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Old April 30th, 2006, 11:57 PM   #1
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The Future of HVX-to-DVD projects

I'm posting this here because at least 50% of the HVX users I've talked with are looking at HD-DVD or Blu-Ray based current and future projects:

While at a few electronics retailers this weekend I asked the sales staff about the recently released Toshiba HD-DVD player sales and forecasts. They all had the same response: They can't keep them in stock and only minimal shipments have made it to stores. In fact, one Best Buy location has only had 3 units since it's release and they have customers asking for them everyday.

Most of the stores are also awaiting the first Blu-Ray players but don't anticipate sales to be as strong since the price point is higher. (Hmm, remember the VHS/Beta wars?)

The implications of this consumer rush to purchase HD-DVD players has many sides to it:

The first of which is that until just recently, most of us (and the consumer electronics industry analysts) assumed that sales for the HD players - of either format - would be weak initially and take at least a year to ramp up. So far, everybody I've talked with is flat-out shocked at the overwhelming "gotta get one..." response by consumers.

Second, since HD-DVD has come out of the gate quite strong not only in sales but with a handful of Hollywood studio movies being released in concert with the Toshiba players' release it means consumers are getting their appetites whetted for the HD content, giving even more traction for the player sales.

Third, if this out-of-the-gate sales blast continues it means that the general public, commercial and corporate clients will be assuming that indies like ourselves will be able to shoot, edit and deliver HD-DVD content soon - if not now. I've already had 2 clients contact me and ask if they can have their "old" content re-shot and updated for HD-DVD output.

Since the buying public has gotten used to paying thousands of dollars for their widescreen "HD capable" TV's, having HD-broadcast providers and cable content in HD for a few years now they've been prepped for the HD-DVD players to be just around the corner.

The overall thought is, if you're shooting with the HVX or just getting started the timing is perfect. If you haven't gotten on the HD bandwagon yet, don't wait too long. Your customers might pass you by.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 10:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Robert Lane
The overall thought is, if you're shooting with the HVX or just getting started the timing is perfect. If you haven't gotten on the HD bandwagon yet, don't wait too long. Your customers might pass you by.
While the final outcome of the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray battle remains to be seen, I think Blu-Ray has a tougher road ahead. Late arrival (no players to late June/July now) combined with higher price point and typical Sony arrogance will no doubtedly hurt Blu-Ray sales. Sony is now being threatened with an antitrust law suit from several electronics manufacturers including Marantz, LG and Denon who all were intending to release universal players (CD, DVD, HD-DVD + Blu-Ray). All this because they revised their Blu-Ray licensing last month, disallowing licensing of Blu-Ray technology for any device that provides support for HD-DVD and/or the SACD competitive DVD-Audio. Nothing has been formally brought before a court yet, but these companies are leaning on Sony pretty hard over this and I doubt that's a battle Sony can win. Samsung also retracted their announcement of a universal player, but they're pretty quiet since they probably don't want to press any wrong buttons now that they have such a rosey relationship with Sony.

...Anyway, regarding your point quoted above, I agree 100%. Even if clients and projects aren't demanding HD yet, it only makes sense to future-proof your work to some extent and move to an HD workflow. If nothing else, HD is yet another marketing tool. Depending on the market a person works it, HD can be very beneficial.... In the Denver area where I'm at, HD is almost a must now. Our local networks are all broadcasting HD for news feeds and everything else they can get their hands on. Nearly all the potential and current clients that have called me over the past several months have all inquired about HD.

Another great reson to go HD, (even HDV and not necessarily the HVX) is that the extra detail and overall video quality is far superior to standard DV. DV sucks -- I ain't going back.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:19 PM   #3
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I agree!! HD is now and those with the HD chops will make out - those that don't won't!
If people are buying $2000 DLP's and $4500 Plasmas?????
$500 for an HD-DVD player is a non-issue!!
And most corporate work will probably all be HD by the end of 2007. Look at the wedding market!! Imagine advertising a free HD-DVD player with every wedding shot??!!

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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:57 PM   #4
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It looks like Sony's still Sony. I made a simple HD DVD with a 4.7 DVD-R disc from H1 material, and it played perfectly from the Toshiba HD DVD player at Best Buy. You don't have to buy a new burner or do anything particularly new to author HD DVD. The quality is more than adequate, and the movies I've seen in the format look incredible, especially in 1080.

I think the format's going to take off very quickly. Do everything in HD if you have one of these new cameras. I could easily see that a year or two from now clients will often ask to remaster a project for HD DVD. If you've already posted it in HD to begin with, it'll be easy to accomodate them.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 04:21 PM   #5
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Actually, sales so far are not impressive... mainly because they have not manufactured enough for initial demand. Remember that most people dont even OWN an HDTV and wont until their SDTV breaks and the HD replacement is as cheap as the SD alternative. Simple facts...

