Monday, December 31, 2007

HD or Blu? Format Wars are Over, Winner is x264

Holiday sale $99 refurb HDDVD players couldn't win the war for the HD camp, and the PS3 still shows no sign of ending it in BluRay's favor.

Meantime, the de facto standard online for HD disc content, legit or not, is x264.

After DivX/XviD/MPEG-4 replaced MPEG-2 as a generally practical format for video content from DVDs, it took some time before gadget makers released decent players that could load up a DivX stream off of any CD-R or DVD-R and play it (reliably).

My money says we'll have a much shorter wait this time. In fact, in the end-of-year spirit of goofy tech prognostication, I'll wager that by Christmas of next year
  1. The "official" format war between BluRay and HD-DVD will still not be meaningfully resolved
  2. But 200 bucks will get you a DVD player that can load up an x264 stream and play it back, upsampled and/or at HD resolution
  3. That same player (or maybe the $300 version) will either have a USB port so you can plug in your 1TB external enclosure and play HD movies that you've, um, obtained, without using a disk at all, or else it'll have a network port.
  4. Game over.

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