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I am about to swallow the BLUE pill

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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 27 2007 - 04:41 AM

It feels kind of strange to be posting in the Blu-Ray forum area.

For the record, though I have been an HD-DVD owner exclusively
for the past year, I was very careful about coming out against

As with the official stand Home Theater Forum is taking in this
format war, my bias towards either format is neutral. To date,
I still see no clear winner and my comments in this post should
not be misinterpreted as being biased in any way.

Honestly, a year after both HD formats have launched, I had no
intention of getting into Blu-Ray, though a certain movie
just announced exclusively to that format would have forced me
to buy in the next few months. More on that in a moment.

For me, this format war came down to price. I jumped into
HD-DVD because of the cost. I could not justify spending twice
the amount for a Blu-Ray player compared to HD-DVD. It was
my intention to eventually buy into BR, but I was not going to do
so until hardware prices came down to the $300 level and/or there
was a "killer app" software title released that I needed to own
exclusive to the BR studios.

This brings me to my decision to swallow the BLUE pill....

The folks from Panasonic and the Blu-Ray studios (Sony, Fox,
Lions Gate and Disney) were extremely gracious to all the
HTF/BITS/TVSHOWSONDVD attendees at EMA this year. Each
of us have been promised a complimentary Panasonic BR player.
Obviously, the studios and manufacturers hoped that members
who did not already own BR players would come on the forum
and start talking about their newly acquired format. Count me in
as one of them who will be doing just that.

Don't think, however, that any of us have been bought with this
gift. In my case, this is just another HD player that gives me
additional title purchasing options. I fully expect the picture
quality to be just as good as HD-DVD and over the course of time
I will be able to determine on my own if one format is better than
the other.

I should mention that all of the formentioned attendees also
received free HD-DVD players from Toshiba, Universal and the
HD-DVD group. I don't expect there to be any bias shown based
on whom gave us what. Though we are grateful to both camps
for the generosity they have shown, this format war isn't about
which studio is looking to give away the most product.

Getting back to the subject at hand...

So, as I stated, it's rather strange that in 4-6 weeks I am going
to own my first Blu-Ray player and will be able to join all of you
in discussing my experiences. I feel as if for the longest time I
have had to ignore the Blu-Ray member conversations merely for
the fact I didn't own a player.

The studios gave all of us some great titles (9 in all) including
The Fifth Element (Remastered), Crank, Pirates of the Caribbean DMC,
Alien vs. Predator, Ice Age II
and others that I can't think of
off the top of my head.

I just went online and ordered The Patriot and Casino Royale,
so you know I am serious about buying more titles. I'll also admit
that at the same time I purchased 300 and Twilight Zone:
The Movie
on HD-DVD because I want to keep things equal.

But here's the real SELL of the format for me that I was teasing
you about a few paragraphs above...

If I wasn't part of the group receiving complimentary players, it
was the announcement of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
exclusively to Blu-Ray that would have pushed me into buying the
format within the next few months.

You see, I have always said this from day one of the format war....

You want to win this format war? You need to win it with software.
Outside of a few new releases, I was never impressed with the
Blu-Ray titles being released. It was as if the studios were playing
it way too safe. If Blu-Ray keeps releasing films like CE3K
or Universal releases Jurassic Park or Back To The Future,
you will probably see the scales tip more in favor of one format
from film enthusiasts. The average consumer, however, is walking
around on their own "wavelength" so you never know how they will

Do you realize how many Blu-Ray players would be sold tomorrow
if Lucas decided to release Star Wars to that format?

I look forward to becoming an owner of Blu-Ray and joining all
of you in future conversation. Just don't expect me to immediately
declare a preference in this war because there are so many good and
(fewer) bad points about each format that makes me realize that I
am just going to concentrate on enjoying films on both players.


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 27 OFFLINE   ppltd



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Posted July 27 2007 - 05:10 AM

Ronald, welcome to the the dual format zone. Having been an avid HD DVD supporter I find absolutely no conflict at all with owning both formats. As a movie collector and viewer, owning both systems is appropriate with current conditions in the format battle being what they are. This allows me the flexibility to purchase all titles, not just those supported by one format or the other.

Now if could only get the studios to follow suit and release in both formats.Posted Image

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#3 of 27 OFFLINE   ReggieW



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Posted July 27 2007 - 05:20 AM

Well said Ron. I too am presently only HD-DVD dues to costs, and had plans to eventually replace my Toshiba A2 with the forthcoming XA3 - I have now decided otherwise. My decision for diving into HD-DVD first were similar to yours, and there are still presently more titles available on HD-DVD that presently fit my taste than BD, but that gap is starting to narrow. The recent BD title announcements (STARZ & CEOT3K in particular) have made me reconsider this position, so instead I will be picking up the forthcoming Samsung dual format player. I probably won't pick it up until Feb-Mar 08 or so, because I will wait for reviews and until the price drops a little. However, I will start purchasing BD's this Fall in anticipation of the Samsung or whatever other dual format player may fit the bill. There are just too many great titles being released to restrict yourself to one format. I presently have around 40 HD-DVD's with a dozen or so more on pre-order, so this makes sense to me even IF Universal went neutral after quarter four. I would still want a device to playback my HD discs because getting rid of them and buying them AGAIN on BD for the same quality would be out of the question, and many of the WHV titles I own still have yet to surface on BD. Good article and good stance!
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#4 of 27 OFFLINE   genomovie