Another fact... from normal viewing distance, 480P vs 1080i is marginal at best until you get to projection over 65" Quality alone will not sell HD-DVD or Blueray as the jump in convenience/quality is not NEAR what VHS to DVD was. Will it happen? YES, but not until the SD alternative dies out and HD gear is the same price as old SD gear. Forums like this and others do not attract the average consumer, we are the bleeding edge. Most people just are not interested in replacing their movie titles AGAIN or spending more for a player/disc that is only marginally better in their eyes. Convenience is key... that is why DVD-Audio and S-ACD died while MP3 flourished...

HD as acquisition will happen faster as we all know, the better your source, the better it will look when compressed to ipod, broadcast, HD-DVD, cell phone, or whatever the medium is. One thing I cannot stand the the "future-proof" argument, that is absolute myth perpetuated by people who want to scare you into new tech. There are already abundant tools for uprezzing HD (InstantHD for $99 is just ONE), that work terrific. The best way to "future-proof" your work is to make it quality... well edited, well shot, compelling, etc. Future-proofing is about 1% resolution...if that... In the next couple weeks I will be posting some uprezzed 24P XL2 footage which when seen on a 65" HDTV show no noticeable resolution drop from the HVX.




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Old May 1st, 2006, 05:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
One thing I cannot stand the the "future-proof" argument, that is absolute myth perpetuated by people who want to scare you into new tech. There are already abundant tools for uprezzing HD (InstantHD for $99 is just ONE), that work terrific. The best way to "future-proof" your work is to make it quality... well edited, well shot, compelling, etc. Future-proofing is about 1% resolution...if that... In the next couple weeks I will be posting some uprezzed 24P XL2 footage which when seen on a 65" HDTV show no noticeable resolution drop from the HVX.
I'd love to see an example of how well upsampled XL2 footage compares to HD footage of the same scene shot at the same time under the same conditions. So far I've yet to see any example of upsampled SD which looked as clear as HD source footage, but I was able to get tolerable results using a DVX100 with an anamorphic lens adapter. I'd expect widescreen XL2 footage to look better than from most DV cameras when upsampled to 720p, but I'll be impressed if it's indistinguishable from HD source.

By the way, when I show people 1080i HDV footage on my 53" rear-projection TV, they consistently remark on how good at looks. And it looks better to me than SD DVDs made from the same footage, but I'd agree even those aren't bad. I'd say that "future proofing" by shooting in HD is a good idea, and I've yet to see any convincing evidence that uprezzing typical SD footage does much good. Waiting for that example...
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Old May 1st, 2006, 06:47 PM   #7
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I've never seen an upconversion (you CAN'T 'uprez'!) that didn't look like an upconversion. It's harder to tell from anamorhpic SD compared to normal 720p, but in 1080 it's really hard to mask the upconversion.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 07:41 PM   #8
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From bits of info I've gathered, HDTV penetration into the consumer marketplace is unfortunately still extremely low. You would think your average consumer would all own HD televisions by now but that isn't the case. That's not to say it's not a good time to start rolling on HD acquisition and anticipate the HD/Blu-Ray DVD revolution, just that it's going to take some time. I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet based on initial buzz from the salespeople.

I hope the FCC really starts enforcing the HD broadcast total conversion. Wouldn't it be great if everyone turned on their SD tele's one evenening to watch their favorite sitcom and all they got was a blank screen with an audio message saying that their television was obsolete.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 10:33 PM   #9
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I can tell the difference between SD and HD originated material a good 9" SD monitor. No way does upconverted SD stand a chance against native 1080i on a large screen, unless it's extraordinarily bad 1080i material.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert Cheng
You would think your average consumer would all own HD televisions by now but that isn't the case.
That's because there isn't a cheap consumer HD solution. All of the HD displays are made from hidously expensive technology like plasma and LCD, which are not only too expensive but tend to burn in, lowering the life of your expensive purchase. If someone made a decent CRT HDTV sales would boom.

Quote:
I hope the FCC really starts enforcing the HD broadcast total conversion. Wouldn't it be great if everyone turned on their SD tele's one evenening to watch their favorite sitcom and all they got was a blank screen with an audio message saying that their television was obsolete.
Getting rid of NTSC, yes. Getting rid of SD altogether, no, and people with analog sets should have access to a cheap converter box for making their current set work with digital broadcasting. I'm all for digital broadcasting, but forcing broadcasters to buy expensive HD equipment just isn't feasible. Where do you think a small market station in Podunk, Nebraska is going to get $10 million for HD conversion?
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Old May 1st, 2006, 10:41 PM   #10
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For better or worse, consumer demand for all things HD outstrips product availability. Everybody from Canon, Panny, Toshiba, Nikon you name it... none of them can keep up with consumers wanting the "best" equipment available.

