8 thoughts on “Is Blue-Ray Dead?”

  1. That would be a shame too. Like all the Sony formats before it, Blu-Ray is quality media. Upsampling DVD players are nice, but they are nowhere near the same. And the bitrate on iTunes downloads is atrocious. All the color is squeezed out of it to keep it from clogging Comcast’s intertube.

    But I guess like all the Sony formats before it, good technology ruined by stupid, stupid businessmen. If you look at Amazon, they can sell you Blu-Ray and mail it or sell you an MP4 and download it. The former solution has better bandwidth and video quality, but if you go out of your way to piss off consumers …

  2. I haven’t gone blu-ray yet, and the reason is as Robin described. I haven’t even seen the $150 Blu-ray player. That’s a help. I’ve checked a few box stores for open item players, that I could get under $200. No luck. I’m simply not going to pay $200 plus (really even $150) for the privilege of watching a few movies.

    Add that I can get the latest DVD for $20 or see it with Blu-Ray for 50% more? Sorry, DVD is expensive enough. I usually by DVD the day it comes out for $15 or wait until it drops to $15. I don’t rent, which is my own quirk.

    I finally went HD-DVD a few months before it fell. We purchased an HD-DVD player, because we got it for around $80 new from Walmart. Fortunately, I only purchased 3 movies, 2 of which where dual-format with standard DVD, and 1 is the Discovery set of Planet Earth. Otherwise, I use the HD-DVD player as also a cheap upconvert, as it does that too. Since I have upconvert now, my large collection of DVD’s are still viable to me, and I can continue to purchase new DVD’s for significantly cheaper than Blu-Ray.

    I won’t say Blu-Ray is completely dead, as 1080p TV’s are dropping in price. Remember, that’s a variable not even mentioned by Robin. To fully enjoy Blu-Ray, you also have to have a 1080p television. Otherwise, you are getting a quality that’s dithered down to be close to what you are getting with DVD dithered up. So there’s another reason for people to slowly move towards Blu-Ray.

  3. Actually, a 720p or 1080i HDTV makes Blu-ray Disc worth watching, not just a 1080p.

    Frankly, until you get bigger than 42″ or so, the majority of people (even video-philes) wouldn’t see any difference between 1080i and 1080p from a reasonable viewing distance.

    I’m frankly surprised that Sony didn’t sue DirecTV for their claims of their HD service in comparison to Blu-ray, even though DirecTV was very careful about the way they worded it.

    Robin, like most journalists, is just jumping on the bandwagon so that, if Blu-ray actually dies off, he can say “I told you so”. And if it doesn’t die, he can say “my comments helped Sony Execs see the light.”

  4. “Frankly, until you get bigger than 42″ or so, the majority of people (even video-philes) wouldn’t see any difference between 1080i and 1080p from a reasonable viewing distance.”

    I remember paging through “Accidental Empires” written by one of the avatars of “Robert X Cringely”, and there was a section where some geek was oo-ing and ah-ing over Computer Modern type from LaTeX rendered on a then-new 300-dpi laser printer. The geek-dude was ga-ga about how this arrangement was going to make every science-math-engineering professor their own scientific publishing house — Cringely was scratching his head that anyone saw any comparison between that blurred mess to (the then common) photo typesetting of a professional-quality textbook.

    One of the dead horses I have been beating for the years that everyone has been replacing their Sony Trinitrons with LCD flatpanels is the issue of motion blur.

    I use computers to render “voice prints” (time-frequency Fourier gray-scale spectrograms), and I have this way to scroll them that involves synchronization with the vertical retrace of the monitor. Do any of you remember from the pre-PC days of glass terminals this DEC terminal that had a smooth non-blurred text scroll? Well, the use of vertical-retrace sync results in a similar blur-free scroll of those voice prints on a CRT monitor.

    You do this on an LCD, and the scroll looks like a pile of . . . what we will call in polite company mud. Need an LCD with a faster pixel response you say? Well, no, the problem is only partly ameliorated with that.

    Turns out the problem with motion blur relates to “sample-and-hold” images of LCD vs “strobed” images of CRT. Now, few people will use their new HD TV panels to spend the day watching computer-generated voice prints scroll by the screen, and I imagine TV producers will avoid slow pans to make the motion blur problem less noticable. But the motion blur is still there if you look for it, and I find it as annoying as all bother.

