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HD DVD Coming Very Soon 594

x mani x writes "While the DVD Forum continues quibbling over a new blue-laser based HD-DVD standard, it looks like Microsoft has been busy developing a new video compression method that can show high quality HD video at bitrates similar to current DVD's (between 5-8mbps). Proof, you say? Check out some stunning samples of this cutting edge technology. Myself and many others have watched it and most of us feel this is significantly better looking than MPEG-4/DivX HD video of the same bitrate. This technology is causing some excitement, as the T2: Extreme Edition DVD package will include a DVD containing T2 in HD, compressed with this technology. Anyone with a fast PC will be able to watch T2 in high def, no pricey blue laser player required."
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HD DVD Coming Very Soon

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  • What's the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:24AM (#5708987) Journal
    All the new media will have hardware copy prevention built in.

    Being unable to even record your own media on these formats, will scare people away from accepting it. (Anyone remember the LASERDISC?)

    (And no, this ain't intended as a troll.)
  • by Patrik Nordebo ( 170 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:29AM (#5708997)
    Remember DVD? The video format that you couldn't record to that had unprecented consumer adoptment rates? That comes with a variety of copy prevention technology (encryption, Macrovision)? Doesn't seem to have hurt it much.
  • by warmcat ( 3545 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:32AM (#5709006)
    ''Anyone with a fast PC will be able to watch T2 in high def...

    AND Windows

  • by cyrax777 ( 633996 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:33AM (#5709009) Homepage
    LD died for a couple reasons #1 was it cost to damn much a movie was about 50 bucks and one could buy the VHS for around 25-30.
  • video libraries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pompatus ( 642396 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:34AM (#5709012) Journal
    How many people are ready to pay $30 (probably more) per movie to update their video libraries to a new media standard? It just seems too soon after dvd was adopted.
  • screw them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by justin_speers ( 631757 ) <> on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:37AM (#5709019)
    Like some other posters have already pointed out, no IE, no "stunning samples".

    Screw them, honestly. What arrogance. I hate their whole "all-Microsoft" strategy. Would I buy a Sony DVD player and expect it to only play CDs or DVDs from Sony? People would be outraged!

    This is why I have a hard time seeing Microsoft expanding beyond the very limited PC market. That's why the whole "Trojan horse in the living room" X-Box strategy will never work. Microsoft has a stronghold over PC operating systems, and can mostly get away with stuff like this. But if they refuse to cooperate with other companies already in the living room with technology like this, they're only hurting themselves.

    And since I can't see the "stunning samples" in Mozilla, I'm not so stunned.
  • by KeyserDK ( 301544 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:38AM (#5709024) Homepage
    Before everyone bashes MS, let me be the first to say that this actually looks like a good and genuine innovation, nobody is pure evil :).

    Now, there is an issue with regard to patents, if MS has any on this technology.

    Can anyone shed light on patents policies in the DVD-forum?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:50AM (#5709062)
    What is Microsoft saying...

    Yeah, I wonder why they compare those two processors, but I have a more fundamental question.

    Why do they try to improve the picture quality by a fraction of an order of magnitude, and not go and try to make a current technology work with lower power equipment? I think that would be much more valuable to the consumer.

    Though, this would ruin the whole WinTel idea of having to buy newer hardware for the newer software for the newer hardware....
  • 5-8 mbit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daBass ( 56811 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:00AM (#5709104)
    My DVD player can show the current bitrate and 3-4 seems more like it. No wonder this miracle compression algorithm works miracles at 5-8!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:06AM (#5709126)
    If you mean that it may or may not send data back to Microsoft, yes I am aware of that. I don't care if Microsoft wants to profile my taste in music/movies.

    Did you install every program on your computer by compiling it from the source and only after you've read through the entire code? The open source folk is happy to spout crap about the dangers of closed source all the while they're happily installing binaries from distribution CDs and ftp-sites. That's hypocrisy.

