Giz Explains: Why DVD Is Still the Best Video Format

Illustration for article titled Giz Explains: Why DVD Is Still the Best Video Format

All this fighting about HD formats makes me wonder if the lot of you have forgotten about DVDs. BitTorrent aside, there are a lot of official ways to get video these days, high def discs and downloads. Even so, it's worth reiterating that DVD is still my favorite way to go and will be for a while. Here's why:


DRM Sucks: Thanks to DVD Jon's DeCSS hacks and programs like Handbrake, ripping a DVD is as easy as ripping a CD. Not so with HD discs, which can sometimes be ripped with difficulty, but take gigs to store, anyhow.
Not Too Big: The 480 lines of res on a DVD is not so far off that it's time consuming to convert a ripped DVD into a version that fits on a portable media player, or can be shared with a friend.
It doesn't look so bad On a TV less than 42-inches, you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference between HD and SD unless you're sitting close or doing a side by side.
Auto Archived: Call me old fashioned. Storing BitTorrented files on hard drives seems like a waste of space. I'd rather have 'em on discs to start with, rather than data files that have to be converted or burned to disc to be watched in the living room DVD player.
Renting: I won't lie. Renting a movie by Xbox's Live market place is incredibly simple. But when you rent a disc, you're actually in the position to rip it, too. You can't do anything but watch your DRM'd downloads expire after a day or two. Also, the subject or renting brings me to the next point.
Content is Still King: No emerging format, be it a video store like Amazon's Unbox, or Xbox Live, or Netflix's streaming rental service, or HD DVD or Blu-ray, can claim to even have a majority of films and TV shows in their library. Only DVD.

I am an HD nut. So I too worry about buying a movie only to have it come out in HD later down the road. If the points above don't sway you, I'd understand. But consider the fact that I do feel safer buying old movies like, say, a box set of Kurosawa films, as I don't suspect I'd get much more out of a high res version of the black and white flicks.


Broken Machine

I agree wholeheatedly about the "Auto Archiving" feature - it's why I still buy CDs. The downsides to DVD that bother me are the moire like effect that happens with dark scenes and fog on DVD due to compression and the fact that some movies still require a break to switch discs (extended Lord of the Rings - even though I cannot sit through the whole thing anyway).

I stopped buying DVDs of movies last year when Blu Ray and HD-DVDs started rolling out. I haven't bought more than 2 HD-DVDs as I don't want to put a ton of money into a dying format (my hd-dvd player cost me $34 after the sale of my DVD player, so im not out that much money when it dies).

Streaming and downloading movies may be the future, but it's a long way off, in my mind. As physical media capacities expand, it gets harder and harder to get the best quality of picture in a portable downloadable package.