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Best (and Worst) High-Def Discs of 2006 173

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the buyer-beware dept.
An anonymous reader writes "High-Def Digest has released their first annual 'Best (and Worst) of the Year' list of movies released on HD DVD and/or Blu-ray. Not surprisingly, the 'best' list is heavy on superheroes. Superman, Batman, and the Hulk all made the list. Not a bad cheat sheet for those of us with a Blu-ray capable PS3 or an XBox 360 HD DVD add-on on our Christmas lists."
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Best (and Worst) High-Def Discs of 2006

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  • by DarkHelmet (120004) <mark AT seventhcycle DOT net> on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:41AM (#17334876) Homepage
    But what would be even nicer than having a list of nice HD movies, how about a nice guide of HD sets that accept 1080p via composite input or VGA input?

    After all, what good is having a 360 HD drive when you're only going to be watching the stuff at 720p or 1080i anyhow?

    Anyone?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:13AM (#17335008)
      1080p transmission is a farce when you're dealing with movies. There is basically no difference between transmitting in 1080i vs 1080p when viewing content at or below 30 frames/second.

      When talking about high def tv's, you're mostly talking about progressive displays (plasma, lcd, dlp, lcos, etc...) and in the US those displays are running at 60hz or 60 frames per second. Movies on the other hand are shot and encoded at 24fps. Now both an hd-dvd player and a blu-ray player, whether by component, dvi or hdmi are transmitting data to your tv at 60 fps. 1080i sends half the image on cycle 1 and half the image on cycle 2, your tv deinterlaces the image fields and shows you a progressive image for 2 frames. 1080p on the other hand sends the whole image on cycle 1, and nothing on cycle 2, and shows the progressive image for 2 frames as well. When you put down $1000 for a 1080p player, you've just paid $500 extra for a marketing term and the belief that movies will ever be shot at 60fps in the forseeable future.

      Alot of people will probably chime in and start screaming about interlace artifacts right now. The only way you get interlace artifacts on a progressive tv, is if the source material was shot as interlaced, for example http://thewebfairy.com/911/presentation/artifact.h tm [thewebfairy.com], but both hd-dvd and blu-ray, and presumably network tv are all shot in a progressive format, so your deinterlacer is reassembling the same image you'd see over 1080p.
      • by DrXym (126579) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:24AM (#17335062)
        When talking about high def tv's, you're mostly talking about progressive displays (plasma, lcd, dlp, lcos, etc...) and in the US those displays are running at 60hz or 60 frames per second. Movies on the other hand are shot and encoded at 24fps.

        Except that some TVs can output in 1080p/24. So they can show the movie at the same frame rate as it appeared in the cinema. Getting a player to output in that is another matter. The PS3 can't (at the moment), but allegedly a firmware patch will add that support (see here [beyond3d.com] for details).

        • by fyngyrz (762201) *

          The PS3, however, has one glaring problem as an hi-def media player - it can't output in 720p, which is the max resolution of many of the sets that are out there now. 1080p content hasn't been available for long. My PS3 was the #1 factor in my deciding to go with HD-DVD instead of Blueray; I have thousands of dollars invested in a 720p projection system, and the PS3 mashes all Blueray content down to 480p at best. The "bargain" you think you're getting for a game console plus Blueray player at $600 or so i

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The only way you get interlace artifacts on a progressive tv, is if the source material was shot as interlaced, for example http://thewebfairy.com/911/presentation/artifact.h tm [thewebfairy.com], but both hd-dvd and blu-ray, and presumably network tv are all shot in a progressive format, so your deinterlacer is reassembling the same image you'd see over 1080p.

        No, the deinterlacer is trying to reassemble the separate fields of an interlaced image to a frame. To do this, is has to guess where the 2:3 cadence falls, and detect

      • by Malc (1751)
        Shouldn't scenes with motion appear smoother at 1080i @ 60 FPS than 1080p @ 30 FPS?
        • by matt328 (916281) on Friday December 22, 2006 @10:31AM (#17336588)
          It all depends what FPS the content was created at. If you're talking video games, its 'content' is created procedurally by a GPU at as many FPS as it can crank out. If you've got a movie that was shot at 30 FPS, viewing it at 60 FPS will cause each source frame to be displayed on the tv for 2 frames (or cycles, or whatever you want to call it). Even though the FPS on a tv is higher, it depends on the FPS of the content you're displaying.