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Posted July 27 2007 - 06:07 AM

Posted Image Ron, welcome to the world of both HD formats. In a way, it seems like you are apologizing to the HD-DVD people, for getting a BLU-RAY player. This of course shouldn't be, especially since you can give both format machines a work out, and point out the ups and downs of both formats, here on HTF.

I own both HD formats, and believe me they both have their problems, until they iron out the bugs. You mentioned they gave you a Panasonic. I just took their second generation player back. It had some kind of interference right down the middle of my HT screen after using for two weeks with no problems. I also didn't like having to pull down the front lid of the player before inserting discs. I might have missed something, but it doesn't have an open-close tray on the remote either. (This is a not good in a darked out HT room). I swapped it for the latest Samsung BD-P1200, with the Silicon Optix video processing. In my opinion, the Silicon Optix processor is the best.

You also said, your ordered "The Patriot". You are in for a treat. The picture is fantastic. One of the best I've seen so for.Posted Image

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 27 2007 - 06:14 AM

That's your interpretation, not my intent. If Blu-Ray had made their hardware more affordable I would have jumped into the format much sooner. I made that clear in my post.


Ronald J Epstein
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#6 of 27 OFFLINE   Alfonso_M


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Posted July 27 2007 - 06:42 AM

Exactly! An immediate government mandate should require that Studios release all titles in both HD formats, or stick to SD- DVD and stay out of the fray. Movie Studios (especially biased Sony) should not be allowed to dictate to the American consumer which hardware format should prevail in the market place by favoring one hardware camp over the other. After all this is a ‘Hardware’ format war not software, ( and yes, I know all about the issues with DRM) and the US consumer, not biased manipulators, should be the one deciding with their pocket books which hardware format should finally prevail in America. Giant corporations right now are trying to force unsuspecting consumers to pay a lot more now (and in the future) for a piece of hardware that is not better in any way than the competing choice selling for less than half the price, and they are working in conjunction with other corporate accomplices to accomplish their goal. And the fact that this forum (and others) are not speaking loudly about this issue and against the clear case of ‘collusion’ taking place regarding the launch of this new DVD format demonstrates how deep “special interest” and their carefully designed marketing strategy have infiltrated the online Home Theater community. Remember DIVX,??, well I do, at the time we were all up in arms when Circuit City was trying to control the DVD format and saddle the consumer with inferior overpriced hardware. Sounds familiar??? I guess times are changing…….

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   RickER



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Posted July 27 2007 - 07:04 AM

I bought an HD player a little over a month ago. It had issues, discs would skip, and so on. Took it back for the first gen Sony, and that machine was beautiful, but it needed a firmware upgrade, and i didnt want to wait a month to get it, so i took THAT back and got the new Sony BPS-300. Couldnt be happier, and it was $300 cheaper than the 1st gen Sony. Sure the HD player was fine, looked good with my DVDs. But i cant afford to have 2 players that play different discs! I needed a good player for my HT, and the $500 Sony worked for me. I know i take a risk picking a side, but for now, and with my budget, i am happy to be Blu.

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   Gregory Pauswinski

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Posted July 27 2007 - 07:20 AM

Welcome to the fold, Ron. Posted Image

#9 of 27 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted July 27 2007 - 07:23 AM

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ron. My stance is, I've seen both formats on properly setup systems and I really can't see much of a difference between the two; both look great to my eyes. No matter which one survives or even if both do, there is no question that consumers will be able to enjoy better picture and sound quality.

Blu here too Posted Image
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#10 of 27 OFFLINE   RayJr


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Posted July 27 2007 - 07:47 AM

Hi Ron, I happen to be in the same exact boat as you. I purchased my HD DVD player based on the price of the hardware, it would have had to spend double to buy a BD player. I actually went to a local HT meet that was just to compare HD DVD and BD, and that was an eye opening experience. I along with 10 others spent around 5 hours going back and forth to determine that there was NO notable difference. It was after that, I bought my HD DVD player. Like I stated in the Q&A session, if all studios release all tiles on both formats…the price of the hardware will determine the winner. With all that being said….I will be joining the BluRay format also thanks to Panasonic and the BluRay Group. I personally don’t care what format wins…I just want to enjoy good quality HD Video and Audio. Later RayJr
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#11 of 27 OFFLINE   JustinCleveland



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Posted July 27 2007 - 09:59 AM

Like has been mentioned, price prohibited me from joining the Blu Ray Bandwagon. I bought my HD-DVD player on sale back in January for a good price and was happy with my purchase. When movies like Casino Royale and Pirates came out, I started doubting my purchase. While I loved having Superman and Batman in HD... I was wondering if I had committed to the wrong path. I really hate the format war. I want one machine that plays everything. I love the in-movie features on HD-DVD, but ultimately just want a player that puts out a good signal and plays all my movies. I, too, am excited for what this Blu-Ray player can do. I'll be buying Casino Royale first thing (along with a new monitor, which I have been planning for a few months so I can get full 1080p).

