A few words about....Blu-Ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    And more importantly, what about copy protection? Will I be screwed because my three-year-old Toshiba HDTV does not have Firewire/DVI? Right now that issue concerns me quite a bit.
     
  2. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Um, 1080p IS an ATSC format. All ATSC decoders must accept a 1080p signal. The OUTPUT of current decoders and displays would be 1080i, or whatever the native diplay resoultion is.



    Broadcasters aren't using 1080p at this time because they haven't been able to figure out HD at 720p-1080i! 1080p is MUCH more computer intensive, and bandwidth wise...
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Alistair,
    We're just speculating among ourselves about a format (Blu-Ray) and product that is maybe, almost still two years away. As I stated before, it's difficult to give a definitive answer about which films I'm going to repurchase. It's too early in the process without the actual knowledge about pricing and available selection. Furthermore, I'm sure the studios product rollout will greatly affect my decision in this matter.




    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Hakan Powers

    Hakan Powers Stunt Coordinator

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    I can definately second all the comments made about our Blu-Ray demo. Absolutely stunning!

    Coming from Sweden my experience of watching HD content is rather limited, as HD hasn't really taken of in Europe yet. In fact, it's just starting to be available via sat receivers.

    Over the years I've read comments like "It was like looking out a window" or "the 3D feel is just like real life".

    Well, at Sony I experienced it!

    This is gonna rock your boats people.

    If I had to place a $100 bet on BR vs HD-DVD, I'd place it on BR even before the turn or river cards had been dealt!

    Reasons? A couple..

    1) Support from HW manufacturers. Pretty much everyone except Toshiba is supporting Blu-Ray.

    DVD manufacturers are important, but no less important is the fact that two of the worlds largest PC manufacturers, HP and Dell, are supporting Blu-Ray. My prediction is many consumers will start to get Blu-Ray drives in their PCs instead of DVDs in late 2006 - early 2007. That kind of market penetration will be worth is weight in gold.

    2) PS3. How many of us gamers will be getting PS3s the day it's released? In a matter of weeks Sony will have a million Blu-Ray drives in the market.

    3) Sonys aquisition of MGM. Together with the Columbia Tristar library and the fact that Sony have been doing Hi-Def transfers for years there will be a huge catalog of titles available for them to release. James Bond anyone?

    On the issue of replacing titles.. No, I won't be replacing all of my 700+ dvds, but definately some of them. As others have mentioned, we own a whole deal of crappy movies on dvd (thanks to reel.com etc. in the good old days) but atleast I have become much more selective in the last 2 years. Of my titles I could probably sell off 200+ without even noticing.

    Enough rambling.. Blu-Ray? Bring it on!!



    (yes, I expect to be an early adopter [​IMG])
     
  5. Matt Krapf

    Matt Krapf Stunt Coordinator

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    Here are some thoughts...

    2K Hi Def is the benchmark. HDDVD and BluRay hit it. BluRay delivers the bandwidth and Value-Add, far better.
    Ultimately, I think BluRay is it's own killer app, in that it may drive a convergence of entertainment technologies like nothing we've seen before. I'm excited.

    BD's are extensible via Java, and dynamically able to trigger downloads of on-the-fly content. It seems to me then...BD Players would opt for -- if not require -- substantial hard drives to be incorporated into the chassis, to accommodate that content and preserve it for any period of time. One example could be the download of a soundtrack, or press kits, etc. It will also have to have a Java Engine and decent CPU. ...all of which the PS3 will have. It seems to me, what Sony's driving towards is the Universal Home Entertainment Device.

    It plays Movies, accesses the Net, plays Games, stores Content (DVR?), and has a decent CPU. So what we'll end up with is a HTPC(in essence) or a Combi player/recorder
    Whatever it may be called, it's convergence.

    Homes will have a viewing device(tv/proj/etc), a sound system, this BluRay-based do-it-all. No need for seperate CD players, DVD players, DVD recorders, or game consoles.

    I don't know if it's gonna go that way, but I like the thought of it!

