“I have an HD DVD player and about ten or so films, but in no way, shape or form am I rich. However, if one is to buy a Blu-Ray player, one would indeed need to be rich. ;-)”
____________________-- talkbaker "Shawn F.," June 14, 2006
The first batch of Blu-ray titles goes on sale today, with the first Blu-ray player, the Samsung BD-P1000, hitting the market next Sunday.
Sony has invested many a dollar in the Blu-ray format, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is issuing about 15,000 copies of each of its June 20 Blu-ray titles.
So is "Shawn F." right? Who’s buying the Samsung Blu-ray? The players start at $999, while Toshiba’s rival HD-DVD player is retailing for $499.99.
An excerpt from last Friday’s Blu-ray story in The Hollywood Reporter:
[SPHE president Benjamin] Feingold said the initial batch of Sony Blu-ray Disc titles will feature some, but not all, of the bonus materials found on the DVD versions.
"Our strategy is to have the best resolution," Feingold said. "We are devoted to increasing the bit rate as high as you can, and we're finding that even with 25 gigabytes we could use more capacity. So we are looking forward to having a 50-gigabyte disc available, starting toward the end of summer."
Huh. Some of the HD-DVD discs are already carrying MORE extras than the DVD versions; what kind of strategy necessitates the Blu-ray sets carrying FEWER extras than their SD DVD counterparts?? If capacity’s an issue on these Blu-Ray discs, why not just include an extra disc or two?? I tell ya, it’s like Sony is begging consumers to steer clear of the Blu-ray format!
I exchanged some e-mail this week with someone who said he was already snapping up Blu-ray discs, but had no intention of buying either the the Samsung player or Sony Blu-Ray player due in August. His plan is to wait till November, when the $600 PlayStation 3 unit – which is expected to play Blu-ray movies (as well as videogames) – hits the market.
When I asked why he made the early move to Blu-ray, he cited his reasons:
Technically I think the format is superior. The HD DVD camp even states that their format is evolutionary. They tout it as an advantage. What we need is revolutionary. I make my living as a video editor and am VERY picky when it comes to audio/video quality. I happen to think that most DVDs look pretty crappy. I constantly see video artifacts.
Blu Ray's "bit bucket" is much larger than HD DVDs. There is also potential for better audio as well. More bits is better. The hybrid discs that have HD DVD on one side and DVD on the other are pointless. I'm looking forward. Not back
Sony has been stupid many times in the past with proprietary technology. This time it is Toshiba who is being stupid. They are the betamax (although Blu Ray is technically superior-theoretically). There are far more companies in the Blu Ray camp. More importantly there are far more studios who have pledged their support to BD. And we all know content is king. I think Universal will eventually come around.
I believe the PS3 is the "killer app" that will crush HD DVD (if Sony doesn't screw the pooch somehow). The cheapest HD DVD player is the $499 Toshiba. Coincidentally that was the price of their first DVD player in '97.
For $100 more you get a player that plays CDs, DVDs, hidef movies and every PS 1 and PS 2 game you own plus whatever games they have in store for us. The XBOX 360 will cost the same once they add the HD DVD external drive-but no HDMI outputs!!!
Those are my "rational" reasons". Here are my political emotional ones:
Any technology that Micro$oft is behind-I'm against. They always steal/copy other company's ideas or technology and they always do a shitty job copying it. I don't think their VC-1 technology is going anywhere. Too many companies hate/fear Mico$oft. I was at the NAB show in Vegas last April. MPEG4 (AVC) was everywhere. VC-1 not so much. I attended a Micro$oft demo and they actually lied about MPEG4. Just pathetic.
I am against Toshiba. They "won" the first DVD war when Sony capitulated to a bonded disc structure. We'll see how DVDs hold up over the long term. Remember "laser rot" in laserdiscs? I still am expecting something like that to happen with DVD. I've got some older discs that no longer play. Toshiba also never supported the DVD+R/+RW format. It is superior in many ways to -R/-RW and everyone else's players will play those discs. But not Toshiba's.
I started buying DVDs on a rainy March day in 1997. It was several months before I bought a player (I was waiting for the Sony 7000-which still works BTW). I owned many CDs in the early '80s before I bought a player (my roommate had one). So PS3, Sony BD player or LG combo player? I don't know yet. There's an open DVI input on my tv. I already have a HDMI to DVI cable connected. My HD DVR is hooked up via component so I'm ready to rock.
I don’t know a “bit bucket” from a tub of cream cheese (and own many a fine Toshiba product), but unless you’ve got money to burn (and I know some of you do), this “waiting for the PS3” idea strikes me as a sound one. (Of course, I’ve got my HD-DVD unit to play with in the meantime.)
A1 or XA1? Speaking of which. Toshiba makes two HD-DVD players, the HD-A1, which retails for about $500, and the HD-XA1, which goes for about $800. Why did I decide to go with the cheaper model? I read this excellent DVD Town piece offering a rundown of what you get for the extra $300. A key excerpt:
If it’s simply picture and sound quality you care about and not a heavier case, fancy feet, and a lighted remote, the A1 clearly represents the better value. If you feel you have to go the extra mile and you’re not afraid to pay for it, the XA1 is currently the best (and best looking) HD-DVD machine you can buy.
10 percent more off all HD - for a year?? Whether you go with HD-DVD, Blu-ray or (like me) both, you can get Amazon to knock off an additional 10 percent off any HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs for the next year (up to $5000 worth), if you purchase any of these things you were probably going to purchase anyway:
* three HD-DVDs purchased in one order;
* three Blu-ray discs purchased in one order;
* any HD-DVD player;
* any Blu-ray player; or
* any HDTV set.
This means we’re actually going to be able to buy the HD versions of certain movies for less than the SD versions! Learn how to take advantage of this promotion here.
IME Part Two. As discussed two weeks ago, The $19.99 HD-DVD version of “Constantine” contains all of the DVD version’s many many extras, plus something new called IME or “In-Movie Experience.” It’s described on the back cover thusly: “As you view the movie, director Francis Lawrence leads an interactive exploration of the story, characters, stunts and filmmaking process.” If you missed it, “a_guy” added this clarification of the feature in the last HDTV Cellar talkback:
The In Movie Experience is sweet, what happens is when you are watching say Bourne or Constaintine... The movie DOES NOT STOP when you open the menu and then when you choose a feature it automatically starts right overtop the current film, sorta a picture in picture deal, then movie once again NEVER STOPS... which really makes for a kick ass experience …