Senior VP, Marketing Management, Warner Home Video
Steve Nickerson is no stranger to format launches. As a Toshiba executive in the '90s, he helped shepherd the introduction of the DVD. Warner Bros. was one of the earliest and most vocal supporters of HD DVD, believing that the format's similarity to standard-definition DVD technology would allow the easiest and most cost-effective transition to high-def discs.
Why should we be excited about HD DVD?
Having been involved in high-def for many years - with the emphasis on "many" - it's good to see that it's really coming into its own as a consumer product, and that people are finally seeing in their homes what has been the promise of HDTV for so many years. The picture and sound quality and everything else that high-def discs deliver are fantastic.
Most people will probably buy into the new formats because of the improved video. How does that change the home theater experience?
High-def images allow you to participate in a way that's different from DVD. Movies are all about escapism - for some period of time, you escape into whatever you're watching. And the clearer and more lifelike that picture is, the less work you have to do to lose yourself in the movie.
Many HD DVD titles will be encoded in MPEG-4 AVC or VC1, while many of the early Blu-ray releases are being encoded using the older MPEG-2 format. Will we be able to see the difference between the newer and older codecs?
It's really a matter of how familiar someone is with the codec they're using, and what work needs to be done to maximize it. But at the end of the day, hopefully, companies will put out products that fulfill the promise of high-def discs, regardless of what kind of compression is used.
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