Low definition

Sony and some market analysts are wondering why Blu-ray uptake isn’t skyrocketing like they’d hoped. I have a few ideas.

About a year ago, I decided that, since I had a high-definition television and had it on good authority that movies looked better in high def, I might as well take the plunge. At the time, the best deal for a Blu-ray player was still the Sony PlayStation 3, and I had a problem with that: I just didn’t want one. As many of the more PC-inclined gamers reading this know, most of the more interesting and desirable games these days go multi-platform. They often take a while to hit the PC, but it’s usually worth the wait—they tend to be cheaper and sometimes even much improved, like Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed. As PC gamers, we even just got an incredibly solid port of Street Fighter IV, but that’s a blog post for another day. Suffice it to say, buying a $400 PlayStation 3 just for Blu-ray seemed silly to me. So I did what any sensible geek would do: I built a media-center PC.

One of my biggest reasons was the availability of LG’s HD-DVD and Blu-ray combo drive. This optical drive was selling for around $130 when I bought it, but the frugal shopper can grab it for as little as $100 now, if they know where to look. Amusingly enough, despite the death of HD-DVD, the drive seems to play those discs just fine. Better still, HD DVDs are dirt cheap and typically include the exact same transfer you’d get on the pricier Blu-ray. Of course, inexpensive drive and media aside, AMD has been aggressive about making a media center easy to build, with dirt-cheap processors and its 780G chipset. For maybe a little more than I would’ve spent on a PlayStation 3, I was able to build a full on computer capable of streaming Netflix and other online video, well before that capability started showing up in consoles (and now even televisions). Also, by popping in a cheap Radeon HD 3650, I created a box friends could come over and game on. Between that, my desktop, and my laptop, I’m pretty set for hosting my own small LAN party.

But I digress—let’s get back to griping about HD movies. My biggest problem here is the prohibitively high cost of the media itself. While HD-DVD’s death has produced a wealth of discs that are often even cheaper than their DVD counterparts, Blu-rays still command an absurd $10 premium over standard-definition media. I and multiple friends now buy movies much less often because we won’t buy a DVD movie if it’s available on Blu-ray, but we also won’t pay the exorbitant price for the Blu-ray itself. As a result, we just don’t buy either one. I’d have a hard time believing more people aren’t running into the same issue.

Second is the software compatibility nightmare. Between the three versions of Blu-ray and the draconian digital rights management schemes for both Blu-ray and, to a lesser extent, HD-DVD, you can expect all kinds of cheerful software problems to plague your viewing experience. I actually keep both PowerDVD 7 and WinDVD 9 on my media center because, every so often, a disc comes out that just won’t play on one of them. First, it was The Matrix on HD-DVD. I’ve since had the privilege of dropping $80 on two different import copies of Brotherhood of the Wolf on HD-DVD, only to discover that StudioCanal did such a dismal job mastering these discs that I’d have to buy a dedicated HD-DVD player to even dream about subtitles. I love the movie and have seen it multiple times, but I still don’t speak French.

Third, and probably most irritating, is how often the improvement just feels incremental at best and unnoticeable at worst. High-def movies are woefully inconsistent in terms of quality, far worse than DVD has ever been. At worst, DVD looked like a clearer VHS; the worst-looking DVD I ever had was an old Canadian copy of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, which looked like it was mastered off a VHS tape and had a jumpy quality to the picture. Meanwhile, HD movies often have nothing but better color contrast and saturation to go for them. I remain skeptical about how much of this is artificial tweaking, the same way retail televisions have their contrast and saturation jacked up to make them more eye-popping for consumers.

If you could explain why my HD-DVD of Clerks II looks better and sharper than my Blu-ray of Iron Man, I’d really appreciate it, because this problem has really sucked the wind out of my interest in high-definition. There’s just no way of knowing if a high-definition disc is going to be an appreciable improvement over the DVD except for checking reviews online, and about the only safe bets are CG movies (TMNT looks stunning in HD). Video quality has become such a crapshoot on HD that it prevents me from impulse-buying discs. I just watched the DVD of Splinter last night, which had stunning upsampled quality easily rivaling some of my high-definition discs. Meanwhile, my HD-DVD of Army of Darkness looks awful. Movies from the 1980s like The Thing often wipe the floor with more recent releases. (By the way, The Thing does make a fantastic case for high definition.)

The unfortunate reality is that, the vast majority of the time, high-definition media just isn’t compelling enough to warrant the absurd cost of entry and the price of the discs, let alone the DRM headaches. If you’re a movie buff, I’d strongly encourage you to think twice before making this leap.

Comments closed
    • Aihyah
    • 10 years ago

    the answer is simple. the price of the discs is ridiculous. the focus on drm didn’t help either. it doesn’t matter how cheap the player is when people see how the disc prices are. we are used to dvd pricing,~12 dollars a film. the consumer won’t stand for 20+ dollar films, their mistake was trying to keep the prices high for so long.

      • Vrock
      • 10 years ago

      $12? Maybe out of the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. New release DVDs are still going to run you $20-$22.

        • Corrado
        • 10 years ago

        I finally bit the bullet (Well my g/f did) and picked up the $98 BD-Player at Wal-Mart for me today. It doesn’t support the fancy schmancy features, but it does 1080p, and thats all I really care about. I have a 50″ Plasma and a good (well, not GREAT, but its all JBL components with a pioneer receiver) 5.1 speaker setup.

        I was actually shocked that most BD’s on Amazon are not much, if any more expensive than their DVD counter parts. Plenty of good movies to be had for < $20.

        I guess I have to actually BUY a BD to see what the fuss is about on my own setup though.

          • Vrock
          • 10 years ago

          Yup. I have almost 70 BDs at this time, and I think the most expensive one was around $27. Most were between $15 and $25, and can be had cheaper now. If you hunt around a bit, you can certainly find good deals out there…providing you stay away from the big box B&M stores.

            • insulin_junkie72
            • 10 years ago

            /[

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 10 years ago

          /[<>>> I finally bit the bullet (Well my g/f did) and picked up the $98 BD-Player at Wal-Mart for me today.<]/ Yeah, I've been thinking of picking one of those up for the bedroom (although I'll have to go to the Walmart closer to a Best Buy - the ones without electronics store competition nearby still price it at $168, as I found when I went to one in northern Illinois). Cheap, no-frills Funai unit. Seems to be pretty decent for what it is; only potential drawback would be future firmware support might be a problem. First I'll probably try and see if I can hunt down a Best Buy that still has one of their previous-model Insignia NS-2BRDVD models blown out for $99. Same Desay guts as the Samsung entry-level units, as I recall (Samsung 1500ish class), and still supported with firmware. Once you flash the firmware, it's the exact same unit as their current Insignia model, I believe.

    • Jeffery
    • 10 years ago

    I too have been discouraged from buying dvds now that there are high def options available… but no I don’t even have a bluray player. What I do have is nearly a terabyte of free storage on my desktop. Now I have the moral dilemma of torrenting high def versions for free versus paying real money for lower video quality in a dvd.

    If I didn’t gain profound satisfaction from elaborate packaging and supplemental features, I would be downloading everything.

    EDIT: As a filmmaker and movie buff, there is also an ethical thing going on here that I am not completely ignoring. 😉

    • Xylker
    • 10 years ago

    I would really like to see your equipment list. What components do you have? Or, put another way, is it possible that the equipment you have is not capable of rendering the difference in a meaningful way? Much of the rest of this comes across as whining. At least, that’s how /[

    • Clam
    • 10 years ago

    What DRM headaches? I’ve never seen a disc fail to play – have you? Perhaps you’re trying to rip the discs. Actually Managed Copy is coming and will allow you to make a backup copy, perhaps to store on the hard drive of your entertainment system.

    Until a year ago, the PS3 was the chmeapest BD player, as well as by far the best. It’s still the best. Why would I want to go to the hassle of building own entertainment system? You have too much time on your hands.

    • Mightyflapjack
    • 10 years ago

    If I want the best home cinema experience I must use my 56″ HDTV and my PS3 Blue-ray.

    That being said, I have no strong urge to go and re-purchase my 300+ DVD collection in Blu-Ray.

    I think the advent of .torrent and HDTVs with VGA/HDMI is more of limit to Blu-Ray than any performance issue improvements not holding up.

    You also forget the MAIN reasons people went from VCR to DVD:
    1. Never have to rewind.
    2. More Durable and resistant to damage.
    3. Instant fast forward, chapter skip, perfect frame pause, single frame skip, etc.