  • by shepd ( 155729 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <gro.todhsals>> on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:07AM (#5709130) Homepage Journal
    >That comes with a variety of copy prevention technology (encryption, Macrovision)? Doesn't seem to have hurt it much.

    Yes, but unlike its cousin that was stillborn (DiVX) the DVD format's encryption was optional. Also macrovision was removable almost from day 1, making analog copies (the only ones practical for a home user at the time) very possible. This also goes for region coding.

    Because the encryption is totally seamless and invisible to the end user, the end user never cared. I have never heard of a single person, apart from people using unauthorized players, who has ever bought a DVD that was unable to play a disc, assuming their player follows all the standards, due to the encryption present for any reason whatsoever (apart from region coding, which is trivial to remove on most all players, and only effects a small segment of the population).

    DRM, however, is intended to be obvious. DRM will not let the consumer do everything they want to without serious limits (physical, not legal) that they will almost surely encounter. That's what's the killer, and that's what made DiVX die, and it's why this format is another waste of someone's time and effort.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:10AM (#5709137)
    It's about who you trust. You trust Microsoft. Have a nice day.

  • Microsoft spying on you may not be the biggest issue. It is best to wait until all the bugs have been found before you install Microsoft software. As Steve Jobs said, "Microsoft eventually gets it right."
  • by j-pimp ( 177072 ) <> on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:21AM (#5709155) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, but some people do look through the source code. Even if we were to assume most people looking at other peopels source code are looking for exploitable security vulnerabilities, that would still eventually lead to the general public finding out about spyware type things. Also, though not for security reasons, I've read through source code for programs I installed on my computer. My reasons were to attempt to modify source code. Sometimes I did and sent in patches, sometimes I decided not to for several factors.

  • by ThoreauHD ( 213527 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:32AM (#5709188)
    Media providers are waking up to the fact that Microsoft is going to screw them. No matter how good it is(and this ain't that good), is it worth it when you pay per client connect, per server connect, per play, per minute, per bandwidth compression size, per my foot in their asses...

    It's not worth it. Set top boxes, microdevices, PVR, et. al are using linux now. They haven't even settled on a HDTV standard yet, not to mention the fact that only .5% of the population can view a DVD in HDTV quality.

    I now give my Swamee prediction:

    By the time we can actually see the difference, a better open compression will have emerged. Because most people will have access to the tech. As it is now, nobody does.

    So, I wish Microsoft luck. I'm sure some companies will let greed drive them to use their spiffy crackable DRM.. until they realize they just lost all of their unborn children and future to them. But, it'll be fun to watch.
  • Re:screw them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by torre ( 620087 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:42AM (#5709213)
    Like some other posters have already pointed out, no IE, no "stunning samples". Screw them, honestly. What arrogance. I hate their whole "all-Microsoft" strategy. Would I buy a Sony DVD player and expect it to only play CDs or DVDs from Sony? People would be outraged!

    Just want to point out your anger is a little premature and misdirected. The site itself, being Microsoft makes nice little popups that only support IE's DOM... no news there... however, you don't need IE to actually watch the clips, just windows media 9... you can actually download the files from the site if you want. Hence, its not the "All-Microsoft" strategy when it comes to the media itself. As it has been posted Microsoft is licensing all winmed 9 codes and information and a Linux port is on the way (don't know how well that will do however)....

    I know its tempting to scream foul at every little bump Microsoft throws at you, hell, I do it myself sometimes, but like somebody else pointed out... they're not that evil all the time.

  • by torre ( 620087 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:02AM (#5709267)

    You've got your numbers wrong, first it's encoded @ 6Mb/s nor 6MB/s second the frame is 12 times larger than the average divx encode! 320x240 vs 1280 x 720.... So, here's the real math is Divx @ same ratio would be @ 10.546Mb/s vs 6Mb/s for winmed .... I think that's impressive.

    for the record, I've encoded a lot ... and i mean a lot of video in a whole wack of formats, from mpeg1-4, winmed (from the shittiest to the newest), quicktime, real, divx, and i'm probably going to play with some more when i get some spare time. From experience, there is a difference.

