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A few words about...™ Alien Anthology -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#21 of 217 Nelson Au

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Posted October 23 2010 - 05:02 AM

It would be cool as people get this set this coming week if they could report what machines they are playing the discs on and if they have any playback issues. That way we might see if there are any patterns to playback problems. I'm really concerned after The Twilight Zone set is having issues with playback for a lot of people. That release I'm sure has not sold as many as this Alien set will. So we might be seeing a lot more responses to playback issues, if any. I hope it's not indicative of a new problem of recent new Blu Rays because of how they are encoded or authored or however they do what they do.



#22 of 217 Robert Harris

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Posted October 23 2010 - 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nelson Au 

It would be cool as people get this set this coming week if they could report what machines they are playing the discs on and if they have any playback issues. That way we might see if there are any patterns to playback problems. I'm really concerned after The Twilight Zone set is having issues with playback for a lot of people. That release I'm sure has not sold as many as this Alien set will. So we might be seeing a lot more responses to playback issues, if any. I hope it's not indicative of a new problem of recent new Blu Rays because of how they are encoded or authored or however they do what they do.


I would suggest not only players, but firmware identification.


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#23 of 217 Geoff_D

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Posted October 23 2010 - 12:23 PM

Had a few issues on a multi-region Sony BDPS470 here, latest 708 firmware installed. The movies initially seemed to load fine, as did the MUTHUR mode, but when I tried to exit the mode while watching Aliens I got nothing but a blank screen. Ejecting the disc and reloading had no effect, as the disc would not play past the Fox Home Entertainment logo. Not only that, but now the other movies in the pack were also refusing to load! (That's not a bad thing in the case of Resurrection, but I digress.) I had to turn my machine off at the mains and turn it back on to get the discs to play again.



#24 of 217 Rob W

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Posted October 23 2010 - 12:47 PM

The upper left quadrant issue Mr Harris had is also present on my copy of Rocky Horror Picture Show, but only on the deleted musical number for 'Super Heroes'.( so far ) No problems with the main feature.  I'm also using the Oppo.



#25 of 217 johnSM

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Posted October 23 2010 - 12:48 PM

This bluray firmware issue is really starting to become a deal breaker to people that I know, who'd buy into Bluray but are amazed that many people have to keep updating their firmware as/when new releases come out to make certain titles work. Who can blame them? Movie buffs are willing to go the extra distance to solve playback related problems, but the general consumer isn't and - understandably - expects a bluray to work on any bluray player.


I purchased an Oppo BDP-83 a couple weeks back believing it to be one of the best players out there (from reviews) and I find that several discs throw up problems with this machine. Not good. I was on the cusp of ordering the box set too, but will wait to see how this pans out.


What exactly IS the problem that demands that firmware is updated? Does anybody know? Is it the extra material that involves networks/internet connection (discs using BD Live)? I'm talking in general here not specifically to the Alien set only. It would be interesting to know if the problems can be narrowed down to one area in all instances/films/players.


Surely both bluray and hardware manufacturers and the studios need to come to some sort of agreed 'standard' so any disc is compatable with just about every machine? They're seriously going to lose customers (or potential customers) if these sorts of problems persist. Who wants to keep upgrading their firmware?!? I just want to get on and enjoy the damn films!


Such a shame as the screen shots look utterly marvellous and the work that Charles de Lauzirika et al have put into this set is nothing short of astounding - definately THE set to beat. Next years Star Wars set is going to have a LOT to compete with, and I hope people from Lucasfilm take a page from this sets content...


Hopefully if Oppo sort out the firmware problem I'll be able to pull the trigger on this one in a week or so - fingers crossed!



#26 of 217 AaronMan

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Posted October 23 2010 - 01:17 PM

Will Alien and Aliens be available separately?  Sorry if this has been asked already.



#27 of 217 TheBat

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Posted October 23 2010 - 01:37 PM

oppo is a fine company. they are really good about doing the firmware updates compared to other companies. it should be fine.


Jacob



#28 of 217 Scott D S

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Posted October 23 2010 - 01:41 PM

I'm half-joking here (I'll have the set soon enough) but would anyone care to post a quick 30-second clip of Alien 3's new ADR? Charles Dance's first scene ("An EEV's come down!") should do it.


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#29 of 217 TravisR

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Posted October 23 2010 - 02:20 PM

Originally Posted by AaronMan 

Will Alien and Aliens be available separately?  Sorry if this has been asked already.


No. Or rather, not yet.



#30 of 217 Adam Gregorich

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Posted October 23 2010 - 05:45 PM

I would encourage people to NOT wait if they want the set.  Based on Mr Harris's edited post the A/V quality is an A++  I would hate for anyone to miss out on first week preferred pricing that most retailers have while they wait for a possible firmware issue if their player can't handle some of the more advanced features on the disc.



