Blu Ray D.O.A.

pequafrogJanuary 29, 2009

I don't want to stir things up here, (well maybe I do) but I just want to post an opinion. I've been thinking about this since we considered buying a Blu Ray player for Christmas. We didn't end up buying one and here's why:

We find that all signs are pointing to trending away from owning any kind of physical media. I mean think about it, when was the last time you walked into a store and purchased a music cd? For me, it's been more than a year. What about DVD? I don't know about you guys, but my kids scratch all ours! I know I know...I should be better with them and teach the kids respect and blah blah blah. I'm just telling you all that our DVD's are really scratched. We don't even go to Blockbuster anymore and the Hollywood Video stores are closing. I think Blockbuster will close soon to. If we want to "own" a dvd, we rent it from the kiosk at our food store for $1 and I rip it to my computer and then watch it on my AppleTV/Panasonic plasma. So for example my kids wanted to watch Wall e over and over (they love watching movies multiple times). I could've purchased it from Target for $16.99, but instead we rented it for a buck. Or if you wait a month, borrow it from the library for free, then rip it. Then you can watch it anytime you like. You own it! Or you can purchase it in HD from iTunes Music Store.

I just never saw the compelling reason to buy an expensive Blu Ray player and start buying expensive Blu Ray movies for $30. I have friends all over the place that have lost jobs, or facing layoffs...Blu Ray just has bad timing in a horrible economy. I think it's D.O.A.

Again, I'm not a pundit, or writer (no kidding!) I'm just a guy with young kids giving a dad's opinion.

What do you all think?


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No I don't think BR will fade away like the HD format did , but the prices of the players will have to drop further and the format will have to be perfected without constant firmware upgrades required before more people buy into them . The BR discs themselves have dropped to about 20 bucks , within 5 of most standard dvds and blu-ray dvd burners are being developed for computers . For now myself and many others are content with upconverting players - I have an Oppo player and it does an excellent job of upconverting dvds . I get movies from the library and the 8.99 Netflix plan , which at one (sometimes two) movies per week come out to less than 2 bucks per movie .

On another forum here (Hot Topics) a poster recently opined about standard dvds becoming obsolete soon in favor of blu-ray . I don't see that happening since the movie production companies goal is to have people buy the same movie over and over . In standard format , the directors cut , the uncut version , special edition , blu-ray , and the boxed set of a movie franchise - they cost pennies to make in China and profits for the movie company average around 10 bucks per dvd . Someday movies probably will be on a non-mechanical format such as a smart card type format , but that is years away .

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:55AM
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I have a large collection of standard DVDs, and I don't plan to switching to an HD format any time soon. I borrowed a neighbor's HD-DVD player to test on my 6-year-old 42" 720p plasma, and the difference was so minimal that I can't justify the cost. The visual quality is already good enough to see every pore on Naveen Andrews' face in a close-up shot while watching Lost Season 4, that anything more intense might even hurt my eyes, LOL. Maybe some day if/when the plasma blows-up and is replaced with whatever is the mid-market of the latest-and-greatest technology of the time, I'll be time to make a trade-up ... although I fully expect standard DVDs will still be playable.

And although it is a common practice, I assume you understand that ripping/copying a rented DVD violates copyright terms. And, *technically*, even when you BUY a movie, on DVD or VHS or whatever media, you may own the physical media ... but unless the artistic material has gone into public-domain, you DO NOT own the movie/content on it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 1:28AM
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Best Blu-Ray solution is the Sony Playstation 3. In addition to the player, you get internet (has keyboard/mouse support) thru WiFi, plays your mp3s, slideshows your photos and with a compatible printer will provide hardcopy, Downloads current movie trailers in the background if you'd like, gets you access to SonyStore to download HD movies (rental or purchase) and downloadable games, two start-up interactive programs (Life and Home) that are neat previews of things to come...and also plays games. My Panasonic 52" is a totally different experience with a Blu-Ray disk. DVDs also look much better upconverted by the PS3 but nothing like a Blu-Ray disk. Remember, affordable Blu-Ray burners aren't too far off as well as affordable HD camcorders. Blu-Ray will supplant DVD just like DVD wiped VHS away. Bad economy or not, this tech won't be stopped...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Here's an interesting article that sort of supports my position. One quote that I'll pull out:
'Since sales began, U.S. purchases of Blu-ray players totaled almost 10 million units at the end of 2008, Digital Entertainment Group said. Still, consumers are aware the entire industry may shift online, DiClemente said.

