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S&V Grading of BD Studios in '08 (so far).


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#1 of 42 Ed St. Clair

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Posted October 09 2008 - 05:02 AM

By Kenneth Brown is a staff writer and reviewer at High Def Digest:
Sound & Vision Magazine - Blu-ray 2008: The Studio Report Card
I would have given MGM a D, not an F.
Discuss!
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#2 of 42 Brent M

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Posted October 09 2008 - 06:17 AM

Warner deserves lower than a B- for their lack of lossless on so many titles. Their transfers are usually fantastic, but Blu-Ray is supposed to be top notch video AND audio. They've dropped the ball too many times IMHO.
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#3 of 42 Ron-P

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Posted October 09 2008 - 06:23 AM

Well said Brent, I agree. I would have scored Disney a bit higher though, at least a B+.
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#4 of 42 Paul Arnette

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Posted October 09 2008 - 06:35 AM

I agree that Warner Bros. deserves no better than a C+ for their inconsistent use of lossless audio; however the one thing that saves them in my mind is the truly diverse nature of the content offered and their reasonable pricepoints.

Disney should have received at least a B+ if not an A- for their efforts. I would've given Fox a C- based on their pricing alone, and MGM while it is probably more reasonable to give then an D, if an F improves their efforts, particularly in the extras department, I'm all for it. The Weinstein Company appears to have gotten shafted a bit here. While I've heard less than impressive things about 1408, The Mist appears to be a winner, and the company is a small one that is struggling financially.

Universal does not deserve a B+ when you consider how many titles have had their extras compromised due to using BD25. Also, titles like The Mummy, U571, and The Thing have all had additional DNR applied compared to their HD DVD counterparts.

Everything else looks about right to me...
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#5 of 42 Jeff Robertson

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Posted October 09 2008 - 06:52 AM

I think Universal & Warner should have the grades reversed. It's too early, too little content to judge Universal on Blu-Ray. If graded on HD-DVD, they score a C- in my book. The majority of their titles had DD+ soundtracks and so-so transfers and I'm not at all impressed with what they've done with BD so far. They had a chance to improve on HD-DVD but didn't.

#6 of 42 Jason Seaver

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Posted October 09 2008 - 07:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
I agree that Warner Bros. deserves no better than a C+ for their inconsistent use of lossless audio; however the one thing that saves them in my mind is the truly diverse nature of the content offered and their reasonable pricepoints.
Ouch. As much as lossless audio is nice, I have a hard time seeing the lack of it as such a deal-breaker - the broad range of titles with full complements of goodies at reasonable prices strikes me as much more important than the incremental upgrade between "really good sound" and "really, really good sound".
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#7 of 42 Stephen_J_H

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Posted October 09 2008 - 10:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Robertson
I think Universal & Warner should have the grades reversed. It's too early, too little content to judge Universal on Blu-Ray. If graded on HD-DVD, they score a C- in my book. The majority of their titles had DD+ soundtracks and so-so transfers and I'm not at all impressed with what they've done with BD so far. They had a chance to improve on HD-DVD but didn't.
I agree. Warner has done more than any other studio to get Blu product out there, including Sony. If lossless hasn't been on all titles, I'd say it's more of a business decision than a plan to deprive us of lossless audio, but that's just me.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#8 of 42 Ed St. Clair

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Posted October 09 2008 - 01:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_J_H
If lossless hasn't been on all titles, I'd say it's more of a business decision than a plan to deprive us of lossless audio, but that's just me.
What do you think of the authors assumption that WB is holding back lossless too upgrade later w/a double dip?
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#9 of 42 CraigF

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Posted October 09 2008 - 02:46 PM

I like the comments according to what I've seen. Tougher to assign a grade. He's seen a lot more BDs than I have.

Agree that Fox deserves a fairly low grade though. High prices, lousy (IMO) transfers, next to no extras. Definitely, holding back for the double/triple dip, least as far as extras. [Can I say it?? Put out even a half-assed "The Abyss" BD and I'll gladly bend over and take the price.]

I am surprised at Paramount's offerings. Surprised I don't know why, but they seem quite decent to me. And Disney and Sony too, no real surprise there. Disappointed with WB for the opposite reason, in that I expected more based on past SD performance. They've had some winners though, but definitely need to pay attention to the audio in general...if nothing else it is a noticeable feature "shortcoming" compared to others' offerings.

#10 of 42 Ron-P

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Posted October 09 2008 - 06:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Seaver
Ouch. As much as lossless audio is nice, I have a hard time seeing the lack of it as such a deal-breaker - the broad range of titles with full complements of goodies at reasonable prices strikes me as much more important than the incremental upgrade between "really good sound" and "really, really good sound".
I see it this way, the film and it's sound track should be the most important. The extras should be just those, "extras". If the extras fit on the disc after the film gets the best possible A/V treatment, great, if they don't fit add a second disc or just exclude them. Dropping lossless because the extras have to be on the disc is completely unacceptable.
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#11 of 42 Douglas Monce

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Posted October 09 2008 - 07:24 PM

Double post
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#12 of 42 Douglas Monce

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Posted October 09 2008 - 07:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette

Universal does not deserve a B+ when you consider how many titles have had their extras compromised due to using BD25. Also, titles like The Mummy, U571, and The Thing have all had additional DNR applied compared to their HD DVD counterparts.

Everything else looks about right to me...


The use of BD25s by Universal, and Warner which seems to be the reason for some of Warner's titles having lossy audio, is likely not the fault of the two respective studios. Warners use of lossy audio seems to be part of an effort to maintain the highest quality picture with those films on which they are forced to use a BD25.

