Recent news surrounding HD DVD and BD have had more to do with delays in getting players to market, than new and exciting developments in the technology. It appears that HDDVD/BD titles will be available before the players they are designed for, which raises questions about how much quality assurance and compatibility testing can be done before rushing these devices and movie titles to market.
Even the specifications for HD DVD and BD were a long time in coming (the DVD-Video specification is now ten years old.) Why did it take so long?
The main reason is the software required to run these HD DVD/BD players. The cool new interactive features are enabled by Java or a variant of Java, which means these players have to be much more robust than our current DVD-Video players to run and execute the Java runtime environment.
This brings up another point: HD DVD/BD in computers. It seemed to take years after DVD-Video players were introduced for DVD-Video playback to appear in the majority of computers. We still have clients who have only CD-ROM drives and are mystified when a DVD won’t work in their computers.
HD DVD/BD in computers may be progressing better than DVD-Video. BD recorders have been available for some time now and are readily adopted mainly for the storage capacity. Several developers already have a solution for writing to BD-ROM.
Inevitably, software and operating systems are appearing in our consumer A/V devices, but not without some pain. Computing is making in roads into consumer electronics with both Microsoft and Apple vying to become the center for your home media. From the point of view of your average A/V consumer, the question of “convergence”, a word that has been so overused during the past decade, is not whether it will happen, but how soon before we can’t avoid it?