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What is Your Single Favorite Thing About Blu-ray (or Other HD) Playback?


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#1 of 24 Travis Brashear

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Posted April 13 2008 - 03:55 AM

I'm going to cheat in my own thread and highlight two things about Blu-ray that impress me the most. Oh, the colors are great to be sure, and the clarity of details is a winner, but I find that I'm absolutely mesmerized by the quality (surely a by-product of the increased clarity and detail) of three-dimensionality offered in most Blu-ray transfers. Not just the sharpness of details, mind you, but that there seems to be actual depth in the imagery (an interesting and perplexing illusion, since standard film is a 2D medium). I've never encountered this effect in even the best mastered SD DVDs; I'm not even sure I'm really conscious of it in theaters (does the relatively smaller home video screen allow this quality to be accentuated?). Even watching KING KONG on the TNT HD channel, this quality can be noted throughout, and surely it doesn't look as good as the future relase on Blu-ray will (I can't speak to the current HD-DVD, as I was never a supporter of that format).

Secondly, and this may seem so minor, but I'm just continually delighted by the sharp definition of the text used in opening and end credits. There is not a trace of mosquito noise or edge-enhancement ghosting, which is ever-present, even with S-video or component cables, on virtually every SD DVD I've come across. When credits appear on Blu-ray, they are rock solid and rock steady. It's a simple thing, but it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

So what one (or two; it's only fair) aspect to Blu-ray (or HD playback in general) just "seals the deal" for you?
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#2 of 24 Jari K

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Posted April 13 2008 - 07:45 AM

For me it´s probably that added resolution/clarity with 1080p. It´s just something that DVD can´t match, no matter how good the upscaling is.

But of course it´s the "whole package" when there´s a good release. 1080p transfer, lossless/PCM audio, interactive extras...

#3 of 24 PaulDA

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Posted April 13 2008 - 09:29 AM

To get away from the more common (better PQ and SQ), I appreciate how, in many cases, everything fits on one disc (whole movie and extras). A minor detail, but I thought I'd mention something less obvious.
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#4 of 24 Travis Brashear

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Posted April 13 2008 - 10:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulDA
To get away from the more common (better PQ and SQ), I appreciate how, in many cases, everything fits on one disc (whole movie and extras). A minor detail, but I thought I'd mention something less obvious.

Nice! And agreed! Though if I could have the choice of 480p extras with the film on one disc or 1080p on two discs, I'd vote for the latter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jari K
For me it´s probably that added resolution/clarity with 1080p

But, Jari, if you don't mind me pressing, what about it exactly? For instance, I mentioned Blu-ray's clarity and detail being great, but seeing extra details like fabric weave and body hairs is one thing*, the sense of three-dimensionality it helps cultivate is what truly awes me. Is there a specific aspect to the greater clarity that really drops your jaw?

* = Though I must admit, seeing insect hairs all over Jeff Goldblum's face in the shaving scene of THE FLY that I'd never noticed on SD really put a sick grin on my face this weekend.
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#5 of 24 PaulDA

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Posted April 13 2008 - 10:23 AM

I agree with the 1080p extras as well, though many extras don't seem to be the kind of thing that will matter all that much (some of the HD DVDs I have with "extra films"--like Forbidden Planet and The Dirty Dozen--would be nicer if those were also 1080p, however).
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#6 of 24 Jerome Grate

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Posted April 13 2008 - 10:53 AM

For years, I couldn't enjoy HD playback other than inside the stores. Ever since I jumped into HD-DVD (3 or so weeks ago) I must say, the picture quality is by far my favorite attribute about HD Playback. I used the Zenith 318 for a couple of years, and though I enjoyed it's playback (scaled to 1080i) it's not the same, one, and two it's wasn't necessarily the top of the line player. But now, I'm enjoying HD through HDMI at 1080i. I find myself enjoying the movie more in HD. So playback for me.
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#7 of 24 HagenBlaz

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Posted April 13 2008 - 11:25 AM

For me, like most of the posts so far, it's the image resolution. Better sound is nice, but if the only improvement were the increased image resolution I'd be more than content. Many of the films on the top of my BD wishlist are older films shot in 70mm, where my expectations for the audio are low.

#8 of 24 Paul_Scott

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Posted April 13 2008 - 11:30 AM

One quality that I noticed immediately when I first jumped in two years ago, was this sense that the HDM images seemed stable and rock solid. In comparison I would percieve a slight flutter and sense of instability in the same content in sd. I assumed this was related to compression differences- and when I revisit titles from 5-6 years back, that I had originally thought were very well done, I see this in abundance. While it's most visible in title cards and credits, it creeps into backgrounds and small object detail as well. 3D isn't a make or break HD criteria for me, and wouldn't be how I would personally judge the 'reference' aspect of a particular disc. Fidelity in the rendition of fine/small object detail would be more my focus and where the immersion aspect impacts me more.
Having said all that, I started noticing last year this feeling of stability was slipping off many releases I saw across both formats, and now it's sadly not something I feel I can think with certainty is going to be a huge or noticeable improvement over the sd release.
Another aspect I greatly appreciated-especially as was implemented on HD DVD- was the appearence and functionality of subtitles on foreign films. For one thing they look much less like video generated subs and therefore don't take away from the film-like experience as much as sd sub streams do. Also the ability to resize and reposition them was a HUGE benefit when using a front pj in a constant height set up.

#9 of 24 Travis Brashear

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Posted April 13 2008 - 12:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
One quality that I noticed immediately when I first jumped in two years ago, was this sense that the HDM images seemed stable and rock solid. In comparison I would percieve a slight flutter and sense of instability in the same content in sd. I assumed this was related to compression differences- and when I revisit titles from 5-6 years back, that I had originally thought were very well done, I see this in abundance. While it's most visible in title cards and credits, it creeps into backgrounds and small object detail as well.