    Blu-Ray offers no additional features to non-Videophiles.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      g{

    • TO11MTM
    • 10 years ago

    Your Subtitle problem is easily solvd for Brotherhood of the Wolf…

    Invite Cyril over to Dub it =D

    Just kidding. =)

    • Vrock
    • 10 years ago

    And before I go to bed, I’d just like to say that I find it puzzling how the same type of people who will gladly pay $200+ for a video card that plays games maybe 10fps faster, with slightly better AF, and maybe a touch more AA or at a higher resolution, eschews Blu-ray because it is a merely an ‘expensive, incremental upgrade’, when others are quite satisfied with playing those same games at 30fps, 1280×1024 with 4xAF and no AA.

    Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. 😛

      • Faceless Clock
      • 10 years ago

      That is a really stupid comparison and you should feel ashamed for making it.

        • Chrispy_
        • 10 years ago

        I’m assuming you were being sarcastic there, since that is the most accurate comment in this thread so far….

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        Please explain what’s so stupid about that comparison.

          • Ashbringer
          • 10 years ago

          It’s stupid because there’s a lot of factors involved. Like, did this person upgrade his video card a year ago? Does he have games that will push the graphics beyond Counter Strike classic?

          For the idea of buying a $200 video card to be equivalent to that of Blu-Ray, you’ll need to do the fallowing.

          #1 You’ll need to buy a decent PC monitor to truly maximize the quality increase with your new video card purchase.

          #2 The new HD graphics your video card produces, requires that you use special HD games for Windows. Sorry, there’s no patch to download to gain this feature. You’ll have to buy an entirely new library of the same games you enjoy.

          #3 On top of that, the games price in HD has jumped to $80 from the usually $60.

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            My point was that many people here will pay hundreds of dollars for incremental upgrades. Some folks buy a new video card every year, or a new processor, etc. For those people, it seems dishonest to argue that Blu-ray isn’t worth it because it’s an expensive, incremental upgrade. Sorry you don’t like my analogy. If the shoe doesn’t fit, then don’t wear it.

      • Corrado
      • 10 years ago

      To complete your analogy, you’d also then have to pay $49.99 instead of $39.99 for the game to take advantage of the added resolution, anti-aliasing and other IQ enhanced features.

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      Interactive media (gaming) != non-interactive media (movie playback).

      • SPOOFE
      • 10 years ago

      How do you know they’re the same type of people?

      • Kallstar
      • 10 years ago

      Put me down for another stupid analogy. The advantages of a better video card are far far far more than a simple bluray player. Even assuming you’re right about the 10fps (which in most upgrades you wouldnt be), that could still be the difference between fluid playback and a jerky mess. Then of course we have the REAL kicker..
      The Piracy Point. Sure the argument isnt fair.. but lets face it.. it happens. You can easily pirate those cool new games your old card chokes on, and play them on your spiffy new video card. Hardware costs money but you’re paying to increase your maximum potential gaming performance.

      • TardOnPC
      • 10 years ago

      Well Mr. VRock some of us HAVE NO CHOICE but to spend $200-$300 dollars on GPUs (plural) because of the amazing amount of real estate on our monitors. I wish I could game on ONE $100-$200 dollar card, works fine for my brother on his 22′, not so much for me. With that said, I feel better spending $500 dollars on my GPUs and not a 360 or PS3, it is a matter of taste, they just don’t appeal to me. Also why I do not buy movies in any format.

        • deruberhanyok
        • 10 years ago

        Have no choice?

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        Why not just upscale your resolution to fit your computer monitor? You can stretch that 1280×800 desktop to fit your 1920×1200 screen, there’s an option for it in you display properties…upscaling produces some really great results. *sarcasm*

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 10 years ago

          I’ve been to many a LAN party playing @ 1280×800 scaled to 1920×1200 on my 24″ display. Not really any problem.

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            You miss the point entirely. *sigh*

            • FroBozz_Inc
            • 10 years ago

            I totally understand and agree with the point you are making.

            It’s like some fellow techies out there are in denial about HD/BR being better/worth it because they hate Sony or because the hardware or media is more expensive. As if they are trying to justify the opposite of the obvious as a means to placate themselves. Or maybe they really are just blind from sitting too close to their monitors 🙂

            I would think this group would be all-in on the obvious improvements offered.

            Reminds me of those who at first liked to say that Windows 98 still gives them everything they need and who needs the newfanged Windows XP when what they have is just fine.

            • Veerappan
            • 10 years ago

            l[

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            q[

    • nopedman
    • 10 years ago

    I made the choice to get the PS3 and it has been a great player. On my old 32″ 720p TV the movies looked better but not that much better than up convert dvd. Then i upgraded to a samsung 40″ 1080p TV with 120HZ motion and Blu-Ray movies look completely different now. i tired it first with a movie i rented then watched a couple i own because i could not believe it made it look so much better.

    Blu-Ray movies do cost to much at retail stores though and only get purchased there if on sale.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    “HD experience” has been tainted by marketing hype and half-arse mastering. It leaves a bitter taste for most adopters. In turn, they end up bashing it for the wrong reasons.

    I honestly do not see the huge deal behind HD experience as marketing drones portray it. Having more resolution is always nice, but that is only aspect of the medium. A sub-par movie will always be sub-par no matter how clear the picture is. It is other elements (audio, dialogue, adaption, cinematography) that separates the memorable classics from the rehashed trash.

    It is kick-ass to get a solid mastering from a classic. Unfortunately, that is a rarity in the current selection of HD media.

    IMO, the days of physical media for video are greatly numbered. It is going to go the way of vinyl (hardcore collectors and archiving). The popularity of Youtube and Hulu is proving how the majority of A/V customers are willing to make a trade-off for a slight to moderate decrease of quality for convenience. Elitist Videophiles will keep snubbing their noses on how their physical media is superior on several technical levels which require extraordinary conditions and equipment for the trained senses to notice a difference.

      • Vrock
      • 10 years ago

      q[

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        g{

          • Krogoth
          • 10 years ago

          Vision is just as subjective if not moreso, then good old hearing. There are so many ways to fool the visual cortex into seeing illusions and perceive details that do not exist.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            Yes, there are many ways for that, and none of them are the matter of HD video.
            Don’t try to turn this into something esoteric. It’s not.

        • Krogoth
        • 10 years ago

        q[

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 10 years ago

        I will say that when -[

          • Vrock
          • 10 years ago

          I seriously doubt they’ll offer high-bit rate 1080p video with lossless audio.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 10 years ago

            No, but for most people TrueHD vs DD isn’t always “readily apparent”.

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            Perhaps not, in this MP3 world we live in…but they’re going to notice the crummy compressed video.

      • Coran Fixx
      • 10 years ago

      +1 to the death of physical movie ownership. Netflix takes care of my needs now and when bandwith notches it up another order of magnitude we will have a situation where a person will have access to every movie/show instantly at any time in HD.

    • WaltC
    • 10 years ago

    I think the clincher is that, BluRay or DVD. there’s a world of difference between “digitally remastered” and “otherwise ported to BluRay media”…;) I think it is absolutely true that the quality of the mode of reproduction has more to do with IQ than just 480p versus 1080p.

    I’ve got BluRay, and yes I can “see a difference,” but I’m surprised at the variance of BluRay quality among titles. Sometimes, my DVD’s upsampled to 1080p through my BP player (a stand-alone Sony) looked better than some BluRay media–or, surprisingly, too, just as good. I agree that the quality of mastering is a whole other topic apart and separate from just the topic of 480p vs. 1080p. The resolution is just part of it.

    Garbage at 480p is very often still garbage at 1080p…;)

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 10 years ago

    lol forgot to add that if you do not like the commercials at the front that’s easy, put the disk in and go prepare your snack or use the can, by the t ime you come back, main menu is ready. Also a lot of the software players will allow you to get to the menu……

    • rythex
    • 10 years ago

    oh boy, not another one of these “I can’t tell the difference between upscaled DVD / Bluray / HD-dvd” articles..

    • cynan
    • 10 years ago

    Right there with you Mr. Sklavos, until point #3 that is.

    While you can’t expect low budget films made in the 80s and 90s or earlier that were shot with borderline handy-cams (ie, Clerks) to offer much benefit in HD over their SD counterparts, the vast majority of new releases with any sort of a budget, and even a healthy collection of “classic titles” where the film stock has been well maintained and requisite effort put into the digital transfer have benefited vastly from 1080p – just look at some of the James Bond flicks from the 70s or various black and white films from the 50s and 60s.

    I would be inclined to say that if you can’t notice a significant upgrade in visual fidelity in the vast majority of HD releases (yes, there are some duds) than you are either sitting too far away from your HD TV, haven’t got it setup correctly, or perhaps need to update that prescription of yours.

