It's the latest issue of High Def Digest's Reader Mailbag, where we
answer all your questions on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, industry trends and our site's
news and reviews.
Got questions of your own? Send
them our way
, and we'll try to answer them on the site in future issues
of our Reader Mailbag.
What's in an acronym?
"I love your site, but I feel it is important to point out the fact
that you don't express the names of the formats the same as the creators. If
you go to both the official HD DVD or Blu-ray site you will notice that they
call themselves HD DVD and Blu-ray not HD-DVD and BLU-RAY. I don't mean to be
picky, but I thought you might care. Thanks again for the great content."
-- Ben D.
Dear Ben: Thank you for the fantastic vote of support, despite our admittedly
altered acronyms for the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats.
The reason? In the case of HD-DVD, though you are correct in that the official
HD DVD consortium drops the hyphen from its website and promotional materials,
and thus most media outlets have adopted it likewise, we here at High Def Digest
have received a number of emails that HD DVD is often confused as an acronym
meaning "high-def DVD" in general, and not specifically the HD DVD
format. So we added our own hyphen to prevent any confusion, especially since
we use the terms HD DVD (to mean high-def DVD in general) and HD-DVD (to mean
the HD DVD format specifically) so much more extensively than most media websites.
In regards to Blu-Ray, or, rather, Blu-ray, we initially began using the uppercase
spelling purely as it looked "more correct." Though, as again you
rightly point out, the official Blu-ray consortium does not capitalize the "R."
So, readers, what do you think? Should we drop the "-" from HD-DVD,
and drop the capitalized "R" from Blu-Ray? Let
us know what you think
-- we are happy to listen to our readers and make
sure High Def Digest is the best and most accurate site we can make it.
No HDMI, No Buy?
"I need to know if my TV monitor does not have a HDMI connection am
i wasting my money buying an HD-DVD player. All I have is Component/S-Video
on my monitor. Will I see the HD picture connecting with Component connections?
Please advise." -- Ron
Dear Ron: Rest assured, your question is one shared by just about every potential
consumer out there who is thinking of buying a new high-def DVD player -- HD-DVD
or Blu-Ray. I assume you are referring to issue of the Image Constraint Token
(ICT), a fancy term which means that content providers (i.e., the studios) can
chose to enable ICT on any given software title, whereby the image quality will
be "down-converted" to standard DVD quality over any connection other
Unfortunately, as of today, your question is impossible to answer with any certainty,
largely because the studios themselves have not made any official decision on
whether they intend to implement ICT on any or all of their upcoming software
However, we can tell you that so far, none of the HD-DVD titles we have reviewed
from either of two current HD-DVD-supporting studios, Warner and Universal,
have ICT enabled. However, some studios who plan to release HD-DVD and Blu-Ray
titles in the near future, including Paramount and Sony, have made public comments
they may potentially flag some or all of their high-def disc releases with ICT.
Warner has also stated they may elect to implement ICT on their high-def DVD
sometime in the future as the installed based of HDMI-capable HDTV monitors
We wish we could advise otherwise, but right now, there is simply no way to
be sure that the HD-DVD player you buy today will continue to deliver full HD
resolution with the discs you buy tomorrow, at least if you have a non-HDMI
equipped HDTV. So that means only you can decide if the financial outlay required
to purchase a new HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player makes sense for you right now. But
we'll definitely keep you posted as soon as the studios officially announce
any future plans regarding ICT-enabled software.
"Why don't you guys review the TrueHD Dolby Digital track using the
PCM outputs of the HD-DVD player? You don't have to wait for HDMI 1.3 receivers
to decode the TrueHD Dolby Digital bitstream. The HD-DVD player will decode
two channels of it and pass everything out the HDMI 1.1 as PCM. Just need to
find a receiver that has multichannel PCM inputs via HDMI." -- Cody
Dear Cody: Thanks for your question, and it is indeed one we've gotten a lot
of email about. The reason we have elected to not review the TrueHD soundtracks
released on HD-DVD so far (of which there are currently only two available,
on 'Phantom of the Opera' and 'Training Day') is answered in your question.
Namely, because Toshiba's current first-gen HD-DVD players will only decode
two channels of a TrueHD soundtrack and pass it along as PCM.
We feel that to truly make a comprehensive evaluation of all the audio formats
provided on an HD-DVD (or Blu-Ray) disc, whether it be Dolby Digital-Plus, Dolby
TrueHD or DTS-HD, the source soundtrack should be decoded fully and processed
accordingly. Until commercial A/V receivers hit the market that can properly
decode a TrueHD track in all its 7.1 channels of glory, any comparisons would
be unfair and potentially misleading.
Certainly, we will begin reviewing TrueHD (as well as DTS-HD) soundtracks as
soon as we can get our hands on high-def players and receivers that can present
these wonderful new audio formats to their full potential.