“Eh!? Blue screen of death!? But this is the PS7 not that crappy xbox1440. And I was so close that save point in Final Fantasy XXII.”
So one of the big news stories that came about from the past few days in the technology and business world is Toshiba’s decision to end production and development of HD DVD technology; effectively handing the trophy for next gen video disc format to Sony’s Blu-Ray Disc. There are tons of news articles on the topic over the past few weeks and I really don’t wanna go into why HD DVD is down for the count.
I will say a few things about a few items involving the recent developments involving high definition technologies. Personally, I really wanted HD DVD to go down. First, Blu-Ray is the superior technology in a number of ways and as a engineer, it would be disappointing that we don’t utilize the latest and greatest technology in this area. Second, and even more personal, I hate Microsoft. So anytime we can stick it to the them, its a good day (even if it really is to the greater expense to Toshiba).
So enough about the loser and more about possible winner… Blu-Ray has seemingly become the format of choice for high definition media and now that more and more companies are following their lead, anime companies seem to be following suit as well. Will we see more anime on Blu-Ray? Most likely. Will it take off like DVD did for over the VHS? Probably not. There are a few things to consider.
First, technology has gotten to the point were DVD is a solid developed media format as is. This idea was brought up to me from Adam over at the Anime Roundtable Podcast. The key selling point of visual quality for Blu-Ray is not that much in comparison with DVD for most people. Those who have the visual acuity and are willing to shell out the money for the equipment to notice the difference (like me), they will be the ones who buy into the new technology. However, for most of us, cheaper DVD still seems to be the way to go. And with development of upconverting DVD players, it seems most of us can get our visual fix without breaking the bank.
Add to this the growing nature of digital downloads and Blu-Ray has another issue to deal with as a solid physical media technology. But that can be analyzed on a future day.
There is one thing I would be very interested in as anime companies begin to utilize Blu-Ray: episode counts. Blu-Ray is one of the first optical disc mediums to have the options for advanced video codecs such as MPEG4-H.264 or Microsoft’s (*cough*hate, hate, hate*cough*) VC-1. If companies just utilize the traditional MPEG2 codec currently used in DVDs, they should be able to place 2hrs of high definition video content on a single-layer Blu-Ray disc. Use H.264 and it is projected that 4hrs of high definition video can be placed on a single-layer Blu-Ray disc, 8hrs on the newer dual-layer discs. I would love it if I see 13-episode anime on one disc or 26-episode anime on two discs in high definition with all the extras. I know it would be expensive but I will definitely go out and get those if it is an anime I like.
I’ve always viewed anime on optical media of any sort as a collector’s item. The reason why I own anime on DVD even though I’ve seen it all ahead of time is because I really like the series I own. I always believe in the policy of making the effort to own something you enjoy over owning because it supports the industry. The anime industry needs to address the issue of exposing anime on a greater scale by a cost-effective means. When they solve that, then I can see more justifications for buying anime DVDs. Next gen optical media alone is definitely not going to be the anime industry’s saving grace.
So yeah, I wanted to just get that out there. Finally, a blog article that actually highlights my formal education to some degree (yay for computer engineering). Of course, I could’ve easily attempted to relate Fidel Castro’s resignation to say the downfall of Lelouch in Code Geass… I’ll save that one for later maybe…