Reuters is reporting that Blu-ray HD discs outsold HD DVD discs in the U.S. by two-to-one in the first half of 2007. I, of course, bought an HD DVD player when it dropped below $300 at Costco (context: I bought two Beta VCRs before I bought my first VHS one). Blockbuster announced it's going to stock Blu-ray, but on the other hand Wal-Mart announced it's building a zillion HD DVD players in Asia for the holidays. So maybe the jury is still out.
Two observations about HD DVDs: The discs seem to be more sensitive to scratches than standard DVDs. One we received from Netflix was unplayable for more than about 15 minutes at a time, then one had to start over and hope it skipped the scratch the next time. Also, while the video quality is great, it's not hugely better on my 50-inch monitor than video from an upscaling standard DVD player. Those now sell for under $100 and do a great job. --Dennis
High-definition displays are increasingly popular. More and more people are
experiencing high-definition movies and television in breathtaking color and
detail. But another technology, called high-dynamic range (HDR), is on the heels
of high definition, and some experts think that it could be a quick successor.
Whereas high-definition displays pump out more pixels, HDR displays provide more
contrast. In other words, on an HDR display, the brightest whites are hundreds
of thousands of times brighter than the darkest blacks; the contrast is key to
making images on such a display appear more realistic. "A regular image just
looks like a depiction of a scene," says Roland Fleming, a research scientist at the Max Planck
Institute for Biological Cybernetics, in Tübingin, Germany. "But high-dynamic range
looks like looking through a window." ...
Gartner has published its 2007 hype cycle chart for a large number of consumer technologies.
Click on image for larger version. Note the relative positions of digital terrestrial radio (HD Radio) on the far left and digital terrestrial television (DTV) on the far right. Via Bobbie Johnson at The Guardian Technology blog. --Dennis
Millions of TV sets that rely on antennas may go dark in a little more
than 18 months, and the government needs to do much more to help people
who own them see the light, senators said Thursday. ¶ "I think
there's high potential for a train wreck here," Sen. Maria Cantwell
(D-Wash.) told Federal Communications Commission and Commerce
Department officials during a hearing on the transition to digital-only
... Democrats appear poised to push for more money and public service
announcements to prepare TV owners. U.S. officials have budgeted $5
million to tell people about the switch and coupons that will cover
most of the cost of a no-frills converter box. The coupons will be
available Jan. 1 on a first-come, first-served basis. ...
See also Steven Sande's Let's avoid that digital TV 'train wreck':
The shutdown of analog television broadcasts in 2009 offers “high potential for a train wreck,” according to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Is the digital TV transition a disaster in the making? ¶ It’s
still too early to tell. Alarm bells were rung at today’s Senate
Commerce Committee hearing, where an AARP official raised the prospect
of senior citizens losing their television service
and taking it out on Congress. That’s exactly what would happen, too,
if we switched over tomorrow. Surveys continue to show low levels of
awareness about what will happen on February 17, 2009, when
over-the-air broadcasters will complete the change to digital TV.
Personally, I’m not despairing—not yet. ...
According to a
survey carried out by iSuppli, nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers want
their televisions to link to the Internet. This, it’s suggested, could path the
way for an explosion in sales of network-enabled consumer electronics devices in
the next few years. ...
Here is Sondra Russell's latest New Media News Digest. She works for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and writes the following News Digest on an almost weekly basis. Used here with permission. Her email address is srussell [at] cpb [dot] org. --Dennis
> The top story this time is that the MacArthur foundation is exploring virtual worlds. Why is this story top news for public broadcasters? Because the MacArthur foundation is a major supporter of public broadcasting, and the foundation’s interest in Second Life might inspire a forward-thinking station to try something in the virtual world space as well.
> The think piece this time is that it’s time for some “summer reading”
. As things slow down at the office this month and next, I invite you to spend a little time exploring sites that are getting lots of media attention but that aren’t necessarily on your list of frequently visited. Two good sources: the 50 best web sites according to Time Magazine, and the Compete Attention 200. The former is an annual collection of outstanding sites in five different categories, ranging from Arts & Leisure to Web Services. The latter is a list of the top 200 sites that U. S. users are paying the most attention to this month. In the “no surprises here” category, they both feature a lot of social networking sites.
New Media News Digest, June 19th – July 12th, 2007
Foundation With Real Money Ventures Into Virtual World From the NYT: "For the first time, one of the nation’s largest foundations [The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation] is venturing into virtual worlds to play host to activities and discussions and explore the role that philanthropy might play.”
This special feature categorizes interesting sites into “Arts & Leisure”, “Audio & Video”, “News & Information”, “Social Networks”, and “Web Services”.
The Next Net: NBBC Becomes National Bye-Bye Company From Business 2.0: "The short-lived National Broadband Company (NBBC), NBC-Universal's attempt to create a TV syndication network for the Web is now being sucked into the NBC-Fox joint venture to create a YouTube competitor.Â Thus NBBC joins the deadpool
Sony Airs Paired-down Versions of Classic Shows from ClickZNews: "Sony Pictures Television is airing paired-down versions of its classic shows on MySpace. The name reflects the three- to five-minute length of each Web episode, which is edited down from half-hour and one-hour shows."
TiVo, Amazon to sell movies straight to TV sets From Reuters: "TiVo Inc. on Tuesday said many of its customers can now order pay-per-view movies and television shows from Amazon.com's download service directly from their TV, without a personal computer."
Judges clear way for higher Internet radio royalties From the LA Times: "A federal appeals court panel has declined to delay a substantial increase in royalties that Internet radio stations owe for playing music, clearing the way for the hike to begin on Sunday."
SoundExchange offers compromise to large webcasters SoundExchange, the group set up to collect royalties for performers and record companies, said it has reached out to the Digital Media Association (DiMA) and proposed a voluntary cap on the minimum fees for music played over the Web.
Lala's Free Streaming Goes Dark At first, the new service was slow but workable, and I gave Wilco's new Sky Blue Sky a spin. Very slick. Then came the day the music died. Users notices the disappearance first."
When it is an Apple TV - the High Definition DVD-killer ...
... Apple TV will be the spoiler of many a Blu-ray or HD DVD sale because Apple TV
is cheaper and easier, has no expensive consumable media, and HD movies will
probably cost a little less to buy through iTunes than at Target. ...
But most of this column is about Neokast, a very interesting video distribution technology based on multicasting with which he suggests Apple hook up. Unlike broadcasting, where multicasting means sending multiple program channels over one broadcast RF channel, the term multicasting here is used in the Internet sense, where it refers to a technology that enable multiple users to access a program without the origination point having to simultaneous send out multiple copies of that program -- one to each user.