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Blu Ray
Where is it going

 10:11 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just had a very interesting discussion, with a friend who has just bought a blu ray player, on what the future of movies is. Now my opinion is that blu ray is going to go the way of the mini disc, a slight blip in between the old format and the new, which is now all but forgotten.

As far as I can see the technological benefit of Blu ray is not large enough to convince the masses to move their existing collection to the new format, especially when increasing broad band speeds are enabling faster and easier movie downloads, and simpler home networking solutions are becoming available.

However she is convinced that blu ray is the big thing and that it is already so popular that every home will soon have one.

So I thought I would ask here, is Blu ray the next big tech advancement, or just a blip on the way towards a full "itunes movie service"



 10:22 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Blue ray's here to stay. At least for now.

I don't have any facts. I know this though - Any technological advancement that improves the quality of user experience is bound to have longevity.. at least until it gets upgraded or replaced by something better.

creative craig

 10:36 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Will the current high price of blu ray players and blu ray discs mean that its a non starter in these economically tough times?


 10:41 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was thinking more about the super fast broad band that is now starting to be available, 30+ meg from virgin available this year, that's more then enough to be able to stream high quality films, why invest in blu ray in that scenario.

Wyweb do you think blu ray is enough of an improvement to encourage Joe blogs to upgrade? When you take into account how many people now have HD tv's but don't use that functionality on it, is the extra clarity from Blu ray really that good? What about those who would need a new TV and new DVD player to appreciate it, that's a pretty large investment for someone who just wants to be able to watch a film from Blockbuster when it's released?


 10:48 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

*** Blue ray's here to stay. ***

Nothing is here to stay. Everything gets replaced within a decade or two.

We are losing recorded/digital data from 20 to 50 years ago faster than we are losing printed material from the previous two millennia.


 10:58 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is more than 17 million Blu-Ray players sold into the PS3.


 11:18 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

IMHO, Blu Ray will not get the same uptake of DVD, and here's why.
The difference in quality, longevity of recording, and convenience meant that the jump from VHS video to DVD video was a significant progressive step.

You can't say the same of DVD to Blue Ray. The quality difference for the average user is relatively small, but the cost of a Blue Ray player is way over-priced for the masses to take it up. Players will have to come down in price to DVD player prices, which hit about $20 in the supermarkets at one stage.

Also, I don't want a Blu Ray player, I want a recorder, so I can archive my home videos. Otherwise, I might as well stick with my DVD recorder, which provides 1080P upscaling (not Blu Ray standard, but good enough for me).

In addition, as Yoshimi points out, the possibility of direct downloads from providers is not that far away. In fact, you can already do it if you're an early adopter.

Finally, HDDs are so cheap, simply downloading onto the drive will solve most users needs.

In summary, I think it will run out of steam, unless they drop the price significantly. In any event, I think it'll also fail to get the mass uptake of DVD, before direct downloads take over.


 2:05 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with the mini-disk thinking. It's an improvement over what went before, but it's just a stop-gap before streaming goes mainstream.

DVD offered high-quality video that you just could not get any other way. Broadcast quality did not come close. Not so for BR. HD is available from FreeSat and SkyHD in the UK, so BR is purely platform rather than a solution.

I could get a PC to deliver HD output to my TV, for less than a BlueRay player. And once the Studios get their act together (along with ISPs for bandwidth), it will be a straight comparison of cost and convenience. I see it breaking down as follows:

Convenience (Buying)
Online: Click "Download"
BR: Go to shop, buy, come home. OR Order, wait, wait, receive
WINNER: online

Convenience (Playing)
Online: Click "Play"
BR: Find disc, load, play
WINNER: online

Cost (player)
Online: PC (often no additional cost)
BR: Player (similar price to new PC)
Winner: online

Cost (film)
Online: Film Value
BR: Film Value plus distribution cost plus Codec licences
Winner: Online

Overall, BR does not fare well.


 2:08 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh, then there's the ability to use your PC as a DVR- an additional box that Blu-Ray cannot tick


 2:08 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

What I wouldn't give for an online film library, that charged you a fixed fee to stream as many films as you want each month, kind of like the BBC iplayer on speed, after all if the beeb can do it, the tech is ready and waiting for someone to sort the licensing out with the production companies, then hard copy films will be completely unnecessary, can you imagine watching any film in the world, any time you want!


 4:10 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Blu ray has inherited some major drawbacks:

  • region encoding (DVDs had that too, but it was easy to circumvent)
  • DRM into computers (nothing has had this and it's ugly what a modern machine does when it plays HD content onto a normal screen (non HDCP). Consumers will not easily accept this
  • the fight with HD-DVD

The installed base: PS3's that are actually used as both a gaming machine and a standalone player are IMHO kinda rare:
- first of all they cannot be made region free (AFAIK), so anybody with a decent collection of DVDs is going to have to keep his region-free player around (Actually I keep my HD-DVD player for that :-( ) This isn't an issue in region 1 countries, but the rest of the world will take it into account.
- Most people very interested in games aren;t that likely to buy more expensive versions of movies to add to their collection
- Most people very interested in movies and having a collection aren;t that likely to buy games

For me: I stopped buying stuff that's available on BR in the US, I only buy BR in the EU, and well I continue to buy things available on DVD only in both the US and in Europe.

High speed downloads:

  • 4+ Gbyte for one movie: not ready out where I live, at least for a realistic consumer price.
  • I like having the disk
  • I hate watching movies on computers: one has that big plasma for a reason.

I do have access to an on-demand cable solution for getting recent movies. While it works and has somewhat decent quality, but I just fidn it not enough fun.

If they'd have *all* content in HD at a high speed affordable, with the ability to keep it and no DRM: maybe. But those in control of distribution still don't think global at all. At least HD-DVD had that right.


 5:05 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Movie channel to go live on Web before TV debut [news.cnet.com]
A premium movie channel backed by a trio of studios is expected to debut as an on-demand Web site months before its traditional TV launch.

The consortium of MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Lions Gate announced Tuesday at the NATPE television conference in Las Vegas that the channel will be called Epix (pronounced like the plural of epic) and feature more than 15,000 movies from the three studios. The new channel is expected to launch as a subscription-only Web site in May that will stream its content on the Internet--five months before its planned TV launch in October.

Nail being produced for use in coffin. ;)


 5:28 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

What I wouldn't give for an online film library, that charged you a fixed fee to stream as many films as you want each month

Netflix is already there. You can stream movies to your computer or Tivo and watch on your TV.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 5:29 pm (utc) on Jan. 28, 2009]


 8:33 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

**adopts confused face** what is tivo?


 10:19 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Funny, my friend wanted a hd video player but they wanted so much for the blueray stuff they bought a hddvd player for 20 bucks and a shopping cart literally full of hddvd movies for less than the cost of the bluray. Even if the format and discs goes away they have enough movies to watch for a couple of years and dvd format is not going anywhere so the player will still work.


 5:22 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

what is tivo?

See here [en.wikipedia.org].

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 5:27 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2009]


 3:18 am on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm kind of over physical media. At this point I'd just rather log in and stream my content. Hopefully we get past those technical hurdles and I can have blu ray quality without the box.

What's funny about me is that I don't like physical media but I can't bear to see paper books go away. I can't get into the Amazon Kindles of the world... Hypocritical I suppose.

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