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January 05 2006

Universal announce Serenity on HD-DVD. HD-DVD is very, very high quality video.

Thanks to Scott van Looy for the tip off.

Whither blu-ray?
A) How sad is it that 2 of the "Older Flicks" are only 2 years old?

B) Now if only the price of an HD-DVD unit would drop to a reasonable rate.

Still good news though.
Whither blu-ray?

Looks like Universal have gone to the side of HD-DVD. Format wars, I hate them.
This tells me that Universal has some faith atleast in the success of Serenity if they are planning to rerelease it on DVD so soon and on the HD format at that. Not sure what the install base of HD players is though in the consumer base...but still a positive sign. I wonder if this release will include any additional extras?
Excellent news though it won't do me any good since I don't own a HD TV or player as of yet.

Simon, I was just reading an article today on the HD-DVD vs blu-ray issue. Universal is one of the few studios on HD-DVD side, most of the other studios are siding with blu-ray (though several are going to release in both formats). HD-DVD will be releasing two players in the US this March for $450 and $800. They expect their HD-DVD disc to be 50%-60% the price of blu-ray. Blu-ray is hoping to hit the market this summer with a $1700 player that they promise will be loaded with features.

Just like the VHS vs Betamax years ago, it's pretty much a toss-up.
Pretty sure HD-DVD is the wrong way to go. Blu-Ray will obviously survive do to PS3 using that format as standard for their games, there's built in market right there. HD-DVD on the other hand doesn't have that luxury (as far as I know).
I heard xbox 360 will have a HD-DVD add on later on in the year.

So far blue ray is a highly more costly production for HD disks, it requires so much new technology, you wonder how much they would cost when the manufacturers want their cut.

Where as HD-DVD is like dvd on steriods, the transition is easier for companies.

But it's ashame not everyone settled on one format!

[ edited by SeanValen on 2006-01-05 15:28 ]
While having DVD on the PS2 may have helped with the success of the format (though I don't agree with Sony that it's the main reason DVD was a success), I don't feel the same will be true with the PS3, reports have it coming in as either a very expensive machine ($700+) or a slightly less expensive machine, but next year, when a lot of gamers will either have an XBox360 or a Nintendo Revolution, or perhaps have already bought a standalone next-gen DVD player.

It is a shame talks between the two fell apart, would have been so much easier.

I also think this is far too early for a new format, I've spent loads on DVDs, and more than I'd like to say replacing stuff I already owned on video, and now I'm going to have to go through it all again. Both formats had better be backward compatible.

Anyway, cool that Serenity's getting an HD release, when I eventually upgrade that'll be my 4/5th copy of the movie.
Really, an add-on? Didn't know that. Well, that might work but at the same time history has shown us the success of add-ons in the past. Does names like Famicom Disk System, Mega CD, 32X and 64DD sound familiar? If they do you know what I mean and if you don't, well there you have it.

Still, I do like that Universal is showing such support for Serenity even though it's not very surprising since it's a good seller and very new.
Microsoft is going with HD-DVD, so that's basically the final word on that, lol. Even if you can't stand them, you have to admit they tow everyone along, including Sony (which was very naughty in 2005 and is going to get slaughtered for the DRM on Blu-Ray).

Here's more fact and less FUD.

Hopefully I will have seen Serenity on regular DVD by then, heh. Both my library and Blockbuster queues are backed up massively. What does this say about a movie that is in such heavy demand in disc but not in theaters? It says volumes that Universal is choosing it as one of their first titles to demo the technology.

added: Toshiba has announced some HD players to be available by March 2006, one with a list price of "only" $500.

[ edited by TaraLivesOn on 2006-01-05 16:00 ]
Too bad it doesn't say "Boy, did we ever screw up the marketing for the theater releaseŚwe could'a made a mint"?

Possibly tatooed on various foreheads.
Must. Get. Huge. HD-TV. And. HD-DVD. Player.

With. Booming. Surround. Sound.

(And popcorn)
Both formats will be backward compatible meaning they will have HD video and standard video. One of the reasons most of the movie studios went with blu-ray is because HD video eats up a lot of space. A 135 minute movie uses about 24 GB. With a HD-DVD, it would require a two-sided disc with the extras and standard video. They know customers prefer one sided discs. However, this point is moot because both formats are working on multiple layers doubling their capacities. HD-DVD at 60 GB, Blu-ray at 100 GB.

It boils down to this. HD-DVD is hoping to take the market by striking first with lower prices, Blu-ray with higher capacity. I did quite a bit of reseach on this today trying to judge the better format. From a user's point, they're about the same. I'm going to sit this one out until I see which format wins.

Good catch, TaraLivesOn, I forgot the brands of players. The first Blu-ray player released this summer will be a Sony and I expect that $1700 price will drop before it's released. And, yes, both type of players will play all your old DVDs, CD's ect.