  • Re:screw them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by James_Duncan8181 ( 588316 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:05AM (#5709276) Homepage
    Actually having faked my UA (thanks, Moz PrefBar) and looked at the video samples, they come in .exe format. Now I don't know about you but I am just a bit (!) dubious about running video files that are explicitly executable code.

    And the reason that I am dubious about MS as a video supplier is that I am sure that they will work very hard to make sure that consumers can only run these files on Windows.

    I also find it very noticable that MS formats are getting into a major DVD release as DRM is getting into MS software. An assisted lockout for MS in the OS arena if they can deliver a non-piratable system to Hollywood?

  • by Beautyon ( 214567 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:10AM (#5709290) Homepage
    Remember Betamax.

    It doesnt matter how good your product is; the conditions for it spreading are more important than great technical capabilities and fantastic specs.

    Now, if MS made the encoder and the players free, and made them free to incorporate into third party devices, then there might be a wildfire. This is simply not going to happen.

    Nothing to see here; move along.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:19AM (#5709312) Journal
    Laser Discs died because:

    most people didn't have TVs that were high-enough resolution that they could see VHS artifacts.

    VHS was widely adopted before people realized the serious problems of VHS tapes.

    Size was a problem. Ever gone to Blockbuster and brought back a single movie that weighed 10 lbs and had to have it's own seat?

    Running time was limited. You had to get up half-way through a fairly short movie, to turn the disc over, or insert an entirely different disc.

    VHS tapes are just more durable than discs. It was a serious deterant to audio CD adoption as well, but people (eventually) got used to the idea.

    Higher prices than VHS.

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

  • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:22AM (#5709326) Journal
    The open source folk is happy to spout crap about the dangers of closed source all the while they're happily installing binaries from distribution CDs and ftp-sites. That's hypocrisy.

    No it's not. If the source is available, then someone will see it. It doesn't have to be me or you. It's simply the fact that it *is* open and reviewable that makes the difference.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:24AM (#5709333)
    I doubt DVD would have taken off nearly as well as it did if it weren't possible to circumvent the regional encoding and other hacks in it. I expect most of the early adopters, at least in Europe had region free players. So it was precisely because of the weak protection that it took off as well as it did. For all the moaning by the studios about decss and modchips, I bet their profits would be a fraction of what they are if the encryption and protection had been any good.

    Now concerning this format, it has failure written all over it. HD televisions are few and far between (nowhere outside the US), no DVD player supports this format and few people are going to buy another player to support some marginally better picture quality. With few players, the number of discs is going to be nonexistant, the price of discs will be too high and the whole format is doomed. That's not even considering what deals with the devil that player makers would have to make to carry the format - royalities, running WinCE or whatever.

    To me it sounds like cross between DiVX and laserdisc. Unpopular, unwanted, artificially hyped and ultimately doomed.

  • by MonkeyDluffy ( 577002 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:41AM (#5709397)
    A blue laser DVD player will probably be cheaper than a DVD player with a 2.4Ghz P4 equivalent processor. And anything that adds to the marketplace confusion as far as the format for HD DVDs will slow the acceptance of it.

    Any HD DVDs will have some sort of DRM that is far more secure than current DVDs. I would imagine that the entertainment industry will be leary of any Microsoft DRM technology that could make Microsoft the gatekeeper to an entire industry.