'We donÂt think Blu-ray is the savior,' DiClemente said. 'Investing in Blu-ray, especially in the teeth of a recession, isnÂt what the consumer wants.'

Here is a link that might be useful: Bloomberg Article

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 7:30PM
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I remember pundits dissing CDs over cassettes, 40 channel CBs over 23, now it's Blu-Ray over DVDs. I think they'll be proven wrong. Especially for those of us in these discussion forums who are tech geeks who'll need to store and exchange HD video. Like I mentioned, BR burners and HD cameras are getting more affordable and watching HD media on a 1080 display is WAY better than the previous tech. Yes, media will be migrating to an online delivery scheme but it'll be a while before the broadband gets fully built out. The PS3's ability to access that is nice...

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 3:14AM
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I don't know how much more detail I need to see on screen than hi def. Up-converted DVD's look great. Plus, the average non-geek end user doesn't want to mess with expensive gear, firmware updates and service calls. Maybe when the price drop dramatically and compatibility issues are addressed, and the recession is over (when that will be no one know). I think right now it's a perfect storm of bad things for Blu ray. Unlike CD's over cassettes, and 40 CB channels over 23, the compelling arguments to spend a lot of extra dollars for small differences are just not there. May never be there for Blu Ray.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 6:06AM
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If you do not have a 1080p set there is no need to have a Blu-ray player.You do not have to have a Blu-ray player connected to the internet.The manufacture will send you a Free update disk.Atleast Sony does.There are not constant updates.There has been only one update.I have not tried it but they claim scratches on a Blu-ray disk will not hurt it in anyway?You can look at a blu-ray disk and it is clear you can see the front label when looking through from the botton of a disk.

Picture quality on a 1080p set will blow you away.There is no comparison between a DVD and Blu-ray.Now if they would just lower the price of the movies it would be perfect.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:28AM
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Like nine7xbam, I'm an Oppo guy. Great player.

Hi-def may not be necessary for most, it really comes down to how big your screen is and what your screen can actually show. For smaller screens, and at longer viewing distances, standard of an upconverting DVD player may be all you need.

I have a 133" screen, and HDTV is definitely an improvement over standard def TV at that size when watching TV.

For DVDs, the upconverting DVD Oppo DVD player does a fine job. Standard def DVDs look prettty darn good, you don't really notice that they could look better until you watch a true 1080 DVD.

True 1080p can be jaw-dropping on a really large screen.

I'm contemplating getting a netflx on-demand box. Not sure if it'll be the netflx box or a compatible DVD or XBox type of thing.

I like owning DVDs. I guess it's an ownership thing. But being able to get what you want when you want it, especially programming that comes in a DVD series, is appealing to me. I hate getting disc 3 of 3 before I get the first two!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 2:16PM
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mongo...look into a Sony Playstation 3. It allows you to view HD content from the Sony Store, watch current movie trailers that download in the background, display your photos (and print them with a compatable printer), play your mp3s, surf the net (USB keyboard/mouse hook right up), use a bluetooth headset to place calls, download game samples, play BR discs. It really takes you to a new level in multi-media,

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 4:16AM
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Thanks, I just looked into it. Are the prices I found for downloading rentals accurate?

$6 to "rent" an HD movie and $4 to "rent" a non-HD movie?