          An example would be if in one frame of a 30 FPS source, my hand is on the left side of your screen. My hand moves so quickly to the right so that in the next frame it appears on the right side of the screen. So one frame has my hand at the left, then the very next has my hand at the right. Even if you view it at 100000 FPS (impossible, I know, but stay with me) there would be 50000 frames showing my hand at the left, followed by 50000 frames with my hand at the right. Even though you raise the FPS, there are still no frames that exist with my hand anywhere in between left and right. Unless 60 FPS TVs are able to interpolate between the two, there's just nothing available to show during the 'extra' frame so it stays the same.

          When it comes down to it, a movie is still a finite amount of pictures shown in rapid succession (mainly 30 of them per second). Even though a TV can be capable of displaying twice that many in a second, it's not capable of 'making stuff up' to show you every other frame. So I guess I'm trying to say its the content, not the TV that determines the 'smoothness'.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        First off, the one that's dead wrong. Network TV is not filmed in progressive, or if they did it's not sent as telecine. Plenty interlacing artifacts there.

        Secondly, when you make 24p to 60i you get as follows (1/12th of a second):
        1A 2A
        1B 2B
        to
        1A 1A 2A 2A 2A
        1B 1B 1B 2B 2B

        You actually send half of these in 60i, but that's the result. See the interlaced frame? Each frame gets 5 half-frames, but you can't split that evenly. You could give one frame 4 half-frames and the other 6, but that'd lead to stuttering. H
      • well, the other argument is video games. both the Xbox 360 and PS3 can play games at 1080p and some already at 60FPS, Not to mention the Xbox 360 has an internal scaler to upscale 720p games to 1080i/p if so desired, you'd be halving your frame rate if you used this feature and neglected to

        you're absolutely right about showing low frame rate films... but I wouldn't be so sure about films NOT going to 60FPS in the future. Movie frame rates are low because back on the old film reels the lower the framerate
        • >both the Xbox 360 and PS3 can play games at 1080p and some already at 60FPS,

          Really? Can you name a game doing so? i was under the impression that ps3 developers were shooting for 720p because of the FPS hit they took at 1080P.

      • by The-Bus (138060) on Friday December 22, 2006 @10:23AM (#17336532)
        I have no mod points, so I can only respond and say you're right. The source material of HD DVDs and Blu-Ray discs is 1080P. If there's an exception, you'd note it on the back of the case. From what I understand, if the source material is 1080P but your TV is 1080i, you most likely won't see any difference unless you have a very poor deinterlacer.

        Even if your TV is 720P, you'll still see a difference between regular broadcast / DVD and HD discs. Some people (myself included) claim to see a difference between HD discs and HD broadcast; for me, this is mostly due to HD DVDs having none of the compression artifacts and color banding you find occasionally on your HD broadcast.
      • With "digital film" and digital projectors in the theater, will interlacing, deinterlacing and progressive scan become words that we used in the past? (Like UHF or B&W)

        I long for the day when I can just buy a TV Set and not have to consider these technical arguments inside my head.
      • It's true that there's no real visual difference between 1080i and 1080p - on a 1080p display at 1920 × 1080...

        However I've found generally that a 1080p display will usually offer the full HD resolution, while there are many displays that accept a 1080i signal but the actual resolution is somewhat lower. Thus looking for a 1080P display can be good from a resolution standpoint.
      • by doctor_no (214917)
        You can see the difference between 1080p and 1080i, the biggest difference is that most 1080i HDTV does not display at a full 1920x1080. This is compounded with high-motion video content which progressive is far superior then interlaced (and yes you can see artifacts). Also, 1080p players are not $1,000, both HD-DVD and Blu-ray have players in the $500 range (least of which the PS3, 360+add-on and Toshiba's entry-level HD_DVD player). Also, starting next year, all 1080p sets will become the norm and are
      • by sahonen (680948)
        Movies will probably be shot at 24 fps for ages to come, but broadcast television won't. FOX, ABC, ESPN, and many others are broadcasting at 60 fps in 720 lines. There's not enough bandwidth to produce a good-looking 1080 line picture at 60 fps, but when that limitation goes away I think we'll see all the major broadcasters moving up to it. Also, game consoles can output 60 fps progressive content.
    • by Fizzl (209397)
      There is no such thing.
      HDMI is the only way. Protected video path and all that DRM shit.