    Heck, even recent TV shows that are being released on Blu Ray look better than anything on DVD (Lost, for example)

    /[

    • Vrock
    • 10 years ago

    -meant as reply to #107

    1080p sets deinterlace 1080i content. There’s no apparent difference between properly deinterlaced 1080i and native 1080p.

    My point was that if you have a HD set, you should view HD content, or why else have the set?

    It seems that most people here think that upconversion is a value-add feature that exists to provide you with near-HD video quality. It’s not. Upconversion is a necessary evil with fixed resolution displays. It adds no detail to an image…it can’t. It’s simply something that has to be done to display a 720×480 image on a 1920×1080 resolution TV. If it’s done right, the image will look only slightly worse than it would if displayed at its native resolution. Yes, it’s actually better to watch DVD on a 480p display than on a 1080p display.

      • cynan
      • 10 years ago

      /[< 1080p sets deinterlace 1080i content. There's no apparent difference between properly deinterlaced 1080i and native 1080p.<]/ Not sure what you mean by this? Anything "p" over the same resolution "i" displays 2x the visual information per second. When a 1080i signal is deinterlaced, the same frame is displayed twice, whereas, with a 1080p signal, new information is able to be displayed on every frame. I sure as heck noticed a difference in quality when I switched from a 480i signal to a 480p signal from my DVD player way back when, why would 1080i and 1080p be any different? There was (and may still be) some debate as to whether a 1080i signal is superior to a 720p signal on 1080p displays - as these are the formats in which the majority of HD content is broadcast by cable companies, etc. The debate was valid because, while you are technically able to view more visual information per second with 720p over 1080i, the 1080i picture may actually look "clearer" as, if deinterlaced correctly, will fill the horizontal resolution of your 1080p set natively and not have to be scaled to 1080 lines by the TV's scaler, which are usually not the most state of the art. However, if a really good scaler was used, then it is quite possible the 720p signal would look better than the 1080i. Of course, if you have a native 720p TV, 720p signals should always look better over 1080i. I also have to disagree with the blanket statement that a lower resolution signal also always looks best if it is displayed on a display of that native resolution (ie, viewing 480p content on a SD, 480 line TV). Again, if a better than average scaler processor is used, the interpolation of information "between the lines" of the native signal may generate a more pleasing, higher res looking image, than the SD display. But I agree, most of the scaler chips that exist in mainstream TVs may not compellingly do this, and could very well make the image look worse than in native SD. For example, Sceptre, of all companies, released a 1080p LCD tv a couple of years back that had a very proficient Silicon Optix scaler on board. SD content looked very, very pleasing on it. While it could never make SD content approach the fidelity of native HD content, it produced a picture that was much more pleasing than on SD TVs.

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        q[

          • cynan
          • 10 years ago

          OK. That makes sense. I was missing that 1080i was a 60Hz signal. If the actual frame rate of the content is less than 30 FPS than I guess there should be very little difference between 1080i and 1080p with proper deinterlacing.

          If you want to use your TV for gaming, especially on a computer – which outputs 60Hz, then a 1080p set is superior, but I agree with your logic that for everything else, it should make little difference.

          Thanks for the info.

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      There are other reasons to have a 1080p set than 1080p video – for one, our old TV was pretty much shot, so we needed something; two, it’s and LCD so it’s thin; three, higher resolution for plugging the computer in; four, needed some sort of HDTV for when the broadcast signal switched over.

      My main reason for wanting 1080 rather than 720 was for plugging the computer in, which, it turns out, NEVER happens…..

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        I only see one reason there for the 1080p set (computer), and you admit you don’t use it for that, so….

        But you do watch HDTV on it, so at least it’s getting some use. Otherwise, you could donate it to me. I need a new bedroom TV. 🙂

          • flip-mode
          • 10 years ago

          A few reasons for a new TV, and two reasons not to get anything but 1080p:

          1. computer
          2. the capability for 1080p

          So, I do want the capability, but to put that capability to use at this very moment is not a high priority.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 10 years ago

    Apparently my post got deleted. My point was that the choice of hardware that the author is using is his limiting factors. An HTPC just can’t really be a good medium for watching HD. It just doesn’t work well. A set-top box just works so much better.

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    I am completely satisfied with the picture quality of DVDs. Despite the fact that I have a 1080p television, I’ve never seen a movie in HD, and if it’s going to make me unhappy with watching DVDs, I don’t want the privilege then, for now.

    I’m half convinced that buying into Blu Ray is a mistake and that I just need to bide my time for online content streaming to become the mainstream distribution method.

      • Vrock
      • 10 years ago

      Well, you have a 1080p TV, so I assume you watch HDTV, right? I assume you also still watch standard def TV…so why can’t you enjoy both BD and DVD? Seems a waste not to use the full potential of that set, no? 🙂

        • PetMiceRnice
        • 10 years ago

        My understanding is that current HD broadcasts on TV are either 1080i or 720p resolution, so even that is not taking full advantage of 1080p.

        Anyway, if my experience is anything to go by, an upconverting DVD player is more than good enough for most folks.

        • flip-mode
        • 10 years ago

        If there were no added cost it would seem a waste, but I’d have to buy a BR player first, and then pay more for the media too…. And I do get to watch TV at 1080i, and when the OTA signal is good and with the right type of content, it can be very lovely.

          • Vrock
          • 10 years ago

          So, your reason for not wanting to watch Blu-ray has less to do with you not wanting DVD ‘ruined’ for you and more to do with the cost of entry. Fair enough.

            • flip-mode
            • 10 years ago

            Yeah, that’s pretty much it. And, if everything were to be mentioned, I would like to easily be able to make copies of my movies or archive them to a hard drive.

    • titan
    • 10 years ago

    I’m surprised aliasing/jagged edges haven’t been mentioned. That is the thing I always notice when I see a BluRay movie playing, or even just the high definition stuff that plays on the TVs when you go to the store. I’ve never seen that with standard definition with the exclusion of some video games.

    • floodo1
    • 10 years ago

    wow man, first the apple haters and now the HD haters. Sorry that some of you haven’t experienced 1080p in all of it’s glory. I suggest you goto CES and check out 1080p on a tens of thosands of dollars system. Then realize what HD is capable of and how your equipment is holding you back.

    I do realize that the quality of Blu-Ray discs varies wildly, but when it’s good it’s ridiculously good 🙂

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      so does that mean I need to drop 10K to “appreciate” HD in my own home?

    • clone
    • 10 years ago

    multi format DVD player with 1080p upscaler for $50.00 ….. “good enough” is killing blu ray as in DVD’s upscaled are “good enough” while the difference by going to blu ray isn’t……… literally care nothing and will pay nothing additional for blu ray.

    Blu Ray is better without a doubt but it’s not compelling, when the players drop to sub $75.00 and the Blu Ray discs begin selling for sub $15.00 I’ll reconsider my position but atm when I see Blu Ray I get annoyed because the display is in the way of me finding the DVD’s I’m looking for.

    • Forge
    • 10 years ago

    I have a media center. Vista Ultimate, Pentium DC E2160, crappy little 965 chipset, ATI Radeon HD 2400. Plays high res x264 MKVs quite flawlessly, and I have zero issues. On the other hand, I have the LG GGC-H20L in my main box for ripping my Bluray and HD-DVD sources, to re-encode to something the HTPC wants, and I’ve had many issues with discs that simply will not read, even with AnyDVD HD. Forget all about *playing* some of these mis-mastered monstrosities, I can’t even READ all of them!

      • quarantined
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, I prefer to just rip everything to x264. They play perfectly and with hard drives reaching such low cost/GB, it’s much easier to just keep everything on the pc and not hassle with the discs.

      As far as HD quality is concerned, different factors play a part in how good transfers will look. Some old films look absolutely stunning in HD becasue the studios handled the restoration well. Less popular titles don’t always get as good of treatment and look like upscaled DVDs at best.

      Then there’s the issue of whether the movie was shot on film or video. If it was shot on video, then the HD transfer is guarranteed to look like crap i.e. you can’t polish a turd.

    • A_Pickle
    • 10 years ago

    Incidentally, I have a media center PC almost exactly like yours… the only difference? I have an Pentium Dual-Core E2200 on a Gigabyte P35 mobo. 🙂

    I even have that LG HD-DVD/Blu-Ray drive!

    • d0g_p00p
    • 10 years ago

    If you did more research you would see that the PS3 is the reference platform for Blu-ray. Since the firmware is upgradeable you never have to worry if it will support the current format. Mine went through version 1.0a to 3.0 (I think) and so far have had no issues. Granted I don’t own that many retail disks but the few I have look fantastic and I have had no issues with playback.