#12 of 27 OFFLINE   ErichH



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Posted July 27 2007 - 10:07 AM

Ron is right about software. I always liked the idea of BD, but held off on both formats until 2 weeks ago. My BD10 is wonderful, but the hard reality is not enought titles. There are a few I'd like on HD. Some will follow on BD, but most of what I want is on hold from the studios. The player does a fine job with SD, so my collection is not dead by any stretch of the imagination. So many posts about HD and BD disks ruining the desire to watch standard DVDs. I get the attitude, but it will be a long time before the studios release what I want, if at all. The BD player is just an extension of quality, not the end of my SD collection. Both camps get the title of the year - Dec 18 - Thank You Charles & Ridley!

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   genomovie



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Posted July 27 2007 - 11:51 AM

Didn't mean to sound negative....sorryPosted Image

#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted July 28 2007 - 08:47 AM

Ron, Which Blu-Ray player are you getting? I'm VERY close to pulling the trigger on a PS3 for my first BD machine.
"If you're good at something, never do it for free."

#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 28 2007 - 09:38 AM

Panasonic DMP-BD10 Not sure where this stands in the overall range of what is considered good or not.


Ronald J Epstein
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#16 of 27 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted July 28 2007 - 01:22 PM

I have the panny dmp bd10. Upgradability is very good, as is stability and lack of issues, picture quality, sound quality and upconversion.
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#17 of 27 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted July 28 2007 - 01:51 PM

Exactly what I've been saying since day one and the main reason I had to go format neutral. It's all about the movies. Posted Image

Enjoy Ron! You're going to love it!
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#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Casey C.

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Posted July 28 2007 - 06:53 PM

Ron, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you are being sincere when you say you don't believe you have been "bought." But if that's the case, you're also being naive.

I'm disappointed that you have accepted this free gift. It violates the code of ethics of any journalism organization. When a writer for a newspaper or magazine reviews a tech product, if they have been provided the product for testing free of charge, they return it to the manufacturer when their testing is completed.

When Panasonic (or the studios or whomever) offered you a free player, buying publicity is exactly what they were trying to do. And that's exactly what they're getting: This thread almost certainly would not exist but for the free gift.

"What are the ethics of online journalism?"

"Bloggers can't ignore basic journalism ethics"

"Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics"

#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 28 2007 - 09:58 PM

Casey, I'm rather disappointed that you see this situation as a problem for the journalistic community. I think that I have been rather upfront about the gift. Furthermore, if you had read everything I wrote in my original post you would no doubt have realized that this gift has in no way influenced my stand on the format war. Trust me, I may be naive about many things, but it was quite clear to all of us why we were given players by the Blu-Ray group. Most certainly that organization wanted to advance their presence on this forum. Don't you think the HD-DVD group who also gave us players as gifts wanted to do the same exact thing? I think every single one of us that attended that event and received these gifts are very grateful to both camps, but also well aware of what was done. I believe a responsibility towards fair journalism has already been shown. Anyone who received these gifts and posted in this forum has been honest with our readers about the situation. Nobody is taking a stand towards either format because they received a player for free. Again, re-read my post and see if you find anything bias towards one particular format. I made a point to make certain that nothing I posted was to be misinterpreted. Most all members know me as being a supporter of HD-DVD for the past year because I never purchased Blu-Ray. My post was to simply announce to the Blu-Ray members that I was finally joining them. Was I rejoicing about Blu-Ray or making any indication that my preferences in this format war have changed? Certainly not.


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#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Peter Overduin

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Posted July 28 2007 - 09:59 PM

Well then...having been a member here for many a long year, I can say I havent always agreed with stuff from owner Ron & co...but it never occurred to me he was a journalist, or that HTF was a site where journalism was practiced. Leaving the hilarity of any concept of ethics in journalism alone for the moment (sry..been around print and TV media in Canada and Europe for years and have yet to meet anyone in journalism that actually practiced ethics objectively and I understand expilicity that it is all relative) to me this forum is ALL about advertsing...either individuals telling their stories about products...including reviewers getting free stuff which they dont return.... etc..etc., so I appreciate Ron's view and Panasonics ingenious way of marketing. I'm dissapointed I wasnt there to get mine lol. Publicity is good. It gives me info to make up my own mind. There is no site on the web that I know of relating to HT in general that is more diverse that this one. I've already swallowed the red pill....blue pill in hand..soon....very soon...

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