Will Bueché

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CES, the fall of DVD

Posted in Personal by Will on Monday, January 9th, 2006 ~ 12am

Now I dreamed I was walking into a building made of steel and dark, carbon-like walls, and it was filled with office people doing the work of running the company…that I’d just bought and become president of. Odd.

Anyway this blog entry is about the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, which ran last week in Las Vegas. Maybe it is still running; I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there. At CES, the new next generation of video discs were previewed. I’ll skip the details about what the new formats are called and instead simply say that the best of them* will output a video picture that has 1080 lines of resolution, more than double the current DVD picture that is made of 480 lines. The massive jump up to 1080 lines of resolution may seem superfluous unless you’ve ever watched a DVD on a projector, at which point you may have noticed that we have reached the limit of how much detail one can get from a regular DVD.

Since these new high-definition video disc formats will require new equipment that you and I probably can’t afford at the moment (including new high-definition monitors or new new high-definition projectors), they won’t affect me or you for awhile yet. Except in one way:

Already, I am finding that I am curtailing my purchases of regular DVDs. I didn’t expect this, but just the other day as I browsed through the aisles at a DVD store, I found myself saying “No, can’t justify buying that hit film on DVD – that film is so popular that it is definitely going to be in one of the first waves of hi-def!”. Films like Batman Begins can wait a couple years. It will be nice to see that one again – in resolution that mimics the actual celluloid film.

I expect I’ll continue to buy tv-on-dvd for awhile longer, but I’m going to hold off buying any blockbuster films on DVD.

(*The “best” of the new high definition video disc formats is something called “BluRay Disc” or “BD”, and it can output a picture that is 1080 lines, progressive scan. The “second best” of the new high definition video disc formats is something called “HD-DVD”, but its 1080 lines are interlaced, which is not as good.)

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