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is Blu-ray the future?


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   hampsteadbandit

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Posted August 24 2009 - 08:06 AM

thank you for taking the time to open my thread

I am new to this forum, but not new to watching, and appreciating movies, I love movies :)

when I was 13, my father (an automobile journalist) here in England, took me to an airfield in Northampton (england) where technicians for VW cars were working on some strange looking vehicles for a movie production - years later I realised these vehicles were the Police "Spinner" vehicles in "Bladerunner" - I got to sit in one of those vehicles and flick the switches, but did not realise the significance at the time!

ever since I can remember, I have loved watching movies, and my father worked for Eurosport which meant we were one of the first households in the UK to get satellite television with MTV and all the movie channels


I don't watch TV, only movies on DVD and Blue-Ray, and some on Div-X if I have downloaded obsolete programmes or movies


the point of my post is to ask, is Blue-Ray gaining ground, or is it going to be superceded by streaming off high-bandwidth internet?



I know a good number of people here in London, England, and none of my friends or associates have invested in Blue-Ray (or HD-DVD)

I have ranted and raved about the potential of Blue-Ray to these contacts, but they are more than happy with DVD, and do not have any urge to invest in Blue?

when I go to the exchange shops in central london (that exchange computer and console games, mobile phones, computer hardware and DVD / Blue / HD-DVD), the blue-ray titles on offer are not taking any additional shelf space from month to month...


I am not completely convinced about Blue-Ray as a driver for upgrading a home entertainment system?

I have 30 Blue titles in my collection (classics like Blade Runner) and about 300 DVDs - my LG BD370 has good DVD upscaling, as far as I am concerned a "good film is a good film" regardless of picture quality - the upscaled DVD's look fine and I can buy a 2nd hand DVD for GBP £2 compared to typically GBP£10 for an older title on Blue or GBP£15-20 for a new Blue title


probably the best Blue release I have seen is the "300", it was really breathtaking, but considering its a recent release shot on digital film, it should be

most of the Blue-Ray films I own, look "sharper" with better skin texture on actors, and improved night scenes, but the improved picture quality does not make for a better film?

surely a good film has a sharp plot with great dialogue, good acting, good camera angles, lighting and sound; on DVD it may be a little more "smooth" or fuzzy in a back to back comparison with Blue

I only noticed this watching "the Chronicles of Riddick" on my previous LG DVD with the movie on DVD, vs. my new LG-370 with the movie on Blue,  literally watching a scene in a scene-to-scene comprison by switching the input channel and re-watching the same scene on Blue, but this increase in visual quality, does not spoil any aspect of the film experience itself?

the sound aspect is something I would concur that Blue is superior on, but until I upgrade to a new amp with multiple speakers, its somewhat of a non-driver - so what is going to drive DVD owners to Blue?



I would appreciate any thoughts or comments from long-term members of this forum, and any corrections of my post!


#2 of 21 OFFLINE   RDarrylR

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Posted August 24 2009 - 08:12 AM

In my own opinion, Blu-ray is slowly taking over and in a few years using some type of forced obsolesence by the studios it will prevail. Whether this means them putting DVD releases out later than Blu-ray, leaving DVD's as bare bones releases, or some other method they will do it.


#3 of 21 ONLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted August 24 2009 - 08:23 AM

Hi Rob!

Welcome to the forum!  http://www.deephouse...s/welcome.gif">

First off, there's no "e" in "blu-ray."  Quote:
The Home Theater Forum is a place where those who enjoy watching movies in their homes can discuss all aspects of (re-)presenting films the best way they can. These discussions concern the film art itself, its products as well as the technical ways to create a theater-like experience inside a home.  We the members of the forum are interested in the film product to be recorded and reproduced as closely as possible to the way the original creator(s) of that particular film intended. We respect the integrity of all artists involved in creating the original film as well as those who helped bringing the product to a form suited to be used in a home theater environment.  The main goals of the discussions on the Home Theater Forum are to learn and to share: to learn more about the cinematographic art-form and the best techniques to present the films, and to share our knowledge with anyone who sincerely wants to benefit from the knowledge of his or her fellow members. 


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#4 of 21 OFFLINE   hampsteadbandit

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Posted August 24 2009 - 08:50 AM

First off, there's no "e" in "blu-ray."

thanks for the correction

Blu-Ray does not seem to have had good market penetration in the UK compared to DVD?

from looking at the sales figures of both players and software; personally I don't know anyone else with Blu-Ray, or planning to upgrade from DVD to Blu in the future

personally, I have always been the "early adopter" whether its a new way of watching movies, or trading in my PC graphics card for the next generation graphics card!


a close friend works for OFCOM (the UK government TV/Radio/internet watchdog / regulator of communications) and talks about high-bandwidth streaming as the future, but he cannot see any benefit from upgrading his DVD to Blu despite owning a High-Def television?

here in the UK, companies like Sky are running media campaigns where they talk of customers missing out on high-def by owning a high-def TV but not a high-def. source - whether this has any impact on consumers remains to be seen - considering we are in a recession!