      I think you can't watch even 1080i without HDMI.

      --
      "I know this'll burn my karma..." What the fuck? Fuck off wanker! I hate you assholes who add a mention of karma in nonsensical posts just to get it modded somewhere. Is this post solely for karma whoring? No-one can't be as stupid as think you can get HD through composite. Atleast no-one who actually owns a HD set. So we have two options: 1) Clueless wanker who has too m
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by iainl (136759)
        1) No, 1080i and 1080p work just fine on the 360. Image Constraint Token has not been implemented on a single public disc yet, and is highly unlikely any time in the near future, given the speed at which these add-on drives are flying off the shelf. By the time it does become an issue, you'll have almost certainly got your $199 worth of fun out of the drive, and the standalone players that you'll need will have come down by that much.

        2) The grandparent is strictly off-topic. Burning karma to get his questio
      • by henryhbk (645948)
        I happily watch 1080i over DVI and over component all the time. No reason you can't do this without HDMI. HDMI does offer additional advantages, but 1080i is not one of them.
      • I happen to have an Xbox 360 that does 720p perfectly fine to my HD set. The reason I was asking this, is because I actually am a clueless wanker who stayed up a little too late and ended up writing composite instead of component without proofing. Oops. Well, so much for actually getting my real question answered.

        I've been looking at my share of 1080p televisions, however, I noticed that most of the TVs that are 1080p but only accept a 1080i signal. Since I wouldn't mind having a TV that doubles as a

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613)
      After all, what good is having a 360 HD drive when you're only going to be watching the stuff at 720p or 1080i anyhow?

      Anyone?


      Um, because it will still look an order of magnitude better than 480i?
      • by markild (862998)
        I've found this picture [wikipedia.org] from Wikipedia to be of great help, when trying to explain to people the differences between the myriad of resolutions out there.

        Sure it's chaotic and all, but it gets the job done ;)
  • Let's see;
    • BATMAN BEGINS (forgive the caps, I'm copy 'n pasting). I own it on DVD and I still haven't been able to sit through it.
    • THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, which made a good friend of mine motion sick.
    • HULK, which I thought was roundly considered awful.
    • MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, starring the recently disowned by his old studio Tom Cruise.
    Meanwhile, it looks like some good movies were completely screwed up, such as Army of Darkness.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Batman Begins [imdb.com] is #88 on the IMDB Top 250 and is rated a solid 8.3. Do you really expect us to take you seriously when you're trashing what is arguably the best superhero movie (let alone Batman movie) in the past decade?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jgoemat (565882)
      1. BATMAN BEGINS, the best Batman movie in my opinion
      2. THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, another excellent movie, although I didn't like the jerky camera action either, but I understand why it was necessary to hide the poor fight-work
      3. HULK, guess you missed Ebert and Roper giving it two thumbs up
      4. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, I haven't seen this one. If someone I know owns it I may borrow it, but I'm not going to give Tom Cruise one more dollar to give to Scientology.

      What good movies (other than Army of Darkness) were the

      • The Bourne Supremacy fights were disappointing after watching Bourne Identity. BI had amazingly good fights that used Krav Maga and Escrima/Kali fighting styles to great effect.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by PingSpike (947548)
          In the BS fight scenes, as near as I could tell, Matt Damon rolled around on the floor with a RealDoll while the director shook the camera hard enough to give old Star Trek space ship combat scenes are run for their money.

