There are some new developments in the war between Toshiba’s HD-DVD format and Sony’s Blu-ray. Toshiba recently announced the release of a HD-DVD player capable of playing High Definition video in 1080p resolution, and Sony says that it will release a Blu-ray recorder in Japan by the end of the year. Both of these moves are meant to give each company an advantage in the competition to have their High Definition video disc format come out on top.For anyone not familiar with this issue, Blu-ray and HD-DVD are both High Definition Television Digital Video Discs (DVD’s) and are competing in the marketplace to become the dominant format. Both use blue laser technology to pack more data onto a disc than standard DVD technology- which uses a red laser- is capable of. The fact that they can deal with more data makes both formats up to the task of storing High Definition Video content, but there are some pretty major differences between them. For example each side of an HD-DVD can hold fifteen gigabytes of data or thirty gigabytes total, while a Blu-ray disc can hold twenty five gigabytes per side or fifty gigabytes total.Looking at the difference in the capacities of the two formats, it should be a no brainer that the Blu-ray format should win out in this war, but it’s not quite that simple. Blu-ray disc players tend to be more expensive than HD-DVD players, and each format has the backing of some pretty major players in the home entertainment electronics and computer industries. For example, Blu-ray has the support of a number electronics manufacturers including Sony, Dell, Apple, Philips, Sharp, HP, and many others. It also has the support of a number of movie studios including Paramount, Fox, Disney, MGM, and Warner The HD-DVD format has the support of only three studios- Warner, Universal, and Paramount. (Paramount and Warner are hedging their bets in this war by releasing titles in both formats.) The fact that so many more studios are backing Blu-ray is another factor that bodes well for it’s triumph, but that gain is largely offset by the fact that Microsoft has is backing HD-DVD by providing support for the format through it’s new Vista operating system and making the Xbox HD-DVD compatible.The HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war has had an adverse effect on the adoption of High Definition Television technology in general. Many consumers are waiting before buying a player in one format or another because they don’t want to be stuck with the loser in a few years which is what happened to people who invested in Betamax video cassette technology over twenty years ago. As a result, backers of both technologies are angling to give their’s a foothold, which is what we’re seeing now.The introduction Toshiba’s new HD-DVD player that can handle 1080p will probably just make HD-DVD more competitive with Blu-ray, because Blu-ray players are already 1080p capable. At present though, this is something of a moot point because there isn’t really anything to watch in 1080p resolution anyway. Sony’s Blu-ray recorder could give the technology a leg up. After all, if you can record in a format, then you have something to watch in that format, which will make it more attractive.What the industry really needs to do is create devices that are compatible with both HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. The first one to do that will see immediately see huge profits and prevent any one format form monopolizing the High Definition Television DVD market.
There are a variety of technological factors that are causing the competition between all of the different TV service providers to heat up. The major technological innovation that most of these companies are using to try to attract new subscribers is HDTV. HDTV provides a TV picture that’s a lot like a big screen movie picture, both in shape and level of detail in the picture. It also features a high quality sound format in the form of Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound that uses six total speaker to surround the audience with sound that goes along with what’s happening on the HDTV screen. This combination has drummed up a lot of interest among viewers when it comes to getting this high quality entertainment in their own homes, and all of the major TV service providers are banking on this excitement to boost their subscriber rankings.It should go without saying that, at least theoretically, the TV service provider that can offer the most HDTV channels will be the one to attract that most subscribers. Brining HDTV channels online is easier said than done though. At first, there just weren’t that many HDTV channels available to offer. More recently however, there have been plenty of HDTV channels available, but not every TV service provider has the bandwidth required to transmit as many as they’d like.The bandwidth limitations have been of particular concern to cable TV companies because they simply don’t have as much available bandwidth as the satellite TV companies. This makes it much more difficult for them to offer as many channels as satellite TV companies can. There is a new technology that’s rapidly being implemented by cable companies that could save them from losing the HDTV game though. This technology is called Switched Digital Video and it overcomes the bandwidth limitations by allowing a cable TV provider to transmit only the channel that a subscriber is watching to that subscriber, thereby freeing up its existing bandwidth to offer more channels. This means that a cable TV company can theoretically offer as many HDTV channels as it wants. It also means that cable TV companies will be well prepared to offer even more data intensive TV formats- like 3D HDTV and Ultra HDTV- as they become available.The satellite TV industry has been in a better position to begin with when it comes to offering more HDTV channels, and despite the threat of cable TV companies with their Switched Digital Video technology (which doesn’t work with satellite transmissions incidentally), satellite TV companies can still compete in the realm of HDTV. The approach of satellite TV companies is more of the brute force nature where they increase the amount of bandwidth available to them so that they can devote it to transmitting more HDTV channels. This simply involves launching more satellites.The high level of competition has lead to some strange moves from the companies that are fighting for more subscribers. For example, a cable TV company has repeatedly sued a satellite TV company for claiming to be able to provide more HDTV channels than cable TV can offer. But the cable company claims that with Switched Digital Video it can offer more channels. The cable TV company seems more interested in arguing the point in court than it is in actually implementing the technology that will provide those channels.Like everything else where TV is involved, the results of this competition will be determined by technology, economics, and ultimately human nature.
