New high-definition DVDs to use old video technology?

As Hollywood readies its new and controversial high-definition DVDs, at least one major studio is leaving some of the most advanced parts of the new disc formats on the table in favor of technology that’s more than a decade old.

Well…. DUH! I’m not surprised Blu-ray will probably use MPEG2 for now. When you have 25GB, minimum, to play with, you don’t need to jump to MPEG4 or VC-1. There will be enough teething issues with the new format, jumping to new authoring systems doesn’t make a lot of sense. The authoring infrastructure that exists today revolves around MPEG2 since that’s what DVD, satellite (Dish and DirecTV), ATSC, and most digital cable systems use. Some satellite is just starting to switch to MPEG4 for HDTV, but most will be MPEG2 for a while. Don’t change too many variables at once if you don’t have to, increment the changes. The new codecs have their own peculiarities. Remember the first days of DVD? I do – a lot of discs had artifacts and other issues because the encoding engineers were still learning how to tweak the compression for different types of content, and the software was still evolving. HD-DVD is more likely to need the new codecs since it has less room.

In the end, for consumers, it means nothing. Both formats support all three codecs.

As for Warner’s plans to cram HD onto a 9GB DVD using VC-1 – they’ve proposed that to the BDA, it hasn’t been adopted at this time. And it makes me cringe. Even with VC-1 that’s not much room, so they’ll probably need to lower the resolution (720p, not 1080i, let alone 1080p) and crank up the compression.

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MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • gweepprefect

    On the other hand, having seen T2 in WMV-HD (which is 1080p, but shown on my 720p projector), even those smaller files (they’re stuck on a DVD-9 with some other stuff) looked pretty damn good. The DRM stuff sucks hard though. I’ve had it fail to acquire a license when trying to give demos to people.

    MPEG2 on BR seems fine to me, I agree with your assessment. If people are tooled up to use MPEG4, cool – use it. Otherwise, MPEG2 is going to look fine.