#5 of 21 OFFLINE   RDarrylR

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Posted August 24 2009 - 08:53 AM

Blu-ray is certainly a tough sell in the times of this global recession. I'm sure the studios expected things to move much faster. It will be very interesting to see how it goes as most countries in the world start coming out of the recession later this year or early next.

This is why I think the studios will have to force it on everyone in one way or another.


#6 of 21 OFFLINE   hampsteadbandit

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Posted August 24 2009 - 09:02 AM

I am not buying any new titles on DVD - only on Blu - recently titles like Watchmen, Children of Men and 300 which admittedly look stunning (whether this justifies the large investment in high-def is debatable as Children of Men was awesome on DVD)

I am waiting on the release of the Blu-Ray titles new Star Trek, Terminator Salvation and X-Men Wolverine titles which I watched in the cinema; the problem I have is - is it worth swapping much of my current DVD collection for Blu-Ray, will I  REALLY notice a big difference when viewing, apart from a hole in my bank account!!

I can buy older titles on DVD for a fraction of the price of getting them on the Blu format, and perhaps with older titles there is not going to be such a difference in overall quality, as from what I have read and observed, the quality of a Blu title depends on the transfer itself? (in other words, did anyone at the film company care, or just stuffed it onto High-Def to make a quick buck...)




#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted August 24 2009 - 09:19 AM

My thoughts:
  • Viewing size vs. distance matters.  My impression is that people in the UK have a tendency to buy smaller sets than people in the U.S.  The difference between DVD & Blu is certainly smaller on the set
  • Yes of course the quality (plot/acting/direction/etc.) of the film itself is paramount, good video quality crap is still crap.  But for a good movie to me video quality is always welcome.
  • Buying discs, whether DVD/Blu-ray, doesn't make sense to me vs. rental.  I have a bunch of DVDs I bought on sale, still in the shrink-wrap for lack of time to watch them.  So I cut back buying a lot, just a small handful per year.  Renting blu-ray vs. renting DVD only costs me $3/month more through Netflix.
  • I think Blu-ray has maybe 10-12 years before streaming overtakes it, at least in the U.S.  Streaming now is limited to 720p encodes mostly lower than 4Mbps.  The quality isn't quite there yet.  It'll take a while before there is enough very high speed (12+ Mbps) internet penetration for providers to bother to have higher quality 1080p streams available.  Might be sooner in countries with more fast internet connections like South Korea/Japan.


#8 of 21 OFFLINE   RDarrylR

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Posted August 24 2009 - 09:23 AM

I think it is very likely that Blu-ray will be the last disc-based format for mainstream movie distribution.


#9 of 21 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted August 24 2009 - 09:43 AM

How much improvement (and extra enjoyment) an individual derives from BD over DVD is gonna depend a whole lot on the viewing setup/environment, etc.

You mentioned your friend has an HDTV, but doesn't see any noticeable improvement.  What size HDTV does he/she own?  What's the viewing distance and is the set using good settings conducive to revealing the quality diff?  Is his/her situation typical in the UK?

Most people w/ small-ish HDTVs will not benefit much, if at all, from BD, especially since most of them also tend to sit relatively far from their displays.  Generally speaking, if your screen-diagonal-size-to-viewing-distance ratio is much smaller than 1:2, you're probably not gonna benefit much from BD.  Basically, the BD quality jump mainly benefits those of us who wish to experience films in a home *theater* context (and at a high fidelity to the source), ie. to come reasonably close to the actual theatrical experience.  If the HT experience is not a significant concern to the individual, there is likely very little appreciable benefits to be gained, ie. the overall setup would likely not be optimal (for various related reasons) to make the most of the quality diff.

_Man_


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#10 of 21 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted August 24 2009 - 10:28 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Tu ">

  • Buying discs, whether DVD/Blu-ray, doesn't make sense to me vs. rental.  I have a bunch of DVDs I bought on sale, still in the shrink-wrap for lack of time to watch them.  So I cut back buying a lot, just a small handful per year.  Renting blu-ray vs. renting DVD only costs me $3/month more through Netflix.
 
This will obviously vary for each individual, but that's probably the prevailing case for most people.

