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Regretting BluRay right now.. (trouble with 2012)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Eric_L, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I have been receiving Blu-ray disks from NetFlix for about six months now. I've been playing them back on a laptop connected to my projector via HDMI using Media Center included in Windows 7. (ver. 6.1.7600.16385)


    I've just had two bad disks in a row. One was scratched and the title wouldn't load. The other was 2012. It only took a little searching to find out that many people are unable to view the menu screen with various players. I've heard about many cases where people were unable to load disks because of yet another of the many many many updates they are constantly doing. Blu-ray feels more to me like Beta-ray. I frankly have about had it with Blu ray.

    In addition to troubles playing back Blu-rays I rent, I can't have my laptop open when it plays through the projector or else I get the 'can't play protected content' notice. Hassles hassles hassles. Meanwhile DVD and streaming always work just fine.

    In my research of my 2012 problems I found where some people have been ripping DRM free copies of their disks for the sole purpose of being able to view them. What kind of lame anti-pirate strategy is it to create disks that can only be played reliably if you pirate them???? Anyhow, that is more trouble than I am willing to put up with.


    I'm considering one of two things; either buy a dedicated Blu-ray player and hope for the best or just downgrade my NetFlix back to DVD only. I'm leaning toward the latter - with streaming video on the rise I can't help but think that Blu-ray will be a very short-lived standard.


    I thought I'd seek opinions here about what I should do.
     
  2. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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  3. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Screenwriter

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    If there is a firmware update for your drive, install it. That fixes most problems with discs, in standalone players. They keep coming up with new copy protections, and new BD Live content, and it interferes with playback sometimes. So the manufacturers have to keep coming up with firmware updates. Blu ray is so new, this will be a problem for some time, I think.

    You can also try turning off BD Live, if you have that option.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Threads consolidated and moved to the Blu-ray area, where I suspect you'll get more responses.
     
  5. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    First, if you own the content (not something you rent) what you do with it is up to you.. at least so says the law. Unfortunately, so many people do exactly what you comment on that it makes the first thing still fall into the 'prove it" category for studios.


    In regards to some media, like 2012, what BD player are you using? Arcsoft (TMT3), or CyberLink (PDVD8/9/10?)


    That would help a great deal. Scratched discs are scratched discs.. I just received a destroyed (cracked) copy of an older film (DVD) via Netflix, and I tend to find older discs or more popular ones have a really high scratched to hell rate...
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    To be strictly accurate, you own the media, but not the content.
     
  7. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    If people weren't "ripping" the discs, maybe there wouldn't be a need for constant updates due to studios trying to "stay ahead" of the "pirates". When people pick the lock, they should expect that the owner is going to keep changing the lock which, unfortunately, causes problems for people who just want to watch the content they purchased. If you find it too much of hassle to keep updating, buying a dedicated player probably isn't going to make you any happier. In that case, you may be better off sticking to DVD or streaming media. Personally, I think Blu-ray is going to be around for a good while, because not all of us want to be wedded to a "pay-per-view" model which is ultimately what "streaming" would become.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    People can debate the longevity of Blu-ray ad infinitum (and they've done so), but as for the compatibility issue, if you buy a mainstream profile 2.0 player, you're not going to have a lot of problems playings discs.


    I've reviewed over 60 Blu-rays for HTF and played at least 200 more, and the only disc that gave me trouble in a Panasonic BD-50 was Lionsgate's Daybreakers, That problem turned out to be caused not by the disc, but by a web-based "update" that downloaded at start-up. The problem was solved by disconnecting the player from the internet.


    That said, I haven't played 2012, because I saw it theatrically, and once was enough.
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I would qualify that by saying "if you buy a mainstream profile 2.0 player that you keep connected to the internet." I have had a few discs that have given me problems on the first attempt that played fine after a firmware update was downloaded and installed. Now I just keep my Panny BD60 connected to the router 24/7.


