It’s time for some fun – in High Definition

Okay, with DPM’s launch now complete, I am committed to getting some geek-fun back into my world.  And it started with the epiphany that the video projector that I use for my gaming supports 1080 and I wasn’t using it to its fullest capability.

FYI – if you haven’t read a clear and complete explanation of 480, 720, 1080i and 1080p, I encourage you to check out this article on understanding resolutions.

I have two goals before ending 2007:

  1. Get my gamerscore above 5000.  I started my Thanksgiving break around 4300, so I want to finish a few titles that I have been sitting on (and get the points) – and then frankly get rid of a few of the games that I won’t want to play again.  Thanks to my friends at the four local GameStop’s within one mile of my house, I am sure I can find something to start off the new year.
  2. Go High-Def in my movies.  If my projector supports 1080, why am I still buying normal DVD’s for new titles?!

As a happy Xbox360 owner twice over, it was a no-brainer to pick up the HD-DVD player add-on. 


My Xbox360 is already configured for 5.1 sound and 1080 video. 

The setup was easy and the results are fantastic.  It has two cables – a USB feed to the Xbox360 (and it provides two new USB ports on the HD unit) and a power cord. 

Insert a DVD that loads some extensions to the Xbox dashboard and I was done. 

It even included an Xbox360 Universal Remote which is a nice touch to easily take me from “gamer” to “movie watcher” right out of the box.



The first HD-DVD that I purchased was combo with HD-DVD on one side and “regular” DVD on the other.  The combo thing is way awesome, especially since I tend to be the DVD-Library for my family and friends.

After watching Evan Almighty with my wife and kids (great movie BTW), I replayed a few of our favorite scenes for my wife and then played the same scenes from the DVD-side on a 480p DVD player – and my wife formally gave me her blessing to upgrade our DVD collection.   SCORE !!!  (fyi, “blessing” does not mean “permission”, I have to be clear on that to maintain my man-card)

There were two things that slightly perplexed me with the Xbox360 HD-DVD add-on:

I would have liked a power-switch.  In thinking “green” and because I have enough power/cooling problems in my world already, a toggle on the player would have been nice.  On any given week, my family and I will spend 30+ hours gaming and watch 1 or 2 movies.  Instead, I plugged its power into a toggle switch ($3) before going into the power strip itself, so it’s a non-issue.  But hey, I’m a server guy, not a consumer peripherals engineer, so I might be over thinking this.

The player comes with a free copy of King Kong on HD DVD.  I totally get the idea of including a movie with the player, so you can immediately experience the benefits of High-Def — and I like free stuff like everybody else.  But King Kong isn’t my kind of movie.  It doesn’t seem reasonable to do a mail-order exchange or whatever; so mine will likely sit on a shelf or something.  Speaking of mail-order, while I don’t plan on watching King Kong, there are some good ones being offered in a promotion for five free HD-DVD’s with the purchase of the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player.  That alone, almost pays for the player. 

I noticed at least one stand-alone HD-DVD player also offering King Kong, so maybe it’s just a HD-DVD thing.  Or maybe, everyone else’s first instinct upon getting higher resolution graphics is to watch CGI monsters wooing fair maidens in a story that reminds us how man often forces its way over nature, how greed and ego put something unique from nature on display for profit, how crowds behave irrationally and often our first instinct is to kill what we don’t understand.  Oh well.

But here is my quandary – and I would love to hear your comments to this post.BLU-Ray icon 

There are some studios, like Disney and Sony (of course) that are only shipping Blu-Ray.  So, while I’d rather have watched the new Ratatouille in High-Def, we had to watch on “normal” DVD instead.  Disney got their $14 out of me, but they could have gotten $24 if they had supported both HD types.

Of course, Sony is only Blu-Ray, so that takes SpiderMan3 and Fantastic Four Silver Surfer off my Christmas list.

So now I am struggling with the “obvious” need for a Blu-Ray player.  (minor sarcasm intended)

When a movie is available on both HD formats (yes, it’s seldom) – HD-DVD is an easy choice for me, particularly if it is in combo-format.  Someday, either we’ll see mainstream DVD players for both formats (< $300, hopefully).  Or maybe someone will produce a dual-sided media for either format (which will cost me my low-def DVD side, but ok).  Not really,  But it doesn’t seem that this war will be over soon, so I think that I am willing to buy both for now.

But then I looked at the price of a Blu-Ray player, and even the cheap ones aren’t that cheap.  To add insult to injury, I can actually buy a PS3 that has a Blu-Ray player in it for about same price as the low-end Blu-Ray DVD players.  I personally see no need to ever have a PS3.  But I think it is humorous that Sony charges the same for their low-end player as they do their premium game system.  From my twisted perspective and rationale, a PS3 is therefore really “just” a DVD player and the other components have no value (to me).

And so I might spend $400 on a Blu-Ray player (no, I won’t get the PS3), plus then I’ll need a switcher for the component signals going to my projector (add $100 plus cables).

Now, my easy $179 movie upgrade is starting to look like a $1000 Christmas.  And for that, I likely will need to get “permission” … not just a “blessing”.

So, what are you my fellow data-protection and storage saavy folks doing in High-Def?

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