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Studio boss knocks Blu-ray for poor image quality, high price

It looks as though Sony just can't catch a break these days in the news. Last week we learned that Sony was delaying the European launch of its PlayStation 3 from November 17 to March of 2007 along with the announcement that an initial batch of 500,000 total units would be available for the November 11 Japanese launch and November 17 North American launch. The launch delay/shipment reduction is due to Sony's problems with manufacturing blue laser diodes used by the Blu-ray drive on the PS3.

Well today, we learn of even more bad news for the Sony camp. Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, came out swinging against the Blu-ray standard calling HD DVD the "hands down" winner in the next generation movie formats. "Look at the blogs, look at the reviews by the early adopters and even look at the mainstream media – HD DVD has maintained its first-to-market advantage and delivered on the promises of providing the best high definition image and sound quality at the best value for consumers today," said Kornblau.

Kornblau is likely referencing three head-to-head comparison reviews done on Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of 'Training Day,' 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and 'Rumor Has It....' In those comparison tests done by High-Def Digest in early August, HD DVD clearly came out ahead of Blu-ray in image quality. The Blu-ray titles featured increased noise/artifacting and darker overall color casting. Issue of cropping also popped up with the three Blu-ray titles tested.

However, a more recent test by High-Def Digest produced more promising results from the Blu-ray camp. 'Firewall,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Full Metal Jacket' were tested this time around. With the exception of 'Full Metal Jacket,' the titles this time around used VC-1 compression instead of MPEG-2 resulting in much improved image quality across the board:

But to summarize, with this batch there is no clear "winner." If last time Blu-ray took more than its fair share of slings and arrows over picture quality and the format's reliance (up until now) on MPEG-2, this time the more level playing field has helped close the gap between Blu-ray and HD DVD. If nothing else, our second Blu-ray versus HD DVD face-off strongly indicates that what some people had declared a format war won is still far from over.

So while Kornblau is right in pointing out HD DVD advantages in pricing and availability, the image quality debate is still alive and well.

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RE: If only I cared...
By ogreslayer on 9/18/2006 8:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
People bought DVD at a higher cost of ownership. The problem is the the studios and the more affluent of our citizens are not behind the change. The HD revolution is not picking up any steam its just plodding along riding the price cuts to higher margins. This dual format thing is probably better for the consumer in the long run. By the time this is over we will probably have Holo-Discs(sounds cooler too) ready for market and this whole thing will have been moot.

The other thing that is killing them is DVD itself. People have vast DVD collections and decent players... Why step into a new, potentially stagnant, technology. Especially if you have not bought an HDTV yet(which contrary to some people's opinions MOST people have not).

I might buy some Blu-Ray discs when I get a PS3, If the format is still alive around Summer'07. Those morons really should have just combined a standard; cause neither will really win in the long run it looks like. My bet is on HD DVD now, seems like Sony messed up just alittle too much and they have a window of opportunity for the holiday season to pounce and try an make a run. But, I doubt anything they do garner will last very long.

I remember when I got my 34in CRT (space concern, optimal size for viewing distance) the picture is unbelivable and everyone who saw it agreed. Told them either the weight or the price and they looked at me like I was from another planet. And I'm sure that still happens when people go into the store see some awesome 50in, they and/or their significant other are into it; then the 1500-2500 price tag rolls around and one of them goes... Why?

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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