February 19, 2008

Blu-ray is still a loser.

Posted in Category: Tech — Amr Awadallah @ 6:31 pm | link | | comment (0)
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First, I assume every body saw the announcement today from Toshiba that they are raising the white flag and shutting down their HD-DVD format:

Toshiba Quits HD-DVD, Sony’s Blu-Ray Wins

That said, is Blu-Ray really a winner? I am not referring to fact that eventually downloading will take-over (downloading a 10GB HD movie still takes many hours over 1Mbps), but I am referring to fact that the standard DVD format still looks great if you have a DVD player with up-sampling technology.

I am a gamer and have eyes that are very sensitive to resolution, I totally see the difference between standard TV broadcast and HD TV broadcast, that is definitely worth it.

But it is very rare that I see a movie in Blu-Ray (on my PS3) which I think is far superior than a standard DVD with up-sampling (on the same PS3 btw). Only one movie impressed my eyes a bit in Blu-Ray format, and that was Crank. Even then, the difference was not so great to the extent that I would feel bad watching the standard DVD version with up-sampling.

What up-sampling does is increase the standard DVD resolution from 720×480 (NTSC) to the true HDTV resolution of 1920x1080p (note that smaller HDTVs run at 1920x1080i which “fakes” the 1080 by interlacing the odd and even lines). So the up-sampling is effectively expanding every 1×1 pixel from the original DVD resolution to roughly 2.67×2.25 pixels in the HDTV resolution by interpolating the possible values between the original 1×1 pixels. For a stationary photo the eye might notice the degraded picture and aliasing jaggies after this process, but for a moving picture it is very hard for the eyes to catch that.

In summary, don’t run out and buy a blu-ray disk player (unless you need a PS3 🙂 ), getting a normal DVD player with up-sampling is just as good and you will have more choices at Netflix/Blockbuster.

— amr

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