    • Ashbringer
    • 10 years ago

    Everyone here seems to think that the image quality on Blu-Ray isn’t enough, or maybe it is. Has it ever occurred that maybe the consumer is sick of CDs in general?

    Like I said before, James Rolf DVD video explains why the consumer had it. Region code, 10 minutes worth of advertising you can’t avoid, deception through multiple editions of the same movie, and over priced box sets.

    Really, image quality? Couldn’t they fix all the other things wrong with DVD when they made Blu-Ray?

    The price isn’t right either. So what if the image quality is better, most consumers expect that when they buy new hardware or a service. Why are Blu-Ray movies more expensive then DVDs ever were? It’s like me buying a new video card for my PC and then asked to buy the HD version of Quake 4. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Yet, we have technology that is far more convenient then Disc’s ever were, and they’re known as Divx, Xvid, or h.264. No region code, no advertisements, instant fast forward, and HD movies don’t need 25-50 gigs to store video.

    Imagine quality, seriously? Is that all Blu-Ray has to go by?

    • Bashiba
    • 10 years ago

    I think streaming services are quickly eliminating the need to buy either format. Why buy a disc and store it when I can press a button and stream it right into my house with netflix. I have a Roku box on my bedroom tv and a 360 on my big living room TV, I find myself taking out discs less and less and just watching what I can pull up at my whim. As this technology gets better and the internet pipes get bigger you might as well throw your disc collections away.

      • Vrock
      • 10 years ago

      Physical media is tangible and it’s of higher quality than anything you can stream/download. I’ll keep my disc collection, thank you.

        • A_Pickle
        • 10 years ago

        The days of that being the truth are numbered, especially considering that physical media basically requires a hardware-software ecosystem to go right in order to work. Or Sklavos wouldn’t be blogging about his dilemma here.

        All of my .MKV’s in 1080P with 5.1 surround have worked great… 😀

        • Corrado
        • 10 years ago

        What if movies came on a 8 or 16gig SD card instead of a physical disc? Theres rumors of MSFT offering Windows 7 on USB flash drives due to the ammount of notebooks shipping with no optical drives these days. I don’t know if its true or not, but it makes sense.

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 10 years ago

          It would have to be more like 64GB, since most Blu-Ray movies ship on 50GB Blu-Rays.

          • Clam
          • 10 years ago

          SD cards are fine if you want to watch on a computer, which I certainly do no. There is no settop box that can do this now. And what about the DRM? Do you want to be dependent on something controlled by Microsoft or that might use authorization servers controlled by them or some other entity that can go out of business? AACS is already out there, and will play all your old discs.

      • Clam
      • 10 years ago

      Streaming services are fine if you’re in a place with a fast and cheap internet connection. It sucks if you live in the country, or somewhere like Australia where only recently some ISPs started giving 50GB allowances, and and any more is at a ridiculous rate.

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 10 years ago

    lol this article is funny….are we supposed to feel sorry for you or what?

    Blu-ray looks 1000% better than dvd does(when you do your research and buy afterwards) and that’s using a vostro 1400 with a Nvidia 8400GS-M to do the decoding duties

    Movies that look stunning in Blu-ray are

    1. Wall-E
    2. Casino Royale
    3. Quantum of Solace
    4. Transporter 3
    5. Batman Begins
    6. Dark Knight
    7. Kung Fu Panda
    8. Madagascar 2
    9. Taken
    10. The Forbidden Kingdom

    Movies that look stunning in HD-DVD
    King Kong
    Transformers
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    Assult on Precint 13
    Troy
    Chuck and Larry
    Lucky # Sleven

    • grege
    • 10 years ago

    I have a Samsung 46″ 1080p 100hz (PAL) TV and BD1500 Bluray player.

    Every Bluray disk I have purchased looks magnificent. The big issue for Bluray is upscalling. My old DVDs also look very good through this combo of upscalling and 100hz, so good that people who do not know look at a movie and think it is a Bluray disk.

    So when faced with a purchase choice I know that the DVD is still going to look awesome and often half the price.

    I previously bought a BD1400 player and hated it, the movie load times were so long I would think it had frozen and was not going to load. That player is now just used as an upscalling DVD player on a second TV.

    • SonicSilicon
    • 10 years ago

    Here’s a theory as to why some of the older films, especially from around the ’80s, look better. They could easily have been shot in 70 mm. If you shot in a format with that much more resolution than 35 mm, you’d probably make real sure that everything was in focus as sharply as possible. It trailed of in usage in the mid ’90s, if I recall correctly. Combine the regression to 35 mm along with the immense use of hand-held and even “shaky”camera holding these days, ad it doesn’t seem like as much a surprise to see little gain in definition by going to a higher resolution video format.
    Just a theory.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Unless there are problems of some sort, even 35mm has *way* more detail than BluRay can present, and hence a decent transfer from 35mm should look loads better (clearer, sharper, whatever) on BluRay than on DVD.

      • Vrock
      • 10 years ago

      Actually, the 80’s was a pretty lousy decade for film, if you’re looking for movies filmed in 70mm that is.

      70mm pretty much went out of style in the late 60’s as a filming process, and by the mid 70’s it was dead.

      The first commercially viable widescreen filming process was Cinemascope, in the mid 1950s. It used anamorphic lenses on 35mm film stock. Most 2.35:1 films made since the 1970s use a variation of this process, now known as Panavision. However, there are also lots of films that use the inferior Super 35 process, resulting in increased grain and decreased resolution.

        • SonicSilicon
        • 10 years ago

        Thanks for correcting me. I remember reading some bits, but I was having some difficulty finding a source to back up things. It seems I was mistaking the transfers for the premiers with the actual shooting stock.

        Bests me why there is such a difference in quality, then. Just lazy digital mastering in some cases? (Try finding a black and white movie that has had the audio handled well and properly enhanced.)

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 10 years ago

        Vrock, true or false:

        (except in maybe some extreme cases), even the crappiest 35mm source is way higher res than DVD, and probably higher res than BluRay. Sure it might be grainy, but that (can be) a separate issue.

          • Vrock
          • 10 years ago

          True. Not disputing that at all.

          However, just because the film stock is physically capable of high resolution doesn’t mean much. Grain is a factor, the director electing to shoot in soft focus (see pretty much all 1980’s movies filmed at 1.85:1), lighting techniques, etc. all make a difference in apparent resolution.

          I find that even in these cases, there is still an appreciable jump in image quality from DVD to Blu-ray. People complained about Predator and Robocop on Blu-ray….well, pop in the DVD and do a comparison, and you’ll see the difference immediately. Neither of those movies look like NFL Football on Blu-ray, what they do look like is film.

            • Corrado
            • 10 years ago

            Is this why TV shows from 88-96 or so look TERRIBLE in syndication vs shows from the 70’s and early 80’s, while the color isn’t necessarily fantastic, the resolution seems much better? Watching early episodes of Seinfeld is PAINFUL.

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            Probably not, no. I would say that has more to do with what the DVDs were sourced from (master tapes or original film elements) and the condition of the source.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 10 years ago

            Haha, relax, I’m pretty sure I’m agreeing with you! That is, even with relatively soft or grainy or whatever film, a properly-mastered BluRay should look better than DVD.

    • c1arity
    • 10 years ago

    IMO, the biggest difference between blu-ray and DVD is the audio quality…which the author of this article probably isn’t going to benefit from too much.

    I’m still confused as to why you decided it would be a better idea to build a cheap media center system over buying a PS3. I’m primarly a PC gamer as well, but can tell you if I already didn’t have a stand-alone blu-ray player in the house, I’d just get an used PS3 off of ebay. You get much better compatibility and far less headache. Not to mention, the quality of playback on stand-alone players or a PS3 is usually higher.

    Also, you mentioned something about playing games on the media center system with a 3650? There’s no way you’re using that system on a 1080p TV. That crappy video card wouldn’t play any modern game at 1920×1080 over 10fps unless everything was turned down to low…at which point, you still should have stuck with a PS3…or hell, spend $250 and just get a decent stand-alone blu-ray player!

    The only reason I can see justifying spending the money on that hybrid hd-dvd/blu-ray rom you got was for a few titles in hd-dvd you still want to watch. You can get an hd-dvd player off of ebay starting at $60. Again, you probably wouldn’t have even half of the problems you’re having and between buying the hd-dvd and blu-ray player, it still would have been cheaper.

    This brings me to my conclusion. Yes, blu-ray discs cost more, and yes, the higher cost is a pain…especially in this recession. However, if you have the right equipment, the difference between dvd and the hd formats is very noticeable. Hell, we only have a 42″ 720P grade plasma and not only is the level of detail much higher with every blu-ray disc I’ve watched, but the sound is much cleaner and warmer. I can’t blame people for not wanting to upgrade due to financial restraints as we’ve all had to cut back. But to essentially say the format is crap because you made a poor decision with your equipment purchase is kinda foolish.

