Posted by Martin:
Check out this interview over at PC World with Paramount's CTO explaining the HD-DVD move.
Here is a snippet:
PCW: What about the additional capacity of Blu-ray, which has 50GB dual-layer discs, as opposed to HD DVD's 30GB dual-layer discs? Some studios have cited the additional capacity as necessary. Are you going to miss having the extra headroom?
Bell: This is a little bit overrated. Making a choice like the one Paramount has made is a multifaceted choice: It depends upon manufacturability, the reliability of players, the cost, the infrastructure that's developed to support our creation of titles. Many different factors came into play--including capacity. When Paramount made this decision, we considered the broad spectrum.
If everything else were equal, more capacity would be better. Why not?
But if you convert the playing time, a 30GB disc gives you somewhere between 3 and 4 hours of capacity. It depends upon the nature of the movie and how you compress it. There's no compromise on the quality. We've found that 95 percent of movies are less than 2.25 hours long. With a disc whose capacity is 3 or 4 hours, you can put a fair amount of bonus material on that disc as well. So 30GB with the option to add another disc is fine, from our point of view.
PCW: What if the multiple soundtracks and high-definition bonus materials won't fit on a single disc?
Bell: If there's an overflow of bonus material, we'll just go to another disc. That's not an issue for consumers. In some cases, they consider that it has more value. It's done routinely in DVD. Why put every single title on a high-capacity disc if it doesn't need it?
Here's another interesting story I've heard through the grapevine. People at Paramount who were working on the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of Blades of Glory had actually been planning to do some kind of elaborate interactive feature on both versions... except that they discovered the 30GB HD-DVD disc didn't have enough space to do what they'd wanted to do. So they were planning to include this feature exclusively on the Blu-ray version. Now, of course, that's all changed. But this casts some doubt on comments made by Paramount's chief technology officer, Alan Bell, in the media since yesterday, to the effect that the studio considered HD-DVD the superior format from a technical standpoint. Apparently someone didn't tell that to the guys actually WORKING with these formats at the studio.
I am reminded of the Boss in the Dilbert cartoon when reading Bill's news...
Again, I will say it. What happens when Blu-Ray starts selling $199 players? And it will happen soon.