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Blu-ray State of the Union. Are you switching to streaming media?


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Posted July 27 2012 - 05:35 PM

There has been lots of debate about the future of optical disc, particularly Blu-ray.  The talk has all been around streaming digital taking the place of optical media.


At the recent sixth annual TV of Tomorrow Show Anthony Wood, inventor of the DVR and CEO of Roku was quoted stating


Quote:

Will people use Blu-ray players in four years?  I don't thing so

An interesting tidbit published by NPD was that nearly 80% of users how connect their Blu-ray disc player to the Internet to access online content are downloading TV shows and movies via Hulu, Netflix, and other subscription VOD services, compared to 69% of connected TV users and 64% of connected video game console users.  Isn't it amazing that of all the devices in the home, the Blu-ray player has the most digital distribution/streaming?!

However, at the recent Media Tech Europe conference in May Jim Bottoms from Futuresource said that there are


Reasons to be cheerful


as he cited that European Blu-ray video capacity production grew by 40% last year and that 2011 was the best year for BD replication investment since 2007.


However, Tony Gunnarsson of IHS Screen Digest. had cautionary note stating


Consumer spending on physical media peaked at $55 billion in 2004.  The spending on physical video has been in decline ever since, and this decline accelerated after 2007.


In contrast to Anthony Woods statement around digital streaming, digital delivery/streaming is still evolving and currently is only 5% of the overall video market. In regards to Blu-ray specifically Tony states


BD transactions have grown very strongly since its launch and it is one of the fastest growing areas in film consumption


Now Tony didn't provide some interesting facts that would make those quotes relevant and those would be comparisons of how DVD adoption occurred in the same time frame that Blu-ray had.


IHS Screen Digest reported in March forecasts this year, for the first time ever, consumer will watch more movies online than on DVD's and Blu-ray discs!  The report predicts that digital delivery/streaming services will account for 57% of all movie consumption, but only 12% of spending.  The amount of titles available for digital distribution/streaming are forecasted to grow 135% to 3.4 billion titles.  Compare this to a recent report from DEG that stated physical sell through of Blu-ray disc movies was up a whopping 2% for the first quarter of 2012.  Catalog sales of BD were up 27% and TV BD sales were up 54%.  The DEG estimates that 2.4 million players were sold in the first quarter, which includes BD players, PS3's and HTiB's.  They don't break out the percentage of PS3's in that number, which was always a point of contention in the format war because not everyone that buys a PS3 is buying it to watch BD's...


Russ Crupnick, Senior VP at NPD Group, recently stated


Over the next three to five years, we'll all be doing stuff in the cloud, but Blu-ray is not going anywhere.  I think Blu-ray and digiatl delivery are going to peacefully co-exist.


When I was heavily involved in the format war, one of the "threats" that both camps had was how to get people to upgrade from DVD.  At that time one big hurdle was most consumers didn't have a HDTV to even see the difference in picture quality, but we were confident that it would pass.  The next big concern was would consumers be interested enough to upgrade from DVD like the conversion was from VHS to DVD.

We all knew that going from VHS to DVD provide many more features than just better video quality.  They were key features like no need to rewind, skipping to chapters instantly and the medium not wearing out after repeated use.  DVD to Blu-ray didn't offer those benefits.  Thus Blu-ray, to many consumers, is a premium product to DVD, not a replacement to DVD.

NPD currently tracks ownership of Blu-ray players at approximately 20% of US households, but the format is not expected to ever reach the 80% ownership rate enjoyed by standard DVD players in the US home.

I still consider digital distribution/streaming to be the biggest threat to Blu-ray.  When Apple came out with the iPod, no one could imagine that it would knock CD out of the market in the years to follow, even though the audio quality was, at the time, substantially less than CD.  However, convenience and portability trumped audio quality.


Unless UV takes off in a big way with the promise of portability and digital storage in a central place with the same audio/video quality as a Blu-ray disc, I don't know if I disagree with Anthony Wood.  I don't know if it will be in a 4 year time frame, but I think it is inevitable.

Crupnick of NPD seems to support my philosophy on this by stating:


If people get into the idea of UV, we could still be talking about physical media years from now


Personally, I don't use streaming media.  Even with the convenience factor, I would rather go to RedBox and rent a Blu-ray or wait and purchase the Blu-ray at a good price.


I know this flies in the face of all the members of HTF, including myself, but we are a minority of the larger consumer audience.  Personally, I want the audio and video quality of what we get on blu-ray in a moveable and portable format.  I want to replicate Kaleidescape's experience, but with a DIY solution or at least a reasonably priced solution that ALL the studios support.


What do you think?



