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A few words about....Blu-Ray

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

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    When we were putting together the itinerary for
    our Home Theater Forum 2004 National Meet we had
    talked to the folks at Sony/Columbia about doing
    something special for our membership.

    Imagine our excitement when they offered to give
    us a demonstration of their upcoming Blu-Ray Disc
    technology. I have to admit, of all the things we
    had planned to do that week, this demonstration was
    something I was most excited about seeing.

    ....it did not disappoint.

    I wish that we could have brought all of you out
    to Sony to see what we experienced. You folks have
    no idea how dramatically this format is going to
    change in the next two years.

    We met with Victor Masuda (Vice President Blu-Ray
    Disc Group) and Don Eklund (Senior VP Advanced
    Technologies Columbia/Tri-Star) who gave us a little
    background on the Blu-Ray format.

    I am going to give you a few excerpts from the Press
    material that was provided to all of us.....

    * Instead of simply equaling the broadcast HDTV
    data rate of 19 Megabits per second, Blu-Ray
    far exceeds it. At supporting data rates of 36
    Megabits per second, it's the highest data rate
    of any consumer medium, delivering the ultimate
    picture quality: full 1920 H x 1080 V High Definition
    video.

    * Thanks to the blue-violet laser and other advanced
    technologies, the single layer BD exceeds the capacity
    of five DVDs, while dual layer BD holds even more.

    * Blue-Ray already has the support of 13 major
    manufacturers including Dell, HP, Hitachi, LG,
    Matsushita, Mitsubishi. Pioneer, Royal Philips,
    Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK
    and Thomson.

    If I remember correctly, the opposing HD DVD group
    is backed only by Toshiba and NEC.

    Though the two consortiums are fighting to become
    the most widely accepted format, it is my early
    opinion that based on the manufacturer backing,
    upcoming Playstation support and Sony's recent
    acquisition of the MGM library that Blu-Ray will
    probably be the dominant format.

    So how good does Blu-Ray DVD look? It looks incredible!

    Nearly 60 members of Home Theater Forum were ushered
    into one of Sony studio's private screening rooms
    last week to get a first-hand look at this new format.

    We were treated to scenes from [/i]Lawrence of Arabia[/i]
    that were split-screen so that we could see side-by-side
    the difference between the DVD and Blu-Ray. As the
    split screen moved from right to left you could see
    the smaller detailed blurry images of the DVD suddenly
    come to a razor-sharp realization that became so
    incredibly defined.

    ...and mind you, these are images projected on a
    20' screen. Imagine how they will look on consumer
    televisions.

    Personally, I think the difference between Blu-Ray
    and DVD are more dramatic than what we saw going
    from VHS to DVD.

    I'm going to give the opportunity for the members
    that attended this event to give their reactions to
    what they saw. Better to hear it from a group of
    people than just one individual.

    Stay Tuned!
     
  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Well-Known Member

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    Ron,

    In your opinion, do you think Sony will cease the practice of release widescreen films in Pan & Scan versions once they start issuing films on Blu-Ray? That is my biggest concern right now.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm not Ron, but we were never afforded the opportunity to speak with any of Sony's Home Video personnel regarding dvd releases or their release policy.





    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Ron-P

    Ron-P Well-Known Member

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    Very exciting, thanks Ron. Once the new HD-DVD format hits, solidly, it's going to be major upgrade time, sounds like it will be greatly worth it.
     
  5. KyleC

    KyleC Well-Known Member

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    So basically we'll have to repurchase all our DVD catalog? [​IMG]
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Only if you want to do so. Personally, with 2600 dvds in my collection, I will be very selective on what I purchase again with this new format. Lawrence of Arabia is a given while Peggy Sue Got Married is not.
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    My impressions of the Blu-Ray demonstration were so overwhelmingly positive, that I was in a dreamworld all day with 3 very distinct ideas buzzing in my head:

    1. 1080p - YES. Take THAT silly ATSC guys who figured 1080i would be 'good enough'. We've gone for nearly a hundred years living with the sillyness of interlaced signals, why make our lives more difficult? The very idea of having interlaced signals when 50 bajillion computer monitors give a clear lesson in why we got past it is incomprehensible. 720p was a nice compromise but few TV stations are supporting it. Sure it takes a 30k Qualia to even see 1080p but lets face it, it wont take that long for that tech to come to the average living room.