Nowadays technology has developed so far that you can actually recreate the magic of theaters at home, and you have ample systems that can help you do that. Home theater refers to a setup of audio and video equipment in your home that tries to duplicate the movie theater experience. A home entertainment theater system is a home entertainment system intended for the domestic environment and capable of processing in an effective manner; audio, video and graphics information. Large size screens, High Definition Televisions or a projection system with movie screen to project the image on are used as video displays. Stereo systems have also become very prominent by using front speakers with or without some form of woofer or sub woofer, as well as rear and side speakers, and have become prevalent particularly for sound systems used to reproduce sound in home theater video systems for playing back video motion pictures and similar program material.The most important thing that you need to consider before you make the purchase of a home theater system is the actual requirement that you are looking at. Most of us look at simple systems that can recreate the magic but at a lower level, so that your neighbors are not disturbed by the sound that is generated from bigger systems. At its most complex, you can indeed have a custom built home theater that costs tens of thousands of dollars with a high end video projector, latest DVD player and Blu-Ray Disc player, network media player, separate amplifiers for each channel controlled by a master preamp or controller, in wall speakers, and a couple of sub woofers that can just about shake down the entire neighborhood. This is not only going to cost you a lot but also create a bit of disharmony in the neighborhood, as your neighbors are not going to react very nicely of the sound ended up waking them in the middle of the night.As you decide the type of entertainment system that you would like to invest in, you need to first decide the exact room that you intend to place this in. A room which is not used for regular activity would be most suitable for such a system, so that it causes least disturbance to normal activity around the house. In fact lots of people think that such theaters are very expensive and have lots of equipments and cables running all over the place. This is not true. In most homes, though, a home entertainment theater does not consist of an expensive custom installation, or a lot of money. A home theater can be something as simple as a 27-inch TV, a basic DVD player and/or HiFi VCR, an inexpensive stereo or an AV receiver, and simple speakers. Whatever type of system you end up with, as long as it provides the entertainment options you need and like, then it is certainly your “Home Theater”.
There have been a lot of different mediums for storing video over the years and they just keep getting better and better. For example, the first movies were silent movies because the technology of the time wasn’t capable of encoding sound on celluloid (or reading it off of celluloid either for that matter). In these movies, text was shown on the screen in between shots of the actors to tell the audience what the actors were saying and music was often played along with the movie either by a live piano player or on a record player of some sort. Of course it didn’t take long for movie makers to figure out how to encode sound on celluloid and a new era in film making was born. It would still be some decades though before color was added to the capabilities of video recording, but when it did, it made a huge difference to the quality of the entertainment.Of course technology eventually emerged that allowed people to make their own home movies on 35 millimeter film, but it wasn’t until the invention of the video cassette that consumers really got control over how they recorded and watched video. The video cassette was (and is) basically a reel to reel magnetic tape that’s enclosed in a casing to protect it from damage. The video cassette player turned the wheels and dragged the tape over heads that read the information encoded on the tape and then converted that information into video and audio. Video cassette tapes came in both VHS and Betamax formats, but the principle of how they worked was basically the same. Video cassette technology allowed people to record their own video either off of TV signals or using video cameras. This technology also gave rise to stores that rented and sold movies that were prerecorded on video cassettes.With exception of a little noticed and failed video disc format that used laser technology and that was marketed in the late nineteen seventies, the VHS video cassette format was the dominant technology until nineteen ninety eight when the DVD- or digital video disc- was introduced. The DVD was the successful descendant of the older laser disc format. DVD’s were much smaller than the older laser discs, being the same size as CD’s, and encoded information much more efficiently. DVD’s gradually replaced VHS as the preferred video storage format of consumers.Now, high definition DVD’s are the latest consumer video storage technology. Unfortunately though High Def DVD’s have yet to be accepted by the mainstream because of an ugly war between the two formats that arrived on the scene virtually simultaneously. Both formats are capable of storing huge amounts of data- enough to render an entire full length movie in movie theater quality from a single disc the same size as the older DVD format.There has been speculation that another video storage format could make high def DVD’s obsolete before they really have a chance to take hold. For example, some insiders predict that in the near future people will purchase terabyte sized hard disks that contain a huge number of movie titles. As the owners of these hard disks want to watch the movies stored on them, they can pay a fee to the distributor in order to unlock and view each movie. This would certainly eliminate a lot of the difficulties associated with distributing individual videos, and as surprising as it may seem, current technology is close to being ready for such a development. The Internet is another alternative source of video to look out for.We may be looking at an interesting phenomenon where an entire video storage format becomes obsolete before it gets adopted by the mainstream.