy a region free DVD player, yet they are readily available.

    I just hope the studios get their act together this time. Certain DVDs play in black and white on my PS2 in Australia because even though it is region 4 and it was a full price DVD, the film companies were too lazy to convert it from NTSC to PAL. The PS2 detects the NTSC and assumes it is not an Australian DVD. If I get a PS3 and have to deal with such crap with Blu-ray discs, I’ll just skip them and wait for movie downloads and holographic discs.

  3. you really think that it was all sony that caused all the trouble with the new format….well first of all blu-ray is a better format then hd-dvd so toshiba if toshiba said they wanted there format and sony said we only want ours how can u blame 1 company for saying fine we will stick with our own, they both paid a lot of money for the new formats i’m guessing so they both want there’s to be the new format.
    And as for sony’s prices for the most part they r super high but they r not the only ones selling the players so how can u say they cost to much b/c sony is not the only ones selling them, plus the ps3 will support 1080p and the prices for them r $549 and $659 cnd, and the hd-dvd players that have been released do not suport 1080p.
    but everyone can pick there to suport.

  4. I own an HD-DVD player. I have a 60″ Samsung DLP TV , I have an awesome 7.0 channel audio setup.
    John, in your podcast you said you saw a demonstration of HD-DVD and you thought that it looked better but not THAT good.
    For the most part, I’ve found that the most significant uprgade for HD-DVD is the sound. Serenity sounds fucking AMAZING. With HD-DVD I get better than DTS qualty sound for every movie I watch. And, so far, every HD-DVD looks better than the best quality DVDs (i.e. LOTR extended). So, I personally think it’s worth it for an HD-DVD player.

    Here’s what I have to say about Sony: I really hate Sony right now. They are the reason there is no unifed format. A while back there was supposed to be talks of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD merging. Sony’s idea of the merger was essentially getting rid of HD-DVD and having Blu-Ray as the new format.

    Kaz Hirai is an asshole. He compares his gaming system to a “fine dining experience”, says that the Xbox 360 was rushed, and that The Wii is based around a stupid gimmick. Which, they implemented into their controller a week before E3. The bottom line is Sony’s stuff is expensive, and doesn’t look any better than their competitors. I really hoping they fail.

  5. By the time the format war is settled we’ll just be downloading HD movies directly to our TVs. After that we’ll be looking for 3D TVs.

  6. I wouldn’t spent the money on a new format either but…….i am getting a ps3 so i’m getting blu-ray for $50, my reasoning is that i’m getting a next gen system anyway, and if u compare the xbox 360 to the ps3 package
    with the 20 gig hard drive u r paying a extra $50 for blu-ray cdn anyway,
    and no i’m not comparing the the higher priced ps3 b/c the low end ps3 and high end xbox are closer to each other.
    so for me it makes sence to have a new format
    and to me thats how i think that blu ray will come out on top

  7. I’m totally with you on this one. I’m not upgrading ANYTHING else until all the dust has settled. I hope it’s soon, but I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing saga. I doubt they’ll have figured anything out before the holiday shopping begins.

  8. Here’s the thing from my perspective. I’ve worked in television since the 70’s. I’ve suffered through a bunch of format changes over the years and each one was a little better than the one before, at least from the standpoint of content creation. The jump to HD has been the first generational jump that’s really excited me. Progressive scan, a 16:9 aspect ratio and the extra pixels add up to an image that’s very, very decent. Not film decent, but really not bad at all. Still with the limited latitude of video, but closer to film than we’ve ever been before with none of the inconveniences of working with film. Since March I’ve been on location shooting a little indie documentary with a JVC HD100 720p24 camcorder. The footage I’m getting is amazing, IMO. The problem is that I have no convenient way to screen dailies for people. I end up having to dump it down to NTSC DVDs and there go all the benefits of the format. I mean, the content is there and it gives us an idea what we’ve been shooting, but all the juice of shooting this format evaporates when you change it into low-res interlaced video. It’s almost criminal that we’re living in 2006 and don’t have a high-def consumer format readily available. So, despite all the crap the industry is laying on us all as consumers, I’m still psyched about both these new formats. And I kind of think we’re going to get some mileage out of 1080p24. My guess is that it will be with us for a decade. I may be overestimating its shelf-life, but I tend to think we’ve got a good ten years ahead before it’s practical to jump to one of the emerging Ultra-High-Def formats.

  9. Both of them will be fully backward compatible, it’s not game systems we’re talking about. Besides, even if VHS/DVD combos were expensive we must keep it mind that they were different technologies. In my mind I see the need of a powerfull chip or processor to decode both but in the end their both optical discs like CD or DVDs are. The only part that needs to be dual is two lasers (one red, one blue) but many DVD players today have multiple lasers inside.

    However consumers will be a lot more cautious about this “war” and adoption will be pretty slow considering not many people have HD sets and the benefits from DVD –> Blu-ray/HD-DVD is not as interesting that what we got moving from VHS –> DVD.

    Still it won’t stop me to buy a PS3 (eventually, let’s say a year and half later), and I’d consider buying some blu-ray movies to check them out.

  10. Amen, John. I hate the idea of the format war starting all over again. It’s not that I think that one format will be superior to the other (remember: Beta was a better format, but VHS won)…it’s that having two formats can only hurt the consumer. Personally, I’d go with HD-DVD because those players look like they will be backwards compatible. If Blu-Ray wins out, we may have to wind up spending even more to update our collections.

  11. I beg of you…don’t waste the space on your brilliant website discussing this crap…Ten years from now they’ll come out with something that’s even “higher” quality and we will be forced to switch media again…ugh…

    How about some talk on the upcoming Ortiz/Shamrock fight or Arlovsky/Sylvia. My prediction, Ortiz in 2, Arlovsky in 1.

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