backtop


Print 52 comment(s) - last by thatguy39.. on Apr 24 at 1:15 PM

High-def movies will soon reach the mass market thanks to Wally's World

Reports came in late last week of Wal-Mart planning to stock inexpensive high-definition disc movie players for under $300. The retailer reportedly is ordering 2 million players produced by Great Wall Corporation in China, with parts developed by Taiwan’s Fuh Yuan and Japan’s TDK, in a $100 million deal.

Although the news was initially pegged as a huge boost to the HD DVD camp, closer examination and more accurate translation of Chinese reports indicate that the players for Wal-Mart are “Blu-ray (or blue light) HD DVD” players, adding an extra layer of confusion to the matter. Both next-generation optical formats use blue or violet lasers, so unless the player is to be compatible with both HD DVD and Blu-ray, the exact nature of this low-priced will be unknown until we get official English confirmation.

Wal-Mart spokesperson Mellissa O’Brien would not comment on the apparent deal between the retailer and its Chinese manufacturing partners, but did offer to Home Media Magazine, “[Most] of the shoppers asking about and purchasing either Blu-ray or HD DVD are already pretty savvy technically about both — they are the kind of consumer that absolutely wants the very best and latest in quality that's available. It's not quite yet a product the average shopper is attune too, but we anticipate that will change very soon as prices continue to come down.”

The release date of the player is just as widely speculated upon as the price. However, reports cite the manufacturer’s plans of fulfilling the entire 2 million unit order by the end of 2008 point to a release likely within a year’s time.

Toshiba recently dropped the price of its entry-level HD DVD player to $399, making a low-cost high-definition player for under $300 look extremely plausible. Blu-ray hardware maintains a higher price point in the market, with Sony planning for a $599 standalone player coming this summer.

Currently, the cheapest Blu-ray Disc player is in the form of the PlayStation 3, which until recently, allowed consumers to buy into the format for $499 with the 20GB console. Sony is now offering only the 60GB model, citing overwhelming consumer preference.

For Xbox 360 owners, the least expensive way to watch HD DVD movies is with the add-on drive which retails for $199. The drive also works on high-end computers, giving home theater PC owners another cost-effective option.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: My math may be a bit rusty but..
By zombiexl on 4/23/2007 9:43:00 AM , Rating: 2
The player still needs to decode and at this price may not have the horsepower to do so. But I'd agree that you should still get better quality than 480p.


RE: My math may be a bit rusty but..
By Jellodyne on 4/23/2007 12:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't a lack of horsepower to decode the stream result in full-screen black or massive visual glitches, rather than just a slightly degraded signal? Can a player just skip step in the decode -- like not do motion compensation or deblocking? I doubt it.

In the analog output DVD era, it was true that cheap players produced dodgy output due to substandard output stages. I'm not convinced that the same is true in the HDMI era. Digital is digital. 'The sight and sound of perfect' and all that.


By bplewis24 on 4/23/2007 2:03:00 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI is just referring to how the bits get transferred to the Television. It has nothing to do with cheaper components in the actual unit which do the decoding or video processing.

It is very likely that a significantly (read: hundreds of dollars) cheaper unit is going to either skimp on the processing/decoding chips or other significant features (1080p24 direct, advanced audio support/decoding, analog outs, dvd upscaling, etc).

Brandon


"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki