Thursday, January 05, 2006

High Definition aka HD: The scam

All this talk about HD is bugging me. Between the PS3's befangled Bluray drive and Microsoft's would-be external HD-DVD drive, one has to wonder if movies in this format are even worth it? The first Bluray player starts at $1000. No thanks. At least it will go down eventually.

I've seen HD. It's nice, but it's not impressive. People discuss it like it is Virtual Reality or something. That couldn't be further from the truth. Unless you are a video FREAK, you really won't be rushing out to get your HD setup. The image is a bit sharper, but you can get this by simply moving to an LCD TV or simply by using S-Video. The colors seem a bit better, but you can get this by using component cables. What is it really about? Resolution. If you increase the resolution on your Windows desktop, you'll get a similar idea. Nice, great, wonderful, but not that exciting.

I have a 27" Flatscreen TV (component). One room mate has a 27" HD LCD (receiver/component). Another room mate has a 27" Flatscreen HDTV. Barring the slight fuzz associated with CRTs, I can't really tell the difference between mine and theirs. We tried multiple games, and the only thing I'm jealous of is the widescreen format (of the LCD). Everyone else in the house (including the owners of the HDTVs) really don't think HD is that big of a deal.

I watched a couple of movies last night on my TV with my 360 (component cables). Crystal clear and it looked great. I don't see a need for a higher resolution or HD. I'm happy with my DVDs. And I just barely started to get rid of my VHS tapes.

I really hope these companies aren't banking on success with HD-DVD and Bluray for High Definition movies. The consumer market isn't in need of a new video format. HD is fluff. Like leather seats for your car. Nothing more.

But they are banking on it. If Bluray fails in favor of HD-DVD, what good will the PS3's bluray drive be? An expense to developers. It is also very confusing for the consumer to have to deal with different formats. Personally, since Sony sucks at making drives, I think Bluray should automatically be disqualified from the race. I don't care what they claim the storage capacity is. If it won't last more than 6 months, then what is the point?

Pesonally, the only interest I have in these new formats is the storage capacity. If I could backup my hard drive on 2-3 discs, that would be great. Maybe they should have just started this with the computer. They probably would have seen more sales that way.