          If Matt Damon was doing something else, I apologize...because I COULDN'T SEE A GOD DAMN THING.
      • by drsquare (530038)
        I don't know if Ebert's opinion counts for anything, he seems to be going senile. Gives pretty much every film four stars no matter how average it is. I don't know anyone who thought Hulk was anything other than awful.

        And it's funny to see Ebert slam a film in the 70s/80s, then come back twenty years later and hail it as a 'Great Movie' when he realises everyone else liked it. The man's a fraud.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by heinousjay (683506)
          Exactly. A real man would be rigid in his opinions for 30 years. Only the weak change their minds.
          • by drsquare (530038)
            A film can't change from being horrible to brilliant. Have you seen him go back after 30 years and slam a film he used to like? He's a two-faced hack.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Batman Begins is a great movie, as is the Bourne Supremacy. Can't say I think much of the other two although MI:III was supposed to be a fairly good popcorn flick even if it did contain a diminuitive AC:DC weirdo in its lead role.
    • by iainl (136759)
      I flat-out adored three of your list, and even Hulk was passable.

      But this isn't about quality of film, it's quality of transfer, and of the HD discs I've seen of either format, Hulk was probably the best overall; the picture is just jaw-droppingly good, with luminous colour and natural texture.

      Second best I'd place Casablanca, and if you're going to call that shit, you can step outside.
    • by Mark Maughan (763986) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:32AM (#17335108)
      Batman Begins was arguably the best superhero movie ever.

      Hulk was a Shakespearian, father-son conflict, tragedy shot comic book panel style. The only reason people thought it was awful was because they came wanting to see some piece of shit like Fantastic 4 and instead got a more thoughtful, artistic masterpiece. It was a highbrow movie about lowbrow subject matter.
      • by iainl (136759)
        Sorry you got modded by some idiot as a Troll. Because you're not.

        Personally, I was fairly disappointed by Hulk, because in trying to have its artistic cake and also trying to eat big CG-heavy action sequences, it fell between two stools. I thought most of the second hour could do with a serious trim, people who just wanted to see HULK SMASH!!! would want most of the first hour gone, and ultimately everyone lost. Oh well, at least he tried.

        Mind you, I'm sure that some people would say the same about Batman
        • by Scudsucker (17617)
          I think one reason there wasn't more action was because the CGI was ungodly expensive. IIRC Ang Lee said the dogfight scene alone cost $20-$30 mil.

          I also liked how they actually took the time to set up charachters, as opposed to X-Men and Spider-Man which felt edited to the bone. Not one extra second in any scene in those two movies.
          • by iainl (136759)
            That's true. It also possibly explains why so many of the big scenes (the dogs and the climax in particular) took place at night, where you can hide the rough bits in the shadows.

            Which is what really annoyed me about the film, I think - bits of it were just so dark I couldn't actually see what was going on any more.

            But yes, having some time for characters really worked with Hulk. Unlike most of the Batman sequels, where they throw so many villains at it that no-one (least of all Bruce Wayne) gets enough cha
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by joshetc (955226)
          IMO he deserves to be modded a troll. Unless I am blind he slammed Fantastic Four, which has Jessica Alba in it, which automatically makes it one of the best movies of all time.
      • by Kris_J (10111) *
        Batman Begins was arguably the best superhero movie ever.
        If you like tired cliches, unnecessarily brutal violence and a movie that doesn't really get started until half way through maybe. Oh well, at least if it's as popular as you say it should be easy to eBay.
        • I um guess you missed that whole "Batman" portion of the title there. Who DOESNT go to a batman movie and not expect to see brutal violence.... unless your into that whole 60's batman thing.

          That being said, Begins was a lot LESS violent then say the original Burton films where the death count for villans was like a rolling counter in the upper right hand corner.

      • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday December 22, 2006 @08:52AM (#17335978)
        Hulk was a Shakespearian, father-son conflict
        I tried to get Hulk via P2P to see if it was as bad as everyone said but it turned out to be a renamed porn movie file with some seriously hot action. I was happy.
      • by npsimons (32752) *

        Batman Begins was arguably the best superhero movie ever.