#2 of 128 Michael Elliott

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Posted July 27 2012 - 06:33 PM

I personally just can't get excited for titles being re-released for the fourth and fifth time in the past decade or so. I'm sorry but I've owned the Universal monsters, the Hitchock and the countless other films too many times and these upcoming releases have nothing I need. I understand the need to collect and I understand some people owning five copies of DRACULA but I'm good. From TCM to Netflix to Amazon Prime to HuluPlus, the countless stations on Roku and Fandor....I just get a big yawn when it comes to Blu. I bought in at first but realizes there wasn't anything coming out that I didn't already own so I sold every title and my player is now collecting dust. As a film lover I'm more interested in checking out titles I haven't already seen and this is what streaming is able to do. My collection is fine for favorites but the need of buying these for the fourth time offers nothing. I still don't think physical media is going to be gone for good especially when you still have so many people willing to pay so much for DVD-R of titles. Whether stores continue to sell them might be a different subject. I used to buy into the "quality" thing in regards to Blu but for the first time in many years, I started going to the theater more. This is where the "quality" is and the love and hype of DVD is something that took me away from going to the movies. Now that I'm back, it's easy to say that no DVD or Blu can touch what an actual theater offers. It is weird to think back as I write this that DVD and the entire praise of a "home theater" took this away from me.

#3 of 128 Dave Vaughn

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Posted July 27 2012 - 06:35 PM

I can count on one hand the number of feature films I've streamed, and all of them have been for review purposes to test out a piece of equipment. I like physical media, but can see how people are switching to streaming. Most consumers could care less about the A/V quality nad they're lazy, so streaming works perfectly for the masses. The only thing that will slow its adoption will be bandwidth caps put in place by ISPs.
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#4 of 128 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 27 2012 - 07:25 PM

Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn 

I can count on one hand the number of feature films I've streamed, and all of them have been for review purposes to test out a piece of equipment. I like physical media, but can see how people are switching to streaming. Most consumers could care less about the A/V quality nad they're lazy, so streaming works perfectly for the masses. The only thing that will slow its adoption will be bandwidth caps put in place by ISPs.


I don't like how long it takes to stream/download a movie.  The PQ is still not on par with physical media.  I prefer the discs to streaming, but the latter has much to improve in order to get me to do more of it.








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#5 of 128 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 27 2012 - 07:38 PM

Originally Posted by Michael Elliott 

I personally just can't get excited for titles being re-released for the fourth and fifth time in the past decade or so. I'm sorry but I've owned the Universal monsters, the Hitchock and the countless other films too many times and these upcoming releases have nothing I need. I understand the need to collect and I understand some people owning five copies of DRACULA but I'm good.
From TCM to Netflix to Amazon Prime to HuluPlus, the countless stations on Roku and Fandor....I just get a big yawn when it comes to Blu. I bought in at first but realizes there wasn't anything coming out that I didn't already own so I sold every title and my player is now collecting dust.
As a film lover I'm more interested in checking out titles I haven't already seen and this is what streaming is able to do. My collection is fine for favorites but the need of buying these for the fourth time offers nothing.
I still don't think physical media is going to be gone for good especially when you still have so many people willing to pay so much for DVD-R of titles. Whether stores continue to sell them might be a different subject.
I used to buy into the "quality" thing in regards to Blu but for the first time in many years, I started going to the theater more. This is where the "quality" is and the love and hype of DVD is something that took me away from going to the movies. Now that I'm back, it's easy to say that no DVD or Blu can touch what an actual theater offers. It is weird to think back as I write this that DVD and the entire praise of a "home theater" took this away from me.

Michael,


The only thing I can say for your comments is wow.  I'm very excited about those Universal monsters, Hitchcock and other titles coming out on BRD.  I don't know what your HT equipment consist of, so maybe that's a factor in your lack of enthusiasm for this hobby right now.  Even Olive with their PQ concerns has me excited because I've seen number of titles for the first time on Blu-ray that never made it to my extensive DVD library because they weren't released in Region 1.  The same applies to DVD with those MOD programs and some titles that I haven't seen on a video format since the video tape era.  Perhaps, it's down to film taste as to why I'm very excited and you're not.  I'm a big western and crime film fan and I've been watching plenty of them on DVD and BRD that have been released for the first time on any type of disc media.  Anyhow, to each his own.