With few exeptions, HDTV's have never flown off the shelves, but that too is changing at an exponential rate just in the last 12 months as prices drop significantly and conusmers become accustomed to spending $1k or more for what is now a "regular" TV.

HD-DVD players and upcoming Blu-Ray players are marketed to the people who can afford such things. These are the same hobbyists/amatuers/techno gotta-have-it's who purchase $7000 DSLR's not for business or professional use, but for fun.

I've noticed attitudes towards HDTV has changed drastically with my own client base - with no priming from me. I sampled my clients opinions a year ago about what their impressions of HDTV value. Over 80% didn't think much of it and thought the equipment overpriced for what was being offered. Today, that's flipped; most of them now own HDTV's and as mentioned before now they're asking about creating HDTV-compatible spots.

I still think it will be another 2-3 years before HD-DVD players become commonplace, but I also think the transition to HD from SD players will happen much faster than it did for people to migrate from VHS to DVD.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 10:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
That's because there isn't a cheap consumer HD solution. All of the HD displays are made from hidously expensive technology like plasma and LCD, which are not only too expensive but tend to burn in, lowering the life of your expensive purchase. If someone made a decent CRT HDTV sales would boom.
Sales are booming. Over 26 million HDTV sets were sold in 2005, this has been verified by several industry sources and quoted by Reuters and Consumer Reports. Sales estimates for '06 are nearly double that.

I'm not sure what you would constitute as cheap, but I can buy a 60" 1080p HDTV with full 1080p input support today for less money than I could buy a 50" SDTV projection set for only 8 years ago. Every year, the HDTV sets get better and cheaper. Contrary to popular belief, LCD (both panel and rear projection/LCoS) do not burn-in. DLP does not burn in either. Plasma has horrible persistence and does burn-in. DLP is currently cheaper to manufacture for rear projection displays than CRT. Samsung's new 61" 1080p set for 2006 (or at least the common model HL-S6187) has an MSRP of $2,799. Sony's 60" LCoS SXRD set for 2006 improves on the 2005 SXRD model and now has an additional HDMI input and supports true 1080p input support and will have an MSRP over $1000 less than last year's model ($3,895). The 42~46" HDTV sets for '06 can be had in some cases less than $1500 from various good manufacturers, 26~32" flat panels can be had as low as $500 -- actually I've seen them as low as $240 for one with 480p component input if you don't mind a complete piece of junk.

Quote:
Getting rid of NTSC, yes. Getting rid of SD altogether, no, and people with analog sets should have access to a cheap converter box for making their current set work with digital broadcasting. I'm all for digital broadcasting, but forcing broadcasters to buy expensive HD equipment just isn't feasible. Where do you think a small market station in Podunk, Nebraska is going to get $10 million for HD conversion?
For $10M, I'd hope they get a lot more than HD conversion... Should be able to get a new news chopper equipped with HD cams and then some for that price too.

But anyway, Nobody is forcing anybody to go HD. The FCC and federal government have mandated that all broadcasters begin putting out digital broadcasts. This is very inexpensive to do and there is even special subsidies available. The upgrade to HD is not required, yet tons of networks are doing it... NBC and ABC are leading the way and have thus far converted all their major markets and will have all their network affiliates nation-wide converted to HD by the end of '09 (so says NBC, anyway).

With the exception of some mom and pop TV station in rural Kansas, most broadcasters are continuously upgrading/replacing/repairing their equipment, so the progression to digital and HD is a no brainer. It's not like this digital/HD requirement was dropped on anyone... It has been a known factor for over a decade. Anyone acting like it's been dropped in their lap or who complains they didn't have time to prepare has no business being in the broadcast industry. Not to mention, several deadlines have been pushed back more than once....
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:38 AM   #12
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First off, I am not talking pro video/film people analyzing footage to death... I am talking clients/audience. I "upconverted" some 480p to 720p and dropped it in a Vari/HVX project and the client could not tell. I am sure if you exported a frame to photoshop and blew it up 1000% percent you could see more difference =o)

That being said, I have seen upconverted SDX900 footage that was for all practical purposes indistinguishable from Vari footage, even from experienced engineers...




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Old May 2nd, 2006, 10:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
LCD (both panel and rear projection/LCoS) do not burn-in.
But it does have viewing angle and dead pixel issues

Quote:
DLP does not burn in either.
Lower resolution DLP displays may be cheap, but one that does 720p or even more rarely 1080i without resizing is incredibly difficult and expensive.