I know exactly what you mean, and have noticed it, as well. The other day, I received a handful of Blu-rays, as well as the SDs of THE MIST and LOST HIGHWAY. I sampled all of them, but with the two SDs, as nice as their transfers are for SD, I could immediately grasp a noiser quality to their respective images. Every detail in every scene appears in some kind of motion, and it's not (exclusively) caused by film grain.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
--Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

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#10 of 24 Carlo Medina

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Posted April 13 2008 - 01:00 PM

The "obvious" answer for me is A/V quality.

But putting that aside, the best thing about BD for me is the anti-aliased subtitles! DVD subs look like a Commodore 64 created them, while BD subs looks like a Mac Pro created them (since Apple/Macs display fonts very well).

I can't always crank up my system to my desired volumes so when I do late night watching I turn on subtitles a lot. I also watch a lot of foreign films. The BD subtitles are much more pleasing on the eyes.

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#11 of 24 Neil Joseph

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Posted April 13 2008 - 03:38 PM

Apart from the a/v quality, I like being to access the menu while still in the film.
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#12 of 24 Mark Kalzer

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Posted April 13 2008 - 04:34 PM

What I find impressive just fresh off a bout of 'Lord of War' on BD and 'The Mist' on DVD, (Still loved 'The Mist' for the record, despite the no BD.) is just how utterly film like it is. I speak as someone who actually LIKES film grain... I love the look of it. I also just love the vibrant way images strike out from celluloid which Blu-Ray captures so well. It's not enough to be sharp and detailed, to me film has such a vibrant 3 dimensional realism digital film just hasn't captured.

It's seem almost ironic it being a digital format, when I compare it with the recently opened all digital AMC theatre in Toronto. I took in 'The Ruins' (Mainly just to kill a couple of hours between appointments) which was shot digitally... I was quite dissapointed by how unfilm like it came off as. (And well... with the movie itself. I guess I can't call it a film now.) Most scenes came off just fine, but shots of very fine detail such as long establishing shots of the wild, there just wasn't that definition film can always have. I could see the image breaking up into pixels that just make me curse that if I didn't have these cursed perfected corrective lensed glasses I wouldn't be seeing these pixels!

I just guess 35 mm prints haven't been projected with the care and attention they deserve, (Go to an art house theatre to see what 35mm is really capable of!) digital projection in the theatres seems a misguided solution to that. Blu-Ray remains the best way to really get the best out of a well shot 35 mm celluloid print.

Though I can honestly say I was still able to enjoy 'The Mist' thoroughly even on DVD. I was able to forget for most of it that I wasn't watching real HD.
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#13 of 24 Stephen_J_H

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Posted April 13 2008 - 04:35 PM

I also enjoy being able to access the menu while in the film. I usually turn on subtitles so that other noise in the house isn't distracting (I have 3 kids), and it's nice to be able to do that on the fly.
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#14 of 24 Hartwig Hanser

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Posted April 13 2008 - 08:08 PM

The absolute lack of digital encoding artefacts on most BD releases. Mosqito noise etc bother me a lot on DVDs, especially since my screen is over 2.5 m wide which magnifies those defects..

#15 of 24 Travis Brashear

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Posted April 13 2008 - 11:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartwig Hanser
The absolute lack of digital encoding artefacts on most BD releases. Mosqito noise etc bother me a lot on DVDs, especially since my screen is over 2.5 m wide which magnifies those defects..

I've noticed that, as well. It wasn't until SD had been out for a few years that the encoding process had been mastered enough to provide relatively compression free playback, but right out of the gate, Blu-ray (and, I assume, HD-DVD) looks perfect from an encoding standpoint. Having said that, I know I've read about certain HD titles that display artifacting at HighDefDigest.com; has anyone encountered one?
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
--Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

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#16 of 24 wally

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Posted April 14 2008 - 03:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Brashear
...I'm just continually delighted by the sharp definition of the text used in opening and end credits...

And I thought I was the only dork that noticed this! I would echo the rest of the comments eventhough I'm still saving up for a 7.1 HDMI receiver (optical now) to soak in all the HD audio goodness!

#17 of 24 Lance Rumbolt

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Posted April 14 2008 - 06:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wally
And I thought I was the only dork that noticed this! I would echo the rest of the comments eventhough I'm still saving up for a 7.1 HDMI receiver (optical now) to soak in all the HD audio goodness!

You can add me to the list of dorks on this one, it's one of the first things i noticed!

#18 of 24 Craig Beam

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Posted April 14 2008 - 07:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Rumbolt
You can add me to the list of dorks on this one, it's one of the first things i noticed!

Yeah, me too. :-D

#19 of 24 Matt Hough

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Posted April 14 2008 - 08:47 AM

The very first Blu-ray I ever watched was THE SEARCHERS, and the opening credits just blew me away! Couldn't get over how rock solid and dimensional they looked. The video quality of the feature film which followed did not disappoint.

#20 of 24 Mike Frezon

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Posted April 14 2008 - 08:53 AM

Heck...I was just having a conversation with a buddy today that the first thing I noticed when I made the jump from VHS to DVD was how much better the text in the warning messges at the front end of the disc looked! I then added that the jump from DVD to BD brings the same awareness.

Especially on Disney DVDs which always have those bright blue screens with white text on them at the beginning. it is amazing how rock solid those pages look in BD! Posted Image

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To answer the OP: For me, the thing I look forward to most with a BD is the SQ. The uncompressed soundtracks have been a revelation for me. This may be true because I have a small CRT HD display which might not make the most effective use of the BD resolution (although it is a 1080i image). But the sound quality of some of the action/adventure titles released on BD have been very immersive and exciting.

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