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Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Discussions about High Definition Television, Blu-Ray, HD DVD and other high definition DVD formats.

Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Bobby » Mon May 04, 2009 6:39 pm

I did my local newspaper column last week on getting YouTube video to your TV, but that led me to thinking more about interfacing your TV to your network or a hard drive and looking at the boxes such as the WD TV Media Player. I got some good input here - thanks guys.

I also did a checkpoint on Blu-Ray players, etc. and it doesn't look good. At the local Best Buy the store brand was $200 for a player and the rest (Samsung, Sony, etc.) were $250-$350 - and only a handful to choose from. Looking up Blu-Ray writer drives on Newegg yielded only a few results from $200 to $250, and none at Best Buy. I looked for blank BD-R at Best Buy and in an entire row of CDs and DVDs, there was only ONE BD-R package at about $10 for 3. But looking at media prices around the 'net, BD-R were $8 each and up!

So given that Blu-Ray prices are astronomical even a year after Hitachi withdrew HD-DVD, and given that other methods of getting home generated HD to your TV, I think Blu-Ray may be in serious trouble. Just as music on iPods and downloads has almost killed the music CD market, digital hi-def on hard drives or via the network is going to kill Blu-Ray before it even got started.

I think I am definitely going to get the WD box (one sale at $99) and I have plenty of USB hard drive space. A much cheaper HD solution for me. But I do have to get a HDMI switchbox, as my TV has only 2 inputs and both already spoken for.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby tiny » Mon May 04, 2009 7:20 pm

I don't think so. I think things are starting to pick up based off of recent news I've heard concerning BD sales. Yeah there is some stiff competition with digital copies these days, but it is still easiest and still offers the best image/audio to go with a BD. One thing I've also noticed is Blu-Ray disks being bundled with digital copies. The fact that the studios see a need for this, means that they see a physical disk format on the way out. I would be willing to bet that digital distribution will eventually take over, but not for many more years. ISP's need to stop hording the bandwidth, and once that happens, storage is already a non issue, so I don't think there would be much stopping digital distribution from taking off at that point.

It will be slick when the day comes that I'm streaming full HD footage to my TV from my computer, but as of right now it is fairly low resolution stuff. Also the HD streaming that Netflix offers looks decent, but it's not full HD.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Bill Hunt » Mon May 04, 2009 7:51 pm

Bobby,

I think that what we'll see will be a split in the market, with BD being used as more of a commercial delivery format, and the various methods that you mention being embraced by those, who wish to provide personal HD material. For BD, I believe that only the commercial releases will continue, and the consumer segment will become an evolutionary dead-end.

Sony and the motion picture industry have almost effectively cut off the delivery of BD content to clients without spending mega-bucks on their licensing, royalties, authoring software and having "flaming hoops" to jump through. They are banking that the market does not need the wedding videographer, who wishes to deliver the material to the client on BD. There have even been some firmware updates that effectively kill using any burned BD in some playback devices.

I find it interesting that some higher-end equipment manufacturers only offer a single BD capable set-top player, while they still have a full lineup of DVD players. Have not talked to my good friends in the distribution end of things, to see what was "hot" at either CES, or NAB, but I'll bet that the BD end of things was pretty bleak. Just glad that I did not spend the big bucks, when BD players first came out.

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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Tue May 05, 2009 1:26 am

We have had some aspects of this discussion before and I am in broad agreement with the views expressed here. I bought a BD player (Panasonic BD30) when the UK price was about £240, including taxes. If I were an avid gamer I would have boughta PlayStation instead and used that to play BDs. On my player both commercial and home produced BDs look great when displayed on my 46" LCD TV. Upscaled DVDs also look good.

But my problem with Blu-Ray is probably with the marketeers. The only way (IMHO) that BD is going to get to significant market penetration is via realistic pricing both for players and BD discs. Blank BD-Rs in the UK are £5+ (inc taxes). Blank DVDs are £0.24. Commercial (i.e. film) BDs are around £18, the same material on DVD is <£10.

BD pricing must become more in line with what customers will willingly pay. I, for one, don't buy commercial BDs because of the price premium over DVDs. My major BD usage is for home made material.

And I am in agreement with the sentiment that streamed HD material will close the door on BD for good. It appears to me that unless some 'short run' thinking takes place on pricing so that volume sales drive the format's wider adoption, the medium term looks very threatening. Which will come back to bite me as my spend on BD (as a relatively early adopter) will have been wasted. :???:
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Bobby » Tue May 05, 2009 6:37 am

Of the set of my friends and relatives, only one has a Blu-Ray player and he received it as a gift.

One interesting aspect of that is that he is a Netflix user and signed up for the Blu-Ray distribution. He is getting noticeably slower service on new films than I am and they complain about that often. It shows that even Netflix may not be fully on-board enough to spend the money for adequate stock for distribution. Netflix needs an option something like "Send me the film in either format, but Blu-Ray if available".
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Ken Jarstad » Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:52 pm

Perhaps it is time to resurrect this topic.

I just bought a Sharp Aquos Blu-Ray player BD-HP16U from Costco for $130.00 usd. They advertise 30 dollars off and now apply the rebate right at checkout! The unit is still too new to tell if it has any problems but it played an entire BD movie we rented last night. The price NOW seems about right.

So, this morning I went looking on Google Shopping for an internal BD burner and found an OEM unit by LG on NewEgg for $160. I'm thinking of adding one to the new rig I am planning to get after Win7 comes out. The price for this drive now seems much more reasonable.

