Thoughts on high def DVD, and anime

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A rambling post spurred by news that ADV has reportedly selected Blu-ray as the format for their high definiton releases.

First off, I’m gonna air my biases.

I actually don’t like Blu-ray partly because of my perception that it is just another attempt to make more money by getting customers to spend more on next-gen stuff. It’s like the manufacturers and studios are in cahoots–we make this disc DRM’ed like you want it, and you support it. I might be paranoid or just plain bitter over how they make things so expensive but I’m still entitled to my opinion. 🙂

Anyway, I am not close-minded enough not to admit that a new form of storage must be developed or take over from plain DVD. With the increasing amount of information/data that is generated each day, there is need for more capacity on storage devices. More movie extras could be put on the disc. That means more value added. (Unless if you don’t like the extras, which would suck for you.)

On the other hand, what bothers me the most is that this will only perpetuate more piracy. BDs would certainly be much costlier than plain DVDs, but whatever DRM it has would likely be hacked–I’ve seen torrents that attest to that. Although of course the bigger file size could be a deterrent to those with slower connections, there will be ones who would download it.

From another perspective, it could mean that prices might fall for DVDs. I’m saying ‘might’, because there’s actually no guarantee it will happen (or maybe not overnight?). So people would buy more DVDs, right? Or not. I fear that people will buy less DVDs because it is a format that will be gone one day–and they’ll just wait for the prices of BDs to come down. ‘Why buy movies on an old format? There will be a better version.’–that sort of thinking. With that, there will be less consumption, and guess what? The studios lose money, and then they’d cry piracy all over again.

But what has this got to do with anime?

Well, some anime has already been released in Blu-ray format. Although one thing I’m happy about is that the Philippines is in the same region grouping as Japan and the US. (A little tidbit: movies get released earlier in the Philippines than in Japan! Hooray!) However it is sad to say, that here in my country, where legit anime DVDs are hard to come by, we probably won’t be seeing hi def anime DVDs either in the years to come. Anime is an expensive hobby, almost like a luxury even, and looks to become more expensive in the long run (at least to DVD collectors). drm has a nice rant on this.

Another thing is, people might become more selective of what they buy. I mean, do you really want to buy a not-so-excellent series in hi def? Would you want to watch a crappy series with more detail? lol. But if I had the budget for it, I’d love to have Macross Frontier hehehe. Then maybe GITS, H&C, but only top-notch stuff. So how can they profit from not-so-successful anime? I see two things happening: they make less crappier ones, or they make more of those with lots of fanservice that sells. Or both. I wish for the first option.

Conclusion? I might not be collecting anything for now–not until Blu-ray solidifies its position as ‘the’ format to take over from plain DVD. And besides, I don’t even have a standalone DVD player. 😄

ANN article
Blu-ray
HD DVD vs Blu-ray Format War 

4 responses »

  1. I’m not cynical enough to buy into the conspiracy theory regarding studios and manufacturers (as I understand it, the studios were waiting on the distributors’ decisions to see which format would be chosen by the majority of them). I am however cynical enough to say ADV may do their zillionth reissue of NGE because they’re on the same cash-cow bandwagon as Gainax. I can’t criticise them for good business sense but fans are confused at/heartily sick of seeing duplicate editions of the same thing on store shelves.

    So, I won’t be replacing my DVD version of NGE platinum on principle. The thing that makes me think is this: I first heard of hi-def TV nearly a decade ago. I’m actually surprised the film and TV industry has taken this long over getting the concept onto the high street. Surely consumers would be enthusiastic about superior picture quality? I honestly don’t know the reason but there is I think a market for hi-def discs.

    Movies are a different matter compared with TV shows. Their master tapes’ formats are, I’m guessing, of a higher res than master tapes for TV series so stuff that was originally made for the cinema would certainly benefit from Blu-Ray’s superiority over regular DVD. Whether I’m right about this or not, I’d certainly buy ‘top notch’ stuff in the higher-def format if my TV and player were compatible. With the visuals of, say, Byousoku 5cm in mind, I’d want to see it with the best sound and picture quality I can lay my hands on.

    Maybe the best way to go is to release most of their catalogue on regular DVD for cheapness reasons, then roll out Blu-ray special editions for the extra-special titles for whom buyers would go the extra mile. If fans are willing to pay extra for figurines, art boxes, pencil boards and so on, surely they’re willing to pay more for picture quality?

  2. >>The thing that makes me think is this: I first heard of hi-def TV nearly a decade ago. I’m actually surprised the film and TV industry has taken this long over getting the concept onto the high street. Surely consumers would be enthusiastic about superior picture quality?

    I read about that too–and that was many years ago lol. Perhaps the problem then was that the sets would be too expensive for the mass market, though I doubt the technology back then is the one that’s ‘in’ today. Right now, plasma TV sets and LCDs (especially LCDs) are getting cheaper due to competition (and perhaps oversupply?), perhaps it is indeed the time for the next generation technology to replace the old. Though I doubt you can upgrade just like that. I mean, there’s a lot of technical things that you have too look out for, like 1080i is different than 1080p, etc etc.

    >>I am however cynical enough to say ADV may do their zillionth reissue of NGE because they’re on the same cash-cow bandwagon as Gainax.

    If that cash cow keeps them afloat and allows them to license more shows, I think it’s ok. Though it does seem sickening, it’s business.

    >>I honestly don’t know the reason but there is I think a market for hi-def discs.

    Yes there is. I was reading one of those audio-visual mags and there really are people who would spend thousands of dollars just for that ‘quality’, cinematic experience.

  3. While High-Definition is or can be just an excuse to rerelease a series to make more money, in the cases where the original source was in High Definition, or new HD content was added, I think it’s worth it.

    I got a Blu-Ray DVD player specifically for Air and future anime Blu-Ray titles. While it’s not my smartest purchase ever, to be honest, that extended opening remade in HD makes it worth it, and almost makes it hard to watch standard DVDs after that.

  4. >>almost makes it hard to watch standard DVDs after that.

    When it comes to shows/movies with good special effects and scenery, I think it does make a difference.

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