NINE INCH NAILS LIVE: BESIDE YOU IN TIME HD FAQ [last updated 2_12_07]

Beside You In Time was a project designed from the beginning to be a high definition experience. As such, we want to help everyone understand the new high def formats so that as many people as possible can experience BYIT in the best possible way. This FAQ is designed to help you understand the differences between the three formats of Beside You In Time and what type of equipment you'll need for each. For the technically inclined, it will also address specific technical issues related to the feature.

This page will be updated/revised with new information periodically. For specific questions not addressed in this FAQ, we recommend asking them on The Spiral's discussion forums.




What formats will Beside You In Time be released on?

Beside You In Time will be released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray formats.


What are HD DVD and Blu-ray and what's the difference between them?

HD DVD and Blu-ray are two new video disc formats designed to play high definition movies. Essentially, they are like DVD, but with more advanced features, and much higher quality and resolution. They are designed to be viewed on high definition televisions.

There are many differences between the two formats (Wikipedia has a lot of detailed information), but for the average consumer, the differences will be negligible. These are two competing home video formats designed for the same basic purpose: to display high definition movies. If you remember the days of VHS and Beta, it's exactly the same thing - and like VHS and Beta, one or both of these new formats are likely to fail. At this early stage it is anyone's guess which format will succeed, but the end result is likely to be determined by which has the widest selection of features available. In an effort to remain platform agnostic and leave the choice to the consumer, Beside You In Time is being released in both formats.


How can I watch HD DVD or Blu-ray discs?

HD DVD discs can only be played in HD DVD players. Blu-ray discs can only be played in Blu-ray players. NEITHER FORMAT CAN BE PLAYED IN A REGULAR DVD PLAYER, OR IN YOUR COMPUTER'S DVD DRIVE. If you have an Xbox 360, an HD DVD add-on is available for approximately $200. Sony's Playstation 3 plays Blu-ray discs natively.


If I have an HD DVD player or Blu-ray player but only a standard-definition television, can I still watch Beside You In Time?

Yes, but the video resolution will be scaled down to meet your television's standards and you will not get the full benefit of the high definition video.


What kind of equipment do I need to watch Beside You In Time in high definition?

- A high definition television (720P, 1080i, or 1080P resolution)

- An HD DVD or Blu-ray player connected via analog component video cables or digital HDMI audio/video cable.


What is the optimum equipment setup needed to watch Beside You In Time at maximum quality?

- A 1080P television (full 1920x1080 pixel resolution) with HDMI input

- An HD DVD or Blu-ray player with Dolby TrueHD support (see question 10) and HDMI output (make sure your player is upgraded to the latest firmware - check with the player's manufacturer for details)

- A high quality surround sound processor or receiver with HDMI or analog multi-channel inputs. (Dolby TrueHD support and a v1.3 HDMI connection are preferred)

- A good surround speaker setup (six speakers properly placed - see this link for more information)


How can I ensure I am viewing and hearing Beside You In Time the way it was intended?

Beside You In Time includes some simple tools to help you make sure your system is properly configured:
- When you first put in the disc, the main menu will appear. From there, navigate to the "Settings" menu.
- Select the proper audio setting based on your system (see question 11)
- Next, click on "Audio Optimization" and use the optimization program to check the levels and placement of your speakers.
- When you return to the settings menu, click on "Video Optimization." Follow the instructions to check your TV aspect ratio, brightness, and contrast.


What are the differences between the three formats of Beside You In Time?

There are no content differences between the three formats. All three have 24 songs from the Live: With Teeth 2006 tour, two music videos, three rehearsal videos, an image gallery, and alternate angle access. The only minor difference is that the standard DVD also includes the "Body Of Work" interactive discography, which was previously included on the With Teeth DualDisc DVD. This was omitted from the HD versions due to time and space constraints.


Naturally, there are technical differences between the three formats. This table breaks down the specifics of all three: (this applies to the main feature and summer tour feature only - see question 12 for bonus content)

DVD HD DVD Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio 16x9 16x9 16x9
Resolution 480i 1080p 1080p
Audio Formats Dolby Digital Stereo
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
DTS 5.1 Surround
Dolby TrueHD Surround
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Dolby Digital Stereo
Dolby TrueHD Surround
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Dolby Digital Stereo
Language English,
On-Screen lyrics,
Closed-Captioned
English,
On-Screen lyrics,
Closed-Captioned
English,
On-Screen lyrics,
Closed-Captioned
Alternate Angel 3 songs, real-time switching* 3 songs, non real-time switching* 3 songs, real-time switching via menu*
Menus Interactive menus Advanced interactive menus, in-feature pop-up menus Advanced interactive menus, in-feature pop-up menus

*see question 13 for notes about alternate angles


Are there any video quality differences between the HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of Beside You In Time?

