Geek Speak: Some Say HD Users Are Staying Neutral15 Mar, 2007 By: Jessica Wolf
Not all early adopters are taking up arms on one side or the other of the high-definition format war.
Some have chosen the Switzerland route and are happily supporting both formats.
There's even a whole thread at Highdefdigest.com devoted to non-partisan, non-judgmental non-fevered discussion among folks who have shelled out money for both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
And they aren't complaining about it.
Posters on the thread wrote that they like the flexibility of having two formats, putting one device in one room, and the other in another. They also like the confidence that comes from supporting both hardware formats.
The lure of the PlayStation 3 — equipped with a Blu-ray Disc player — seemed to convert some original HD DVD backers to dual-format users.
“I got into HD DVD about five months ago and [have had] a PS3 a few months now, and even though I had a little doubt when I picked up the PS3, I am 100% glad I did,” wrote Highdefdigest.com member Vooswing. “The FREEDOM to just go buy whatever is available is worth the price of the second player alone.”
Fellow poster Lifeis11 agreed: “I feel like I'm no longer bummed when a title comes out in one format or the other. I only get bummed when it doesn't come out in HD at all!”
Users on the site mentioned Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's recent release of Bond actioner Casino Royale as a Blu-ray-only must have.
At the same time, most posted kudos to lone HD DVD-only backer Universal Studios Home Entertainment for its lush interactive discs.
These early high-def backers are savvy about the realities of the dual-format situation, seeing support for both as a safe bet for the future.
“Universal looks to be HD DVD exclusive only this year,” wrote poster Brad1963. “Even if they go neutral in 2008, they will have about 170 titles on HD DVD, most of which may not make it to BD for quite a long time.”
Nonpartisan posters also share info with each other on managing all the different formats in their home setups.
Several people recommended the Psyclone HDMI switcher, which allows four high-def devices to be hooked to one TV set.
The $199 component currently is sold out at BestBuy.com.
There are other gadgets from small-brand manufacturers bridging the multi-format gap for users who want it all.
The five-port Monoprice HDMI Switch is getting universally good reviews at Amazon.com.
Reviewers on the sales site said they like how small and slim the device is, and they especially like Amazon's $124.98 price (compared to $299.99 list).
Another similarly priced switcher, from Acoustic Image, selling for $135.61 ($229.95 list), isn't faring as well, with complaints on video degradation and not enough component ports for the price.
Members of Highdefdigest.com's dual-format community do recommend that anyone who joins their ranks think about investing in a switcher to eliminate hassle and confusion for enjoyment of next-gen discs.