        Really? That doesn't bode well for other superhero movies then:

        Batman Begins is all about overreaching, trying to turn kid's stuff into
        grown up's stuff. Those dumbasses want to pretend to tell a poignant and
        powerful tale when what they have is a guy who dresses like a bat and
        fights bad guys in bad Mexican wrestling masks all fancied up with
        simplistic psychobabble. Batman is a god damn comic book for kids,
        something with mail order seven-foot ghosts,

        • by Gogo0 (877020)
          Your post is so pretentious that it is astounding!
          Couldnt you think of a less-caustic way to tell people that books are better?

          When I was younger I was really into comic books. I also read real books all the time, big thick ones with fancy words and all that. What does it all mean? Its means I liked comic books and I liked regular books. Now I just read regular books. If comic books and movies interest someone, what business is it of yours? Why do you think people will care that you consider books so sup
      • by evilviper (135110)

        Hulk was a Shakespearian, father-son conflict, tragedy shot comic book panel style.

        No, it was a case of someone taking an action movie, and try to pretent it was serious. The end result was to watch everyone walk around for 2 hours, utterly depressed about everyone and everything, for no particular reason. As well as everyone making blindly stupid, and obviously horrible decisions, with no consistency, just to move the plot along.

        It was esentially a really crappy Batman movie, trying to also be something

    • It's not the Blu-Ray's fault most movies in the last year have been miserable.
      • It's a new mpaa way to fight piracy. Instead of concentrating on new copy protection and policing the internet they figure they will make movies so horriable that nobody would want to copy them. Guess what, its working.

    • All nonsensical rantings and ravings about Batman Begins aside, you seem to have missed the point. If you read the descriptions in TFA, you would note that very rarely did the article talk about whether the movie itself was good (with the possible exception of his reference to Army of Darkness as a cult flick). The article was specifically rating the DVDs on the HD advantages they provided: better sound and video quality, extras that utilize HD-only features, etc. Things like storyline, plot, dialog, etc. w
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nomadic (141991)
      BATMAN BEGINS (forgive the caps, I'm copy 'n pasting).

      Wouldn't it have taken less time to rewrite "Batman Begins" than it did to write "forgive the caps, I'm copy 'n pasting)?
      • by Kris_J (10111) *
        Yes, but then I copy 'n pasted a bunch of other titles too -- and I wasn't sure how many I'd be referencing when I started writing the comment.
  • This list seems to miss one crucial point: people watch movies for entertaiment. For the vast majority it's all about being told a good story, not studying the quality of the latest movig image to be projected onto a wall/into a box/whatever.

    Imagine having a collection that included films like hulk, mission: impossible iii and superman returns (I refuse to capitalise the titles - they're that bad). i'd rather spend the time beatig myself about the head with a dead salmon.

    The majority of films in this lis

    • Oh I think they know, but it's not hard to find reviews of these movies on an entertainment basis. It's surprisingly difficult to find reviews of "Let's assume you like this movie, here's how pretty this version is".
    • The reason the list is decidedly anorak-ish is because those are who the early adopters are. They are technophiles who absolutely must absolutely new gadgets even if it costs 3 times as much to buy 1st gen bugged hardware. While these people have very questionable judgement skills, the likes of Sony, Toshiba etc. still want to attract them to their platform in the hopes that Blu-Ray or HD-DVD will win more converts. Hence the reason for all of the crappy discs released so far.

      Normal people wait for the pr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:20AM (#17335038)
    They all look the same...when you can't watch them at all.

    Seriously, please don't buy into HD, unless the DRM madness ends. A few extra pixels are not worth our rights, nor the damage to the open source community.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Erk, but DVDs have DRM so what other video format are you talking about? VHS? Good luck trying to sell that to people.

      Besides, I fully expect that you'll see a flood of DVD players capable of playing high definition DIVX / AVC content from a burnt DVD before long, with tools and rippers to extract them from the source material.

      • by iainl (136759) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:47AM (#17335176)
        VHS only doesn't have DRM because the D stands for Digital, anyway. The Analogue Rights Management of Macrovision is (if anything) worse, because it's actually affecting picture quality, unlike on a DVD or HD-DVD where it's invisible on a working machine.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:21AM (#17335042)
    The Hulk was utterly mediocre. Wouldn't buy it for $4.99, let alone whatever it is high def movies fetch.