[ edited by Madhatter on 2006-01-05 16:36 ]
I guess this is the wrong venue to discuss Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD but all I can say is that Microsoft has no control about anything when it comes to the publication of movies and Playstation has still almost 50% of the console market. Also, then add the latest revelation that Xbox360 ruins DVD's (move the console while it's on and the laser destroys the disc), let's just say that Microsoft has a few obstacles to overcome.

So there, I'm done now.
I say, give both formats the two-finger-salute and just buy a DVD "upconverter" player that improves the resolution of your existing DVDs for HDTV output. Samsung makes a pretty good one - search on "samsung DVD-hd850" at Froogle. They're around for less than $100.

And I don't work for Samsung... I'm just fairly happy with mine. :)
Formatting issues aside, I'm pretty excited to see that the BDM is one of only 10 films chosen for this reissue. It shows 'Versal's "great expectations" for sales of the BDDVD!

Thanks for the tip on "upconverting," mr_shemp (lol -- a wise guy, eh? ;-))!
I'll wait for the Blu-ray copy of Serenity. Almost all of the film studios have decided to support Blu-ray. On the other hand only about half the studios are supporting HD-DVD.
Yes, by the end of the year the Xbox 360 will have an HD-DVD add on. I can't imagine it costing more than $100-150.
Heh, well, there is certainly no way that I'll be choosing a side on this whole format-war before it's decided and I wonder if there won't be a whole heap of people who'll do the same, really. No one wants to own the 'losing' machine.

What's more, I'm with Ghost Spike:

I also think this is far too early for a new format, I've spent loads on DVDs, and more than I'd like to say replacing stuff I already owned on video, and now I'm going to have to go through it all again. Both formats had better be backward compatible.


It is way too early for a format change. We had VHS for ages before we switched to DVD. And even though I have a DVD collection of 220+ titles, I still haven't replaced all my old VHS movies. I am in no way looking forward to replacing those DVD discs to yet another format, so those players had better keep playing DVDs as well, not just the early machines.

Of course, it'll probably take a while before the new format gets mainstream acceptance (possibly only after the format war ends - if it ever does..maybe they'll both fail if no one feels inclined to buy 'em). Hell, it was only this year that my local videostore changed to DVD only. What's more, there's still some limited VHS being sold in most stores.

Also: just take a look at what happened to the next generation of audio cd's. Weren't those supposed to replace regular cd's as a new medium? Didn't see that happening. People were fine with cd's, on the whole, and didn't need any improvement. That's how I feel about DVDs at this point, honestly.

So I'll be sticking to my various region versions of the Serenity DVD for the time being ;-).
I refuse to buy a next gen DVD player until they decide on a standard.

Oh, and they become affordable.

Then again... I want a PS3 and that is a blu-ray player...

If they put extra features on the HD-disc I hope they still come out with a special edition standard DVD. With all the Aussie features we missed out on (stupid regions). And a new cast commentary (or more than one). Plus, put the River Tam sessions on it for chrissakes!
Djungelurban said:
Also, then add the latest revelation that Xbox360 ruins DVD's (move the console while it's on and the laser destroys the disc), let's just say that Microsoft has a few obstacles to overcome.


Yes, but why would you decide, while it's on, to switch your XBox from the horizontal to the vertical position, it's just common sense, and if it's consoles in the upright position being knocked over, put it in the lying down position, can't be knocked down then. I must be one of the lucky few 'cos mine works perfectly, no scratching, and even after hours of play both console and power adapter are still cold.

I'm going to wait till there's a clear winner before upgrading, I'm pretty sure it'll be HD-DVD.

I have actually read that as well as Disney, Fox etc... the porn industry will play a large part in which format wins.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2006-01-05 17:14 ]
Billz, no problem. If I can help my fellow man wrench extra enjoyment out of their existing DVD collections... well, my job is done. :)

Djungelurban, do you have a link to anything talking about the Xbox360 killing DVDs? Seems like a rather heavyhanded way for M$ to force us to upgrade to a new format...
Is Blu Ray somehow related to Blue Sun?
Honestly..I have no idea what any of this is. I don't even think we have HD DVD players in Oz yet? I mean, we must have right? Oh well, it's all out of my price range anyways.
I don't even think we have HD DVD players in Oz yet?

I don't think anyone has HD DVD and/or Blu-Ray players yet. It's all a run-up to new formats which are about to arise.
I did some research on the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD thing, and I'm still confused on one thing: do you have to have a HDTV for either of these players or will they still work, but to lesser quality, on normal TVs?
One of the positive points about HD-DVD is that protected content transfer is part of the specification. That is, in theory at least, you can take your HD-DVD disc, load the movie onto your playback system, and then put the disc away. Blu-Ray is very much in the "must have disc to watch content, no exceptions!" category. As if _that_ would stop piracy instead of just inconveniencing consumers.