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#6 of 128 Persianimmortal

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Posted July 27 2012 - 08:51 PM

Although my day-to-day work revolves around technology and the Internet, and it's an area I'm very comfortable with, I still strongly prefer physical media. Indeed I should say that it's precisely because I understand the ins and outs of technology that I prefer physical media. Streaming content is convenient for the masses, as it allows quick access with little effort and lower cost to a wide variety of entertainment at reasonable quality. But it's still a compromise due to bandwidth limitations and DRM, and is still subject to potential interruptions and technical issues as a result. Online accounts can and do experience outages, slowdowns, glitches, can be hacked, etc. A blu-ray disc is not subject to any of these issues. Physical media provides you with full ownership, albeit at higher cost, of a higher quality product that is accessible at any time, irrespective of whether you have a subscription/login to a particular service or net access. So for me, without question, having access to a library of favorite movies on blu for viewing at a moment's notice, in the best possible image quality, is worth the price of admission. Still, I can see that the writing is definitely on the wall for blu-ray. Most people simply can't see (or care about) the difference in quality between streamed content and blu, and tend to consume movies like fast food (i.e. quantity over quality), and hence streaming will suit them a tee. I believe it also suits the film industry, as streaming lowers product cost, while also reducing price and increasing convenience, both of which can only increase consumption. Basically I can't think of a single reason why the average person would prefer physical over digital media in coming years. I used the fast food analogy a moment ago, and I think it's quite apt for this situation. High quality restaurants that provide great atmosphere and good quality food are a niche compared to McDonalds or KFC. In any city there may be a select few places you can go to get a fine meal, but a junk food outlet is on every corner. So it will be for blu vs. streaming.

#7 of 128 Everett Stallings

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Posted July 28 2012 - 02:37 AM

Well I tried the Disc to Digital thingy & when I complained about the picture being soft & panned & scanned, the tech told me it was becuse my movies were old. I said that's not true, my DVD's looked better!:rolleyes:
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#8 of 128 cineMANIAC

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Posted July 28 2012 - 02:58 AM

Streaming/downloading MAY replace Netflix for me but it will NEVER take the place of owning a physical copy of a film. There are lots of disposable movies being made today that I would never purchase on DVD and this is where downloading a film will come in (of course, it all depends on whether or not I have access to the internet. Right now, I'm "stealing" a neighbor's signal :D). Why any true film lover would want to watch LAWRENCE OF ARABIA downloaded onto a computer is beyond me. As for going to the movies being a "better" experience, yeah, if you're the ONLY one in the theater and didn't just spend $60 for tickets and popcorn, I can't see where it would be better.
 

 


#9 of 128 DaveF

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Posted July 28 2012 - 03:53 AM

Streaming is clearly the future of home video. But for me it's not yet the present.


I look at the Quality, Cost, Convenience. Blu-ray has the best video quality. And for TV seasons, it's generally the best cost (iTunes is always very expensive for the shows I want). And it's about even on convenience. Netflix doesn't have the shows I want to watch on Streaming. Amazon Prime doesn't work on my Tivo. And I don't have an AppleTV. Blu-ray is a bad UX, and inexcusably lost the restart-from-last-play of DVD (and of course VHS). But I don't have to worry about buffering or 'net access problems (like I see with YouTube), or lack of surround sound.


I still buy some DVD, too. With that, I know I can watch in the living room, or rip to watch on my iPad when flying. Blu-ray means living room only; but I should look again at iTunes for that.


I imagine I look into iTunes / Netflix / Amazon more seriously in the next year. I've got a backlog of TV on disc to watch. And I really don't like the user experience of Blu -- it's always, every single time, annoying. The convenience will start to pull me over to downloaded content.



#10 of 128 Ted Van Duyn

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Posted July 28 2012 - 03:54 AM

I'll be using BluRay players in four years. Watch me.

#11 of 128 Ted Van Duyn

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Posted July 28 2012 - 03:56 AM

Personally, I want the audio and video quality of what we get on blu-ray in a moveable and portable format.  I want to replicate Kaleidescape's experience, but with a DIY solution or at least a reasonably priced solution that ALL the studios support.

And for me, I'd like to share my movies.

#12 of 128 Brandon Conway

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Posted July 28 2012 - 03:58 AM

I use streaming to compliment my rentals. If I want to own something I buy it. The streaming services gain/lose titles too frequently to be relied upon long term.


"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


#13 of 128 Towergrove

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:16 AM

Im not reallly into Netflix streaming right now and when you look at the recent reports from the company qtr results new subscribers are slowing down.  The growth is declining and many are concerned including investors.


There will be many many people who prefer to stream films and television but there will also be many that prefer to own their media instead of rental.  We have for many years had choices as to how we can consume our media, be it disc, download, stream, off Cable TV, Directv and Dish, Itunes store, Netflix etc and I expect that choices will continue to be given to us in the future.


I would also like to point out that the ROKU gentleman who made that quote about Blu ray being used in 4 years is in the business to sell small hockey puck sized devices that stream movies.  What would you expect him to say??


One last note when I did try out Netflix several months ago I was heavy into classic drama TV and started watching some of them through the service.  I was half way into the series when I noticed that the next episodes were no longer available and that Netflix no longer has the rights to stream the content I was hoping to watch.  It was a big let down for me as I spent many many hours watching the series only to have it cut off by the powers that be.    I went out the next day and purchased the series on DVD instead.  This is another reason I like physical media or even Digital Downloads.


