Lately there has been plenty of talk about 1080p video and for good reason, it brings truly kick-ass quality to your home entertainment movie and TV viewing experience. There is the same type of excitement (if not more) in the industry surrounding HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the competing standards for next generation movie discs, that there was when standard definition DVD was introduced many years ago to replace VHS and Betamax.
These next generation movie formats bring six times the quality of that of regular DVD. How can this be achieved? It all comes down to the media used to store the movie data. HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs are able to store much more data than a regular 4.7GB DVD disc. In fact, the storage capacity of a double sided Blu-ray disc is 50GB and HD-DVD is 30GB - even for the latter, that's over six times the capacity available from the previous DVD standard! That allows film studios to sell movies at much higher resolutions up to 1920 x 1080, which are progressively scanned, for amazing life-like quality and extreme clarity. If you've ever experienced true HD content on a large display, it's easy to become highly immersed in the scene and it really feels as if you are there in the same environment. In comparison and even when HDTV's do their best to upscale content, DVD quality feels like looking at inferior piece of junk. Forgetting about the whole DRM and HDCP debacle, it's awesome technology.
As with all new technology though, it comes at a cost. If you are a real home theater junkie and require the best of the best, it's going to mean spending really big bucks for you. First of all you are going to need the display and that's going to mean spending at least a couple of grand on an LCD or plasma, which is able to output 1080p content, and there's really not too many of those available yet - so you are paying a price premium for them. You'll need to buy an HD-DVD or Blu-ray player, which are ridiculously expensive at the moment. Of course, you could opt for an XBOX 360 HD-DVD player, which carries a much more reasonable price tag, since it skips on the burning capabilities. Nevertheless, you still need to hook it up to an HTPC system which is capable of playing 1080p content and that's not just any system. Then you need to buy the actual movies which are more expensive than regular DVD movies. All up, it's going to be an investment that is going to cost at least $3,000 USD and probably upwards if you want supreme quality, from brands like Sony and Sharp.
Since it's not a small chunk of cash to throw into improving your living room experience, you really should get a taste of 1080p HD content and experience before spending all that money. We won't be held responsible for impulse buying decisions, though! Today we're going to give you a preview of such content on your PC - there's plenty of free and impressive 1080p content floating around the big bad Internet, you just gotta' know where to find it!