    Where are the real classics that I would actually want to see in hi-def?
    • by Sinryc (834433)
      Waiting to be put out so that the winner is what format they will go on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by iainl (136759)
      I'd suggest you start with Casablanca, which is even better than that blurb makes it sound - the amount of texture detail and those deep shadows are just stunning. I can't believe this film looks better than I've seen far more recent movies look when projected from actual 35mm film, when watching on an 8ft screen.

      Next up, and almost as good (the larger grain of the original print being pretty much about it) is The Searchers. Finish off an initial purchase run with Forbidden Planet, and you'll be very happy.
  • Say it 20 times quickly... bet you can't.
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:51AM (#17335202)
    But most of these aren't good films.

    Sorry, but I'd rather watch a good film with a good plot and good acting on VHS any day over a whizz-bang technical film with crappy pretty-boy/barbie-girl actors and a script written by a committee...

    I'll pass on this one
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
      Sorry, but I'd rather watch a good film with a good plot and good acting on VHS any day over a whizz-bang technical film with crappy pretty-boy/barbie-girl actors and a script written by a committee...

      Spoken like someone without an HDTV.

      When most people first get an HDTV set, they will watch anything in HD, no matter how inane, just for the visual quality. The wow-factor tends to wear off after 6-9 months, but just about everyone with an HDTV set still remembers those first few months where the only thing
      • Dude, when I got my first HD set, I started watching PBS because they had these incredible wildlife and wilderness images on their HD channel. PB-fucking-S! I hate those wankers, but I could not get over the picture quality. If not for DirecTV-HD (who is just now shipping their HD-DVR) I would still be watching cheetahs drag racing antelope over desert tundra.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MikeBabcock (65886)
        Do you have any idea how much PBS I've watched since having an HDTV for a year now? PBS in HD can be a truly beautiful experience. The stories were always informative I suppose, but from cooking shows to tours of aquariums to scenic vistas in nature or travel shows, HDTV really maximizes what they're trying to do with TV.

        As for regular content, almost every show I watch is in HD these days [mikebabcock.ca] (scroll to the very bottom for the list). I don't watch many shows just for their being in HD, but going from 1080i
    • by the_womble (580291) on Friday December 22, 2006 @09:39AM (#17336242) Homepage Journal
      You are clearly an eccentric.

      What has good plot and good acting got to do with making a good film?

      The measure of a good film is how much money is spent on making it: especilly how much is spent on marketing.
    • by fermion (181285)
      It seems to me that any product will mold itself to the technological capabilities of the time, and a skilled producer will maximize the value of the technology, even if the use is gratuitous.

      That said, many of these films, even though they are trite and in 5 years will seem dated, do appear to make every use of the technological innovation. Since the innovations are largely visual, the improvements are largely visual as well, which leads to the issue that money is spent on fx rather than writing dialog.

  • It is utterly bewildering that 'Fifth Element' could end up looking so poor. I have the Superbits version on DVD and through an average CRT telly and Toshiba DVD player this looks absolutely fantastic. But then this happened with a lot of early DVDs. The early transfer of 'Blade Runner' is truly shocking, looking little better than those bootleg made by people in cinemas with camcorders. I can't wait for the remastered version, even at SD.
    • I'm awaiting delivery of my new techie toy - a 50" Vizio HD Plasma tv. I was looking forward to finding some great sci-fi flicks to check it out - I'm off the next week. The Fifth Element is one of my favorite movies - the DVD I played on my old tv set looked pretty good. So the HD version isn't any good?

      Dang it!