    If you’re a movie buff, I’d strongly consider purchasing equipment you KNOW will be able to play all over you movies back, before making this “leap”. Also, I’d be less critical of this article if you stated you primarily wanted to build a media center system with hd playback then informed us of the problems you had with it.

      • plonk420
      • 10 years ago

      sadly, i have no expectations of long-term support on the PC side (i went the AnyDVD HD route opposed to Win/PowerDVD as i’m a video compression nerd and i like new, high quality content to play with).

      my PS3 i expect to work forever (as to discs and their copy protection schemes).

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    the answers are obvious

    price

    compatibility

    and all anime titles released in the US on bluray so far have been crap
    the ONLY thing I use my bluray player for is to watch kungfu Panda

      • potatochobit
      • 10 years ago

      Oh I forgot to add, I think many bluray titles are not actually remastered in HD. they are basically DVDs with a bluray sticker. This does not apply to current release titles, but it does apply to older ones. Sorting through all the garbage is quite tiresome.

        • plonk420
        • 10 years ago

        uhm, no. read the reviews.

          • potatochobit
          • 10 years ago

          yes, everytime I go to the store I just break out my iphone and open safari to check the reviews if the disc I am looking at is coded in crap.

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        Please, stop. You’re hurting my head. Do some research about things before you post. Go look up what a video master is, and what constitutes a re-master, and how film is transferred to video. You might learn something.

          • potatochobit
          • 10 years ago

          If you want to argue terminology and semantics I’m sure a nice dictionary forum is waiting for you.

          I am well aware of what constitutes remastered it was just an example. The point is when people buy a Bluray disc they expect the best quality possible. and Yet this is sadly not the case.

          look at this list which was already posted below TIER 5 COAL
          What video do we see here?
          My gosh it’s The Fifth Element!

          You mean I just paid 30$ for a DVD I already own with a bluray sticker?
          Are you saying my Bluray player already upscales DVDs for free?
          Dont be a chump and buy into the garbage bestbuy is spewing to you.

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            If you want to have a meaningful discussion, precise terminology is very important. But, since I see you aren’t interested in a meaningful discussion, I don’t suppose that matters.

            Regardless, there have been lousy video transfers since the the days of CED. Yes, there are some Blu-rays out there with very poor video transfers. In my experience (and in my collection), they are a distinct minority. Actually, in the case of your Fifth Element example, Sony re-issued it with a new transfer and replaced the older copies for free.

            • A_Pickle
            • 10 years ago

            Upscaled DVD != Blu-Ray

    • satchmobob
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t really get this. I’m wondering if most of you have bought TVs that are too large for your viewing distance or something. I’ve got a 26″ Sammy TV which is 720p/1080i (I run it at 720p) and I can really notice the difference between DVD an’ Blu-Ray. I have to admit i do only buy BDs that have good PQ reviews (check out Highdef Digest) so it is worth shopping around before buying.

    Watching Bladerunner on BD is the most sublime experience! I honestly just can’t stop watching it. And this is a film from the early ’80s. 30 Days of Night, The Thing, Serenity, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima are also great examples. If you’ve got a BD player you just have to get these movies.

    I will say that many films present a degree of graininess in places. I’m not sure if this is an artifact of the transfer or if present in the original masters. But it can be distracting.

    As for pricing, here in the UK most BD movies can be easily found for around £10-£15. So price isn’t really that much of an issue anymore. At least to me. Also players are no more expensive than early DVD players used to be. I use a Sony BDP S350. <£150. Not bad IMO.

    Happy Birthday Tesla.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Anyone ever rent/own the “normal” version of Die Hard:With a Vengeance on DVD? It’s easily the lowest-quality port I’ve ever seen. It looks like a godd**mn Sega CD game. I’m not joking.

    • kvndoom
    • 10 years ago

    Random thoughts…

    Brotherhood of the Wolf is an incredibly fun movie. Thanks for reminding me I still need to buy it.

    Wings of Honneamise was the absolute worst standard DVD transfer I have ever seen. It was an absolutely horrible transfer, completely dwarfed in quality by the VHS. The only way to remedy that is to buy the Blu-Ray, which is SEVENTY TWO FREAKING DOLLARS. I guess I’ll have to enjoy my memories of that great movie, for a while longer yet.

    HD prices will eventually drop below 20 bucks, but it might take a few more years. CD’s and DVD’s were pretty dang expensive too, for their first several years. Early adopters always have to take it for the team.

    • Umbragen
    • 10 years ago

    I’ll buy a BR burner, as soon as it costs the same as DVD. I don’t care enough about movies to feel the need to own a copy. I think DVD’s are good enough anyway.

    • PerfectCr
    • 10 years ago

    Wow, for TR this is a horribly misinformed “blog” post.

    1. Where are you shopping for Blu-rays? I own over 40 of them and recently calculated I paid an average price of $12 per title. Using Amazon sales, plus coupons and clearances from other vendors pretty much ensures you get what you want, cheap. (slickdeals.net is a good place to start)

    2. I NEVER trust anyone who says they can’t see a difference between 1080p and 480p. Furthermore as Vrock pointed out, just because it’s 1080p doesn’t guarantee a pristine picture. You would be well served to bone up on the movie filming, editing, and transfer processes that exist before making such statements.

    Overall a horrendous low quality post not worthy of the web space it takes up. Sorry.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 10 years ago

      l[<2. I NEVER trust anyone who says they can't see a difference between 1080p and 480p. <]l I really have to agree with this. It really the surprises the hell out of me when people claim they can't tell the difference between high definition content and upscaled standard definition. Seriously? Are your eyes really that bad? The difference in sharpness and clarity is extremely obvious to me, and I've been wearing glasses all my life. At home we have a 52-inch HDTV, and when I walk into the living room I can pretty much instantly tell if someone is watching the SD or HD version of any particular channel (this includes DirecTV and AT&T U-verse). Again, the difference in sharpness and clarity is too glaring for me. The situation sticks with my 24-inch LCD monitor. As far as anime fansubs go, I simply don't download anything less than 1280x720 anymore (thankfully, most major fansub groups offer this now). Even then, I have to make sure the 720p offering wasn't upscaled from an SD source. Native 1280x720 upscaled to 1920x1080 still looks great. 704x396 or 720x480 upscaled to 1280x720 or higher looks like crap. 396 or 480, upscaled and encoded to 720, then upscaled again to 1080 looks just as crappy.

        • Arag0n
        • 10 years ago

        I have to agree with you, I can’t see the meaning of download anime fansubs lower than 720p right now. Yep, twice the size but with 15Mbps i dont have much to argue with that. I only see the need to download the SD version for people with 1-3Mbps connection, in other way is a waste.

        • Corrado
        • 10 years ago

        If you put them side by side, you could easily see the difference. If you showed someone a 1080p thats poorly transferred on a low quality 1080p display, and then 5 hours lter showed them 480p upscaled to 1080p on a good quality scaler, and a high end set, chances are they couldn’t tell you which was which.

      • Joel H.
      • 10 years ago

      So wait. A person recounts their own experience, with specific examples, and it’s “horrendously misinformed?”

      You can argue that they aren’t shopping at the right places for Blu-ray movies, but you’ve got zero traction when it comes to claiming that their own experience is somehow “wrong.”

    • Vrock
    • 10 years ago

    The author of this editorial would be well served to do some research on film types and techniques. Not every film is going to look like Discovery HD on Blu-ray…nor should it. The goal of any home video format should be to reproduce the film as faithfully as possible, not as sharp and as clear as possible.

    As for HD not being an appreciable difference over DVD, well, I don’t know what to say. This is a matter of perception, I guess, but anyone with a decent sized TV and a decent set of eyes should be able to immediately tell a difference. I can certainly tell the difference on my 50″ SXRD TV. Blu-ray looks like film; DVD looks like video trying to look like film. Far shots on DVD are a blurry mess at 50″, with Blu-ray you can see facial expressions and detail. Blu-ray has far fewer visible compression artifacts than DVD.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some people say they don’t notice much of a difference….just look at how many folks are satisifed with lossy music. And honestly, I almost prefer it if DVD is good enough for Joe Sixpack. That means the studios will have to cater to the film enthusiasts and HT hobbyists, and quality will remain high.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 10 years ago

      “Not every film is going to look like Discovery HD on Blu-ray…nor should it. ”

      Except that almost every film out there will be shot at much higher resolution than DVD, and therefore *should* look a lot better on HD.