    It also turns out that I am not the lone maniac with the scrolling voice prints worried about LCD motion blur — Google LCD motion blur and sample-and-hold effect and you will find corroboration of what I have observed on my voice prints. Various solutions have been proposed — strobing the backlight, inserting black frames at a doubled frame rate. More recently Samsung seems to think that a 120 Hz frame rate will counteract motion blur, and they are throwing image processing DSPs to do the necessary edge detection to get the required non-averaging interpolation between frames.

    I asked a friend if I should get the Samsung 120 Hz frame rate TV, and his response is that he wondered if it made any difference when stations were all broadcasting in 1080i. So that’s rich — you go to the Best Buy to shop and see a Samsung set plugged into 1080p HD-DVD or Blue-ray or whatever, and you take it home, plug it in, and watch a motion-blurred, juddered mess of a 1080i TV broadcast.

    I was in an Office Depot watching Oprah and Jeopardy on a floor-model HDTV. Office Depot is not wise to the Best Buy trick of controlling what you see on those sets. It was a motion-blurred juddered coder-artifacted shimmery mess. And people are still ga-ga over HDTV? I am going to watch TV on one of those converter boxes I have already set up because I can’t see this new stuff as being any improvement. People are looking at 300 DPI Computer Modern spit out by LaTeX on a Laserjet II at this stage and thinking they are matching a photo typesetter.

    1080p — 1080i — can’t see the difference at normal viewing distance — yeah, they both have enough coder artifact, bad camera lenses, motion blur, and whatever to look equally bad. This HDTV thing is a disaster apart from the fact that we will all go out and print our manuscripts using LaTeX on our Laserjet II’s that we just dropped 2 grand on and think we are matching what the publishing houses are doing.

  5. Actually, a 720p or 1080i HDTV makes Blu-ray Disc worth watching, not just a 1080p.

    Frankly John, you are missing the argument. It is your opinion that Blu-Ray is worth watching. You are in a small minority, judging by market share. Frankly, you can complain about Robin’s article, but his point is that Sony has placed a premium on Blu-Ray that puts it a niche that will keep it a small market share. Frankly, this isn’t the first time Sony has made a blunder like this.

  6. Actually, you said that a precondition to being able to enjoy a Blu-ray Disc was the ownership of a 1080p TV. I was refuting that assertion.

    None of the studios have done themselves any favors with regards to pricing, as even regular DVDs are still over-priced, with new releases jumping to $25 each after their initial one-week sale period.

    Frankly, I find it a little bit bothersome that the market and our society has gotten to the point where new products have to make a significant showing in under 6 months, or they’re written off as fads and failures. VCRs took much longer to permeate the market, as did DVD players. To call Blu-ray a failure after being on the market for less than 2 years is more a sign of a problem with our society’s collective attention span than with the product itself.

  7. Apparently my caveat, To fully enjoy Blu-Ray, was missed.

    Look, I agree that Blu-Ray looks better, and I agree you need to go bigger than 42″ to see the difference of 1080p and 720p.

    I do agree with your final paragraph. Which is ironic, becuase it was your final paragraph of your first comment that caused me to respond. As much as I think that Blu-Ray shouldn’t just be written off, I also hope Robin’s article is one more thing to get Sony to realize they are alienating customers. They are certainly free to do that, but so long as they do, I will more away from their brand. And not that long ago, I was all Sony for my home entertainment system.

    Then again, Rand and Mike can point out that I chose Bose for my personal entertainment system, so I’m hardly an expert to listen to. 😉

  8. The success of Blue Ray won’t be down to the movies that are bought and watched but by the purchase of writers in PC’s.

    Unless the price of Blue Ray writers and media comes down then it won’t reap the rewards that it does probably deserve.

    I bought the first generation of DVD Writer for my PC when it arrived and that was £600. In a year they had halved in price and from then very rapidly came down to the very affordable £20 or so that you can now get them for.

    DVD disks can now be had for around £15 per hundred, although I have noticed that Dual Layer has not come down in price to quite the same levels.

    The more content that gets more easily and affordably written and distributed then the more Blue Ray would take off.

    I think that unless something significant happens in the next year then the format is likely to come into further competition from newer technologies.

    Hard drives are far cheaper and more versatile, with a far lower bang for your buck and this is one reason why I won’t be drawn into the Blue Ray format.

    One other is that I am quite happy with the upscaling of DVD’s to HD Televisions and I think it fair to say that most people watching the content are not videophiles with a need to interogate every aspect of the content being shown to them. If it looks better and is acceptable then most will be happy enough bunnies and will spend their hard earned cash in other ways.

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