As for me, I'd much rather have a couple of terabytes in a disk array, and load all the movies my kids watch on a regular basis onto it--and hopefully reduce media scratching in the process.
Ghost Spike and GVH, both the new HD-DVD and blu-ray machines will play the standard DVDs (as well as CDs, ect), just not in HD video on your TV. As for the new format DVD discs, both HD-DVD and blu-ray are saying that standard video tracks will be added that will allow their discs to be played in older DVD players just the same as DVDs are now. That shouldn't be a problem with HD-DVD, but I raised an eyebrow on this statement from blu-ray since their discs are somewhat thinner. I suspect some DVD players will have trouble playing blu-ray.

Jackal, the new players and discs will work on a regular TV and the video will appear the same as it does with a standard DVD now.

Don't worry, we'll be doing this again in 8-10 years with the 3D memory stick or the hologram program chip. And to think I still enjoy reading a good book ;).

[ edited by Madhatter on 2006-01-05 18:28 ]
They just know that all of us who rushed out to buy Serenity will buy it again. It's like releasing a special edition without any real added features. And yet, buy we will! :-)
Blue Ray & HD DVD.. HA! Just hold out for the iHole.
A friend and I have taken to calling everything a "something-hole", lately. The garage is the "car-hole" (credit Moe for that one), the bedroom is the "sleep-hole", etc... so imagine how I laughed when reading about the "iHole"!

Heh. *sigh*...don't worry guys, it'll pass.
Yeah, the joke's a little old but someone would've made it sooner or later. Figured it might as well be me ;) You guys are the only Whedon fans I "know" so I haven't gotten the iHole jokes out of my system yet. Yes, it'll pass...
I opened a topic on the HD-DVD vs Blu-ray subject over on our Flickr, please feel free to discuss all you questions there.

Gossi, sorry about your thread getting off topic. My fault.
ggrrrrrrrr arrgggggggghhhhh

my budget just cannot keep up with all this technology
I'm going to be going with Blu-ray. It's clearly the safe bet for the one to come out on top, between the two, not to mention i know for a fact that Stargate: Atlantis will be released in that format.

I agree that it's a pity that this new format has come out so soon after the current DVD format but that is the world we live in these days. I like the idea of having entire series on one or two discs so i'm more than willing to pay out again. I can keep my DVD collection for upstairs in the bedroom and the Blu-ray in the living room on the widescreen. Best of both worlds.
The "Universal Player", no pun intended, will most likely address the format problem (for a while anyway), The First Universal Chipset Announced
Djungelurban, do you have a link to anything talking about the Xbox360 killing DVDs? Seems like a rather heavyhanded way for M$ to force us to upgrade to a new format...

Just search for +"Xbox 360" +scratched on google yourself and you'll get boatloads.
This must have been said before on here somewhere before I became a member, but on the subject of "DVD demand far more massive than theater demand"--the media has been trumpeting all year how far down ALL box office is. Given that, it doesn't come as a surprise to me that a movie with no established stars that is a sequel to a failed TV show rather than to a successful movie fared even worse at the box office than the big-budget, big-name stuff. I thought the marketing was pretty good--since I got TiVo I don't watch commercials, and I still managed to see a goodly number of Serenity commercials and lots of net banners. People of the last movie generation, those who were little when E.T. and its like came out, are now growing up and having kids and going to the theater less--but renting DVDs way more. Actually, this generation (the ones now going to the theater less) being the first home video generation, it's not even really surprising that DVD looks like it might take over from theaters.

And if that's the case, I think Universal would be missing a cash cow if they didn't make at least a straight-to-DVD sequel to Serenity. It's just that this downward box office trend is so new it may be hard to separate how much was general box office slump and how much was "Serenity may not be worth the investment."
Hun? Why don't you try that again please. Little confused.
Djungelurban, I have an Xbox 360 and I quite frequently visit a forum for Xbox 360's and those incidents are grossly exaggerated. The bottom line is, if you are moving any type of dvd player while it is running you are at risk of scratching your disks. I make a point of not carrying my xbox 360 or dvd player around while I'm using it. That way I don't scratch any of my discs. And also just wanted to say I have had no issues at all with my 360 and it runs perfectly and is fantastic.

I've heard about the HD add on for the 360 but, unless it's really inexpensive, I'll probably wait and see which format wins out. I remember way back with the Beta and VHS stuff was still going on and all those people who bought a Beta found them to be rather obsolete within a short time.