    Responding to some of the posts:

    Simultaneous release to BD and Theaters...I don't see this happening, per se. However, I DO see where Studios could now Burn their content to ONE format for both theaters(digital projectors, mind you) AND homes.

    It can't be overstressed how amazing the Sony Qualia Digital projector was. Others will shoot me for saying it, but that $30k projector could step into most movie houses and SMOKE the film projectors. If some would say it can't, surely the necessary tweaks wouldn't be much more money.

    BD's can drive a Movie Theater just as easily as Home Theaters, it seems. DTS will HAVE to be on the disc, along with DD. It's possible to use lossless coding too. So... couldn't this save studios who buy into it MASSIVE amounts of cash, by reducing the number of film prints needed and the costs associated with them? 16/35/70mm versions. DD vs DTS versions. Delivery, storage, inventory, etc.

    Just like convergence in the home, BluRay has the potential of creating convergence in the Movie Theater industry. Driving digital projection to the prominent role it deserves. Quiet, solid-state projectors. The only consumable remains the lamp, but the electronics, including the image chip/s can be modular and therefore upgradeable or repairable far more easily than existing mechanical projectors.

    Thoughts?

    Matt

    PS...

    As good as you think HiDef TV is...Fuhgeddaboutit!

    The BluRay Group, like the Blue Man Group, is going to revolutionize entertainment.

    On a 25' diagonal screen, throwing from maybe 40 feet (guys? sound right? ) and sitting maybe 8 feet from the projector there wasn't one thing not to like.
    The projector (big as it is) is damn near silent. ($30K)
    The BD Recorder/Player...available NOW!! (only $3k)
    The unbelievable image...Priceless.
    We saw the future, and it's awesome.[​IMG]
     
  6. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    When we were walking out of the theater at Sony, Ron Epstein asked me what I thought. I told him I was quite sad. Now that I have seen what Blu-Ray is capable of my system seems sub-standard, which right now it really is not.



    At CES the past two years we have seen Blu Ray players, big bulky machines that look like they should be emitting steam and waste. The images displayed during CES have always made me say, "Damn, those flowers look great" because there has been no practical demos. Until Sony, I have never had a good frame of reference of what we were truly in for. When they showed the clips from Lawrence of Arabia, there was an audible gasp in the room, my HT novice girlfriend even said, "Wow", and fellow HTF'r Michael Deakin said something akin to "Oh, s#!!".



    The clarity in the scenes was amazing. There were clear lines of separation between each individual in the crowd scenes, whereas on the DVD image the tended to blend together. You could see so much more individual action in each of the scenes provided. In one of the end scenes where the camera pans across to reveal the sea, I could see more fine deatil in the city that I have never seen on my 92" screen. Other images of the desert and mountainscapes looked 3D. Black levels were deep and the best I've seen on an front projector (mind you, it is a $30k Qualia).



    Another demo clip showed what appeared to be an African man in a knitted orange, brown and yellow shirt. As the line moved over the image from DVD to Blu-Ray, you could see each of the individual knits in the shirt, and the colors just came to life. There was similar results with a rainy, cobble stone street. I could go on more about the detail, but I think you get the picture.



    Regarding pricing of BR software, I seem to recall one of our hosts saying they are estimating a 10% increase in price over DVD.



    Regarding pricing of BR players: as I said to some folks at lunch after the demo, we'll know if and when the PS3 is formally announced. Think about it, you may be able to have BR for under $400. This is my speculation, not a quote from Sony.



    How does it compare to Toshiba and NEC's HD-DVD? Don't know, I haven't seen anything past CES demos of HD-DVD. But BR is capable of substantially more storage space on its media than HD-DVD. For more on the differences and issues between the two formats, check out the past two issues of Widescreen Review, Gary Reber has provided some excellent and lengthy articles about both formats.



    The only thing that kinda irked me about the presentation was that Sony seems to be very focused on using a LAN connection to transmit upgrades, or unlock certain features of the software. They spent quite a bit of time explaining how BR could assist in marketing or to play games. I think at this point they're not entirely sure how to use all that space. As we saw with DVD, the format will change and adapt with the market, although I still wish we had more multiple angle discs (besides porn).



