HD DVD is taking to the road and we got one of the first looks at the tour "bus". I will start by saying that if you get a chance to see this thing - DO. It is amazing. The guys behind of it spent a good amount of time constructing a true cinema experience (besides the foam cube seating) in a trailer. Marantz 1080p projector, DVDO scaler, the whole bit. We had the opportunity to see some clips from Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift that really highlighted the video with no jiggers or grain but also crisp, clean audio that made you forget that you are in a trailer. The HD DVD Promotional Group did have the whole 'room' ISF calibrated by-the-way and you can tell with double-layer noise damping everywhere. The Fast and The Furious was chosen not only for the video/audio but also for the cool interactivity layer called iHD. This feature has been lacking from current releases and is also one of the reasons that major titles like the Matrix and LOTR haven't been released yet. If done right, like in Toyko Drift, it adds a whole new experience and studios want to take full advantage of this system. After seeing this demo, we can see why.

Click-on for my full experence


Back to Tokyo Drift; this title lets the viewer watch the director in a picture-and-picture mode while the movie is playing thanks to HD DVDs manditory dual video decorders. Or, the viewer could choose to watch the story-board flash the original intent of the writers at the same time as the movie playing while the director is still talking down in the corner. Or, the viewer could have all that going on while a little GPS unit is showing where the cars are racing through the crowed streets of Tokyo. I tired to get pics but it just wasn't going to happen as this DVD was a pre-release (no, they didn't download it) and even though the guys were cool as hell, they veto'd it. Trust me; it was sweet and really did add to the experience like nothing that is currently out.

My little demo didn't end with a Fast and the Furious movie though and I had the opportunity to peep King Kong and Batman Begins and I can tell you that the King Kong clip was without a doubt, the best picture that I have ever seen. Sure, a lot of it is optimised CGI and viewed via $17k+ system but even the mist showed 0 banding. It really demonstrated what good high-def could be. While I have been very public on my stance of who will come out on top of this format war, I can honestly say that this promotional tour is worth the time of even the most die hard Blu-ray fan, *cough* Ben *cough* if not just to see what high-def media has the potential to look like. There is a full interview on the way but we thought you would like to see the tour bus and everything it has to offer first.

We have added the tour information to our Google HD DVD Release calendar and the HD DVD Promotional group does have detailed info of dates and locations on their website. (NOTE: loud audio at link)



Inside the trailer


System powering livingroom demo above - not for the main demo

Zune phone en route