But, with Serenity being available in HD that might make me go for the add-on. I can only imagine how great it will look in that format. I think this is a good sign that Universal has chosen Serenity as one of the few movies available. That ought to help it's sales quite a bit because, personally, I'd rather watch a sci-fi flick in HD than something like the 40 year old virgin. I think most people will think that way too.
Sorry if I was confusing. Responding not to the format discussion but to Thursday Next's comment about marketing. In essence, my point is: the theater release, while disappointing, not so surprising, based less on marketing than on general box office trends. And Universal will be dumb if they don't realize there are tons of money to be made from a DVD sequel. Those who know/care about Firefly and Serenity won't care if it's released in theaters or not and the general box office trends lately don't look promising to anything, much less something like Serenity.
Ah, understand now Anwyn. There's little we can do about that. Trust me, everyone in this room is frustrated in that matter. We can only put it behind us and press on. BTW, I don't think I ever had the privilege in welcoming you in the room. Guess I called in sick that day. Welcome Anwyn.
No!!! I want it on Blu-Ray!

Blu-Ray is a better format. With more capacity, 1080p (HD-DVD does only 1080i), etc.

[ edited by Angel TheVampire on 2006-01-05 23:09 ]
Dayum. Only yesterday I was looking at the initial HD-DVD releases and got all "aw" 'cause Serenity wasn't among them, but now... *throws streamers*

I would have preferred HD-DVD to take over, mainly because of the Managed Copy issue, the cost, and the fact that Blu-ray lied for a long while about the manufacture of their double-layer discs, but even I know Blu-ray has it sewn up no probs.

I think Universal is the only studio still exclusively sticking to HD-DVD (for the time being), yes?

[ edited by The First Weevil on 2006-01-06 00:28 ]
Don't worry, we'll be doing this again in 8-10 years with the 3D memory stick or the hologram program chip. And to think I still enjoy reading a good book ;).
A real book or reading one on digital paper? :)

Yeah, I'm also going to sit out the format wars, but I am rooting for Blu-Ray simply because it has more capacity. I remember a time when normal DVD's with their 4 gigs of space was just HUGE. These days as I go through a large number of DVD's to back up my 120 gig hard drive, it doesn't seem like that much. So I say the more they push the capacity on the next digital format the better!

Meanwhile back to the original topic Serenity, I wonder if anyone who has never heard of the movie will pick it up simply because it's one of the few titles available for HD-DVD, when the players first come out. Sure, that group is likely to be small, but the more people who get introduced to the world of Serenity and become fans the better! :)

Which I wonder then what the sales for the first HD-DVD's will be like as I imagine the majority of people will sit out the format wars. Will Universal put more extras on the Serenity HD-DVD in order to encourage people to buy it?
Don't worry, we'll be doing this again in 8-10 years with the 3D memory stick or the hologram program chip.
It's going to be entirely streaming media, and it's not going to take 8 years to get there.
And I will be re-reading the Joss written novel I am sure he thinking about even as we speak.
Matt_Fabb I seriously felt like an old lady reading that article. God what will the future hold for the next gen hey?
I can't even keep up with this discussion, needless to say the technological jumps! It makes me feel like an iHole. ;-)
Djungelurban: Google is my friend, checked it out, don't move machine from vertical to horizontal while it's on, got it. Coincidence that it damages discs? The voices in my head say "No". They don't care for BillG at all.

Matt_Fabb: SERENITY is a good pick for "early adapters", who tend to be geekish males who tend to like sci-fi and fantasy (speaking as one). The photography is awesome and it gets really loud, so that says "demo disc" to me. (As does most of the other Universal picks. 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN's waxing scene will be awesome in Hi-Def!)

And as for the format wars, my money is on 8-track. I think it's got a real future.
Madhatter: thanks for clearing up the (or at least my) confusion!
Meanwhile back to the original topic Serenity, I wonder if anyone who has never heard of the movie will pick it up simply because it's one of the few titles available for HD-DVD, when the players first come out. Sure, that group is likely to be small, but the more people who get introduced to the world of Serenity and become fans the better! :)


I'm going to say it will definitely happen that way with more than a few people. When DVD first hit I remember there being very few titles out there, and one of them was "The Fifth Element" and I can't think of a single early adopter that didn't buy that disc simply because the colors were so vibrant and the sets/props/costumes were so amazing. In fact I think there was a few DVD players that were offering it up free with purchase of the player as a sort of "See how pretty things can look? Aren't you glad you bought me?" kind of thing.
Thanks, GVH. Not quite sure what happened there. Whatever. Next subject.
I want these format wars to go away. I'm still building my regular DVD library for frick's sake.

At least I haven't bought any complete series sets yet like the Buffy chosen collection (back in November I was just biding my time a bit, didn't need it right then. Now I'm glad I didn't buy it, could use that $200 at the moment).

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