Hey, remember that high-def format war?
I do, and somewhat fondly, because it gave me reams of blog fodder for a couple of years … followed by a flood of cheap high-definition discs, as I pick through the wasteland of HD DVD sales.
(Yeah, I’m still doing it. Who wouldn’t, when you can find Polanski’s “The Pianist” for $12 shipped?)
Well, certain parties do not appear to be content with the whole Blu-ray Triumphant thing. Toshiba, the architect of the abandoned HD DVD format, demonstrated awe-inspiring corporate grace and maturity late last month when it announced its latest innovation, a 1080p upscaling DVD player for standard DVDs.
“Hey, folks, why buy those expensive Blu-ray discs? Your old discs can look just as good!”
Well, except that they won’t. Upscaled discs do look pretty good, particularly if you’re watching them on a relatively small monitor … but who’s doing that? The HDTV movement was angled towards bigness, last time I checked — and even 32″ sets seem kind of small these days.
I mean, sure, I’ve thought about buying a high-def set for the front room, but as we really only watch “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” out there, it seems like a waste of money and effort. And even if I did somehow talk myself into it, I can’t imagine buying a high-def player (or even an upscaling player) to go with it. Dorm rooms aside, this can’t be anyone’s choice for a primary viewing arrangement.
Anyway, Toshiba’s new player will only muddle the high-def waters even further. Besides, if you’re looking for a decent upscaling player, and you’re into the whole high-def thing, there are plenty of affordable choices out there. Almost every manufacturer offers at least one model with HDMI upscaling as a feature. And then there’s Sony’s PlayStation 3, of course.
Today, Engadget is reporting that a company called Kaleidescape is bringing out a pair of 1080p upscaling units for standard-def DVDs that will “rival Blu-ray”. Sticker price: $2999 and $4299. (Those are not typos.) Oh, and you have to be using Kaleidescape’s proprietary system, for which you’ve already shelled out ten grand.
Obviously, if you’re spending that much money and you’re still watching standard-def DVDs, you have my pity. Contact me through this blog, and I’ll hook you up with an upconverting player for just $2000. It’ll look just like a PS3 — and it’ll work just like one, too — but you’ll know it’s so much better. $1600 better, as a matter of fact.
Oh, if you want a Bluetooth remote control, that’ll run you another $250. No quality without cost, you know.