Consumer Expectations of HD-DVD

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HD-DVD should represent a significant and uncompromised increase in audio quality, video quality, and resolution. We, the consumers, do not accept any proposed low-bitrate format utilizing standard (red laser/low-bandwidth)DVD technology. Current DVD technology (red laser/low-bandwidth) can not meet the basic consumer requirements of an HD-DVD format as stated.

Picture quality should be the ultimate determinant of which video compression algorithm is selected for HD-DVD. Since large bandwidth, large storage medium is already available, the emphasis of video algorithm chosen for HD-DVD should be strictly based on achieving the highest degree of accuracy, resolution, and overall picture quality. Also, HD-DVD should eliminate artifacts from the mastering process, such as excessive pre-filtering (to ease in compression) and the utilization of electronic edge-enhancement, that are common-place with standard DVD and unnecessarily mar image fidelity.

1080p capable display devices will continue to become more commonplace. If a film-sourced image is encoded for 1080I playback (such as 480i DVDs mastered from film), the source 1080P signal should *not* be pre-filtered to minimize aliasing during 1080I playback. We think it would be best for the HD-DVD format to store film content as 1080p24 instead of 1080i right from the beginning. Only video content should be stored in 1080i. As long as 1080p24 is stored on the discs, we can eventually produce players which output 1080p48, p60 or p72. 1080 progressive should not just be a provision or add-on for HD-DVD, it should be the over-riding goal and direction.

HD-DVD should represent a significant improvement in audio quality. It is quite clear that audio compression algorithms have reached a limit. HD-DVD should utilize new and improved audio compression algorithms that are designed to yield greater accuracy with a large bandwidth HD-DVD format. Although current Dolby Digital *may* be a required audio format, we encourage development of advanced algorithms that are able to go beyond Dolby Digital capability. For instance, D-VHS offers a considerable improvement over DVD with the ability to utilize 24 bit/96 kHz DTS with significantly higher bit rates than current DVD technology can provide. Perhaps Dolby Digital can provide an advanced algorithm for HD-DVD, which is more scalable (than the current 640kbps limit) and can take advantage of the greater bandwidth provided by HD-DVD. In any case, improvement in HD-DVD audio quality is equally important as the improvement in HD-DVD video quality.

It is suggested that MLP should be utilized as one of the compression algorithms of choice for HD-DVD because of MLP's lossless compression, amazing flexibility, and the already mandatory inclusion of MLP into HD-DVD players for DVD-Audio.

HD-DVD should provide a no-compromise format in terms of audio quality, video quality, and resolution, such as seen with digital VHS. The currently proposed low-bitrate HD-DVD proposed by utilizing current DVD technology cannot successfully meet consumer demands and expectations of an HD-DVD format. We petition that any high resolution optical format (HD-DVD) not be released unless consumer expectations are met.

We have listed several secondary requests below that would be helpful in producing a more enjoyable HD-DVD format:

Subtitles:

The subtitle feature should be a true text-based system and not a graphically-based system (as it is on the current DVD standard). If the subtitles were encoded as true text, the font size, style, color, and placement in the image area could all be modified by the user during disc playback.

As an example, this would be of benefit as one user will be reading subtitles on a 32" monitor while another user reads his subtitles on a 100" projection system. The same size/style font may not be ideal for both display methods. Users of specially equipped home-theaters could even opt to display subtitles on a dedicated monitor or display so that they do not intrude into the image area of the film at all (similar to the super-titles now being shown at high-profile film festivals).

Graphical images may be included in subtitle data as an option, but the text should be of a true text type and not limited to a hard-coded "image" that cannot be adapted to the end user's needs.

It has been suggested that HD-DVD players should include the Unicode character set that is becoming a standard on computers for worldwide use. The fonts themselves could be included on the disc, so a disc producer could create his/her own font as an option, and this font could be played back and rendered via all HD-DVD hardware.

About MLP:

Whether MLP is running at 20/48, 24/96, or a combination of 24/96 in the front channels with 20/48 surrounds, it can be argued that MLP provides superior results over any current lossy compression method, even when running at 20/48. 24/96 audio in conjunction with lossy/perceptual coding is a questionable process.

MLP is also very flexible in the sense of being able to add more channels, such as discrete side channels (or other future add-on channels such as height channels, if so desired). MLP provides the ability to provide accurate, scalable audio quality now and well into the future. We would like to reiterate that improvement in audio quality is equally important as the improvement in video quality.