  • by No. 24601 ( 657888 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:45AM (#5709410)
    I would mention a important limitation to analog to digital transfer... one of the major one's being that the analog masters often suffer from film degradation. I mean this isn't always a problem assuming the reel is stored in, say, a vacuum :) Moreover, we have ways of cleaning up the picture before/after transfer but it's just not nearly as good as having native digital format.
  • by mufasio ( 304185 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @08:18AM (#5709520)
    Although other system configurations may be able to playback this content, for an optimal experience we recommend at least a 2.4 GHz Intel or AMD Athlon XP 2100+ or higher processor and an AGP4x based NVIDIA or ATI video adapter card with at least 32 MB of RAM and the most recent OEM driver updates. The higher the data rate (in Mbps), the higher the resource requirement.

    I don't see this catching on any time soon if it requires a 2.4GHz processor in order to experience the increase in quality. I'm frightened to see the system requirements for the upcoming windows 2003.
  • Re:screw them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @08:47AM (#5709644)
    Simple Solution, then:

    Go write your own damn codec and distribute it however you please.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:35AM (#5709920)
    Analog masters can have great quality and (in theory) infinite dynamic range.

    Just as in Communism was a good idea (in theory). No, I think there are plenty of theories as to why analog do not have infinite dynamic range, one of them being the noise floor.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:36AM (#5709923)
    You consparicy theorists are funny. The reason it takes to much power to decode is because there is so much that needs decoding! Try doing an equally large stream with DivX, you'll find the same thing. A 1.6 can decode a 640x480 WM9 stream just fine, but when you are trying for something that is 1280x720, well that's a whole different deal. Lots more data so lots more power needed.

    That's the whole thing about faster processors, they let us do cool new things that just weren't possable before in realtime. Any time you find a chip that is enough to do everything, someone will be able to develop an application to take advantage of all that new power.

    The future in computers is things like high definition multimedia, good voice recognition and the like. All these things are going to need vastly more power than before, and fortunately chips that can supply it are comming out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2003 @10:03AM (#5710111)
    How in the hell is THIS anticompetitive?
    Its proprietary no doubt, but not anti-competitive.

    They require you to use their browser and media player for THEIR format??

    They have done plenty of anti-competitive things, but this isn't one of them.

    Slashdotters love to shout FUD!, then they spread so much of it themselves.
  • Myself... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @10:53AM (#5710467) Journal
    "Myself and many others have watched it."

    So you mean to say that you are comfortable with the sentence "Myself have watched it." ?!?!?!?

    The sentence is "I have watched it." and therefore your sentence should be "I and many others have watched it."

    To educated people, your sentence looks like you're saying "Myself have watched it, and others have watched it." and you just look like a farking retard.

    Please, people. Dont use "myself" to refer to yourself as the direct object in a sentence. You don't look intelligent. You look like a fucking buffoon. This probably goes for anything else you do to try to look intelligent.
  • by Cromac ( 610264 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @11:00AM (#5710523)
    I'm quite happy with Windows Media Player 9. It installs cleanly (no unpacking, scripts or stupid config-file tweaking), comes with the most common codecs and both recognizes and automatically downloads the rest.

    It also can't be un-installed since they claim it's now part of the OS. I hope you like it because you're stuck with it until you format/reinstall.

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @12:31PM (#5711268)
    "I would be a lot less anti-Microsoft if they actually put forth any effort at all to be compatible and/or interoperate with other OSes. I too am sick to death of the, "if you want to do this you have to run Windows" crap."

    I hear ya. It pisses me off I can't play Dreamcast games on my Playstation 2.
  • Re:CRAP!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delus10n0 ( 524126 ) <> on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:57PM (#5713605) Homepage
    Well, hopefully my AthlonXP 1.53GHz will be buff enough.

    Sorry, it's not. My AthlonXP 1.8GHz chops up on some parts of the Microsoft demo videos, especially when chrominance is high (sun reflecting off the water, etc.)

    I'm sure if you have a 2.0GHz processor (AMD or Intel) it'll run fine. And most likely there will be a hardware decoder available for this content, so no worries.

    The quality is amazing though. I saved the superbowl ads for the Matrix and Terminator 3, and they were in 720i as well. Delicious.

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