    I'm not terribly thrilled about the extra hoops that BluRay makes you jump through; it would not surprise me at all if new converts were turned off by playback issues resulting from outdated firmware. On the other hand, Blu Ray represents the first time I feel like I'm getting equivalent quality to what I remember from the theaters. In certain areas, like region coding, Blu Ray had trended much more liberally than DVD did. And MPEG-2 broadcast HD doesn't hold a candle in comparison.
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Fair point -- especially with a company, like Panasonic, that issues firmware updates on a timely basis. Lest anyone get the wrong impression, though, the updates have been few and far between.
     
  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Your best bet is probably to get a PS3, especially since you apparently don't mind using a laptop for movie playback (and might even like the various media center features plus the built-in wifi). Otherwise, stick w/ a standalone from a maker w/ a solid track record as others suggested.

    One thing. Personally, I have decided *against* keeping my player connected 24/7 since I switched from a PS3 (that stopped reading discs) to a Panny BD60 -- I may switch back if I can get the PS3 fixed inexpensively, but the Panny player has made that a low priority so far. From my POV/experience so far, since the actual need for updates w/ either players has actually been minimal (for me), it seems best to go w/ the KISS principle and "don't fix what ain't broke" for a reliable player and also cut BD-Live out of the mess to minimize potential problems. I'll probably keep my setup that way unless/until proven otherwise -- BD-Live has been rather underwhelming and way more trouble than it's worth so far anyway.

    YMMV of course since there does seem to be varying experiences/wants/etc across the landscape even for the 2 players I own.

    I will add though that I too have not had 100% perfect playback experience (across some 300+ titles, if I had to guesstimate). But it's probably not significantly worse than anyone else. Certainly, I have never come across a physically fine disc that could not be played at all -- there have been a few that were glitchy in spots that *might* be due to problematic layer changes, but even DVD had similar issues (albeit probably to lessor degree) during its earlier days.

    The other thing is I would definitely not let bad playback experiences on a Windoze machine dictate my choice of HT format. If I did that, I would've given up on DVD long before it got adopted by the masses. I've even learned to trust Sony more these days (for BD anyway) after seeing various subpar-to-bad things during the earlier DVD days. :-p

    Again, YMMV...

    _Man_
     
  12. Heinz W

    Heinz W Second Unit

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    I would suggest that the OP get a dedicated player. I have two, both Panasonics. The BD-35 was purchased in Dec. 2008 and the BD-60 in February of this year. Neither has had any trouble playing any discs whatsoever, including some of the problem discs like Criterion's Walkabout for instance. Here's the kicker: Neither has ever had a firmware update. That's right, not even the 18 month old BD-35. Couple that with the fact that Panasonic issues regular updates as Michael Reuben points out above I would recommend that you get that brand.


    I want to update the firmware for the BD-35 but I think I'll just wait and see how long it goes before it refuses to play a disc or has playback problems, then do it. My wife and I watched "The Wolfman" (the most recent release I own) on it two nights ago and it played perfectly.


    I don't know about you guys but I have a hard time watching DVDs now, they just look too blurry compared to Blus, especially ones that have a lot of night scenes. So despite the minor annoying aspects of Blu-ray I hope the OP doesn't abandon the format and go back to the Dark Ages of home video: 480 anything!
     
  13. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    matt;


    I don't think I own either one; I've been playing Blu-ray disks since I got my Acer laptop and they have always played through Media Center. I don't see any indication that I have any other software installed.



    Quote:

     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Supporter

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    While I can understand your frustration, Eric, I tend to agree with the other replies in this thread that a standalone player may help your situation. The BD format has some annoyances for me, too (unable to resume playback on most Java-encoded discs, forced trailers, long load times, BD-Live being useless), but I have yet to come across a disc that I cannot play in my almost two-year old Sony BDP-S350 player.


    The improvements in video and audio quality make the annoyances of the format tolerable to me. I rarely watch SD-DVD films anymore, and when I do all I can think about is how much better the film would look in BD.


