Almost Blu

Friday, January 09, 2009

Transcript

A year ago at the Consumer Electronics Show, Blu-ray was taking its victory lap as the winner of the hi-def home movie format war. But in the intervening year skeptics have argued that downloading and streaming movies may prematurely end Blu-ray’s reign. Home Theater Magazine editor Shane Buettner explains the stakes for movie lovers.

Comments [14]

fred from usa ca

your last thing about consumer technology always requiring "3 things" is really off. in fact it fails to explain why hdtv flat panels are selling at even walmart. so clearly its wrong. if the price of bluray comes down the difference in quality alone is enough, just as the difference in size/quality of tvs was enough.

"While a significant portion of America's population is worried about where they will sleep tonight or how they will make their newly ballooned mortgage payment, or heat the place in which they will sleep or if their jobs will still be there when they pay for the fuel to get there the next morning, you want to discuss the number of megapixels and think that isn't an elitist consideration. "

you are arguing on the internet about megapixels yourself, while children in africa are starving. by your own standards you should really pack your pc up and sell it and donate the funds to african charity. perhaps put your broadband bill fund towards such an end as well. since you want to go down that road you might as well be consistent.

Jan. 17 2009 04:50 PM
fred from usa ca

i didn't say it was a must buy, i said to poo poo it as something that isn't the future is to really bury your head in the sand, let alone to claim it doesn't make a tangible difference in consumer experience. sure some people can't afford 50 dollars. but if you want to bring it down to that level, you might as well go around claiming that all new cars are totally useless and anyone talking about them is "out of touch". its a pretty absurd level of argument. unless you think the economy is going to be so bad that the majority of folks will not be able to afford simple consumer comforts the fact is people are going to continue to buy their gadgets. from ipods to hdtvs. do please remember some people thought ipods were elitist when they came out and cost a couple hundred dollars. now everyone has mp3 players and they can cost very little indeed.

if you think i'm elitist you've lost track of the plot or have been reading too much of chris gray. look at my first post. it was to complain about the price of bluray. its not a matter of having the nicest toy for a few minutes, its about progress. if it were not we'd still have black and white tube tvs. progress is good.

in fact i remember when over a decade ago i got a 27" panasonic tube tv for about 600 dollars. if you included inflation it would be even more. was that an elitist tv back then as well? ;) even then that tv was not that big. i'm not sure why anyone would claim 600 dollar 42" is elitist level consumerism at all.

Jan. 17 2009 04:49 PM
fred from usa ca

"I should have included iPods, iPhones, Zumes, etc. in my examples of the general public's lack of concern about visual quality in their video entertainment. How can you seriously argue that improvements in picture quality will push the general public to adopt a new technology that is incompatible with what they presently have when these tiny screens are selling in the millions?"

rather simple. they didn't buy ipods for visual quality because ipods are about convenience, any quality sacrificed is a trade off that is deemed worth the portability. this is entirely different from the home theater situation. in fact it is an argument against the claimed luddite masses, as providing/converting video for such small screens is far far harder than programming a vcr. like it or not the base standard has been going up for years now. at walmart you can get a surround sound system with dvd player for what? 150-200 dollars? remember back in the vhs days? almost no one had surround sound. so you cannot claim the general public to be luddites uncaring about improving their experience. in fact just look at the shelves of walmart..costco, its a wall of wide screen flat panels in their tv section now. most dont even bother with a crt tv anymore, going large as 52" at walmart! the improved quality is clear for the consumer to see and if they didn't care at all about such things, walmart certainly wouldn't bother carrying such expensive toys.

Jan. 17 2009 04:49 PM
fred from usa ca

"You just don't get it! "

no actually i do. whats really expensive in life for people? things like vacations abroad are. during recessions people hunker down and spend on home entertainment. it is cheaper as a whole than many other things people can do for fun. sure, if you have no home all this is irrelevant to you, but people so poor are never really a big factor in technology anyways. unless you are predicting that over half of people are going to lose all their belongings in the next couple years then its really an over statement of whats going on and its impact on such consumer technology. like it or not, even during recessions, many people have jobs and do buy things.

just because your friend is an engineer doesn't mean they have the best tv or set it up correctly. one thing does not always lead to another. you might as well claim engineers are all likely to be good at fixing cars. sometimes they just don't care to learn anything beyond their area of expertise. the simple fact is on a good well setup tv there is the potential for 6 times the resolution. a difference even a child could see.

"Honest, you are still quite adolescent, Fred. Go watched "Knocked Up" or "Brothers-In-Law" in HD and stay out of adult conversations. "

considering your general tone i suggest you take your own advice.

