Thursday, January 04, 2007

3 solutions

So despite the fact that HDTVs sold like hotcakes this Christmas, high-definition DVD players mostly languished on the shelves. That's serious - if either rival standard (HD-DVD/Blu-ray) had won out, the industry probably would have let things go on. But it's pretty clear now that standard war has stalemated, and it's harming sales. So we're seeing three responses, two legitimate and one not:

Dual-format drives: LG is set to unveil a dual-format that will be capable of playing both HD and Blu-ray DVDs. Once LG does, you can bet other brands will follow - there's already rumours of a Samsung model.

Dual-format discs: Warner Bros. is announcing a new format of disc that would contain both HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats, with the possibility of a later disc that would contain DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray all in one. Not only would this be a gift to consumers (although they'd probably end up paying more) but retailers would love it -- in the long term, it would reduce the number of formats on their shelves from 3 to 1.

Piracy: Arrr. Whatever method industry chooses, there's plenty of reasons not to buy either format, including a truly nasty level of DRM (potentially, you could buy a disc, put it in your player, and find it unable to play. Then try returning an opened DVD these days.) But what if you really, really, really want the pretty pretty pictures? Well, you take a look at backupHDDVD v1.0, released today. Apparently, the AACS encryption system that BR and HDDVD share can be circumvented, if not actually "cracked". Or something. I'm not entirely sure. In any case, no level of encryption stays bullet-proof for very long, especially for consumer goods.

No comments: