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Interesting read on Microsoft, Blockbuster, Target, etc.

mswoods1
08-26-2007, 10:59 PM
From Microsoft Insider Amir on AVS:


Amir, with Microsoft's vision that (and goal of) downloading being the ultimate delivery means, why shouldn't all proponents of HDM be suspicious that the very internet connectivity you tout (as a counter to BD's larger capacity among other reasons) is a trojen horse that will bring about that eventuality even sooner by spurring studio investment in the infrastructure needed for it?

They shouldn't because that is not our vision . Our vision is that we can’t see far into the future at this juncture of great change. So we are going to invest in all forms of delivery.

Our vision also encompasses the fact that digital distribution will be a prominent form of delivery for entertainment content. No vision of the future can be devoid of this. For the simple reason that the ultimate experience is one where you wish to watch a movie, and it is in front of you immediately, at full fidelity, and with full control. Optical, as good as it is in some vectors here, cannot fit the bill. It poses a delay in purchasing the disc and bringing it home. It has limitations in random access. And requires mechanical devices spinning a piece of plastic to output video. All bad things in our book.

So we keep searching for one that meets the definition of “perfect.” Until then, we are going to keep investing in HD optical because it does solve some of the problems, with the most of important being the fact that the consumer and studios fully understand and embrace it. Many products fail in consumer space because simplicity is absent from them. Digital music distribution suffered this way until simplicity became a feature of it (and fashion!).

One should also keep in mind that Microsoft’s investments in HD optical is substantial. It is for example, far more significant than two out of three core BDA members as we have shipped far more product than both combined. We have also donated significant resources to standardization of DVD Forum specifications over a four year period (did the same for BDA for about 3-4 months while they were debating HDi resulting in a 400 page spec from what I recall.) And of course, we are behind much innovation in this space, from delivery of advanced codecs well before the competing camp did, to state-of-the-art interactivity.

So it is total propaganda that we don’t believe and support optical. People take our honesty foresight in investing in digital distribution to draw an incorrect and improper conclusion. Investing in something, is not the same as not being behind something else. Just because we build office productivity apps, it does not mean we are about to kill Xbox business because corporate users don’t play games in the office. We are a big company and our customers and shareholders expect us to keep up with times and invest in multiple areas, whether it is optical delivery or digital. What they don’t want to see us do is bank on one, just to find the other was the right answer.

About 20 years ago I read a book about entrepreneurship. In there, there was a great line which I never forget. It said that companies building tracks and trains hit rough times because they forgot that they were in transportation business, and not trains, when airplanes came and stole all of their customers! Likewise, if you are in the business of “entertainment technology”, you don’t want to just fixate on one form of delivery, lest you want to see Apple put you out of business like they did with iPod.

In return, consider how internet connectivity seems far less important to BDA format as evidenced by its optional status and late delivery. So I could turn around and accuse them that they have their head in the sand, thinking unconnected devices have a chance of success in the era of iPods, and music sharing.


Isn't it possible that BDA requiring MS to join the board as a condition of HDi adoption was them following the adage of "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?"

No. The explanation is very simple and Paid gave it. They wanted to “win” by putting HD DVD out of business. They have made this declaration in public at least three times. So you don’t need tea leaves to read what they are about. Pulling us away from Toshiba would have met that goal. They would have spun that news to high heaven, as they did with Target even when poor guys refused to take part in their press release. I mean how far do folks go here? Telling the world BB has gone exclusive when 250 of their most important stores and on-line still carry the other format? How many exclusive headlines did they garner? And you wonder why we don’t even want to come close to a million miles of BDA, letting them put our name on their web site? I have even more direct and personal experience to share on this at later time. Can’t tell you all the stories at once and have you all retire from AVS .

It is clear that when all the direct schemes to win don’t work, then all of a sudden it is Microsoft not caring about optical. If that doesn’t work, then Microsoft paid off people. If that doesn’t work, then Microsoft was going to withhold technology from them. When that doesn’t work, we must be intimidating people even in their own camp. When that doesn’t work, we are really not serious about HD DVD and will do a BD player for 360. When that doesn’t work…..

At some point you want to step out and look at the simple and most obvious truth. We started out by having a genuine interest in seeing harmony between the two formats by striving for common file system, codecs, copy protection, and interactivity. BDA came reluctantly part of the way there, and then punched us in the face and said to get lost. So we had no choice but to go and support HD DVD. That ultimately is the simple reality. If folks are unhappy with our position, they have but one place to look: BDA organization itself!

The above is consistent with everything I have said in this forum for 3+ years. You want to know what is going on, now you do. :)

mswoods1
08-26-2007, 11:06 PM
In the same thread, they're arguing about HDi vs BD-J, and the "BD / HD Insider" Jeff Williams posted some actual code from the two different languages:



For some hard code to look at in the HDi vs BD-J argument, below is real working code from both environments that does some simple animation. What looks easier to you?

HDi

document.Menu.style.animateProperty("y","928px;738px",0.5);

BD-J
public static void openMenu(Image menu)
{
for(int i=0, m=12; i<12; i+=1, m+=12)
{
bufferGraphics.clearRect(0,0,1830,190);
bufferGraphics.drawImage(menu,0,200-m,1740,320-m,150,1830,1890,1950,null);
Interface.getGraphics().drawImage(buffer,90,890,nu ll);
Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit().sync();
wait();
}

}

private static void waitAniFrame()
{
try
{
Thread.sleep(63);
}
catch (InterruptedException e)
{
//Error
}
}

Ales Hemsky
08-26-2007, 11:48 PM
Yes, a very interesting read indeed. It goes to show how the BDA really is. I wonder if Michael Moore would ever do a movie on the Blu-Ray Disc Association and how they got started.

:D

bruceames
08-27-2007, 12:29 AM
Yeah, fun read. When Amir gets on a roll, he can really rally the troops. :D

Cygnus
08-27-2007, 12:36 AM
It goes without saying that the sample code for HDi looks far simpler than BD-J. You can see how a complex menu will be like spaghetti code on BR. The key question is if there are noticeable differences with navigation times between the 2. Speed has always been an issue with java.

PFC5
08-27-2007, 12:49 AM
It goes without saying that the sample code for HDi looks far simpler than BD-J. You can see how a complex menu will be like spaghetti code on BR. The key question is if there are noticeable differences with navigation times between the 2. Speed has always been an issue with java.

Good point and I think what happened with Liars Dice on POTC DMC is a good example of the extra CPU horsepower needed to run this BD-Java over HTML code. It has been reported that it would take multiple minutes with most if not all BD standalone players but worked well with the PS3 because of all the CPU power in it.

There are a lot more and cheaper HTML coders out there compared to Java coders too. Paramount stated this was also a issue with BD and contributed to their reason for going HD DVD exclusive after working with both formats for over 1 year.

mswoods1
08-27-2007, 01:00 AM
The key question is if there are noticeable differences with navigation times between the 2. Speed has always been an issue with java.

I believe the answer to yours and PFC5's question was answered just a few posts later in the same thread...

And here is another non-obvious advantage. The instruction in HDi is executed by the HDi engine at full machine speed. With one line, you tell it to animate the graphic. In contrast, the Java/BD-J code requires the interpreter to read and execute all that code multiple times to finish the animation. Yes, yes, there are tricks to make it run faster than pure interpretive code but it still underperforms the highly efficient method in HDi.

Another quote about why it's easier to use:

Briefly, the power of HDi is that it has built in functionality for many of the operations people need. We designed HDi from scratch for movie/optical interactivity so it is quite powerful this way. As a result, most of the time, you don't need to write code, as Jeff elegantly showed. But HDi also has a programming language (j-script) which lets you do anything you like. So we get best of both worlds. Simple and quick development. And infinite depth of capability through scripting. This is the appeal of the system and why you have a professional working on both BD and HD DVD titles, telling you that in his job, one is simpler and easier than the other. As did the Paramount CTO. And poor me for nearly two years now

Earlier in the thread it was also explained [or postulated is a better word] that the reason BDA didn't go with HDi is because they were afraid it ran on .NET framework, and it would have to run on Windows [and they'd have to give $$$ to Microsoft to use it.] This all turned out to be untrue though. PaidGeek [a Sony insider] later said everyone in the BDA was just afraid Microsoft was trying to lead them into a trap with HDi and somehow leak money out of them :D .

They went through a whole argument on this... lol. It's one thing to see fanboys argue, but it's on a whole 'nother level when you see professionals from Sony and Microsoft battle it out. :p Not sure what to believe about why BDA didn't use HDi to begin with.

samcan07
08-27-2007, 06:01 AM
In the same thread, they're arguing about HDi vs BD-J, and the "BD / HD Insider" Jeff Williams posted some actual code from the two different languages:

But don't forget these posts....

Originally Posted by luddite
The two code snippets you provide may be identical... but only one provides the implementation for the function. The other is only a function call.

Only one of these actually has the code provided.

It only makes sense to play fair... and provide the function calls side by side:

HDi


Code:
document.Menu.style.animateProperty("y","928px;738px",0.5);


BD-J


Code:
openMenu(menu);


Now that you mention it... I do know which language is easier to work with!

luddite, very nice. Thanks for the clarification. It's good to have knowledgeable posters come in and add insight and clarity when it helps overcome misrepresentation. Thanks again and welcome to the forum. Don't be a stranger.


:p

mswoods1
08-27-2007, 09:43 PM
But don't forget these posts....

Originally Posted by luddite
The two code snippets you provide may be identical... but only one provides the implementation for the function. The other is only a function call.

Only one of these actually has the code provided.

It only makes sense to play fair... and provide the function calls side by side:

HDi


Code:
document.Menu.style.animateProperty("y","928px;738px",0.5);


BD-J


Code:
openMenu(menu);


Now that you mention it... I do know which language is easier to work with!

luddite, very nice. Thanks for the clarification. It's good to have knowledgeable posters come in and add insight and clarity when it helps overcome misrepresentation. Thanks again and welcome to the forum. Don't be a stranger.


:p

As explained even later in the thread... HDi has the function built in to the programming language [or a standard class in the language.] In BD-J, you have to build the function first and then you can store it in your application and call it whenever necessary... but it isn't built into the language or a class or anything like that. That's why you would need less code for HDi. The sample code still stands... that poster trying to "correct" the real-life programmer was wrong.

mswoods1
08-27-2007, 09:47 PM
Here's another example of the same programmer having trouble with BD-J:

I'm working on a BD-J demo disc. 10 clips that loop with an interactive animated menu. It's a very basic project with huge headaches. Without getting into a lot of details, the looping is causing a lot of problems. I've tested it on 3 hardware players and 1 software player. The software player plays the loop as intended. Since this is the first player that I tested it on, I was hopeful. Next, I moved to the first-gen Samsung. Played all the clips and stopped at the last one instead of looping back to the beginning. Not terrible and maybe easily fixed. Next up, the Sony player. It runs extremely slow and only plays the first clip and stops. Now I'm getting angry. Finally, the Panasonic. Put the disc in, and nothing. It displays "Now Reading" and goes nowhere .

Now how is it that 4 players that all adhere to the same spec have 4 different results? And before you ask, yes the firmwares are all up to date.

And to make it fair, apparently he mentioned a problem with HDi at some point too:

I've run into some big differences from G1 to G2 players, mainly with animations. I'm hoping that Toshiba addresses them in a firmware update because it's a step backwards in my opinion.