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        My point is that people expect everything on Blu-ray to look like Discovery HD, and when it doesn’t, they blame the format. That’s wrong. Movies are made with different film stocks, different filming techniques, etc. It’s ridiculous to expect a 80’s movie shot on cheap film stock with lots of optical effects to look as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as Planet Earth. This also goes for older films where the film elements might not be in the best of shape.

        Should it look better than the DVD? Yes, it should…but the limiting factor for many films isn’t the video medium, it’s the source.

          • Anomymous Gerbil
          • 10 years ago

          Agreed, I guess we’re just taking slightly different slants on it.

          • flip-mode
          • 10 years ago

          How much does advertising play into setting people’s expectations?

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            Probably a fair bit. They advertise that Blu-ray is “Beyond HD” and has “Six times the resolution of DVD”. Obviously people have high expectations. I don’t think the advertising is the real problem though; it’s a lack of education about film and how it’s transferred to video. In the end people don’t understand that sort of thing, and they don’t want to understand. That’s going to affect mass adoption, at least until players and prices drop further. And that’s fine with me. I prefer BD as a niche format; it’s to DVD as laserdisc was to VHS.

            • flip-mode
            • 10 years ago

            q[

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            I agree it’s normal for them not to know or even want to know, but if they want to bitch about it, they should do some research first. Doing otherwise is…frustrating.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 10 years ago

            Not really… I have a full 1080p setup with 100″ screen, but I still buy almost no BDs because of the ludicrous prices (at least in Australia and Hong Kong, where I live).

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            Huh?

          • tenortim
          • 10 years ago

          True. It’s also ridiculous therefore to try to charge a $10 premium for such things 🙂

            • Vrock
            • 10 years ago

            That’s a matter of opinion, and income. Personally, I think a 600% increase in resolution (as well as lossless audio and better compression) is surely worth a 50% increase in price. I want my movies to look like movies to the greatest extent possible, and I don’t mind paying a relatively small premium for that privilege. For those who disagree, there’s always DVD. Enjoy.

      • cynan
      • 10 years ago

      /[

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        I will be thrilled if Blu-ray is as successful and lasts as long as Laserdisc. Laserdisc was around for nearly a quarter of a century, and saw some really class-act releases during its day. There’s *still* stuff on Laserdisc today that you just can’t get on DVD, or Blu-ray for that matter.

        As for price, it’s not much of a concern for me. New releases typically can be had for $25-$28, and catalog titles routinely sell for $19.99 or less on Amazon. I personally don’t find these prices to be insane, but I understand how some people could find them prohibitive. The hobby isn’t for everyone.

        Even in its waning days, Laserdiscs cost $40-$50 new, and the cheaper players hovered around the $350-$500 mark. And that’s not factoring in an adjustment for inflation. All things considered, we’ve never had such A/V quality available for such a small amount of money. It’s a good time to be a film enthusiast.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      You’re missing a quick point: not EVERYTHING is mastered well.

      Planet Earth on Bluray or HD-DVD were very good examples of well mastered materials. The source was amazing and their transition to the physical medium was well done. Not every movie goes through the same care, unfortunately.

      Then you can easily lead into having a decent TV scaler itself. My TV set is a great scaler (Panny 1080p plasma) and watching DVDs upscaled are very enjoyable (with the DVD player outputting at 480p, but that was long ago). Again, not everyone has a good TV scaler, but it will definitely make a difference.

      I still cannot fathom how people cannot see the difference between a DVD movie or a Bluray movie. Maybe so many of these users are watching their new movies on a poor LCD set that can’t show many lines of resolution with motion (many LCDs are in the 600 range!). Having said that, of course upscaled DVDs will look good!

        • Corrado
        • 10 years ago

        I think you’re missing the argument. Its not that they can’t tell the difference. Its that the difference isn’t great enough. I’ve got 2 720p TVs, a 37″ Olevia that was cheap, and ‘good enough’ entry to the HDTV market for me. Paid $600 shipped for it 2 years ago now. Using the xbox 360 over VGA @ 720p native resolution, the upscaling the 360 does is nothing short of amazing. Watching lost on standard DVDs looks amazing.

        My 50″ Samsung Plasma, using a ps3 playing a DVD of the matrix vs the blu ray of the matrix is a large difference in quality. But… putting that dvd in my second 360 over HDMI, the difference is not so stark. Is there a difference? Absolutely. Is it worth $150-200 MINIMUM for the player and $10 over the normal DVD for the Blu Ray media? I don’t believe so. And thats just for the visuals. If you don’t have a 7.1 setup with a decent receiver and speakers, the added audio features are lost in the end as well. Lets face it, theres not too large of a market with a quality 7.1 setup. I’ve got a good quality 5.1 setup, but I have zero plans to replace it with a 7.1.

        So added features a lot of the market can’t use, expensive player, 50% more cost per movie, and it just doesn’t seem as compelling as DVD did. With DVD, audio and video looked better instantly, and the #1 pet peeve of VHS owners was eradicated. No more REWINDING. The only thing BluRay has going for it is that its higher resolution, but if a studio doesn’t take the time to make that noticeable to the naked eye with a standard def version playing right next to it, whats the point?

        • Vrock
        • 10 years ago

        I know not everything is transferred well. But I maintain that those discs are the exception rather than the rule, and in many cases when people complain about a disc not looking the way they want it to, it is because that’s the way the source looks…

    • Jakubgt
    • 10 years ago

    DRM please. If I have any problems with software or DRM-rights the first thing I do is go on TBP. As of right now I’m seriously consideration using TBP for all my movie sources just because of DRM.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      As stated before, that’s fun in a sad way /[<(at the same time, I wonder if these comments were the ones nuked by Damage, I might've missed something)<]/.

        • Ashbringer
        • 10 years ago

        James Rolf may have a bad mouth, but it’s what the consumer thinks about DVDs. Blu-Ray didn’t change any of that.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 10 years ago

      “Cumulative”? Do you mean “relevant”?

        • Ashbringer
        • 10 years ago

        Meaning that, as movies make it to Blu-Ray, the problems that you find in DVD also make their way onto Blu-Ray, and it gets worse.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      ‘It’s like we’re going forward in technology but only making our lives bullshittier’ – I lol’d

      • Kharnellius
      • 10 years ago

      Shit that is sooo true! Ugh.

    • NeronetFi
    • 10 years ago

    I was looking at HD TV’s a couple weeks ago and I asked the guy can you really see the different between a 60hz 120hz and 240hz tv. He compared 3 movies for me adjusting the settings for during each play back. These were all on a 1080p 50″ played through a blue-ray player.
    Chicken Little – Full CG
    King Kong – CG and real life
    U-571 – Mainly Real life but some CG stuff

    I have to say at 240hz it looks horrible:
    King Kong -During the fight seen between King Kong and the Dinosuar you could easly tell they were CG and just stood out so much from the background
    Chicken Little it made the characters look 3 dimensional more so but they stood out to much from the background setting.
    U-571 – real life was excellent but when it showed the underwater scene of the sub it was like watching an outspace movie. Like it was split screen.

    Yeah I know technology will improve and movies will start looking better in High Def but at what cost?

    Edit: My point being why pay so much for something that really will not look that good across the board on movies? I know you can change the settings and some TV’s have customer profiles but still

      • Sanctusx2
      • 10 years ago

      I think what you saw was the anti-judder tech usually in 120hz+ tvs. Some people really like it, some don’t. I hate it personally. It makes everything look really fake, like you mentioned. With live action it looks as if I’m looking through a window at the actors and it seems to amplify everything that they do wrong(costumes, gestures, etc).

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 10 years ago

      Personally if I ever got a 120hz+ TV, I would turn off the the enhancement stuff, and only let it do the 5:1 24fps conversion.

    • Richie_G
    • 10 years ago

    Over time we’ll be dragged kicking and screaming into the world of HD, however much we dig in our heels.

    The fact is, though, that Blu- Ray is a stillborn format, hence the lacklustre effort to develop and propagate reliable playback and standards of production.

    I think it was assumed that the movement to Blu-Ray would be like the transition from VHS to DVD after the invariable format wars were decided. Only problem this time around is that we have the internets (TPB lingo there).
    I have a number of DVD’s which I really enjoyed collecting; but HD physical media? Sweet FA – and that’s because I’m waiting for these media conglomerates to pull their collective fingers out of their arses and get a grip on the download scene.

    As far as I gather TPB is a bit taboo on TR, but let’s face it: a lot of people download films for a number of the reasons that make you yourself so disenchanted with the format. Everyone knows DVD is on its way out, but not everyone is convinced that Blu-Ray is the way forward. I’m not condoning it, but I do understand it.

