Transterrestrial Musings

Defend Free Speech!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type 4.0
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« Meet The New New Deal | Main | A Beautiful Math »

Is Blue-Ray Dead?

This guy thinks so, and Sony killed it. I hadn't been paying much attention, as I rarely rent videos.


0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Is Blue-Ray Dead?.

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Brock wrote:

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 ...

Leland wrote:

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.

John wrote:

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."

Paul Milenkovic wrote:

"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.

Leland wrote:

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.

John wrote:

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.

Leland wrote:

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. ;)

Leave a comment

Note: The comment system is functional, but timing out when returning a response page. If you have submitted a comment, DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A "500" PAGE. Simply click your browser "Back" button to the post page, and then refresh to see your comment.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 29, 2008 11:25 AM.

Meet The New New Deal was the previous entry in this blog.

A Beautiful Math is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1