Some HD DVD News

"Mission: Impossible 3" will be released in both HD DVD and Blu-Ray formats, and Sony releases dual-layer Blu-Ray media.

We're finally going to get the chance to see the same movie in HD DVD and Blu-Ray formats. "Mission: Impossible III" will be released on October 30 in both formats, giving us the first chance to do a head to head comparison. I'll be curious to see if Blu-Ray still insists on sticking with MPEG-2 to encode the video.

Of course, the referenced article on BetaNews seemed to imply a slight advantage to HD DVD:

The HD DVD release will also include an "enhanced commentary" by director J.J. Abrams and Tom Cruise that shows the pair talking in the corner as the movie plays. This capability is possible through HD DVD's iHD feature, which is not included in Blu-ray. Analysts say that more studios will follow with similar three format launches -- at least until one high-definition format prevails.

But, BD-J, Blu-Ray's Java layer, could do that, too. However, the fact that every HD DVD player is REQUIRED to have a second video decoder means that every movie at least has the ability to do this, whereas in Blu-Ray, the player has to provide the optional second decoder. Hey, standards are good.

Visions of the life of a C/NET product tester

I would say get me a copy of both for my birthday (October 30 is in the same ballpark as my birthday), but two problems. First, Tom Cruise has so breached the wall between his real life and his screen life that I have trouble watching his movies anymore, and second, I don't have an HD DVD player OR a Blu-Ray player. I, too, am taking a wait and see attitude, at least when its my own money that's involved, which is why I think I should become one of those people at C/NET who tests products for a living. Gee, I think I need to "test" a 75" plasma HD TV, a brand spanking new XBOX 360, and various varieties of bratwurst and beer.

Other news: Sony has started to ship dual-layer Blu-Ray recordable media. I wonder how long it will take for those discs to find their way into Blu-Ray movies. Of course, the value of the size boost would be so much greater if SONY STOPPED INSISTING ON USE OF MPEG-2!!!