Jan. 17 2009 04:48 PM
Bill Scott from Seattle

I should have included iPods, iPhones, Zumes, etc. in my examples of the general public's lack of concern about visual quality in their video entertainment. How can you seriously argue that improvements in picture quality will push the general public to adopt a new technology that is incompatible with what they presently have when these tiny screens are selling in the millions?
And I need to apologize by eletist I didn't mean wealthy. Though I do agree with Mr. Gray that insisting a $600 video screen is a must buy when there are tens of millions of people in this country who will soon loose the video entertainment they have because they can't find $50 for a converter box seems out of touch.
What I was thinking of by eletist are the engineering and conspicuous consumption types (usually different people) who always have to have the latest and greatest and say that anything even a few minutes old is obsolete. I see these people as eletist because they condemn all of the people who aren't like them and the vast majority of the people aren't like them. Just as the majority of people in this country are over forty years of age and don't have a high percentage of disposable income.
Consumer Electronics do one thing, they deliver content. An advance in technology will not cause a new wave of adoption unless it does one or more of three things: delivers new content, significantly increases conveinience or decreases cost.
So far, Bluray does not offer any of these three things.

Jan. 16 2009 10:44 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven

You just don't get it!

While a significant portion of America's population is worried about where they will sleep tonight or how they will make their newly ballooned mortgage payment, or heat the place in which they will sleep or if their jobs will still be there when they pay for the fuel to get there the next morning, you want to discuss the number of megapixels and think that isn't an elitist consideration.

Honest, you are still quite adolescent, Fred. Go watched "Knocked Up" or "Brothers-In-Law" in HD and stay out of adult conversations.

By the way, I believe the gentleman in question was an engineer and I never actually saw the equipment to which he referred. My brother-in-law's is pretty advanced, but luddite that I am, (and, by the way, I helped establish public access tv in our service area a generation ago, so I made tv as well as watched it) I am still not at all impressed.

Jan. 15 2009 11:20 AM
fred from usa ca

"I remember when the father of a Yalie I had a crush on blathered on about high def in the '80s and I watched some on my brother-in-laws giant screen Christmas day and, frankly, it still didn't impress me."

how old was his hdtv.
early hdtv's were sometimes travesties. claims of resolution that could not be delivered. and frankly gave hd a bad name. its getting better now, especially with 1080p tv's, the pixel count and pixel rendering are now finally matching the hype. if you think that its just a given that naturally you barely see the difference between 1/3 of a mega pixel and 2megapixels then i suggest you consider what that number means in digital camera terms. you can very obviously appreciate the difference unless you are blind. so i'm guessing he didn't set it up right, or had lousy equipment. 6 times the resolution isn't something that you can scoff at if it is delivered on screen. it is about as significant a difference as it gets. just look at the screenshots. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=811102

Jan. 13 2009 06:01 PM
fred from usa ca

i think people who stuck with vhs out of habit are dying off to be frank. its the ipod/high tech generation we are talking about, and the sales of the hdtv's surpassing old tvs quite a while ago shows it. people are not the luddites you would like them to be. how many people buy film cameras now? think about it. the current generation plays video games, and can program vcrs unlike previous ones even if they no longer have vcrs anymore. you might as well complain that mp3 is elitist because you are still stuck with a tape deck.

if you want to see screenshot comparisons of the real difference between bluray and dvd http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=811102
big screenshots. you can reproduce these shots at home if you want to double check.

and to pull out the elitist terminology is really a bad move. hdtv is hardly elitist, 42" were down to 600 dollar this christmas at best buy. the new generation grows up on hd consoles. the times are changing, and its been and is becoming easily accessible for far more people than you think. even youtube is experimenting with hd.

on bluray picture quality. yes like dvd sometimes studios do a bad job of a release. you saw this quite often with early dvd releases. its getting better with bluray. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=858316 index of titles with quality guide. but its hardly a good argument against bluray to be frank. as for you bringing up "the asylum" i don't get what a 3rd rate straight to video studio has to do with anything.

to be frank, i don't think anyone under 40 has a vcr anymore. or at least uses it. and its a real shame, even old classic films benefit massively from hd, when restored well the fact that film has a higher resolution than hd yields a picture that is amazing, and gives the movie goer an experience of seeing an old film in all its glory, something that has not been accessible to the public since these films were released.

Jan. 13 2009 05:59 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven

Bill Scott, boy do I agree!

I remember when the father of a Yalie I had a crush on blathered on about high def in the '80s and I watched some on my brother-in-laws giant screen Christmas day and, frankly, it still didn't impress me.