    Imagine if a service like Steam, which is already well established and used by many, started offering HD movies which you could purchase and keep in your library and stream at your convenience from any capable machine. Surely that’s where things are headed, right?

    I suppose much of the reason for the slow realisation of streaming movie services is still bandwidth, but even that’s increasing at a reasonable rate now. A number of governments are running initiatives to ensure everyone has access, and improve speeds by moving from copper to fibre optic.

    Personally I think it’s just a matter of time, but yeah, Blu-Ray – and pretty much any physical HD media, is dead in the water.

    • nerdrage
    • 10 years ago

    Whoever posted that link to “DVDs are bull”… thank you. Great stuff.

    • Damage
    • 10 years ago

    I keep having to nuke posts for potty mouth. Ugh. We’re in public, folks. Keep it clean.

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    I can’t speak for everyone, but the content available just doesn’t seem worthwhile spending a huge investment in. DVD is “good enough” for my needs, and I don’t mind waiting until the price goes way down (and down it has. One of Consumer Reports highest rated 42″ screens is a noname brand, and $700 now.
    Insignia NS-L42Q-10A (Best Buy house Brand.) Talk about “good enoughg{<.<}g"

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 10 years ago

      For that price you can get a 720p projector. If you’re more interested in watching movies than TV, I’d go with the projector.

    • Wintermane
    • 10 years ago

    I was asked why I didnt have high def in some survey..

    I said because just like newspapers and magazines and music. I dont give a f. I am cheap because I dont care.

    The only way you will get me to spend is to make me care and frankly nothing on earth will make me care about YOU or what you make. You could all fall off the earth or die in a fire and all I would do is watch the youtube vid and say well its about damn time.

    For some reason they didnt sound happy about that;/

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    q[

    • superjawes
    • 10 years ago

    I had a friend point this out: 300 sucks in Blu-Ray because everything is digital. In other words, it’s not going to get any better because it is an artificially created performance. Clerks 2 looks better than Iron Man because the good parts of Clerks 2 are all real-life, and that benefits from higher compression. Iron Man, on the other hand, is only as good as people can make it, and then the benefits from DVD to Blu-Ray are minimal.

    Short text: Digital performances are not enhanced by the HD experience.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      Whack! wtf are you talking aboutg{

        • superjawes
        • 10 years ago

        Look at it this way. An HD camera can take in more detail, improving quality, and an HD format can relay that quality. When it comes to CG elements. That IS the product. There is no way to take in any more detail, so the gains from DVD to Blu-Ray are much less than those “real life” shots.

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          You’re wrong, because CG elements in a live action movie match the shooting resolution of the said movie. Doing otherwise would be outright stupid.

          Edit: assuming you refer to older CG productions that were re-released in a better format, it depends how good the raw film is/was for a worthwhile re-release in HD. In this case there’s still no difference between live action or CG elements in a mastered, merged production, though.
          * footnote: I’ve never worked in the movie industry, these are just educated guesses

          Also, you’re high on something:
          g{

            • Mourmain
            • 10 years ago

            …/[

            • superjawes
            • 10 years ago

            Blu-Ray and HD DVD use smaller wavelength lasers, allowing a higher rate of storage on disks. That’s compression.

            You’re talking about compression of making a XGB file a xGB file, where X > x, and yes, that is never good. But talking about being able to get the same about of data on the same physical volume, compression is always good.

            As for CG + real life shots, I don’t work in the industry either, but CG is still CG, wheras a live shot is as good as the camera that films it and the playback method ALWAYS. I’m just saying that the CG performance isn’t going to improve as much with higher definition because it is always digital, and a live shot will look better because it is closer to the human eye image (and in some cases, gives you higher than human eye resolution).

            • indeego
            • 10 years ago

            I think he means look at how compression is used by comcast and dish on their hd networks, and even media. The quality result is better in some regards, but worse in many others. Give me uncompressed Over The Air HD any day.

            quality (content and signal) + reliability g{<><}g quantity of channels

            • SonicSilicon
            • 10 years ago

            *[

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            Have you ever noticed that you don’t make sense?

            Let’s take a fictional example: we have a film that was mastered at a resolution of 3840×2160, complete with CGI shots and effects added at a resolution of 3840×2160. Now this probably surprises you, but those are MERGED. Lo and behold, we have a film.

            In this example, let’s assume that this raw film is downsampled to both SD (for DVDs) and 1080p (for not-so-DVDs, let’s assume Blu-Ray). We have two separate *[

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 10 years ago

          >> /[< An HD camera can take in more detail, improving quality<]/ Uh, what? Current HD cameras in use for filming are still much lower resolution that what a regular ol' 35mm film setup is capable of. Years down the road, when a ultra-super-duper hi-res format comes out, the digitally shot films of today are probably going to look like crap compared to a then-modern transfer of CASABLANCA.

      • cynan
      • 10 years ago

      /[< Short text: Digital performances are not enhanced by the HD experience.<]/ That's entirely dependent on the quality of the CGI or animation. Sure, South Park or the Simpsons may not look noticeably better in 1080p over 480p - but this is generally where this limitation ends. The CGI in high budget films can contain detail that is vastly improved on HD sources - even "older" CGI like the troll in Fellowship of the RIngs has added, well, definition in HD. And computer generated animation like Final Fantasy and the stuff Pixar is coming up with are rendered at very high resolutions (higher than 1080p), so an increase in resolution at the viewers end can definitely add to the experience

    • StuG
    • 10 years ago

    I have never been impressed with HD-DVD or BlueRay that much, and in either case have found the overall price not worth it.

    I also feel the people that go out, and do buy stand-alone players and multimedia systems based on these formats, for the most part, want so much to believe that they are seeing a huge difference (in general or over the HTPC counterpart) that they feel they actually are seeing it.

    For someone, such as Dustin here, who has not invested money strictly into the playing of HD-DVD or BlueRay he can really take a step back, and say if he likes what he got or not (without feeling like he blew his money). Cause when it comes down to it, he still has a PC out of the deal. The one’s that would feel as though they did blow their money are the people with stand-alone players. If they were to ever admit that there wasn’t SOMETHING better about the stand alone player, than they would feel as though they wasted there money, so they do feel the difference out of desire too feel the difference.

    The only true argument I see here for a stand-alone player or PS3 is that you don’t want to deal with the software, which is understandable to a point.

    • Thresher
    • 10 years ago

    The reason BR hasn’t taken off is that it’s an incremental improvement to an existing format. No matter how it’s spun, the difference between DVD (especially upsampled DVD) and Blu-Ray is not nearly as drastic as it was between VHS and DVD. Add to that DVD drives rapidly became commoditized, primarily because of much easier licensing for both the media and the recording machinery.

    So what we have is a medium that doesn’t offer a huge difference in functionality, marginal improvement in quality, and a price premium that is still at least twice that of comparable DVD players. It’s just not a recipe for success.

    And yes, I know that BR offers a markedly superior picture, but I just don’t think it’s so much better than Joe Consumer will be willing to plunk down two to three times as much for a player and up to two times as much for the media. Consumers are used to DVD player and medium costs, getting them to pay twice as much requires a helluva lot more incentive than a better picture.

    As for myself, I’ve actually gone the other way. I rip a lot of my movies and watch them on my computer, rather than on my big screen. I never thought I would do that, I was always a home theater snob, but the convenience is hard to beat.

    DRM for most folks is not much of an issue, so I don’t really consider it something that is dragging the market.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      That was quite funny in a sad way.

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    I used to think the only important thing about a movie was the availability of true surround sound, but I can often appreciate picture clarity as well. Especially with computer-animated movies, a higher resolution sometimes seems to compensate for the otherwise lacking realism of certain scenes (and sometimes it only reveals the polygons of grass, which is a turn-off, but still).

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 10 years ago

    I have a Panasonic 1080p plasma TV, and two Toshiba HD-A30 HD DVD players that I bought when prices dropped by half when it was announced that Toshiba was discontinuing the format. It’s great to see HD DVD movies selling for so cheap now (I got my last batch at $4 a pop), but to be honest, I have not had the urge to buy a Blu-Ray player because my HD DVD player does a more than acceptable job of upconverting the resolution of regular DVD’s. Also, while HD DVD movies look great, if it’s any indication of what Blu-Ray might look like, I can’t justify the extra cost.

    I generally avoid the purchase of new release movies when I buy my DVD’s too. The result is that I end up getting my DVD’s for close to the same cost as a rental. In some cases, less.

    If I did get a Blu-Ray player, it would almost certainly be in the form of a PlayStation 3, but the reason would be more because I wanted a game console rather than a machine for playing movies.

