A month ago, it looked like if you were one of the first people to buy an HDTV, you were out of luck with the new high-definition disc formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray. Thanks to an "image constraint" flag on the new discs, movie studios could prevent any disc player from outputting a full-HD signal from that player's component-video jacks. Instead, you'd get a picture about the same as DVD-quality; to watch in HD, you would need to use the HDMI output a connector that didn't even exist when HDTVs first went on sale in 1998. But now early HDTV adopters have been given a small reprieve at least from one studio. Sony says it will not put the flag on its initial wave of Blu-ray titles, set to hit stores May 23rd. That means when you run out that day to be the first to get a Blu-ray player (we know you've got it circled in red on your calendar), you don't have to toss an HDMI-equipped TV in your shopping cart to see A Knight's Tale (among seven other films) in full high definition. Sony says all of its Blu-ray titles will be flag-free for the foreseeable future, friends. It's nice to see some good format planning from Sony for a change, but the company is in a unique position since it makes Blu-ray hardware, too. Will other studios take the cue?
Sony Won't Downconvert Blu-ray HD on Old HDTVs, via Gizmodo