For all intents and purposes, no - the video will look every bit as good on either version. Technically speaking, the video quality of the Blu-ray version has a slight edge over the HD DVD: It was encoded at a slightly higher bit rate due to the Blu-ray spec's higher bandwidth capabilities for encoded video streams. However, this difference is nominal and would only be noticeable by a pair of well-trained eyes on an extremely expensive professional 1080P monitor.


What video codec was used to encode the high definition material?

Both the HD DVD and Blu-ray versions are encoded with VC-1.


What audio formats are used on the HD DVD and Blu-ray versions?

Both formats include:
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
Dolby Digital stereo sound

To listen to any one of these audio formats, you will need a player and receiver which support them. The disc defaults to Dolby Digital 5.1, so you will need to manually select Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Stereo if you wish to use those formats.


What audio formats are used on the standard DVD version?

The standard DVD includes:
DTS 5.1 surround sound
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
Dolby Digital stereo sound

To listen to any of these audio formats, you will need a player and receiver which supports them. The disc defaults to Dolby Digital 5.1, so you will need to manually select DTS or Dolby Stereo if you wish to use those formats.

Note regarding Dolby TrueHD: Currently all HD DVD players with the exception of the Xbox 360 add-on support decoding Dolby TrueHD in the player. For Blu-ray only the Playstation 3 supports Dolby TrueHD at this time and must be connected to a receiver or processor via HDMI to enjoy the full benefit. There are other Blu-ray players in the works that will support this feature at a later time.

If you have an HD DVD player that supports Dolby TrueHD decoding, you don't have to have a receiver or surround processor that supports it, only a unit that will accept 5.1 PCM via HDMI (v1.1 or later) or an analog multi-channel input if the player has an output (most of the HD DVD players do).


What is the difference between the 5.1 and stereo selections, and when should I use each?

Beside You In Time's audio has been mixed separately in 5.1 surround and stereo to ensure the best listening experience on any system.

5.1 surround should only be selected if you have a compatible 5.1 (six speaker) digital surround system.

All three disc formats default to Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, so if you are viewing Beside You In Time on a system which only has two speakers (or headphones) or utilizes analog Dolby 2.0 Surround, make sure to select the Dolby Stereo sound option in the disc settings, or you will not be hearing the mix the way it was intended.

For the Blu-ray version there are only two audio menu selections, Dolby Stereo and Dolby TrueHD Surround. Here's why: The Dolby TrueHD contains a Dolby Digital substream. If you are watching on a player that doesn't support Dolby TrueHD (many of the first generation BD players), you will get the default Dolby Digital Surround audio. If you have a player that supports Dolby TrueHD (such as a Playstation 3), you will get Dolby Digital Surround out of the SP/DIF port and Dolby TrueHD out of the HDMI port. To hear Dolby TrueHD, you will need a receiver that supports this format. In the future, there may be Blu-ray players that decode Dolby TrueHD and output the audio through analog ports, so this may be another option.

NOTE: When setting up your player to pass a Dolby Digital stream to your A/V receiver, make sure you set the digital output of your player to "Bitstream." If it is set to PCM, you will get a down-sampled stereo version of the surround track which your receiver may then attempt to play back as Dolby ProLogic surround. The audio experience will be compromised and will not sound good. You can tell if you have your player set up correctly by using the Audio Optimization menu on the disc to ensure you are hearing the discrete mix.


Is the bonus content in high definition?

Yes and no. The summer tour feature is presented in 1080P high definition with full surround sound. However, the footage from the summer tour was filmed sporadically on consumer HDV cameras, which had trouble capturing the intense lights of the show. As a result, you'll notice a considerable difference in video quality from the main (winter tour) feature if you're watching on a high def television. On a standard television the quality difference is negligible. We were disappointed with the quality of the summer tour HDV footage, but decided the content was good enough to merit inclusion.

The music videos for The Hand That Feeds and Only are presented in standard definition, as they were originally filmed, with surround sound audio.

The three rehearsal videos are presented in standard definition, as they were originally filmed, with stereo audio only.

The image gallery is presented in full 1920x1080 resolution.


How do the alternate angles work with the three different formats?