    I just delved into the world of BD playback on a PC in the past two weeks -- I bought a new Windows 7 64-bit PC and installed a BD burner. If that had been my first experience with the BD format, I would probably be thinking about chucking the format, too.
     
  15. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Screenwriter

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    I've had one movie (Whiteout, I think) that wouldn't play in my Oppo BDP-83. It hung up on the menu, and no matter what I did, it wouldn't go any farther. I did a firmware update, and the same disc played fine. So, firmware updates are needed occasionally.


    Regular dvds played in my Oppo look almost as good as a blu ray movie. Of course the Oppo is known to have an outstanding video chip in it. It's one of the main selling points for it. The BDP-83 is a little pricier than the average player, but the quality of it is worth it.
     
  16. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Screenwriter

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    Quote:

    Well, that's your problem right there. You can't really blame the format for the problems of a player designed by a company that actively fought to include support in any of it's operating systems, especially when there are actual working software solutions out there (like mattCR said). Nor can you blame scratches and such on Blu-ray (DVDs get them all the time) on the format either, since that's Netflix's issue. I'd go with those here that suggest investing in either a fully-supported software suite or to buy a set-top player/PS3. You can find decent brand-name players with support for networking and Netflix streaming for at or under $100.
     
  17. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

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    I'd recommend a PS3. I bought one of the original models and the only issues I've ever had playing back blus has been the occasional firmware update.


    My PS3 isn't connected to the internet and I've never had a disc that wouldn't play.
     
  18. Frank Ha

    Frank Ha Second Unit

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    Eric, don't give up on Blu-ray. I agree with what the others have said in that Blu-ray can have some annoyances. If you were to get a mainstream Blu-ray player, I believe that many of your issues would be resolved. I can't say anything about playback of scratched discs. I don't think any player, DVD or Blu, would play back media that was to badly scratched and I don't know how badly scratched your discs from Netflix were.

    This is what I can say. I've been watching blu-rays for 2 and a half years now. I started with a PS3 and about a year ago I added a Panasonic BD-80. The PS3 is used in the family room and the Panasonic is dedicated to watching movies on a Sanyo 720p projector. Both players work fine and I'm very happy with our setup. I've had very little to complain about with either player. I had a very minor issue with the Panny when I first bought it, but that was fixed with a firmware update over the internet. Both players work fine, and we (me, my wife,and our friends who come over for movie nights) are very satisfied with the performance of Blu-ray.


    Are there annoyances with Blu-ray? Yes, definitely. There are things like longer load times (which has gotten better), BD-live (which hasn't gotten better), and a need sometimes for firmware updates for the player (actually, imo, that's a good thing). In spite of all that, I find that I'm very happy with the Blu-ray format. These are merely annoyances. For me, these annoyances are minor compared to the benefits. The main benefit for me is that it really is like being in the theater (at least when we watch on our projector). Quite often, it's even better (I guess the theaters in Honduras aren't always that great). So, if you love movies and you must or you wouldn't be a member here with almost 2000 posts , then my recommendation is go with your first option and get yourself a mainstream Blu-ray player. Just my two bits.
     
  19. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the biggest pain that is Blu-ray: Disks that auto-start with previews with no uniform way to get past them. Sometimes you can do it by pressing "menu" (though the menu it likes varies -- it can be "menu," "disc menu," "title menu" or "top menu"); other times the only thing that works is pressing chapter jump repeatedly until you finally get to the disc menu and you can press "play."


    Of course, Warner goes direct to the movie. That's fine and so is direct to the menu.


    But if anything makes me restrict Blu-ray to only the "big panorama" flicks (Ex: GWTW and Zhivago) -- and do DVD for all else -- those previews will be what does it. I don't care if they're an "extra," but this way they are a pain in the rear.
     
  20. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

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    Forced previews and ads aren't exclusive to blu-ray - many DVDs are the same.


    I used to have a DVD player that would auto-start the feature by finding the largest file on the disc and playing it immediately. I'd buy a new player in a heartbeat if some manufacturer would come up with this feature for blu-ray playback.
     

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