I understand the logic perfectly and would feel the same myself, *except* IMHO (and of course, for my own purposes) the whole point about having my own (moderate, but still sizeable) HT setup and owning a collection of (hopefully, quality) films/programs on disc is first-and-foremost *not* about being pragmatic, but about being able to enjoy such films/programs precisely whenever I (and/or my family) want as the mood strikes, in the comfort of our own home, etc.

While we all need to work w/in our individual financial constraints -- and thus, should make choices that fit such constraints (among others) -- I don't think it makes sense to approach this whole thing strictly from a dollars-and-cents pragmatic POV w/ disregard for the overall value/satisfaction of owning (vs renting or similar).  Of course, if having the extra convenience, etc. of owning does not matter noticeably to you in how you enjoy/experience such films/programs, then sure, it makes sense to be more pragmatic about it.  In fact, for some/many folks, borrowing from the local library (for free) combined w/ catching whatever happens to be broadcasted by the various (free and paid) networks may be good enough for the most part too -- and creature comforts like OAR, PQ, etc. may not matter (or even be desirable in the case of OAR) at all. <br /></span>
<br />
Not trying to argue that you're wrong or anything like that, Stephen, but just trying to present the other side of the story, especially since this matter about owning (a sizeable collection) vs being more pragmatic about it has recently surfaced not just in this thread, but in the other "Why I collect" discussion. /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

To be sure, I do try to be practical w/ my own overall approach to collecting, but I also have no desire to relegate the large majority my HT enjoyment to whatever my Netflix/Blockbuster queue just happens to deliver me many days, weeks and maybe even months after I had a desire to watch something (and add it to my queue).  /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif  Obviously, there needs to be some kind of balance between owning and renting (at least in my case anyway)... <br /></span>
<br />
_Man_<br />

					
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					<div class= Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted August 25 2009 - 02:35 AM

I think Blu-ray will be here for quite some time. I know many here, online, think the internet will be big in the near future.

I dont. Not in the US anyway.

We pay about $40 a month for our DSL, and it sure isnt fast enough to watch anything in HD. Faster internet connection, costs more, a lot more. Here in the US, as i understand it, our internet isnt as good as Japan, and Europe I dont think most people will pay a higher price for internet than they already do. Shoot, i know of people who still use dial-up!

Finally, if they are not tech savvy enough to figure out Blu-ray, they sure are not gonna know how to stream it from the internet to the TV.
The internt has lots of hurdles before it replaces discs, of any kind.

Oh yeah, the day i cant "own" a movie, is the day i stop buying them. I dont want a movie collection on my iTunes.



#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Jesse Blacklow

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Posted August 25 2009 - 02:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickER 

I think Blu-ray will be here for quite some time. I know many here, online, think the internet will be big in the near future.

I dont. Not in the US anyway.
 
Done in one.  The US has nowhere near the digital infrastructure capability to handle streaming of DVD-quality video to the mass-market, let alone HD.  It's small enough now that the NetFlix, VUDU, and the various console services can reasonably support their customer base.  However, even that is already straining the bandwidth in the US, since most internet users don't have super-fast connections to their homes.  Those that do are often paying a heavy premium over normal broadband accounts.  Without major overhaul of the ISP's hardware and pricing structures (both of which are estimated by most to be ~10 years away).  There's only two countries I can think that have already solved this problem (Japan and South Korea), and they have only managed to do so due to the fact that they are small, highly urbanized, relatively geographically isolated, and have economies with much higher reliance on digital technology.

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#13 of 21 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted August 25 2009 - 08:50 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Blacklow View Post

Quote:

Done in one.  The US has nowhere near the digital infrastructure capability to handle streaming of DVD-quality video to the mass-market, let alone HD.  It's small enough now that the NetFlix, VUDU, and the various console services can reasonably support their customer base.  However, even that is already straining the bandwidth in the US, since most internet users don't have super-fast connections to their homes.  Those that do are often paying a heavy premium over normal broadband accounts.  Without major overhaul of the ISP's hardware and pricing structures (both of which are estimated by most to be ~10 years away).  There's only two countries I can think that have already solved this problem (Japan and South Korea), and they have only managed to do so due to the fact that they are small, highly urbanized, relatively geographically isolated, and have economies with much higher reliance on digital technology.
 
Add to that the fact that even if/when ISPs can offer the needed bandwidth, they're sure not gonna want you to get your video off the internet from somebody else like Netflix.  They're gonna want you to pay *them* for direct service for using their precious bandwidth running off their infrastructure -- either that or charge you a premium for the extra bandwidth that's needed.  If HD download/VOD is gonna get anywhere in the near future, it's probably gonna work more like the Verizon Fios and standard cable/sat service model, not from some other 3rd party like Netflix -- unless Netflix merges w/ one of them and would no longer be 3rd party.