      I don't have an HD DVD player anyway, so am limited to watching it on a regular DVD player anyway. I hope the best format wins.
      • Don't worry. A good transfer on DVD on such a "small" screen as 50" will be nearly indistinguishable from HD unless you have a controlled environment, good eyes, and an A-B setup to test. I have a good CRT set which is calibrated (professional alignment, enthusiast calibrated) and the difference between HD broadcasts and DVD is minimal to the point that the recently aired ROTK did not look noticably better in 1080i than in 480p off my DVD. I will admit that the HDMI input has not been calibrated with an HD
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by lotsotech (848683)
          What CRT are you projecting onto a 119" screen? Maybe they look the same because the picture is so incredibly dim. On a Sony Qualia 004 (which only takes a 1080i input) the difference between Blu-Ray and DVD was very noticable to the people in the room. Standard DVDs look great, but nobody was saying that they looked close.
          • I mentioned that at 119 it did make a difference. FWIW, this was several years ago, and it was a Sony 10HT, 1366x768 LCD panel display with a retroreflective screen. Brightness was not a problem. It mattered there. HD is good on my 51" RP, but having seen both HD and DVD on it, I really don't feel like I'm missing anything at DVD on 90+% of my material.

            I'm curious...what would the reaction be for material like The Sting, or The Dark Crystal, or Amadeus? Sure, there are films out there that certainly will be
        • by Vegeta99 (219501)
          Man, I don't know about your projector, but with my Sanyo 30" 1080i CRT machine, the difference between a DVD and even cable's HD channels is /glorious/.
    • It is utterly bewildering that 'Fifth Element' could end up looking so poor.

      Sony basically botched its early releases on BluRay, one of which was "The Fifth Element". Across the board everyone was underwhelmed with the whole lot of first releases. Sony couldn't get anything but MPEG-2 working by release time (that is not true now, but it was true this summer), so they had to encode all the first BluRay discs with MPEG-2 at high bitrates. I've seen MPEG-2 in high definition and it can look great with a
  • by hsa (598343) on Friday December 22, 2006 @06:16AM (#17335316)
    What happened to movies themselves. I honestly couldn't care less if I get video commentary with my HD movie or not. I watch movies for movies sake. Extras are something I watch if I liked the movie and have extra time to see how it was made. They are worth nothing if the movie sucks.

    The worst movies in list are lacking in extra HD content. So what? Couldn't care less. The winning movies have all sorts of cool extra content, but it still doesn't make the movie good. I will never buy World Trade Centre, even if had best extras and good transfer.

    Video quality and soundtrack are the only things I care about. Please remove the extras and put these in with higher quality.
  • Is Cannibal Holocaust [imdb.com] or The Dreamers [imdb.com] on high-def discs yet? I'd prefer the latter but either might be worth upgrading the television equipment for.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday December 22, 2006 @07:33AM (#17335614) Homepage Journal
    But I heard fart jokes are so much better in HD!
  • HD DVD Advert (Score:5, Informative)

    by dimer0 (461593) on Friday December 22, 2006 @08:10AM (#17335754)
    Man, that page sure makes it seem that Blu-Ray sucks ass. I'm not sure what they based their selections off of...

    If you want some better lists to work form, the guys over at avsforum are a much better information source, if you ask me:

    HD DVD Picture Quality Tiers List [avsforum.com]

    Blu-Ray Picture Quality Tiers List [avsforum.com]

    • by Danga (307709)
      Man, that page sure makes it seem that Blu-Ray sucks ass.

      Blu-ray does suck ass and will die. It is more restrictive, has more DRM, requires java virtual machines to be implemented on all players (ugggh), requires the current DVD manufacturing plants to do serious upgrades because the surface layer is much thinner and also requires a special hard coating to be applied, and in turn is more expensive. Sure, it can theoretically hold more data but I think that will really only make a big difference for people
      • Bewjewled on your 50 inch plasma!..

        Heh it might help get the spose on board for Blu-Ray

        I'm still not buying anything till I can rip to my notebook.

