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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 rushfan2006 on 9/18/2006 11:12:20 AM , Rating: 2
projectors are nice but you still don't get the same quality as an actual high end plasma, LCD and certainly not a tube will give you. The projectors I've seen ranged in price from $1800 to as much as $8000. They went in quality from "fair" to "damn good"...but even the $8000 projector didn't produce as good looking an HD image as a Panasonic HDTV for $2599 did.

Still the HDTV projectors are fine and perfectly adequate for casual home viewing needs.

RE: If only I cared...
By JWalk on 9/18/2006 11:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
You need to take a look at some of the latest 720p projectors from Infocus and Optoma. I own an Optoma HD-72. It cost me $1800 with an extra bulb. I made my own screen for it for about $200. So, for a grand total of $2000 I have the best (and largest) screen I have ever seen. The brightness of this thing rivals the LCD and Plasma TV's I have owned. The picture quality is as good as any 720p or 1080i capable TV I have seen. And of course, there is always the viewing size (100 inch diagonal currently). Didn't mean to turn into a commercial for projectors, but until you have seen one of these new models you don't know what they are really capable of. I won't be going 1080p until they release projectors capable of it in this price range. :)

RE: If only I cared...
By rushfan2006 on 9/18/2006 12:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
Ok you got me interested...a few things that would be a concern for me....

1) How long of a life can be expected from the bulbs? When they need replacing how expensive?

2) What is the refresh like? Do you think its adequate for computer use...ghosting on games?

RE: If only I cared...
By Korvon on 9/18/2006 12:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
Optima has one with a 5000 hour lamp life, but they are usually in the 2-3000 range. Projectors come in two flavors DLP, and LCD each having their pros and cons. Projectors are just as good (quality wise) as any projection TV out there without the viewing angle issue. Plus you have the flexibility of a 5 lb box vs. a 500 lb Projection TV.
I use mine for movies and playing games on my computer and it works great. :)

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