A second angle is presented during Eraser, Right Where It Belongs, and Beside You In Time, allowing you to watch the projection screen imagery uninterrupted. However, because HD DVD and Blu-ray were still new and developing technologies at the time BYIT was created, the alternate angles do not work the same on all three formats.

On the standard DVD, pressing enter enter during the three songs will toggle between angles. You can also use the angle button on your remote.

On the HD DVD, real-time angle switching was not possible, so the alternate angle is included as a standalone "easter egg." To access it, highlight "Right Where It Belongs" on the pop-up menu, then press the up-left (45 degree) directional button on your remote control. The button to play the alternate angle will appear - press enter to watch.

On the Blu-ray, an option to toggle the angles will appear on the pop-up menu during the three songs. Most Blu-ray players will display a multi-angle icon when multi-angle content is playing. On many players you can turn this icon off in the set-up menu.



If I have both an HD DVD player and a Blu-ray player with optimal setups for each, which version of Beside You In Time would you recommend?

For all intents and purposes, either version will give you an equally satisfying experience. Having tested each version side by side, the difference in video quality between the two formats is essentially nonexistent. Ultimately, depending on what type of player you have, you may prefer the Blu-ray version due to its real-time angle switching and slightly higher video bitrate. You should review the player/disc issues to learn how your individual player might affect the experience. For example, the Blu-ray disc tends to have smoother menu animations, but the Samsung Blu-ray players have a slight problem with the menu intro. The PS3 plays back the menu animations almost perfectly, but it has a couple minor issues of its own.

Generally, whichever of your players you most enjoy watching movies on will probably be the right choice for a format of Beside You In Time.


Are there any known player/disc issues with Beside You In Time?

Due to the nature of emerging technology, there are a number of very minor player and disc issues with Beside You In Time:

- On Samsung Blu-ray players, there is currently a slight video gap (goes to black for a split second) on the intro video leading to the main menu. This is due to a bug in the player firmware, and will likely eventually be fixed by a future firmware update from Samsung.

- If you are listening to Dolby TrueHD on the Blu-ray release, you may notice a slight audio gap where the multi-angle content begins and ends (about 1/30 of a second). This occurs only twice on the disc and occurs only between songs. The reason for this is a current limitation on how uncompressed audio is handled during multi-angle content.

- On the PS3 and possibly certain other Blu-ray players, the button on the pop-up menu to switch angles during the multi-angle sequence does not work. This is due to a spec issue which affects certain players, notably the PS3. You should use your player's angle button to switch between angles.

- On both HD formats, the pop-up menu is inaccessible during the music videos and rehearsal videos. This is because these videos force the player into standard resolution mode with which the pop-up is incompatible.

- Toshiba HD DVD players sometimes have a difficult time with the menu animations, causing slow or glitchy playback. This will likely improve with future firmware updates from Toshiba.

- Currently InterVideo WinDVD crashes when playing the HD DVD version of the disc. This may be fixed with future versions of the player, but for now Beside You In Time HD DVD is incompatible with InterVideo WinDVD.

- On the standard DVD there is a layer break between the tracks "Beside You In Time" and "With Teeth." On some players you may experience a momentary audio gap and picture freeze.


I'm purchasing Beside You In Time in Europe or another region of the world. What is available and what do I need to know?

The international release date for Beside You In Time is 26 February. Only the standard DVD is being released outside of the US. If you want the HD DVD or Blu-ray versions, you will need to import them. The standard DVD is being released in NTSC video format only - if you live in Europe or another region which uses the PAL video standard, please check your hardware to ensure NTSC playback compatibility. Most DVD players released in the last few years support both PAL and NTSC playback.

There is no region encoding on any version of Beside You In Time, so importing will not be a problem.


Special Thanks

Many people and companies generously donated their time and energy to see this project through to completion:

- Sonic Solutions worked to accelerate development of their authoring software to incorporate features specifically for this release.
- Dolby Laboratories was extremely helpful in providing Dolby TrueHD audio encodes along with software and development tools.
- Sony Electronics provided timely assistance in chasing down verifier bugs.
- Microsoft helped immensely by modifying their VC-1 encoder to better deal with the dynamic HD concert video.
- Ascent Media worked tirelessly to make sure that the HD video encode was of the highest quality. Special props to Nathan at Ascent for a beautiful encode.
- Sony Pictures and Panasonic Hollywood Lab generously allowed us to use their screening facilities to verify audio and video quality.
- Kris Deering helped out with some answers on this FAQ


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