        -A
      • by kalidasa (577403)
        There was one format that Sony pioneered with one other company, Phillips, that was relatively successful. You may even have heard of it: the Audio Compact Disk, or CD. Sure, Phillips did most of the technical work (PDF) [uni-essen.de] on it, but Sony was there from the start.
        • by Danga (307709)
          I said they had a horrible track record with thier formats, not that absolutely none were ever successful. I knew someone would bring up the CD, but like you said they didn't develop it themselves and it was not propietary like all of their other COMPLETE FAILURES. Just a few of their world class failures that I can remember off the top of my head are:

          Betamax, ATRAC, ATRAC3 (knocked out by MP3), MemoryStick, MiniDisc, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (knocked out by DTS), MultiMedia Compact Disc, SACD (also joi
          • by kalidasa (577403)

            Have you heard of the Sony Rootkit? How about the bullshit lawsuits against Lik-Sang or Bleem? How about their viral marketing campaign "All I want for Xmas is a PSP"? How about the fictitious movie reviewer they created called David Manning who always gave glowing reviews for Sony subsidiary Columbia Pictures, while real critics gave the same movies extremely poor reviews?

            Well, this is a tad overwrought. Don't you think that it would be a better argument for you to prove that Toshiba has a long track re

    • I read over the HD DVD list, and noticed something quite odd. One of their criteria for 'Tier 1' is that the film features "many examples of 3D." They're using '3D' to refer to CG special effects. This is only a useful way to judge and categorize films if you're looking for action-filled sequences to show off your new HD system to friends.
  • " Not a bad cheat sheet for those of us with a Blu-ray capable PS3 or an XBox 360 HD DVD"

    Or those who might have burning hardware in their PCs... In my search of DVD burning/authoring software I found software by RocketDivision called Grab & Burn [rocketdivision.com] which claims it can, "Duplicate CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-DVD media in 1:1 mode", and, "supports all types of optical storage media (including CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, BD-R/RE, HD-DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM) as well as a wide variety of burning hardware", and best of
  • Not even a mention of Universal's very first HD offering, "Serenity?" What's up with that?
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday December 22, 2006 @10:32AM (#17336594) Homepage
    For you youngsters here: Cinerama was to 35mm movies as HD is to NTSC. It used three synchronized projectors on a deeply-curved screen subtending a 146-degree arc. Everyone who has ever seen it was bowled over by it. It is still shown on rare occasions when fans arrange it. It is universally acknowledged to be better than the later wide-screen processes such as CinemaScope, VistaVision, etc. all of which were pretty much acknowledged to be ways to get something sorta-kinda-not-quite-almost like Cinerama, but on the cheap. Many who have had an opportunity to compare it with present-day IMAX have judged it to be superior, too, although that's trickier. IMAX suffers by having too much height and not enough width; when presented on a flat screen, it's flat, and when presented on a dome screen, it's hopeless washed out by cross-reflection (unlike Cinerama, which was always pitch-black in the shadows). Of course CInerama had those awful panel joints... but I digress. Here's the point:

    Cinerama was never more than a footnote, because it was only suited to spectacle, not to storytelling. Only two Cinerama features were made with a conventional storyline: "How the West was Won," and "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm." The rest were pastiches of spectacle: travelogues, ride-film-like experiences, and so forth.

    It bodes very ill for high-definition that most of the "best" films are special-effects sci-fi extravaganzas.

    I'm glad to see they have Casablanca on their list, but it's not clear that they're saying the actual experience of watching the movie is any better than on DVD. They seems to like the many extras bundled in. Is Rick more world-weary in high-definition? Is Ilsa lovelier? Do the heartrending scenes rend your heart any more? I haven't seen it... but I doubt it.

    I like seeing superheros hurtle through space and things blow up as much as the next guy, but these are not enough to carry an expensive video format.

    How, exactly, is high-definition going to help directors evoke emotion and tell a story?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iainl (136759)
      Bogart's performance doesn't change, but Casablanca is stunning on HD-DVD because it looks so much more like film; the detail of the lighting, set design and indeed subtle details of the performances show up with a stunning clarity that does the film justice.

      And yes, the way the light catches Ilsa's hair is pretty damn lovely, since you ask.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GrayCalx (597428)
      You sir are confusing content with delivery method.
  • by heli0 (659560)
    Best
    HD-DVD: 6
    Blu-Ray: 1
    Both: 3

    Worst
    HD-DVD: 1
    Blu-Ray: 3
    Both: 1

    It appears that most in the 'Best' category use VC-1 while most in the 'Worst' category use MPEG-2.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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