#31 of 217 Adam Gregorich

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Posted October 23 2010 - 07:32 PM

Thanks to an unnamed retailer I was able to acquire the set today and do some testing tonight on an Oppo BD83 and a Panasonic BD50.  My experiences were similar to Robert's and Bill's in regards to the Oppo.  The good news is its simple to work around both discs.  Just hit the pop-up menu button, select top menu and then play.  It restarts from the beginning at full screen.  I had NO problems in the 2+ year old Panasonic BD50.  Load times were a respectable 2 minutes on the Panasonic for the first two films and they stated playing the Fox logo and the film in fully non-zoomed after the director intros.  There is a good chance that my Panasonic might not even have the most recent FW as I usually just check when I am having a problem or read about one.

For what its worth the Oppo is a fantastic player, but I have had other "odd" issues in the past that FW updates fixed: (500) Days of Summer wouldn't play and on-screen subtitles for 2012 were displaying off screen are two that come to mind.


So based on fact that my 2 year old Panasonic played the discs with no issues and the only problems I have experienced and seen reported were Oppo based (with an easy work around) I think that the discs are fine and all of us Oppo owners will be getting a FW update in the near future to save us three button presses.


BTW the packaging on the book is incredible.  I love the thick "photo" pages and how the discs slide into the pockets.  Its much nicer than I thought it would be.

 Both Alien and Aliens are the best that I've ever personally seen, with audio that will test even the largest home theater's amps and speakers.  Detail, black levels, color, densities and all else are letter perfect.

 Based on RAH's recommendation and what I saw, this is going to be "the" BD set to buy this year.




#32 of 217 AaronMan

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Posted October 23 2010 - 09:32 PM

Thanks for the info TravisR.  And that's very lame of 20th Century Fox to do that.



#33 of 217 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 23 2010 - 10:20 PM



Originally Posted by johnSM 


What exactly IS the problem that demands that firmware is updated? Does anybody know?



It's usually a combination of a) trying to put too many bells/whistles on the disc menu system, especially with BD-Java, b) complex interactive content, c) BD+, d) BD-Live bootstraps. People who author discs would like to keep it as simple as possible. Marketing divisions want to have it do something fancy but don't understand the complexities of getting it to actually work. QC staffs do their best, but are usually under the gun to turn it around lightning quick.


Firmware updates are simply reality. It's not hard to call a phone number and be sent a disc,or update it online when the new update comes out, or download it from their computer and burn a disc. People get updates for their computers, iPods, phones etc. all the time nowadays. It's a small price to pay for modern technological advances.


As far as the Oppo 83 is concerned... it's a company that has great customer service, and the player has nice audio output options, but it's basically a 2nd gen player based on Panasonic's players, and Panasonic is on their 5th or 6th gen players now. There's at least 3-4 other players I would recommend first, and the PS3 is absolutely - without question - the preferred player among those that have had to work with any large variety of Blu-ray players (though I must admit I quite like the latest Samsung players, which is a real night and day with their first players, which are generally awful).


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#34 of 217 urbo73

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Posted October 24 2010 - 12:55 AM

Blu-ray's Java menus and BD+ were selling points to the marketing folks, nothing more. BD+ has been cracked for a while now, as any mechanism will be, and we all know about the Java slowness, etc. I love when I just pop in an old DVD and it comes right up, I can stop and resume, etc. I don't want kid-style menus on my films, but that's what sells.


OPPO 83 is a better player than the PS3 in many aspects. PS3 may load faster, be more compatible with quirky titles, but it's not as simple as Brandon makes it out. I would never sacrifice IQ, and the OPPO is the leader in that area still. There is OPPO for IQ and there are the rest IMO. Brandon, what players would you recommend above the OPPO - just curious. They would need to have "source direct" as an option and do an equal or better job deinterlacing/upconverting. I have yet to come across one, or I would buy it!


I do agree with Brandon that firmware updates are a reality and what he said. People just need to get used to it. Things eventually get sorted out. The main thing is that the transfer was done right. The other things will be fixed. We are still in an infancy stage at this point IMHO.



#35 of 217 benbess

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Posted October 24 2010 - 12:55 AM

Brandon's explanation is great, but I have a feeling this may prevent the blu-ray format from ever getting more than about 40% of the home market. The average consumer doesn't want to deal with the hassle. Heck, I don't want to deal with the hassle. And so far I haven't. My ps3 updates in a wireless way, and seems to do so automatically at times. But getting that set up took my son's good tech skills.


I've never had problems with any blu-ray, but dread the day when I do. I have not bought the TZ set because of the reported issues.


Companies need to do more QC and few bells and whistles, imho.



#36 of 217 urbo73

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Posted October 24 2010 - 12:59 AM



Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

I would encourage people to NOT wait if they want the set.  Based on Mr Harris's edited post the A/V quality is an A++  I would hate for anyone to miss out on first week preferred pricing that most retailers have while they wait for a possible firmware issue if their player can't handle some of the more advanced features on the disc.