_Man_

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#14 of 21 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted August 25 2009 - 05:59 PM

I second Man's assessment.

All the ISPs in the US are also TV providers.  They will either keep the bandwidth too low to allow Internet based video services to compete with their HD offerings, or we will see more agreements like that which Verizon has with ESPN 360.  If we do see HD online video become viable, I suspect it will be because the larger providers have essentially molded it into something resembling the Cable TV model with Pay Per View.  At that point, I am sure they will find a way to "squeeze" the necessary capacity out of our communications infrastructure, if it is as maxed out as they would like us to believe it is.


#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted August 25 2009 - 07:37 PM

I agree with the above.

The cable companies have a vested interest in keeping bandwidth caps very low.  Time Warner recently tried to pass off a set of plans with a handfull of gigs as the maximum.  Comcast's cap is 250 gigabytes,  go over it twice and they not only cut your service,  they ban you for something like 6 months.  Comcast's is the most generous cap IIRC,  though there are uncapped services.

250 gigabytes is not alot for HD video.  One HD vid on X-box Live can weigh in around 5 gigs.  Which gives you around 50 HD movies,  which is plenty right? 

Except if you were to do HD TV shows as well,  now we're talking 60 gigs right there for a season of 24 episodes.  Plus whatever movies you watch. 

Plus,  if you do video-games via X-box Live or Steam,  as could happen in a multi-family house where one persons watching a HD movie he downloaded,  while someone else is pulling down a game,  now bandwidth's really starting to add up quick. 

Then,  Comcast and the others don't make it very clear,  the caps count your uploads too,  so every webpage you visit is adding a tiny bit,  every E-mail you download,  every Youtube vid you watch,  etc.

250 gigs sounds like alot,  but once you throw in HD digital distribution and online video game distribution,  it's horribly small.

The cable companies aren't going to budge on that if they can avoid it,  they want to sell you an extremely expensive cable package and sell you internet.

So no,  nothing's overtaking BR anytime soon,  and it'll continue a process of being grandfathered in as player prices drop.

This is why I went Fios though,  vote with the dollar.  I hear stories that comcast's getting a bit nervous in my area,  because the Fios techs are so busy they're cracking 6 figures with their overtime...

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Rick Thompson

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Posted August 27 2009 - 12:32 PM

I doubt we'll be downloading HD movies, at least in the foreseeable future. The bandwidth required would be too spectacular. What's more, we'd probably end up paying more to the ISPs than we would for the professionally-mastered disks.

As for the disks themselves, my feeling is that Blu-ray and DVD will co-exist for quite some time, mainly because there will be money to be made in both. While big sellers and new films will get HD mastering, there will be many pictures that don't have the audience to make HD mastering profitable, but would sell enough for standard resolution. For example, "Ben-Hur," "Gone With the Wind," "Casablanca" and "Lawrence of Arabia" will almost surely be profitable on HD. I wouldn't bet on, say, "The Narrow Margin" or others in the Film Noir series -- nor on the 1969 musical of "Goodbye Mr. Chips," a flick I dearly loved but bombed at the box office. It's out on DVD, though, and I'm glad to have it.

Look at how many years LPs and 45s co-existed because they served separate markets. Blu-ray and DVD will probably do the same.


#17 of 21 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted August 27 2009 - 04:35 PM

Originally Posted by Rick Thompson 

For example, "Ben-Hur," "Gone With the Wind," "Casablanca" and "Lawrence of Arabia" will almost surely be profitable on HD.
I bet there are some nice profit margins at $84.99 for Gone With the Wind and $64.98 for Casablanca! /img/vbsmilies/htf/eek.gif


#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Oliver_A

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Posted August 27 2009 - 09:26 PM

I think this whole "downloading is the future!™" talk against Blu Ray is a myth mostly propagated by disgruntled HD-DVD users (for the info: I stayed neutral and adopted the winning format). When I buy a movie, I want to hold it in my HANDS, I want to SEE it in my rack, and I want to kiss it, feel it....

Umm..., yeah.


#19 of 21 ONLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 27 2009 - 11:34 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronMK 


I bet there are some nice profit margins at $84.99 for Gone With the Wind and $64.98 for Casablanca
Not if most of the inventory is sitting on store shelves and warehouses, unsold because consumers will not pay an outrageous price for a "box of junk" edition.


#20 of 21 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted August 29 2009 - 06:52 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield 

Not if most of the inventory is sitting on store shelves and warehouses, unsold because consumers will not pay an outrageous price for a "box of junk" edition.
For the sake of a Blu-ray future with reasonably priced titles and purchasing options, I certainly hope this is the case.