Doug
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#13 of 42 Stephen_J_H

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Posted October 10 2008 - 01:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
What do you think of the authors assumption that WB is holding back lossless too upgrade later w/a double dip?
I think that the only reason WB would double dip to include lossless and other features is if the sales of the initial release justified the expense. Speed Racer hasn't been selling like hotcakes exactly, so I doubt if WB will double dip on it, even with all the hue and cry from the HD community.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#14 of 42 Dave Moritz

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Posted October 10 2008 - 01:37 AM

I would have graded Disney higher as overall IMHO they have done a great job at Bluray, I would have given them a A-. And as far as Fox goes, yes there MSRP is high on many of there titles and lack of suplements. But for the most part I feel that Fox has put out some very good titles and deserves a higher score than they got. WB should have been scored better as there video transfers are very good and should not have been dragged down by lack of lossless audio. They have titles out with lossless and I agree that there where titles that did not receive such treatment that did not get it.

I feel that Paramount deseves a worse score than they got as they need to make alot of improvements as does MGM. As far as Universal goes at this point I am not sure to be honest with everyone here. They have some good transfers and I give them alot of credit for embrasing DTS-HD MA which is what will make me end up replacing some of my HD-DVD's with Blu-ray replacements just because of DTS-HD MA over Dolby Digital Plus.
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#15 of 42 Mike Frezon

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Posted October 10 2008 - 01:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
I agree that Warner Bros. deserves no better than a C+ for their inconsistent use of lossless audio; however the one thing that saves them in my mind is the truly diverse nature of the content offered and their reasonable pricepoints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Seaver
Ouch. As much as lossless audio is nice, I have a hard time seeing the lack of it as such a deal-breaker - the broad range of titles with full complements of goodies at reasonable prices strikes me as much more important than the incremental upgrade between "really good sound" and "really, really good sound".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-P
I see it this way, the film and it's sound track should be the most important. The extras should be just those, "extras". If the extras fit on the disc after the film gets the best possible A/V treatment, great, if they don't fit add a second disc or just exclude them. Dropping lossless because the extras have to be on the disc is completely unacceptable.

The play's the thing.

I agree with Ron whole-heartedly on this one...especially since the lossless audio is the one area of a BD presentation of which I can take the most advantage (I've got a small HDTV). Posted Image And, I've got so little free time to watch the films in my collection, it has been a rare occasion when I've had a chance to watch an "extra" on a disc. So I would put the quality and diversity of titles as Job #1 (& #2) for the studios.

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#16 of 42 Danny_N

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Posted October 10 2008 - 03:55 AM

With regard to Fox, apart from The Longest Day and Patton I think that they have done some of the best, ie film like, transfers and that includes Predator and Butch Cassidy which I both find excellent (the article calls them underwhelming ...). I was also very happy with the picture quality of MGM's A Bridge Too Far and Battle Of Britain and I question the value of an article that calls these transfers "spotty".

In general I have nothing much to complain about as far as the video and audio quality of 99% of the discs I buy is concerned. I don't hear much of a difference between lossless and lossy audio so the exclusion of lossless audio on a release is not a big deal for me.
If I had to grade studios I would look at content first. For me Warner and Fox would come on top then and Sony, the masters of crap, last.

#17 of 42 Ed St. Clair

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Posted October 10 2008 - 04:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
Warners use of lossy audio seems to be part of an effort to maintain the highest quality picture with those films on which they are forced to use a BD25.

Doug
How was WB "forced" too use BD25?
Thanks.
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#18 of 42 Douglas Monce

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Posted October 10 2008 - 04:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
How was WB "forced" too use BD25?
Thanks.

There still seems to be a limited capacity to produce films on BD50 disc. It has already been discussed here that even now the studios have a limited number of films in a given time period that can be on a BD50 because of this bottle neck.

A studio like Warner, that has a very heavy release schedule, likely has to decide which films are going to get a BD50 and which aren't. Speed Racer is a good example here. It seem to have made the choice to leave off the lossless audio and use the extra space to have the best picture quality possible.

Universal seems to have chosen lossless audio and some have complained that the image has suffered as a result (in comparison with the same film on HD-DVD) on their BD25 releases.

Doug
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#19 of 42 Ed St. Clair

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Posted October 10 2008 - 04:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny_N
With regard to Fox, apart from The Longest Day and Patton I think that they have done some of the best, ie film like, transfers and that includes Predator and Butch Cassidy which I both find excellent (the article calls them underwhelming ...). I was also very happy with the picture quality of MGM's A Bridge Too Far and Battle Of Britain and I question the value of an article that calls these transfers "spotty".
Here are some reviews from the site the author works for of the titles you mentioned:
Blu-ray Review: Battle of Britain | High-Def Digest
Blu-ray Review: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid | High-Def Digest
Blu-ray Review: Predator | High-Def Digest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny_N
In general I have nothing much to complain about as far as the video and audio quality of 99% of the discs I buy is concerned. I don't hear much of a difference between lossless and lossy audio so the exclusion of lossless audio on a release is not a big deal for me.
Oh, no! Not the old 'its good enough for me' argument!
JJ
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny_N
If I had to grade studios I would look at content first. For me Warner and Fox would come on top then and Sony last.
HD is not about "content".
HD is about quality.
Look for SD DVD for content, you'll be much happier.
(tens of thousands of titles, instead of a few hundred)
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#20 of 42 Ed St. Clair

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Posted October 10 2008 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
There still seems to be a limited capacity to produce films on BD50 disc. It has already been discussed here that even now the studios have a limited number of films in a given time period that can be on a BD50 because of this bottle neck.

Doug
I remember posts here, back in '06, stating that 'everything' would be BD50 by '07.
If we can't get BD50's just drop in another disc.
(although that kind of defeats the superior storage feature, at least we wouldn't get gipped)
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!


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