Anyway, state of play obviously is that HD DVD is no more, but my position now is how best to move to Blu-Ray and what of existing HD DVD players and titles.
On the latter point, firstly although I bought a Toshiba EP-35 player, I don’t believe it’s about to blow up any time soon just because of the format war outcome :-). Also in this war, the titles released were pretty much identical quality on either side, so what’s been released already (some 300+ titles) are perfectly good HD films. The bonus is that many of these are now being sold off at bargain prices! For those who bought a player, this is a great time to pick up some bargain HD films. In fact anyone who’s not prepared to pay out for Blu-Ray yet and is looking for cheap HD could get themselves a very cheap player and titles now!
Anyway, as for Blu-Ray. Problem I have is with the very player that really sells Blu-Ray. The PS3.
- It’s very expensive, especially in the UK market.
- I’d rather not import a player and have warranty issues.
- I really don’t want it as a games console. That makes it even more expensive as just a player.
- I really want region free and from DVD experience, I need to be able to import from any region in the world (after all, I have R1,2,3 and 4 DVDs). Most of what I import is down to getting the best version of a film. To do this with the PS3 I need 3 players for all regions.
- The PS3 lacks bitstreaming HD audio formats and can’t do DTS-HD MA at all. Though I need a new amp regardless, even using the transcoded PCM audio, which is more expense
- As an option, I’d like analogue audio outputs like my Tosh EP-35 has, so I can keep my existing amp for HD audio. The PS3 obviously doesn’t have this.
- UK PS3 is a seriously cut down model
- PS3 doesn’t even come with a proper remote control! I mean come on!
Anyway, so that leaves me waiting for a decent standalone. What’s out there at present is expensive and also lacking in some of the same above features, plus many are profile 1.0 players, with none I believe at profile 2.0 (profile 2.0 is only just about coming to the PS3).
So what now? Really I need to wait for a full spec profile 2.0 player with analogue HD audio outputs to use my existing amp, and/or with full HD bitstreaming of all HD audio formats and I then buy a top notch amp. Either way, it’s a lot of expense anyway as Blu-Ray players are not cheap.
So for now, I’ll just buy up cheap HD DVDs that are any good, while I can to keep me going, and see where Blu-Ray goes.
Alternatively I go down the HD HTPC route. Just an issue there of ensuring the audio formats, full “profile” compatibility (or upgradability), region free, and having stability. My experience of PC builds hasn’t been too great when it comes to stability, especially around the area of graphics cards. One thing I like about a standalone gadget, is they are generally robust and just play everything you chuck at it.
Oh well, time will tell.