Quote:
most broadcasters are continuously upgrading/replacing/repairing their equipment
You can't gradually upgrade to HD. You literally have to throw away everything and start from scratch. We're talking about replacing switchers, DVEs, monitors, routers, graphics, DDRs, tape machines, editing systems, studio cameras, camcorders, master control servers and playback, encoders and amplifiers for transmission, microwave infrastructure for remotes, buying a ton of upconverters and downconverters for dealing with different video standards, and re-training all of your employees to run the new equipment while keeping your on-air look consistent despite the changes. Have I missed anything? Just about the only thing you can keep or upgrade early is cables, audio, intercom, and lenses. If it doesn't all add up to $10 million, including labor, it'll add up to a good sized chunk of that. Now try installing all of that while still broadcasting 24/7. And you wonder why station engineers dread the HD upgrade?
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:00 PM   #14
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But it does have viewing angle and dead pixel issues
True, but dead pixels are few and far between on these newer sets and I would have the set replaced if it had any more than a single dead pixel and I wouldn't accept a set with a stuck pixel at all. But all this is beside the point really as the only real options for HDTV at this point are DLP, LCD, LCOS, and Plasma. CRT sets are still in production but offer little advantage in the 34" and smaller size (actually, I can't think of a reason to buy one of these chunky things other than saving $200 over buying an equivalent sized Plasma or LCD). CRT projection sets are becoming rare because the production costs are higher than DLP or LCOS sets and CRTs, especially in a projection application, can't provide the resolution and clarity of the other two formats. Not to mention that CRTs have their own share of problems such as irregular dot pitch, phosphor splotching, aperture grille ripples and support wires, etc... CRT, especially projection sets, can also suffer burn-in, although nowhere near as bad as Plasma displays.

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Lower resolution DLP displays may be cheap, but one that does 720p or even more rarely 1080i without resizing is incredibly difficult and expensive.
*ALL* DLP HDTV sets do at least 720p - period. There is no lower resolution DLP. *ALL* DLP sets use Texas Instruments DLP chips - there is no other DLP manufacturer. The associated light engine, color wheels, or LED systems or whatnot used in conjunction with the DLP chips are manufacturer specific. The prices I quoted in my previous post were all for DLP sets capable of accepting and displaying 1080p HDTV. 720p DLP sets (for the newer 2006 models from Samsung, Toshiba, Hitachi, and a few others) are all about 20% cheaper than their 1080p counterparts. MSRP on the new Samsung HL-R4666WX 46" 720p DLP 2006 model is $1899. Neat, eh? Or is that still not cheap enough for a 46" HDTV set? Street price on that thing is around $1450. Currently the two models of DLP chips from TI are the 1280x720 chip and the 960x1080 chip. All 1080p DLP sets are using the 960x1080 DLP chip and are using a wobulation technique to scan a true 1920x1080 image to the screen. The wobulation works, the full 1920x1080 image holds up with most res charts, but does have some soft characteristics in comparison to native 1920x1080 LCOS projection sets. BTW: all DLP sets are progressive scanning, so any 1080i is converted to either 1080p or 720p depending on the set. 1080p sets are not rare by any means, most DLP sets for 2005 and now 2006 are 1080p sets and only a handful of manufacturers are still offering cheaper 720p sets. Mitsubishi, JVC, LG and several other big names will only be offering 1080p DLP and/or LCOS displays from here on out. Even most new Plasma displays and LCD displays at 46" and larger for '06 will be 1080p native.

Quote:
You can't gradually upgrade to HD. You literally have to throw away everything and start from scratch. We're talking about replacing switchers, DVEs, monitors, routers, graphics, DDRs, tape machines, editing systems, studio cameras, camcorders, master control servers and playback, encoders and amplifiers for transmission, microwave infrastructure for remotes, buying a ton of upconverters and downconverters for dealing with different video standards, and re-training all of your employees to run the new equipment while keeping your on-air look consistent despite the changes. Have I missed anything? Just about the only thing you can keep or upgrade early is cables, audio, intercom, and lenses. If it doesn't all add up to $10 million, including labor, it'll add up to a good sized chunk of that. Now try installing all of that while still broadcasting 24/7. And you wonder why station engineers dread the HD upgrade?
Sure, that is if the broadcaster was/is stuck in the analog doldrums. I'm sure plenty still are. But upgrades to digital/HD can be gradual if handled properly. Most edit systems are digital and have been for ages. Most of the equipment you mention has been available in analog/digital hybrid form for ages, so I'm not sure what the big deal is... I personally have never worked at a TV station, but a good friend of mine has for years -- at a CBS affiliate and the migration to digital / HD for them has been gradual over the past few years. He's enjoyed it immensely as it's given him a lot more to do than
typical troubleshooting and chasing around cable issues. One of the most interesting aspects of it all was that they didn't initially purchase HD cameras and they dug film cameras out of storage and went back to shooting on film for special features and whatnot as it was cheaper and better to do a film to HDCAM transfer than buy the first couple iterations of expensive and not-quite-there HD cameras.

Their station's move to HD was a gradual process of acquiring new equipment and training and testing as they built a whole new infrastructure to work right along with their existing systems. When the day came to turn on digital broadcasts, it was basically like flipping a switch and there it was.
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