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An Interview with an HD DVD Insider

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2007 12:06 PM by Scott Jentsch

High-Def Digest is featuring an interview by Peter M. Bracke with Amir Majidimehr, Corporate Vice President of the Mobile and Embedded Devices Division of Microsoft.

Microsoft has been a major player in the HD DVD movement, supplying the VC-1 video encoding codec that has been used on a majority of HD DVD releases (and a few Blu-ray Disc releases as well), creating the HDi interactive scripting specification that provides us with the cool In Movie Experience (IME) picture-in-picture commentaries and U-Control features, and they most recently released the HD DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 gaming console to allow Xbox 360 owners an inexpensive way to add HD DVD movie viewing to their setups.

Amir Majidimehr is known well among enthusiasts for his willingness to discuss the inner workings and other details of HD DVD (within reason of course) on the AVS Forums, and has hosted meetups with enthusiasts as the HD DVD "Look and Sound of Perfect" Tour has been travelling the country.

U-Control Example 
 HD DVD provides interactive features, such as the U-Control Picture-in-Picture feature shown above.

This interview provides some great background in how Microsoft got involved with HD DVD, what they're doing now, and most importantly, what Majidimehr thinks are special features that make HD DVD a very attractive option for movie fans and for movie studios looking to deliver high definition movies to those fans.

Here are a few questions that were asked and answered:

  • How did Microsoft first become involved in the development of the HD DVD format?
  • As it became clearer and clearer that the studios and manufacturers might be splitting into two separate next-gen camps, why did Microsoft decide to side with HD DVD over Blu-ray?
  • HD DVD acceptance has been quite strong since launch, which has been surprising to many. I suppose it is fair to say that Blu-ray had the early lead, at least in terms of pre-launch buzz. Why do you think the HD DVD format has been received so strongly, despite all the nay-saying?
  • Can you speak more to the web connectivity functions of HD DVD? It certainly seems like it has huge potential.
  • Codecs, interactivity and mandatory specs aside, by far the biggest worry I hear from early adopters, regardless of format preference, is one of obsolescence. What steps are Microsoft taking to ensure that the investment fans are making today in HD DVD won't come back and, to be blunt about it, bite them in the ass?
  • So, in closing, what do you want consumers, who may be on the fence between the two high-def formats, to know about HD DVD?

Some elements of the interview are cheerleading, so one needs to take the comments with a bit of a grain of salt, but it underscores how passionate he is about the success of the format and the benefits it brings to us, the consumers. The fact that he's an active participant on one of the best A/V forums on the Internet further boosts his credibility in my mind. Rather than just spout rhetoric that tows the company line, he's willing to participate in the community of his product's end customers.

Click the Read link below to read the full interview. It's a good read!



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