    Before I left for the HTF meet, Ultimate Electronics sent me a flyer showing they had dropped the JVC DTheater player to $599, and I was quite prepared to buy one upon my return home. Now I'm not so sure. In thinking more about it this week, I don't think BR will follow the luke warm response D Theater got simply because BR has much better hardware support. Also, as a consumer, I appreciate the random access ability of a disc based product over tape, no matter how good the tape looks.



    Sorry for the long post!
     
  7. Travis Hedger

    Travis Hedger Supporting Actor

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    Anyone know if BR unit will upscale current DVD to 720p or 1080i output like a couple of upscaling players now?



    It would be one thing cool to be able to be backwards compatible, but to be able to provide that extra incentive of squeezing a bit more out of your current DVD's in addition to true HD purchases down the line.
     
  8. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    I'm told that the description of the demo you all describe sounds like one people can see at certain Sony stores, like "Sony Style" in NYC. I don't know if these demos are still available or not now though.

    Someone who saw the demo at the store was awed by the picture too (I believe it was using the same projector you all saw on a 10" screen or so). He was under the impression that the video was actually MPEG2 since the demo was running off of a Blu-Ray recorder (which at the moment only support MPEG2 I believe), does anyone know if that was the case with your demo, or was it using one of the newer, more advanced codecs?

    Also, PS3 is probably going to make a 2006 debut. Sony has confirmed Blu-Ray ROM support in the unit, and they've said previously that the magic price for a videogame console is $300, so I really wouldn't expect it to be more expensive than that. Its release may quickly force a certain price-point on players that we may have otherwise waited years to approach. Of course, if you want a player/recorder you'll probably still be in the $1k+ range for a while.
     
  9. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    It might as well. They need a scaler anyway to deal with 720p displays. I don't think it would cost a lot more to make it upscale SD-DVD as well.
     
  10. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    But Monkeybone is a no-brainer. Right, Crawdaddy? [​IMG]



    Rob
     
  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I have a side question to all of this....



    I am looking at buying my first HDTV next year. Will that model I buy (Sony or Mits) accept the full capabilities of Blue Ray, or should I wait longer? In other words, I don't think most HDTVs do 1080P....where as Blue Ray would.
     
  12. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    I said a very similar thing regarding VHS->LD, and then later LD->DVD. Now I'm wise to the fact that it's a matter of money bandwidth - if I have money in my pocket and a BluRay disc comes out for a film that I consider so-so or better, then it will be mine, oh yes. [​IMG]



    Of course, I won't be rebuying the DVD stinkers in my collection (about 5%). Well, not until they hit budget price anyway. [​IMG]
     
  13. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    Although I am still convinced that a high def storage format is still a whiles away from fruition, when it does happen, it's going to very compelling.



    Watching HDTV is pretty awesome; watching 1080P is going to be mind blowing. Not upgrading your collection is going to be harder than you think [​IMG]
     
  14. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I've been saying this for quite some time - from the very first moment that blu-ray talk started. It's a no-brainer. Some non-gamer types underestimate how many people transitioned to DVD starting with a PS2. Sony sold the PS2/DVDplayer to those people that were debating buying either. At that pricepoint for both, it became a no-brainer. I didn't even own any real VHS movies prior to the PS2 starting me buying DVDs.

    I can't say I'll be upgrading right away to Blu-ray, but if the PS3 has it, we will end up with a PS3. Even though I honestly wasn't, and I'm still not, particularly keen on the actual gaming hardware performance. A dual Hi-Def DVD and gaming machine is a no-brainer. Just like the PS2 was.


    The exception is LOTR. I'll realistically be with whichever system provides me with LOTR in hi-def. LOL [​IMG] But in that very rare case, it would just mean I would have both formats.
     
  15. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    It sounds like Blu-Ray (once the price drops to a more affordable price-point) may give me the incentive I need to upgrade to HDTV. I doubt that I ever upgrade to HD based on what television has to offer, but to be able to take advantage of HD for movies is certainly an exciting proposition. And as far as replacing movies, I would selectively replace titles, but probably all new purchases would be in the new BR format.