I have no negatives to Digital Downloads so long as they are in the proper formats and of high quality.  This is where I think the collectors market will be going next.  We will be downloading files like the upcoming Ultraviolet Common file format (CFF) to home servers, Disc, cloud or storing them whatever other way the end user chooses.


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#14 of 128 Bryan^H

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:18 AM

I am a bit concerned. Something that raised a red flag for me is Blu-Ray recorders. Panasonic, and Sony were set to release Blu-Ray recorders....in 2008. What happened? Did they realize that physical media may be in danger, and didn't want to risk a huge financial loss? DVR is great, but I have always been a physical media person. I would love to record HD programs on a blank Blu-Ray disc.

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#15 of 128 Towergrove

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:19 AM

Originally Posted by DaveF 

Streaming is clearly the future of home video. But for me it's not yet the present.


I look at the Quality, Cost, Convenience. Blu-ray has the best video quality. And for TV seasons, it's generally the best cost (iTunes is always very expensive for the shows I want). And it's about even on convenience. Netflix doesn't have the shows I want to watch on Streaming. Amazon Prime doesn't work on my Tivo. And I don't have an AppleTV. Blu-ray is a bad UX, and inexcusably lost the restart-from-last-play of DVD (and of course VHS). But I don't have to worry about buffering or 'net access problems (like I see with YouTube), or lack of surround sound.


I still buy some DVD, too. With that, I know I can watch in the living room, or rip to watch on my iPad when flying. Blu-ray means living room only; but I should look again at iTunes for that.


I imagine I look into iTunes / Netflix / Amazon more seriously in the next year. I've got a backlog of TV on disc to watch. And I really don't like the user experience of Blu -- it's always, every single time, annoying. The convenience will start to pull me over to downloaded content.


Dave I also notice that many of the services are including a Buy button (minus Netflix) that allows you to download to a device of your choice.  I think we will be seeing much more of this in the future.


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#16 of 128 Towergrove

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:22 AM

Originally Posted by Bryan^H 

I am a bit concerned. Something that raised a red flag for me is Blu-Ray recorders. Panasonic, and Sony were set to release Blu-Ray recorders....in 2008. What happened? Did they realize that physical media may be in danger, and didn't want to risk a huge financial loss?
DVR is great, but I have always been a physical media person. I would love to record HD programs on a blank Blu-Ray disc.


I have seen these in other markets but not in the US.  I forgot about them and glad you brought them up.


I have noticed recently that BD-R is catching on when it comes to records retention and management.  The secretary of states office does not recognize Hard Drive storage or Cloud as a long term backup.  They are however allowing properly burned DVD and BD media.   I am also seeing a big push now for BD-R in the medical records area.


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#17 of 128 Bryan^H

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:31 AM

I have seen these in other markets but not in the US.  I forgot about them and glad you brought them up. I have noticed recently that BD-R is catching on when it comes to records retention and management.  The secretary of states office does not recognize Hard Drive storage or Cloud as a long term backup.  They are however allowing properly burned DVD and BD media.   I am also seeing a big push now for BD-R in the medical records area.

From 2007: www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Z3Ie8jvrw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gcUbeD_3hk I was excited about these and I would have loved to own one. Oh well.

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#18 of 128 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:38 AM

You're not the only one that would've loved to own one or two of those recorders.


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#19 of 128 Dee Zee

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Posted July 28 2012 - 05:00 AM

I've had a HDTV since 2004 and Blu-ray since 2009. Earlier this year I bought a Sony Blu-ray player with WIFI and now we stream movies through Netflix and Amazon. I don't miss Netflix Blu-rays often sitting around for weeks before getting to them. Is a streamed HD movie as good as a Blu-ray? No. Right now, a streamed movie has no previews or commercials - straight into the program which I like. Our system works very fast, I would say it takes about 5 minutes to turn the system on and get to watching the movie. Netflix has a better set-up because you can stack titles into your instant queue. But Netflix (streaming only) is very limited on newer titles. Then we switch to Amazon which has 48 hour rental on new titles. Amazon's current set-up is a bit clunkier with their on-line search and as of yet, no place to stack titles that I know of. I still buy select Blu-ray releases of films I absolutely love.

#20 of 128 DaveF

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Posted July 28 2012 - 05:08 AM

I was sloppy; I think downloads are the future. It may not be streaming specifically or generally. But downloads, as with music and apps, are the future of distribution.

Originally Posted by Towergrove 


Dave I also notice that many of the services are including a Buy button (minus Netflix) that allows you to download to a device of your choice.  I think we will be seeing much more of this in the future.

That goes to my Cost factor: iTunes tends to be more expensive than physical media. And convenience: I don't have a simple way to play high-quality downloads on the 50" screen, yet.






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