My two favorite topics

… outside of comic books, I suppose.

Ok kids. This is waaaay late, thanks to the one-two punch of
my not having internet last night till way late, and my having fallen asleep
upon coming home after taking care of 17 six-year-olds all afternoon. Yowza.

I think the Gameshow has pretty adequately covered most of
the game news of the last couple weeks, and while Break and I have been talking
a lot lately about retro gaming, I wanted to look ahead for a moment, gander at
another of my favorite things. No, not whiskers on kittens, I’m talkin’ movies.

We on the Gameshow have talked about the format war between
Blu-Ray and HD-DVD before. And I know so many people by this point immediately
stick their fingers in their ears and go “La la la, shutthefuckup!!” as soon as
the term ‘format war’ is even uttered. Why I can just picture Richie shouting
‘Care!’ at me right now. Well, you can all rejoice, because as if the battle
hadn’t been going badly enough for the HD format right now, as of the 16th
of February, Toshiba has announced they are no longer going to develop players
for the format. The main developer of HD has dropped it, its dead and gone.
Wal-mart, Best Buy and Netflix are all dropping the format for sale and rental
as well, so those of you who have a player, maybe go get all of their clearance
stuff now while its cheap, but don’t expect to see anymore new titles.

So, HUZZAH! All of those HD flame wars online can finally
come to a close. PS3 owners can feel secure that they now have not only a
next-gen game system of immense (size and) power, but also the top of the line
in cinematic quality, sure to house all of the best movies with the best
picture quality possible. So, should you rush out and invest in Blu-Ray?… well,
maybe not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the format so far. I’ve
picked up the Spider-man trilognocountryforoldmenmovieposter3.jpgy, Close Encounters, and 3:10 to Yuma
in Blu-Ray, and they’re beautiful. When the Star Wars sextuplet comes out
eventually, George may just get my money for the 6th
time running (I
give that man way too much money. Episode 1 was viewed 13 times in the theatre.
They don’t call me Maul for nothin’.) . BUT, I’ve said before and will say
again that ultimately, Blu-Ray comes off to me as the next Laserdisc. Now I
grant you, it being imbedded in a game player does give it a ton of steam that
Laserdisc never had. The PS3 turned a format I had considered a luxury purchase
into something a little more common, but let’s be honest, this’ll never replace
DVD. While high-def TVs are getting to be more common, they are certainly still
in a minority of homes, and if you don’t have a high-def TV, you aren’t going
to be able to see the difference in the video quality. Besides that, I’m not
going to upgrade my entire video collection again. I gladly chucked my VHS for
DVD’s but at the moment, Blu-Ray doesn’t offer so vastly a superior product,
especially on older films, to warrant re-purchasing a movie. Spider-man got
upgraded because I watch that film more often than is probably healthy. Price
is also a concern. Director’s cut of Robocop is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now, $16
on DVD, $34.99 on Blu-Ray. I can’t bring myself to believe that they will ever
invest enough money to clean up the gritty, 25 year old analog film of Robocop
enough to make it look good on Blu-Ray, despite how much I myself may
absolutely love that movie. So, am I gonna pay twice as much for a BR copy?
Nah. High end and new movies on digital film, I’ll consider. Everything before
2004? Stick to DVD unless it was a blockbuster.

One final consideration, and this is the other piece of
interesting news this week, is that direct download is coming to your homes in
a new way. Regular listeners know already that I think direct download of
movies will be the next format, and will eclipse the HD formats (and is
probably a sign of the apocalypse, because where do you go from there?).
Netflix announced this week that they are going to support direct movie
download of their rentals into PS3 and 360 consoles. It was just the other
evening that Mrs. Break asked of Mr. Break “Why don’t we use Netflix’s direct
download from your computer into our TV in the bedroom.” “Why,” he replied in
his manly, booming, God-like voice, “because I don’t believe their service is
supported by Macs.” Well Break, problem solved, your PS3 can now house the
movies. It’s like Maynard heard you in Heaven, and reached down with his mighty
hand to answer your domestic query.maynard-1.jpg

The one snag in this service is that the PS3 codecs can’t
read most online movies, including Netflix streaming video. Thank you, again
Sony, for being the thorn in my side. But Netflix has developed, in cooperation
with Sony, a little $3 adapter that they will send to you so that you can enjoy
the service. 360 owners should be able to enjoy the movies very soon with no
adaptor needed. Best part? No additional cost.

We can never speak in absolutes about the rapid-fire
changes in the home video market, but here’s what’s up now, and you guys know
where I think the future is.
Regardless, Blu-Ray and downloadable movies have given my poor, virtually
gameless PS3 new life. And if this year’s game releases are as good as Sony
claims, well it just might become the entertainment core that big S has been
trying so hard this last 15 months to make it into. Either way, PS3 owners, get