    2. Its damn impressive that PS3 will be launching with Blu Ray in the box. I _need_ to start a website dedicated to Blu Ray fandom. I pondered that all day long, in the end I'm sure that there are others out there much more qualified to build one than I am, and I will be first in line to help extend that community once the infrastructure is in place. I cant wait for E3 next year!

    3. What the hell can HD-DVD offer that Blu-ray isnt? That question was asked and there was no suitable response. Bluray has all the bulletpoints locked down with better tech than HDDVD on EVERY point that I can see as a consumer. Either they have something big planned or they should just give up now, cause as a consumer, I am JAZZED about Blu-ray.

    GREAT demo. I said it before and I'll say it again: Going to hollywood I figured the Blu Ray demo would be a footnote, coming home it is my very foundation of excitement for the future of this hobby.

    Sam
     
  8. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Well-Known Member

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    Ron, is it certain that the consumer version of Blu-ray will use the paper technology?
     
  9. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I will only re-buy the really A++++ titles. Star Wars, LOTR, Indiana Jones, Dude-Where's My Car and so on. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the update Ron. Sounds great.
     
  10. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Well-Known Member

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    RE: P&S

    IMO, they will simply because of the intended target video devices. I think they will consider a 16x9 set as the standard screen that people want filled.

    I'm not sure what that means for 1.33 or 2.35 films (or other ratios). Plus, the BluRay people we met aren't the same as the software team so we weren't really discussing how they would handle their titles.

    Without a doubt though they would put out the LoA HD OAR transfer they have since it is their primary demo material.


    I don't think people should mix the attitudes toward Sony DVD releases and Sony BluRay however. The main thing to take from this is that BluRay truly is a forward step in technology being made at the EXPENSE of new manufacturing costs while HD-DVD is far less of an upgrade on the user end in order to save companies those costs on manufacturing changes.

    In terms of what BluRay offers it seems far superior as a true upgrade. Forget the PICTURE for a second because that is how HD-DVD is trying to compete. BluRay really seems to shine on its far superior bandwidth of data (bits read per second) and storage (BR layers are thinner and Sony has taken advantage of this by putting more than 2 layers per disc shooting storage possibilities out over 100 Gig).


    Just a few days before at IVC a compression tech reminded me of the problem with full rate DTS which is that its not storage that's the problem but rather how much BANDWIDTH it eats up. Losing that extra bandwidth for audio (and other things like multi language or subtitles) means less bandwidth for the actual picture, and that in turn drives compression levels even higher.

    BluRay is a far superior solution in this regard because of its greater bandwidth. They showed us tons of interactive features that could stream off at the same time, such as video commentary (far better than the limited version on Mallrats) in which a director pops up and points out things (visually) during his commentary and things for the studios like being able to pop-up interactive overlays of props, costumes, etc from a scene that with a high-speed net connection you could order on the fly.

    Add to that just about any cool things you can imagine coming off the disc with the film (scripts, storyboards) and imagine it being done far better than you've seen it done on any current releases.

    Oh, and that higher-rez audio that normally bites into video space.


    Another thing discussed was the fact that storage is so through the roof that you could easily put out one disc that has entire TV seasons on it, or even stuff like Alien Quad all on 1 disc.



    I can't agree with Ron on this being more dramatic than VHS to DVD. After all at the time of that switch the most common veiwing experiences, even toward the high end, were direct view sets from 20-36" big.

    At THAT size this jump won't seem as dramatic.

    But in this new era where amazingly most people have forgotten all about VHS quality (I bet many members here haven't even screened a VHS in years) and where the market penetration of the new, cheaper technologies in HD big screen displays is very high, this change WILL seem as dramatic. This is the step forward for people with 50"+ rear projections and 7'+ front projections where VHS isn't even a viewing option.

    IMO, most of the general public is not quite ready for another expensive jump. Heck, I'm not ready to repurchase my DVDs at this point, I bought them for their durability after all. But BluRay will offer an incentive in video quality AND is a big enough tech step forward to be still viable several years down the line, giving it plenty of time to wait for the market to develop. IMO, by the time people are really ready for the next step HD-DVD will simply be dated and facing its own limitations.


