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HD Media vs. Blu-ray

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Most people in the U.S. know, and have known, about high definition (HD) for a while now. At the very least, they know that TV broadcasts are switching from an analog to a digital signal. The funny thing is, I’ve run into a lot of people who don’t know what that means. I don’t want to get too far off topic, but analog is what I call “actual sound.” Analog is how we hear; it is the way our ears hear sound. Remember back in high school physics or science class when the teacher was talking about waves, or maybe in math class you learned how to graph waves on your graphing calculator? That is analog, and it applies to both audio and visual signals. You receive the signal in a wave format.

A digital signal, on the other hand, is made up of 1s and 0s. This means that there is a computer involved. The computer sends the visual in the forms of 1s and 0s. The upside to a digital signal is that it is precise, consistent, versatile, and does not degrade over time. On the downside, one will never achieve a higher quality than the pre-set quality at which the digital signal was recorded or created. This is because digital can be formed into a wave but that wave is made up of points or dots. It’s like when you zoom into a digital photo or try and blow it up, and it gets all pixelated. This set boundary on a digital signal is why true a analog signal will always beat it in terms of quality.

HD standards were out well before any form of physical HD media existed. A couple of years ago, there was a huge format war for high definition media. Who would win? Would it be HD-DVD or the new and unusual Blu-ray? Consumers were wise and let the big corporations fight it out, and when the smoke cleared, Blu-ray was on top.

I am hearing more and more promotion of Blu-ray, Blu-ray players, and HDTVs. What I don’t hear is any warning or notice that it will soon be obsolete! DVD stayed around for quite some time, but with the advances of products and services like Netflix and Apple TV, HD and Blu-ray quality programming can already be streamed straight into your home TV without an expensive player or the physical media.

The technology between the TV and the computer is continually growing and looking the same. People begin to wonder why they have two setups to stream TV shows, watch movies, play games online and off, listen to music, and connect to a network. My question is what did Blu-ray win when they beat HD-DVD? Honestly, the answer is a little bit of the spotlight and maybe some respect, but that is about it.

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  • Interesting to see all these developments. Good quality information that can be verified is important since there seems to be a lot of nonsense being posted about new media. This article is interesting though, I’m curious how the HD v.s. blue-ray battle will end.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Well,El, I think he was just trying to educate the non-techies about the digital language “Binary” and how that differs from the world of waves & frequencies.

    Granted, I agree with him that right now analog is still a superior source, the reason why we are moving in a digital direction (like I’ve said before) is largely,in part, due to “generational loss” & interferences which digital is not prone to. Which means, the level of quality after the recording or transmission process takes place. Plus, there is quite a bit of debate over how much of that wave we really do process. That’s why Mp3,AAC,WMA,etc has reached such popularity. Believe me, there are a ton of other factors to the analog vs. digital platform that I don’t have the time or attention deficit to type about,but, when digital does finally equal the same as analog(which is all about storage space & bandwidth)then the possibilities will be huge!

  • I don’t even understand how the piece starts off talking about the analog-to-digital conversion. What does that have to do with high definition media?

  • Yea, I am gonna have to jump in with Paprocki here with a ‘huh?”

    Blu-ray and DVD will co-exist for some time now. BD, DVD, and HD-DVD were too many options and the one with the least support by the industry lost.

    Take a look at how long VHS lasted into the life cycle of DVD. I expect BD to act similar. Because, just like with the VHS/DVD transition, there will be people who want the features that BD has (like DVD before it) and those who think that DVD is just fine for them (like VHS before that).

    And Matt could not be more right about the ownership of digital High(er) Def content. DRM can be a bitch.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I have to agree with Matt about the current technology,even though, I don’t agree about “ownership” or the notion that a disc is better or will always be more portable than a harddrive. [In fact, that will all change when solid state can store more & is cheap enough to replace plastic] Unfortunately, our bandwidth is still 90% less than the Japanese and Internet 2.0 is quite a ways off,so, because Blu-Ray isn’t compressed and offers DVD-A quality audio, HD Media isn’t in a winning position.

  • So, despite the misleading title, you’re saying downloadable HD media is already a winner? Uh, no.

    Video quality has yet to reach the level of Blu-ray. Downloaded HD is not the same, neither is cable or VOD. It’s heavily compressed. You don’t get extras or any significant bonus features.

    Physical media has a long way to go. If you want to pay for something you never truly own, can’t resell if you don’t like it, can’t loan to a friend, and want to have your media in the hands of the company, you go right ahead.