High Definition format wars, who cares?

Blu ray DVD

I don't believe I've put my foot down on either side of the Next generation DVD war. You got the whole HDDVD vs BluRay thing and then you got every large company coming down on one side or the other. Some of them like Samsung have pledged to support both in the same drive or at least the same unit. But in this world of Networks do we really need another disc format? Well I personally don't think so. I remember the day when I got the Toshiba Tablet PC i'm typing this on now. It has no Opitical drive and I always thought this is kind of scary because it assumes your always in a networked environment or dependant on memory cards. But its worked out for the best because all my media is on a network drive and its been simple to copy stuff from CD via another machine. Anyway I found this really interesting thread in Slashdot today by WhiteWolf666.

The 3rd technology has already emerged.

H.264 on standard DVD, with the upgrade path being ANY sort of higher capacity device.

H.264 means you can do 1080p (not 1080i, but 1080 progressive) with 5.1 audio in 1 MB/sec. That's about 3.5 GB per hour. That gives you 2.5 hours of 1080p on a standard DVD disk. You can squeeze the main title in 2, and then use the remainder for all the other stuff in SD. Or, make it a two disk set. Both of these will cost FAR, FAR less than blu-ray or HD-DVD.

H.264 enables SD TV over standard broadband, NOW. Take a look at this: http://www.apple.com/macosx/cnbc/ [apple.com] . Thats technically 480p content. Its playing at 675 kbit/sec, or 84.73 KB/sec. 720p content is similarly small; you'll have no problems whatsoever fitting everything you'd want on a single title blu-ray disk onto a standard dvd if your encoding with H.264 on 720p.

I suspect with a really smart encoder, using intelligent VBR type stuff, you can get 1080p down to an average of 800-900 KB/sec. Perhaps even less. If someone can get the standard DVD above the 3 hour of footage barrier, blu-ray/HD-DVD immediately become a niche market, at least until HDTV 2.0 comes out. Oh; and new displays, as well. But even with _today's_ setup, you can fire up Final Cut Studio, and produce a 2.5 hour feature length movie, slap in on a standard DVD in 1080p, and then put all your extras on the second disk.

H.264 enables 1080i HDTV on a standard dual layer DVD. You need a beefy processor to play it back, but various manufacturers have already produced embedded decoders. H.264 is the future of IPTV, of satellite transmission, even cable transmission. Most likely, the “upgrade” path is H.264 on standard disks, and then the elimination of disks altogether.

Why would I _EVER_ carry a pile of blu-ray disks around when I could simply walk with an iPod, or a mobile phone, or a flash disk, or some other portable media library, and wirelessly (bluetooth 4.5, or 802.11n, or whatever) “rent” a video from the blockbuster kiosk? Heck; strip out the middleman; just buy the movie from iMovie store, or Amazon's movies, or Walmart Video Online. Whatever; it doesn't matter.

Someone asks afterwards where the popular content is. Which reminds me of this great quote from Doc Searls article on Linux Journal titled The Home produced movie revolution

The next era the one in which the bulk of producers will emerge from a mass market formerly filled only with consumers will begin when video customers begin to realize they can produce higher-definition video than what they can get over their cable and satellite connections. That will happen quickest for customers who buy 1920 x 1080 screens to take full advantage of their new 1920 x 1080 camcorders. While spending under $2000 for both.

This may seem like a dream, but I'm not so sure were that far off now. For example I met the woman behind the amazing and very brave Modfilms site. The creative thinking behind modfilms is staggering and not only that, she's fully commited to it being a success. And lets be honest, how many times have you wanted to remove parts of a film?

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Blogs will not save old media alone


Since being alerted to Blogburst by Ben Metcalfe, I've had a RSS search filter running through-out the day. I've seen some really interesting posts filter through.

Well first what is blogburst? The tech crunch guys have pretty much got this covered, but there post has sparked a lot of coversations about there covering of Blogburst. For example Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0.

Michael Arrington declares that BlogBurst Can Save Big (print) Media. To suggest that the lack of blog content is all that ails Old Media is deeply naive. Old Media needs to follow bloggers into the new content creation frontier, but that in itself will NOT solve the problem of business models.

And he's very right, its not about simply adding blog content to a already ageing medium. Anyone who does is seriously mistaken if they think thats the end of the deal. Its about a conversation not simply publishing. Scott moves on.

But why do publishers need BlogBurst as a middleman? Why can’t publishers hire an editor whose job it is to go out into the blogosphere and pull in the best and most relevant content, which is already easily and freely available through RSS feeds?

Agreed, but for some reason this does not happen. I can't work out why, theres already enough tools to keep a track of whats going on in a given subject and RSS can make these things more automated. But back to the point it simply does not happen. Like Scott says I will give BlogBurst credit for the understanding that the blogosphere needs a human filter to extract value. and thats where I totally agree too. Blogburst is a human filter on the blogosphere and this is a welcomed new model.

The rest of Scott's post is about Tech Crunch which I'm not that interested in, but yes this could reflect badly on Blogburst if taken out of context. Mark Evans talks about the sign up issue for bloggers.

nother question is why would a blogger sign up unless they really, really want exposure and/or traffic. Blogburst takes a blogger's content and provides the following: “visibility and exposure”, “new readers”, “authority and credibility” and “the opportunity to take your blog to the next level” (whatever that means). The downside is there's no economic incentive for the blogger and little guarantee readers are going to visit your blog unless they click on your byline. For anyone really trying to build a brand, they should want and encourage people to visit their blogs.

Point taken, its a interesting question which I personally don't have a complete answer for yet. Blackfriars' Marketing talks about the scale issue and how effective human filtering is at the million plus mark.

This is a system that works great with 100 or 1,000 blogs, but collapses under its own weight with 100,000 or a million blogs. No editor or reporter is going to wade through a reading list of 1,000 entries, but that could easily happen with big categories like News and Opinion or Technology. If that happens, editors will go back to reading Memeorandum.com or TailRank.com.

One second, who said they were using Memo or tailrank? I certainly don't see any signs that this is true. Anyway moving on…

My suggestion to BlogBurst: take a page out of Web 2.0 and allow members of the newspaper community to vote feeds and stories up and down in the rankings. Otherwise, a successful BlogBurst could do just that — burst.

And I'm in total agreement, its about collabrative filtering.

What I find most interesting is BlogBurst's powerful Publisher Workbench. Its a API between there system and the internal content management of the mainstream publishers. How effective it is, we shall see but its a good move and being SOAP and XML (rest) means any internal development team could work with there service. I'm hoping this will cause Bloglines to release a API for there Citations service. I'm also wondering when Feedster and Blogdigger will consider collabrative filtering as another option with there machine filtering? Back saving old media for the closing. Old media needs to engage in the conversation if they would like to be saved as such. Its no good just dipping in and out of these conversations. The smart ones are already moving out of the slow decending circles. Hint hint.

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