    Looks like something to look forward to in a few years! Hopefully BR will win the inevitable standards battle.



    Steve K.
     
  16. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    A few comments from the "old guy"[*]While Robert Crawford says that he will replace very few of his 2600 DVDs with HD versions I'm sensing a little "deja vu all over again" (to quote Yogi the Bard). I made the same statement regarding my 2000 LDs in 1997 and I've probably duplicated about 200 of them on DVD. In some cases it's for the superior picture, in others its for the wealth of additional features and menu access to everything. With what we saw as a potential for using all that extra space available on BR discs I'm sure that I'll end up doing the same again. With about 3000 DVDs at present (yes, I'm a sickie with over 5000 titles in my LD/DVD collection) I estimate that I'll replace about 300 of them to maintain the 10% ratio from the 1997 experience.


    [*]At some point, when BR (or whatever) takes hold, I'll stop purchasing DVDs and make all new purchases in HD. This is what happened seven years ago as LDs gradually disappeared. I don't see this happening as quickly with normal DVDs since there is such a player base and since all the new players will be backward compatible. DVDs will be around for a long time since many ordinary people will opt for the "cheaper" DVD not really caring about spending the extra money for HD versions - especially if their equipment can't really show it off.


    [*]Speaking of equipment, that $30,000 Qualia FP that we watched the BR demo on (Sony's version of LCOS) produces a stunning picture. And that's just the beginning. Sony just announced that it is offering a RP version, using the same technology and, of course, a modified light path in first quarter 2005. The 60" version will list for about $8,000 and the 70" version will list for just under $10,000. And looking at what happened to Plasma prices after a few years it won't be too far away that 2K capable machines will be affordable to A/V types.


    [*]The only thing I wasn't sure of with the BR vs. SD demo was the ability of the Qualia to show SD in the split/screen demos. Standard Definition really looked poor and I'm not sure whether it was because the BR was that much better or whether the 2K projector wasn't scaling down to SD very well (or a combination of both). In any event the SD pictures looked a LOT fuzzier than they appear on my FP (A Runco CL-720 DLP with an HD2+ chip running at 720p)[/list]
    Those of us who were around at the beginning of the HTF in 1997 (and who were with us on other boards before the web took off) recall that Ron Epstein and I initially took the position that LDs would probably be good enough for us for some time to come. That turned out to be months rather than years as we dug down and purchased our first SONY 7000 DVD players (which in my case is still going strong, albeit without DTS). After seeing Blu-Ray I can safely say that I'll be on board as soon as it's released. Until then I'll muddle through with my Runco. This projector (and others like it) does a great job right now on HD and will do an adequate job until my next projector - which will probably be an LCOS (or similar) 2K capable unit.



    Damn! Here we go again.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Ah yes, that was also my first dvd player in the spring of 1997. Furthermore, as I was watching Sony's demonstration in LA, I had a flashback regarding that unit and remembered thinking at that time, I thought I reached the pinnacle of home theater viewing then as I viewed the first scene from LOA during Sony's demonstration last week I realized how wrong I was in my thinking back then.




    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    This may have been answered, but here goes...



    My RPTV is a Mitsu WS65511, and does not have DVI inputs. I have DTV inputs that can be configured to accept HD signals via component, but I have been told that everything is going to be DVI for BR. Is there such an animal as a "converter" from a DVI input to a component output out there? Am I stuck with an older HDTV that cannot take advantage of Hi Def DVD? As luck would have it, the Mitsu 65511 was the product year just prior to the integration of DVI....[​IMG]

    Thanx!
     
  19. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    What will be needed to fully appreciate this format? Will one of the current plasma sets be able to present these discs properly when they arrive and, if so, the only other thing needed would be a new DVD player and the movies. Yes?
     
  20. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    More than likely, you'll need at least a DVI connection. There's no way the studios are going to let a video feed through a non-copy protected interface (component). A DVI-component converter wouldn't work, because the player will expect an HDCP compliant interface.
     

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