For medical imaging, I could see the investment. For the junk on tv or on the market, it is a ridiculous waste of money and just another example of why our economy is in the tank and will continue to be until the adolescents in our society grow up. Boo hoo to the Bluray generation and, especially, the greedy idiots at Sony. You're all foolish.

I watch videotapes, dvds, and stuff on the cable company's dvr but I hope I never have to watch one of these things. I'll wait for the Dark Knight to come to broadcast. By then, the goverment will probably be able to afford to help me buy a converter box, again, and I'll be back on rabbit ears.

Jan. 13 2009 05:06 PM
Bill Scott from Seattle

Fred,
I just watched a movie released by "The Asylum." The cinematography was terrible, they didn't take enough shots or light them well. On the disc were trailers for other Asylum films where the cinematography was worse. But companies like the Asylum are flooding the shelves with this cheap junk which will not look better no matter how many megapixels or diagonal inches you play it at.
Several years ago when the networks were debating broadcasting in HD a senior executive at NBC spoke to the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. He told this room full of TV people that his wife was upstairs in their room watching her soaps on video tape recorded in extra long play. The tape had been recorded over several dozen times and the image looked like soup, and his wife was perfectly happy.
Your reasoning for the shift to Bluray comes across as eletist. I won't pay over a hundred bucks for the player or the screen. I don't have it. And I can't afford to buy another copy of "Armageddon." I'm still watching the video tape I bought, used, a decade ago. And no matter how great the visual it won't make the scene where Harry says goodbye to Grace any better or worse.
The general public doesn't care about a better picture or audio, they want a better story, greater physical convenience and less cost. Bluray does not offer these.

Jan. 13 2009 08:32 AM
fred from usa ca

no, the "why" is rapidly being answered when 700-800 dollars now bags you a 1080p 42" tv.
and its only going to get better.

cinema is a fundamentally visual experience, and the detail offered by bluray is incredible. you are talking about 2 megapixels of image vs 0.3 megapixels of dvd, you wouldn't buy a digital camera with such low resolution, let alone display its images on a big tv.

the only stumbling block is the ridiculous pricing.

Jan. 12 2009 03:42 PM
Bill Scott from Seattle Washington

Why do we need "Bluray?"
The competition to Bluray in my mind isn't download and streaming video its DVDs and inertia. I don't want to "... buy the white album all over again." Bluray does not offer a big step up from DVD.
Better picture!
So what?
Now if they offered better movies that would be something of interest.
DVDs offered "easter eggs" and a much more convenient format to physically handle. It doesn't bind up in the machine, you can jump to your favorite scenes, you can freeze frame where she takes off her clothes without damaging the disk and it doesn't wear out if you've been good to it.
I understand the producers want to make DVDs obsolete but you have to offer something more then an incremental advance. The nice thing about HD DVDs was I could still watch my old disks. I don't want to buy something else.
And Downloads ...
They are really convenient. You don't buy or rent what you think you're going to want to watch, you watch what you want to watch at that moment. But where are the extras?
Downloads don't have featurets, interviews, or commentaries. And they're a real hassle to move around in.
I HOPE Bluray doesn't replace DVDs.

Jan. 12 2009 05:11 AM
fred from usa ca

Well, the thing is that Bluray is superior to all those web based services and dvd by a wide margin. Despite upscaler dvd player claims, and so called HD streaming, none get close to bluray quality. No amount of upscaling will make the difference of 6 times the resolution go away, there is no magic, and HD streaming tends to be bitrate starved half resolution HD 720p which is marginally better than dvd.

Where bluray really screwed the pooch was the film prices. 25-30 dollar blurays look ridiculous next to 9.99 dvds. It doesn't matter how close to $100 the bluray player gets if the film prices are totally out of wack with what people consider reasonable. So once again greed is close to killing a format. Even with HDDVD gone this factor has totally killed blurays momentum.

Jan. 11 2009 09:15 PM
Chuck Gerhold from Kitty Hawk, NC

You missed the point all together! I don't have 'Blu-ray' nor will I have 'Blu-ray'. Sony burned me on the HD-DVD vs Blu-ray issue. After investing in HD-DVD, both equipment and media and then having that format removed from the market by Sony's questionable market manupilations, I will not be burned again! There is more than addiquate HD content available over the air and on-line for me to"double-down" on a format that really offers very little. Yes, there is some content that benefits from HD like the "Planet Earth" series but most of what's available offers little over up converted standard DVDs.
On principal, I will not line Sony's pockets by purchasing ANY Blu-ray equipment from them or anybody paying their licensig fees.

Jan. 11 2009 08:37 AM

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