Have you seen HD-VHS yet?

I saw the future of video this week. I am used to watching DVD movies with its 480(?) lines of resolution (I'm not sure of the number - I'm not that technical a guy, but I know the lines are severely limited compared to HDTV). I had seen HDTV demos, but was not too fired up about the investing $1,000.00 in a receiever and paying still more money monthly for TV services. Anyway, I am in the process of buying and installing a projector and screen, primarily to watch DVD movies. I have found that a WXGA resolution projector will look good on a maximum 92 inch screen from my expected viewing disatance. I would like to go bigger (aay 110 inch), but any bigger than 92 inch with DVD the picture gets grainy.

Two weeks ago I went to my dealer and looked at 2 WXGA projectors (a Marantz VP12, and Sony VW12HT LCD), both playing DVD's on a 100 inch screen. Again, inside 15 feet the pixels/graininess started to appear. Went back this week and the dealer had installed on both systems a new HD-VHS (that's right, a digital tape in VHS size)playing "the X-Men" movie. Not a great movie, but the picture was UNBELIEVEABLE. I walked within four feet of the screen and could not detect pixels. It was literally as good as film.

Now that I have seen what is possible, I am a little pissed that Hollywood has failed to agree on an HD-DVD format. I am told the technology has existed for some years, and HD-DVDs could be prduced at basically the same cost as a regular DVD transfer. So now I ask, why do we need this VHS format in the meantime to clog up the works and dilute the market? It LOOKS great, but are we really going to start buying tapes knowing that HD-DVD will happen sooner than later (but not soon enough). HD-VHS has all the earmarks of another Beta format. It shows the promise of the future, but, unfortunately, it also highlights the limitations of the present.

If HD DVD was around now I could buy the 110 inch screen I really want and have a stellar picture. Now it kind of bugs me knowing that HD DVD WILL happen eventually, and while many of us are amassing libraries of DVD movies, we will all be faced with whether to upgrade our favorites to HD when they become available. I know I won't be able to resist upgrading several of my movies (as well as wanting a bigger screen - so I know the $1,000.00 plus I am putting into my Stewart screen is probably going to be another obsolete A/V investment in a few years). Now when I buy movies I also have a little pang of "Should I but now, or should I wait and see. . ."

Anyway, it is worth checking out the difference between DVD and HD-VHS if you have not seen it. It will probably make you impatient for HD-DVD, too.
The way I understand it, the movie studios are concerned that releasing Hi def DVD's will lead to mass illegal duplications. Hence HD-VHS may be a format we have to settle for. When media is on tape as opposed to disc, it would be difficult , and time consuming to reproduce them illegally.
Just like when CD's first came out, it was said to be the perfect sound forever. The CD is good enough for most people. Obviously too good for all the people who can't get enough mp3's.

For Joe Blow, DVD is better than anything they ever had before, but far from what is possible. Darryl has a good point. Disney was very reluctant to accept DVD format for the very reason of never being able to re-sell their classics again. Well, I guess they will after all. Now they can sell HD-VHS and perhaps a HD-DVD when it becomes available.

HD-VHS players do make some sense. You can play old VHS tapes in them and you can record HD material on them as well. Recordable HD-DVD is probably a ways out, and copyright wars will probably stall it even further.
I'm in the owner of a video editing and media duplication company; and have seen the JVC D-VHS for the past two years at the annual National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, JVC has done a miserable marketing job with D-VHS - even though the picture blows away the typical DVD. The movie studios - of course - love D-VHS because they can encode the tapes with Macrovision's latest copy protection system. (But if you commercially duplicate tapes it's easy to "work around" Macrovision.)
In any case, DVD will be with us for a while - until Hollywood comes up with some sort of "copy protection" scheme for HD video. (Want to bet it will be "cracked" within weeks of being released?) Guess they have already forgotten the "Betamax Case" and the lesson THEY SHOULD HAVE LEARNED BY NOW.
I agree that while HD-VHS is superior in picture it is a format born on its death bed. Now that all of America has a DVD player you aren't going to get everyone to go back to tape. Everyone loves how easy DVDs are to operate and the ability go to the straight to a particular scene or the "extras" and how much less space they take up. If HDTV had taken off as planned then you'd have a market for HD-VHS. Unfortunately, most people that are interested in HDTV are waiting for more programming and its own format issues(DVI, Firewire, etc.) to be solved. So, I guess HD-VHS is going to have about the same market as LaserDisc did.
Am I the only tht thinks DVD's are not easy to operate. Size aside laserdiscs were much easier. Accessing the menu can be a real pain. DVD's have been amazingly consumer unfriendly. Compatability from 1st generation to now and obviously into the future has been and appears to continue be just plain abusive to consumers.
I saw a tape of Japan sourced from a JVC HD-VCR to a Pioneer Elite Plasma display about 6 months ago. It was unbelievable. Like looking thru an immaculately clean window.
I have DVD scaled amazingly well with my HTPC. I also have HD-VHS. The HD D-Theater tapes are so much better than DVD is and are likely going to be better than HD-DVD will be because of the tape's ability to hold more information than they will get on either the Red Laser or Blue Laser HD-DVD. While I like the DVD ability to chapter skip and it's smaller size, I will forgo that to get a better picture.

I find it amazing that when you have groups of people who will go to great lengths to get the most of their sound system seem so relunctant to watch tape. The studio masters are on tape. The simple fact is that picture quality is determined by resolution, encoding and compression. HD has superior resolution and tape has the least compression. It would take an encoding miracle for a 9 Mbit stream to give better results than the 28.2 Mbit stream from the D-Theater HD-VHS tapes.

And if HD-VHS gets as much support as LaserDisc got, I will be VERY happy. If something better comes along, great, but I won't wait for something that may or may not be better quality. Good thing I didn't wait to get Tivo until HD-Tivo came along. I would have missed out on TIVO for the last 2 years!