Tag: Samsung

Hollywood has started to align itself behind the idea that the movie industry, despite a healthy summer take 26% over this time last year, is still seeing 5% decline in people’s butts in movie theater seats.

They are meeting this challenge in a variety of ways, principally among them the idea that 3D is a movie viewing experience that can uniquely be appreciated in the IMAX 3D screening theater. The Hannah Montana movie of 2007 made almost 3 times as much on its 3D screenings as it did in conventional 2D theaters – earning almost 60 million in 3D showings off its meager 15 million dollar production budget.

The studios have taken notice, and there are no less than 25 3D movies in the production pipeline including comers from Dreamworks, Disney, Sony, Universal and even some independents.

Interestingly enough the companies that manufacture the 3D production equipment were caught off-guard by this sudden backing from Tinseltown. Caught with their pants down, they are now scrambling to get everything from cameras, lighting systems and stereoscopic editing solutions to market. And they are meeting the challenge – companies like Iconix, makers of the world’s smallest HD camera showed a high-def stereoscopic camera system at this year’s NAB show that can be had for somewhere in the ballpark of US$250K. Sounds like a lot, but that is just the first wave. Digital Ordnance showed a High-Def stereoscopic video playback system for newar realtime playback of your 3D content on set so you know you are getting things right. This is quite something considering the massive amount of bandwidth required to spit out synched, near parallel streams of full 2k HD of an array of hard drives.

But enough geek talk.

Another very interesting event that took place at this year’s NAB show was the live satellite 3D television broadcast from Howie Mandell in Los Angeles. The company behind the demonstration, 3ality, has managed to acheive this using a simple single stream no different than 2-D television.

Yes, you heard me right. Live. 3D. Single-stream. Broadcast.

Samsung and Mitsubishi are already selling 3-D ready digital televisions, and recently WIRED magazine featured an exclusive stream of Bjork’s new 3D video. They pointed out that the stream HAD to be viewed from their site because of a special encoder that permitted it to work. see the trick here? it requires a proprietary encoder for playback – that means, until some hacker/coder develops a freeware/open source version of a hi bandwidth 3D streaming encoder, people can control where viewers access content. Advertisers LOVE this. And so do the content creators because they get financed by the advertisers. So 3D is big business and mark my words, before you can say “What is Blu-Ray?” you will be getting a catalog from Fred Segal’s with a price list for the latest Gucci Polarized 3D glasses – you know the tortoise shell ones with the miniature diamonds in the arms.

Because in a year’s time, you won’t leave home without them.

ps. the above Gucci is FAKE and they had nothing to do with this article which is entirely speculative.

Here at the Culturepin I provide a form of virtual safari through the bleeding edge landscape of the world and contemporary society. Suffice to say it is a treacherous terrain filled with uncertainty and conflict that requires a certain mad bravery to traverse. Even more treacherous is attempting to predict what will unfold around the next bend or come to pass just over the horizon.

So I avoid being a soothsayer, but rather, an echo of what is going down on the frontier. Which brings me to today’s subject – the latest format war in the VHS vs. Beta legacy, namely: Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD.

Here’s a very condensed version of what is one of the dirtiest and most agitated format wars in history:

Blu-Ray, a format developed by leading company NP Infotech and co-developed by Matsushita, Pioneer, Philips, Thomson, LG Electronics, Hitachi, Sharp, Samsung, and Sony (a collective that named itself the Blu-ray Disc Association as recently as 2004 – all this to say Blu-Ray does NOT=Sony per se), aspired to be the new high-definition playback and storage format for laser-based media.

On the other side of the proverbial laser-based media universe, was Toshiba with HD-DVD.

The shakedown was that Microsoft released an HD-DVD player for the Xbox360 and Sony went with Blu-Ray for its PS3 gaming platform.

Millions of emotionally charged discussion board posts later, Wal-Mart, that proverbial lynch pin of all things mass-marketable, announced it was phasing out HD-DVD and going exclusively with Blu-Ray. Just two nights ago – Valentine’s Day, 2008 I said that if Wal-Mart goes with Blu-Ray it’s all over.

February 15th, 2008, Engadget, a popular technology blog, thrust itself onto the global stage by boldly announcing the end of HD-DVD based on Wal-Mart’s announcement that it was going with Blu-Ray and citing reports from Reuters that Toshiba planned to stop production at its HD-DVD factories and thus the meme percolated throughout the format battleground.

None of this is absolute – however, for those who have been watching from the sidelines, wondering when they can start ordering their high-definition entertainment content from Amazon – you now know which way to hedge your bets.

Two things to ponder:

1) When a format wins, it is not necessarily because it is the superior format
2) When VHS killed Beta, there was no internet community

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the copious bonus features on my Children of Men HD-DVD from my Xbox360 and wait for the prices of the remaining HD-DVD catalog to plummet so I can get another 350 or so titles that were released in the US for pocket change.

Disclaimer: I am not an advocate of either company or format – I have a Sony Bravia screen and I use Sony Vegas software, while I am inputting this entry on my Toshiba m300 Satellite laptop.