    BTW, while Sony showed us many possibilities for using the space and potential high-speed net feedback channel (like downloading extra content on the fly) I suspect that many of these features won't actually become standard practice. I've worked enough in the CE biz to know that up front you throw out every possible angle to make money from the technology, but the real usage comes out in practice after units are sold. Some of what they hope for or imagine might not end up being practical, but the basic idea of high bandwidth and giant storage makes the technology very workable and valuable IMO.
     
  11. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    One thing Ecklund pointed out is that in the splitscreen demos, the standard def image by itself was better than anything the consumer would see because it was not compressed. So the difference is actually more dramatic than we were shown!

    One of my questions to the members of my lunch table was, "How many of you think your first Blu-ray player will be a PS3?" Most people were in agreement. The PS3 support is a huge advantage for the format, not to mention the support of several major electronics manufacturers. In a way I feel sorry for HD DVD; it just seems so clear that Blu-ray is going to dominate. To truly make a definitive statement I would have to see HD DVD, but with the stellar image quality demonstrated and the alliances already formed I don't see how HD DVD has any advantages.

    The moving splitscreen demo was like a squeegee wiping across a dust covered windshield. Truly impressive.
     
  12. Jeff Rosen

    Jeff Rosen Member

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    I think this may be the death of the movie theaters. Probably they will do a simultaneous release in 35mm and HD video, pricing the buy price for the HD initially at $200, so a short rental would be $10. a pop, or the price of a theater ticket. Probably after 6 - 8 weeks the price would drop to where the majority of the public could buy at $25. or so, or rent at $3. a pop. Sort of like the old days of the 2nd run grind house theater. Great for the studios, but the public might loose out on the large theater experience which I know has good and bad also attached to it.
     
  13. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm... I doubt it, unless the rentals were studio-controlled. The studios are addicted to purchase-revenue, now that DVD has shown them the real demand. I have a hard time believing they will ever again return to the "rental-pricing" scheme.

    Why split the cash with Blockbuster when you can skip the middle man and "drain" the consumer directly?

    For another thing, why in the world would Blu-Ray affect people going to the movie theater to the extent that they studios would go the "direct to video" route? DVD, to my knowledge, hasn't done this, and while this forum drools at the extra picture quality, most of the general public, even the ones who own HD-capable equipment (and most of them don't) will not see the difference as one sufficient to keep them out of the multiplex.
     
  14. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    This occcurred to me too. The only difference between watching the trailers on Blu-ray versus ones at my local theater was the absence of dirt, hair and scratches.

    EDIT: Actually, my thought was more along the lines of why use HDs in digital projection when there's Blu-ray?
     
  15. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Well-Known Member

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    I was very impressed with the Blu-Ray demo. One thing that has to be kept in mind though is that demo was really a technical preview. Blu-Ray contains a plethora of features and a great potential for A/V quality but it was made clear by the presenters that what is done with all this potential is going to be left to the content producers.


    Some might choose to push the limits of A/V quality while others might use the space to squeeze as much lower rez content as they can. Others will probably land in-between.


    One thing that impressed me was that Blu-Ray can be manipulated programatically via the Java language. This means that it has much more (again) potential for very cool content. Of course, there is no guarantee that anyone will use it (and to what degree) but it is nice to know that it is there.
     
  16. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Well-Known Member

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    I am getting very excited about Blu-ray and the PS3 support about sealed the deal for me. Those of you who got to go to the Demo are some lucky SOBs.
     
  17. david*mt

    david*mt Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree with that. Most consumers don't have 100'' projections screens or really high end sound systems that would imitate the movie theater experience. And I seriously doubt that studios will release films at the theater and on Blue-Ray simultaneously.
     
  18. Greg Black

    Greg Black Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of the bad end of the theater experience... I refuse to go to any movie theater nowadays, and I just have a 36" HDTV. When Blu-Ray/HD rolls out, I will be making the jump to a front projection system, with a ~100" screen.
     
  19. Glen C

    Glen C Well-Known Member

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    ROTF at the "death of theaters" commentary.



    I'll be upgrading very few DVDs to BluRay. I'd love to purchase new DVDs in hidef format ASAP however [​IMG]
     
  20. John DrakeLaw

    John DrakeLaw Well-Known Member

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    In a word - stunning



    Can't come soon enough



    If prices aren't too prohibitive I'll replace all my favourites, just for the treat of watching them at a top cinema standard, while those that are rarely played will be fine in standard def.
     

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