With the prices for BD players now at $130 more people will have them and Blu-Ray media will soon become more viable. It has taken awhile but I see "light at the end of this tunnel."

Your thoughts?
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:09 pm

Blank BD media in the UK is still >£5. Commercial videos are still +50% or more on BD.

The encroachment of things like the WD device mentioned in various threads here plus things like Popcorn Hour and HDX media tanks.....I think that BD is nearing its death throes as other, cheaper technologies steal the market.

But then maybe I'm just too jaundiced in my views..... :???:
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Ken Jarstad » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Hey John,

Pardon my ignorance but I'm not a world traveler - and for many years I thought what looks like a funny-shaped character 'L' stood for Lira! That should be good for a laugh. But when I found out it stood for pound sterling I realized that method of denominating money is a much better idea. Here, our coins have been laminated in recent years, adding copper in the middle, because the metals were worth more than the face denominated values! Denominating by weight seems like a much better idea.

The local Blockbuster chain recently raised rental prices from 4.50 to 5.00 usd and rents both DVD and BD-DVD for the same price. The remaining factor will be blank media prices and volume should eventually drive them down, too. Using an on line calculator I see that your blank media now are about 8 usd. I found them for 3 to 5 usd although I don't know if they are any more reliable for burning at home than plain DVD media. http://www.cdrdvdrmedia.com/blu-ray-dvd-media-discs.html I always use premium DVD media such as T-Y.

As for streaming devices, they have peaked my interest but they don't seem to be mainstream. No shops I am aware of have those devices available so they seem relegated to techies. BD suppliers know that XBox owners (only) will limit BD distribution.

Thanks for the input.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Bobby » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:12 pm

Interesting about the Costco price, Ken. I just bought a regular DVD player at Costco yesterday! I needed one and didn't want to spend any significant money for a BD unit.

But I can't find that unit at all on the Costco website - was it an in-store special?
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Shrimpfarmer » Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:36 pm

Well I bought a PS3 as my blue ray player. It plays rented disks great, it upscales my dvds great and it totally does away with the need for a blue ray burner and expensive media to watch my HD home movies on my 50" plasma tv. I just send the file to a USB disk and the PS3 plays it. It handles HD slide shows just great, plays all my music and it even plays games if you want to. For me its the easiest way to get HD into the living room.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Ken Jarstad » Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:42 pm

Hi Bob. I'm not aware of that unit being an in-store special. The manufacture date is January, 2009, and just a few months ago the prices were 200 usd and up. My local Costco has stacks of Sharp, Panasonic and Sony BD players. They all have rebate announcements and, IIRC, the Sony has a 60 usd rebate. So, they are all under 200 usd now. The new prices for the players and flat screens are lower than I have ever seen them. My impression is they are going for broke and will make up the difference in volume. Good news for those who still have jobs or any discretionary money.

@Shrimpfarmer - I am 61 years old and a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to game machines. That solution seems good but aimed at teenagers and twenty-somethings. The cost is still higher, too. The newer streaming devices really ought to be marketed better as a more mainstream solution.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Paul LS » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:48 pm

I am 61 years old and a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to game machines. That solution seems good but aimed at teenagers and twenty-somethings.
... actual Ken I think the PS3 is better described as an advanced media center that also happens to plays games... from what I have read about it anyway. :-D
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Ken Jarstad » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:21 pm

Really, Paul? If it were marketed that way perhaps I would look into it. I am put off by the fact it is a game machine. Does it cost around $150 usd? That is the target price point that makes these things reasonably interesting.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby Shrimpfarmer » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:20 am

Well I am 50yrs old and I love my PS3.

Forget about the games aspect of the PS3, its a sleek black box that fits in well to the living room. It has a slot where you slide in your disks and two usb ports on the front to connect USB disks/sticks etc. The menu system is very similar to a DVD player. The main difference is that you will control it via a games controller (unless you opt to buy an dvd remote which would be a waste of money). Its very easy to control.

In the UK the PS3 has not caught on well due to the overwhelming success of the Xbox. Prices have dropped and there are a large number of secondhand machines available in gamestores because hard core gamers have switched to the Xbox.

Put the PS3 to the test. If you have a spare usb drive, put some of your films onto it, including HD if you have it then find a dealer who will let you plug in the usb drive and play your films. Then you will see just how easy it is to play all of your films without having to burn them to expensive blueray media.

In my view blue ray disks will not catch on. People will eventually have their wedding videos supplied on usb hard drives or usb memory sticks. They will just plug them in when they want to watch the movie or copy them from the stick to the internal hard drive of the PS3.

The PS3 is so underestimated and that is a real shame.
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Re: Blu-Ray Dead or Stillborn?

Postby George Tyndall » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:57 am

Shrimpfarmer wrote:Put the PS3 to the test. If you have a spare usb drive, put some of your films onto it, including HD if you have it then find a dealer who will let you plug in the usb drive and play your films. Then you will see just how easy it is to play all of your films without having to burn them to expensive blueray media.


Shrimpfarmer, with 1TB external USB HDDs now selling for under $150, it seems obvious that HDDs are the way to go for storing and playing back one's Hi-Def creations on one's HD TV. And with many if not most HD TVS now offering a slot to plug in a USB drive, it seems equally obvious that, if one's objective is to create a HD project for another user, then outputtting the project to a USB drive is the way to go.

Given the above capabilities, is there still a reason to purchase either an XBox or a PS3?
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