format wars.

I don’t know about anyone out there who is reading this, but I’ve always thought that high-definition DVDs were a bit of a – oh, how to put it – ridiculous attempt by major motion picture studios to somehow suck more money out of your pocket the same way that they’ve done for years now.

I have a feeling that many people don’t think that there is any difference in high def television and high def films. Of course, a whole bunch of people think that they are watching high quality feeds simply by purchasing an HDTV without HD programming – so maybe I’m giving people too much credit from the outset. First of all, HD film quality varies much more based on your television. Duh, everything will look fantastic on a 50 inch plasma screen – but really, HD movies don’t look that much better on my 32 inch screen, because they are actually ahead of the curve. HDTV isn’t even available in 1080p format for most broadcasts, whereas HD films are almost exclusively so. It may seem like a small difference, but it might not be…the point is, who knows? High definition television is obviously better than standard definition television. I can see hockey pucks and golf balls, sequins and pins, and food detail like never before.

Will HD really make me appreciate The Godfather on a different level than I do now? My guess is no, but I could be wrong. But, this isn’t the deal killer for me. I’m not above small cosmetic increases in quality.

What is, though, is that all of this seems a bit steep just for the privilege of seeing the same movies I’ve always loved with a little tiny bit of increased quality. So, I have to get rid of (or just toss in a closet) my good ol’ $30 DVD player from Target, purchase a new $300 player that will continually devalue, then pony up a healthy 50% markup on “normal” DVDs?

And not only that, but the studios had the nerve to make consumers choose between two different formats, with two seperate players. Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t even purchase films at the normal prices. I, ahem, borrow them from Netflix.

And finally, we’ve gone full circle. Back in January, Warner Brothers dropped the HD DVD format. Two days ago, Netflix decided to go Blu-Ray only. Now, Best Buy, of all organizations, has decided to pick a side.

Good for them. They’ve managed to put a rear spoiler on a car without adding tires or an engine. I’ll continue to scruff it out with my old non-HD DVDs. Last time I checked, Kurosawa still tells the same stories in standard definition.

[photo by declanjewell.]


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Filed under netflix., technology.

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