I am willing to buy the set, but the issue is are we sure it's a firmware issue? Maybe it's a mastering issue? Hard to say, though if there are reports that it plays fine on some players, then I would lean towards firmware. And if that is so, then I'll buy it ASAP, because I can wait for a firmware update if I can play the film via a workaround.



#37 of 217 Robert Harris

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Posted October 24 2010 - 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

I would encourage people to NOT wait if they want the set.  Based on Mr Harris's edited post the A/V quality is an A++  I would hate for anyone to miss out on first week preferred pricing that most retailers have while they wait for a possible firmware issue if their player can't handle some of the more advanced features on the disc.



I'll second Adam's suggestion.  The set is amazing, and I would presume that the majority of players will handle it without any problems.  Those problems that have surfaced thus far have workarounds, and firmware updates should be on the way shortly.


QC on these releases is intense and multi-layered.  The companies that press the discs, Technicolor, deluxe, etc. generally have a wall of players and test examples to make certain that they work in each type of Blu-ray player.

Once you understand how deeply integrated these discs are, and how filled with data, you'll begin to appreciated Fox's investment in the series.  Charles' work on the Anthology, along with the new transfers on Alien and Aliens alone, make this a must have.  That's even before one gets to the other films.  The value is in place for this set, which even at $89 currently on Amazon, is one of the buys of the decade.


The discs are not defective, and the problems will all be dealt with via firmware upgrades.


Bottom line.  Fox has created a very special Blu-ray experience for those who love the Alien films.  Even if you have a player that will need a firmware upgrade, you'll find that most everything else on the discs will function via some workaround.  My suggestion is to support Fox and what they've created, and to purchase before supplies run low, which they may.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#38 of 217 urbo73

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Posted October 24 2010 - 01:07 AM



Originally Posted by Robert Harris 

Quote:


I currently betting that the discs are not defective, and the problems will all be dealt with via firmware upgrades.  Those who wish to re-read my original notes will find an edit.


Bottom line.  Fox has created a very special Blu-ray experience for those who love the Alien films.  Even if you have a player that will need a firmware upgrade, you'll find that most everything else on the discs will function via some workaround.  My suggestion is to support Fox and what they've created, and to purchase before supplies run low, which they may.


RAH


Yes, we hope that is the case as I was saying above. But I think it's great that you did bring this up, because we don't know with 100% certainty, and certainly people have a right to know before clunking down large amounts of cash. I think separating the audio/video from the disc, as you did in your initial post, is the way to go and very valuable.


Now how about that Back to the Future set review? Posted Image



#39 of 217 johnSM

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Posted October 24 2010 - 01:08 AM



Originally Posted by benbess 

The average consumer doesn't want to deal with the hassle. Heck, I don't want to deal with the hassle. And so far I haven't. My ps3 updates in a wireless way, and seems to do so automatically at times. But getting that set up took my son's good tech skills.


I've never had problems with any blu-ray, but dread the day when I do. I have not bought the TZ set because of the reported issues.


Companies need to do more QC and few bells and whistles, imho.


Spot on! Fact is in the old days, you would just stick a DVD into any machine and it would work. The DVD is designed for a DVD player - seems obvious! Similarly a bluray should play in ANY bluray player, or the player is not fit for its purpose. Anything that needs doing to make a disc work SHOULD have been ironed out in the design phase of the bluray standards (either for the machine and/or for the discs). As it is it appears that problems are still being ironed out as we go, with consumers as the guinea pigs!


I know to people that are tech-savvy that installing the odd update is no big deal, but fact is bluray is a physical medium unlike a download or streamed film. Therfore it should work stand-alone without the need to even consider the internet into the equation for updates. It just all seems very 'scatty' to me at the moment. Bluray may have it for picture quality but as it stands I still think DVD has it for user-friendlyness and conveniance and reliability.


As somebody else here said you just want to pay for a film, stick it into your bluray player, and be watching it within a minute or so. No fuss!


Sorry this is a tad off topic - back to Alien!



P.S. someone said the Oppo was based on a Panasonic machine - from what I can see it uses a Sony mechanism, and the rest is solely designed by Oppo themselves...



#40 of 217 Jay_J

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Posted October 24 2010 - 01:49 AM

Sorry to say, but when it comes to watching movies I'm one of those "average consumers". I want to able to plunk the blu ray in, and have it work from the start. I don't want to deal with ordering updates or downloading and burning firmware discs. That is one reason we own two PS3s. My son checks for updates regularly, it updates flawlessly through wi-fi and I have never had a glitch. To me the picture quality on our calibrated 60" Sharp Quattron LED and 42" Samsung LED is perfect, at least to my eyes and my wifes.


Perhaps there are better quality players on the market that give a slightly better picture, but I'll gladly trade that tiny upgrade for the ability to watch a movie without hassles or problems.


JJ





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