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Blu-ray and HD-DVD shown at the CES

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 11 Jan 2005 7:28 User comments (7)

Blu-ray and HD-DVD shown at the CES Both camps of the next video format war have been busy at the expo. Prototype devices have been shown by all key players, including Philips, Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba. From the HD-DVD camp, Toshiba demonstrated the interactivity functions of the HD-DVD.
The prototype machine work on which was only finished days before CES was decoding a high-definition Mpeg4 AVC movie and overlaying onto it a standard definition director's commentary video that was also being decoded in real-time from a standard-definiton Mpeg2 file on the disc. The same player also supported interactive game play and the ability to purchase access to locked content stored on the disc, both of which were demonstrated.
Sony's and Philips' show seems like a more ordinary one. Sony demonstrated video decoding from various formats with a Blu-ray player, while Philips had a PC BD-ROM drive on their stand.
Of the three (Sony players), each supported one of the three BD-ROM standard's video codecs. One model was showing a movie encoded at 26Mbps (bits per second) in Mpeg2, another showed content encoded in VC1 (the Microsoft Windows Media-based format) at a constant bit rate of 12Mbps and the final prototype played content encoded in Mpeg4 AVC format at a variable bit rate of between 10Mbps and 15Mbps.
Source: PC Advisor

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7 user comments

111.1.2005 11:12

"Locked content"? You're joking, right? Can anyone verify where/how this might be useful? I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.

211.1.2005 18:36

Sure it's just another way for them to justify the added expense so you'll pay more.

312.1.2005 3:34

Possible uses of locked content: 1) Steam-like distribution of games (probably with all the screw ups as well) Where you can cheaply buy the disc in stores/online before the official release date, then pay the difference to unlock the game- no more queueing, and no waiting ages for games to download over the internet. 2) Small TV studios distributing content- episodes of a series could be locked when you get the disk, and you get sent the unlock codes when the studio wants you to be able to see the episode.

412.1.2005 7:39

The second point does seem somewhat reasonable if you want to control when the episode's released as long as there's no overhead cost, unless you possibly make a deal in which you pay, say, a quarter of the dvd up front for one episode, then a quarter for a new episode, and so on. This could be somewhat defeating if you give the public enought time to find a way around this feature, so you might as well ask for it all up front at the cost of disgruntling your audience with episode release dates. Steam can be really useful for control over MMOG, but I like to play in my solitude away from the wired every once in a while. (I don't even touch MMORPG.) My main concern is the way it's described: you'll have to take your player online, pushing the envelope towards a completely wired hts. I don't know about you, but I don't want my dvd player connected to the net. I want privacy. I want control. I don't want to be babied. I don't think the public do either. Also, If there were fixed codes for offline players, then you're practically defeating the purpose of your own lockout mechanism.

512.1.2005 11:07

I don't wanna get off on a rant here, but I wish them all the luck in the world. Software copy protection ended 15 years ago, because no one would put up with it, and the true hackers busted right through it. Locked content only hurts honest people. I'm sure this will be tied to your DVD player, rather than there being one universal code to lock out the disk. SO when your player goes belly up, you'll be outta luck or have to go through some complicated black magic ruse with new codes from the manufacturer to get it to work (and if it doesn't, your SOL); again, the honest people get hurt. Can't Macrovision and their likes just blow away and die? They're totally useless and serve no good purpose. If Blu-ray has protection, I hope everyone boycotts them and sticks with "low quality" DVD, 'til Hollywood loses so much, they have to throw in the towel and trust their audience. And I don't want to pay the added cost to each Blu-Ray disc to protect against myself. There's always a dishonest minority, and it's a losing battle to take aim at the honest majority.

612.1.2005 12:55

Agreed. And to think, if you pay for the extras on your dvd player, how are you going to watch it on someone else's machine? That, my friends, is rediculous.

712.1.2005 13:33

Let's face it. The majority of great T.V. shows are shown in high def and can be recorded to TIVO or other high quality DVRs. Soon, you will be able to archive somehow. If the greedy movie studios don't get their sh!t together they will lose out. They need to embrace the new world and work with all.

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