From what I read about Netflix I could get unlimited for $17 a month.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 12:08AM
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Yes, about the same as PPV from cable or sat. Netflix or Blockbuster are way cheaper but remember, the video on demand model is structured to give instant delivery. Myself, my busy lifestyle keeps me from watching very much video and the ability to get what I want the moment I want it has value. The nice thing about the on demand HD is that you don't have to wait for exactly what you want. As I understand it, none of the big players in the mail business are fully up to speed with Blu-Ray inventory yet..remember it hasn't been too long since HD-DVD went away.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 4:52AM
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Is the Netflix unit actually HD? I find the info out there pretty sketchy as to whether the movie delivery is HD. To me it sounds like some TV shows are available in HD but don't see anything promoting the movies actually being in HD...

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 5:06AM
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Downloading movies from Netflix and others is great.For those with broadband service that can handle it.But not for those on dialup.Or myself who live in the sticks and have Direcway or Wildblue.Because of the FAP ''fair acess policy''it just can not be done.

Plus it just is not the same as owning the DVD or Blue-ray disk.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 12:19PM
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I just spent a little more time on the netflix site, and I agree that the quality of the downloadable stuff isn't spelled out clearly.

I have comcast cable and they have some SD and HD movies that are truly on demand and start pretty much right when you select them.

There will be a delay in downloading content off the netflix site, it seems like it could be 10-15 minutes. Not sure of that though.

The netflix print, to paraphrase, says something along the lines of "the quality of your movie will depend on the speed of your internet connection. At 3mps, the quality will approach that of a DVD." I have a fast connection so I should get the best they have to offer. But that tells me it won't be HD (1080 or 720), and that it may barely be DVD (480).

So yes, I take from that that the downloadable stuff on Netflix isn't HD. And with a fast connection you just might get DVD, which is 480. What's standard-def TV, something like 320, right? And VHS tapes were 240?

I guess the good news for me is that my projector has a pretty decent upconverter in it, but the question begs as to how well it can upconvert what I download from netflix.

A plus for me is that if the picture quality isn't great at 133", I can choke the projector down to display a smaller picture and improve quality.

There are a variety of boxes you can use to download content from netflx. Personally if I was going to get a box I'd probably go for a blu ray player. But my wife wants to be able to also play games for the kids, so we'll probably go with PS3 or Xbox, more likely xbox. She wants to get dance dance revolution for my daughter!

I don't have a real good feel for just what movies netflix has available for download. They claim 12000 out of their offerings of 100000.

We were very happy with netflix when we just used them for discs years ago. We switched to blockbuster more for the kids, they liked being able to go into the store and pick up a DVD (a couple free in-store pickups per month) on their way home when they were having friends over. But blockbuster has gotten away from that feature, and blockbuster always seems to send discs in the que out of order. Makes it tough when you're watching a series.

So I guess what it comes down to is that we're changing back to netflix for the DVDs via snailmail. At this time we look at the downloadable content as bonus stuff, and an excuse to get an xbox, and by getting an xbox it will allow us to watch bluray and work on our dance steps via DDR.

One big slippery slope!

But I do have a bit more head scratching to do...

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 3:33PM
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mongoct: It is worth noting that you cannot watch Bluray movies on an Xbox360 (since you mentioned it in your previous post). The PS3 has a built in Bluray drive.

Both are capable gaming consoles. Another thing to consider is that you can stream video online from several sites like Hulu to your TV via software like PlayOn. PlayOn works with both PS3 and Xbox360.

If gaming with your children is important, take some time to consider what you plan to play with them. In general, the Xbox game library is better than the PS3, while the Nintendo Wii is more family-friendly than both of them. The PS3 and Xbox are both good at doubling as media centers are that are connected to your TV.

As far as Bluray in general - it's a fine technology, but prices of both players and media (especially) have a ways to go before they can get any kind of mass market appeal. It's a niche technology right now - and there's a place for those as long as there are videophiles around. Player prices are starting to creep downwards, but discs are still too expensive.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 4:02PM
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Excellent, thanks for that information!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 2:38PM
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