    Now the industry has announced HDMI 1.4, and that the size of the connector has changed with it. Another reason to wait for things to shake out.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 10 years ago

    1) Some of your problems are clearly and concisely being caused by PowerDVD and WinDVD. Standalone Blu-ray players (including the aforementioned PS3) do not have the same issues. You wanted to have your cake and eat it too. You get inferior compatibility for your trouble. If it helps, I believe the LG HD DVD/Blu-ray player also had some issues.

    2) 1080p is the best resolution to see HD versus a SD. If you go lower than 50″, even the Dolby Labs will tell you that you might as well be at 720p since it’s much more difficult to discern the difference between 1080p and 720p; and 720p is pretty low-res to be considered HD. Not as low as 480p, to be sure, but close enough.

    3) I don’t know what’s wrong with your system, but Iron Man looks sharp on my system. What’s your screen size, your resolution, and have you borrowed someone else’s PS3 to see what it looks like on your TV to make sure your PC isn’t crappy? Because based on other things you were saying, I think it just might be.

    4) Unfortunately for you, a lot of what one gets from Blu-ray requires great components. Ie., great (and big) TV, great receiver, great speakers. Lossless audio is very compelling for those of us who have the sound system for it. The video is great, too, but they call it multimedia for a reason.

    5) If you have price problems, try watching bluray.highdefdigest.com for sales and promotions. Or if you’re lazy, just watch Amazon since they have some of the best prices (without tax and with free shipping in most places). Also, try Netflix.

    I think you’d be much happier with Blu-ray (ie., no DRM compatibility issues) if you had gone with a PS3. You decided to build something together and now you’re paying the price. Don’t blame Blu-ray for something that is clearly the issue of the software manufacturers of PowerDVD and WinDVD.

      • FroBozz_Inc
      • 10 years ago

      I fully agree with everything you said there.

      I’ll add that while some transfers aren’t as good as others, in my experience I can always tell the difference between SD (even upscaled) and HD (even at 720p). In my eyes, it’s completely worth the upgrade.

      As time goes on, I feel that the not-as-good transfers will become less common, with better technology becoming more common. With standalone BR players dipping down to $100 now, the uptake is going to accelerate. It’s amazing how fast the BR sections at Hollywood and Blockbuster in my area have grown.

      I’m curious: Dustin, what type/size TV do you have?

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      g{<720p is pretty low-res to be considered HD. Not as low as 480p, to be sure, but close enough.<}g It's nicely situated between SD and 1080p, so I'm not sure what makes it "low". Technically, _[

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 10 years ago

        You’re confusing a “correct” technical definition with his description of the real-life experience.

      • burntham77
      • 10 years ago

      I agree. I have PS3 for blu-ray and DVDs, and my HTPC for everything else. Works great.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 10 years ago

    Numerous reasons for me.
    1) Price. a) I’ve accumulated a very large collection of DVD’s, and I’m not about to re-buy them.
    b) Even if I start buying Blu-rays now and leave my DVD’s, I can’t justify the price premium. Espically in Canadian dollars.

    2) I hate SONY.

    • Plazmodeus
    • 10 years ago

    I have been an early HDDVD and B-Ray adopter as well and I’ve seen the quality delta that you describe.

    I think there are two issues involved. One is the codecs used on the discs. I found that the H.264 encoded movies look a lot better than the VC1 discs. Apparently many of the early Blu-Ray discs were encoded with VC1, I dunno why.

    Secondly, its the source material. Digitally shot movies, Like PJ’s King Kong or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow were shot, edited, and mastered digitally, so there is no loss of fidelity anywhere in the process that ends up on disc.

    Older movies that were actually shot and edited on film are probably mastered off work prints of that film, which is to say copies of copies of copies. In those cases there is a constant loss of fidelity because of the introduction of film grain at each generation. That’s what I found with older movies like Enter the Dragon and Goodfellas. They look good, but they look like film. That can be quite pleasurable, especially with HD versions of classics like Casablanca which has a lovely B&W film grain that gives it a film ‘feel’ that is missing from VHS and DVD copies. Of course, if you grew up in the VHS/Dvd era and have never seen old movies in a theater, they will look odd to you.

    In many cases, HD is actually revealing the flaws in the production of a movie. That’s the case with Army of Darkness. Great movie, but it was always a bit of a B movie, and the reason it doesn’t look very good on HD is because it never did. The Thing, OTOH, was a higher budget film with really well done effects, and the HD transfer even now shows that.

    BTW, have you found any problems playing HDCP protected Blu-Ray discs on you HTPC? My HDTV is not HDCP and I wonder if I will be able to play Blu-Ray at full resolution off my HTPC.

    • VaultDweller
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • Hattig
      • 10 years ago

      Count me in for that too. I now only buy the deeply discounted DVDs, e.g., this year: the X-Men trilogy for £5. It’s not bringing money into the movie companies. They need to drop prices and RRPs to something we’re not going to laugh at.

      • MBIlover
      • 10 years ago

      I’ve also instructed my gf and friends to NOT buy me DVDs as presents anymore. It’s sad because I can’t complete my collection of the Futurama movies until a blu-ray upgrade…which won’t happen until prices drop a little more.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 10 years ago

        That’s ridiculous.. you were quite happy with DVD quality before, but not now? Just because there is a possibly-better-quality version out there, doesn’t mean you should stop buying DVDs.

          • VaultDweller
          • 10 years ago

          Yes – of course that’s how it works. I was happy with DVD quality before, but now when watching DVDs I am decidedly unhappy with the quality.

          Most people were happy with VHS quality at one point. Does that mean everyone still is now?

          When I first played GoldenEye on the N64, I wasn’t just happy with the graphics – I was absolutely amazed by it! Now, on the other hand… it looks so glaringly terrible that it would be too distracting to play the game.

          It’s just the nature of things. Once you’ve had something better, it’s hard to go back. I still buy DVDs if I don’t think the movie would look better in HD (old black and white classics, for example), but certainly not newer movies.

      • Madman
      • 10 years ago

      Same here. I’m not buying DVDs anymore knowing that there is all that price bonus and HDCP crap that won’t allow me to watch the movies on my PC without re-riping them, if re-ripping is even possible with HDCP, all that scares me off.

      When I will be able to use Blu-Ray as a backup and storage option for my PC and when all this HDCP crap will be cracked and forgotten for good. I will probably buy the drive, but not until then.

        • Veerappan
        • 10 years ago

        There are programs out there that allow for the removal of the Bluray copy protection and the removal of HDCP requirements.

        They’re just of dubious legality in the US (if you live there). Look into products by Slysoft (AnyDVD HD for one example) if you’re interested and it’s legal in your area.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 10 years ago

    HD HTPC’s just don’t work. That’s your main problem. In fact, I’m willing to bet that’s part of the inconsistency that you see in your movies.

    Saying that Blu-Ray sucks because you have a crappy playback system doesn’t really do justice to Blu-Ray.

    I have a Memorex Blu-Ray player (last year’s black friday deal) and the HD-DVD add-on for the xbox 360. Both product better quality than the PC can. Especially when you start talking about lossless audio, I don’t even think a PC can decode or pass that through. You really are better just going with Home Theater equipment.

      • scpulp
      • 10 years ago

      Funny, mine seems perfectly operable and the movies look just as “good” on it as they do on my buddy’s PS3.

      The buggy software is a chore, but I didn’t make the jump to high-def for the improved sound – frankly my ears just aren’t sensitive enough to pick it up.

      I spent the last few years in school training my eyes to spot differences in quality, improvements and defects. HD is honestly really hit or miss.

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    1. Recession

    2. BluRay isn’t worth a £10 premium over a DVD.

    When I see the RRP of a BluRay as being over £30, I just laugh, I’m not paying that, and nobody else will either. People’s limits for DVDs are £15, and most people wait for them to drop to £5. I see people’s reasonable expectation BluRay figures as £20 and £8, coming down to DVD pricing within three years.

    I don’t think it’s about people hating Sony, or the player prices, which have come down a lot anyway. My 42″ Plasma TV is so vastly superior to my previous CRT it isn’t funny, but my PS3 does a really good job of upconverting DVDs, or playing media on USB sticks or burned discs that whilst there is a difference, it’s negligable.

    It just isn’t VHS vs DVD.

    • Ryhadar
    • 10 years ago

    Thank you. My friends look at me like I’m cross-eyed when I say I don’t notice much of a difference between Blu-ray and DVD.

    Moreover, with the increase in saturation of LCDs and Plasma TVs in the market I feel as if picture quality has gone down from the clunky tubes of years gone by. But again, when I say that the Panasonic CRT downstairs looks better then the fuzzy picture quality of the Sony Bravia upstairs people think I’m speaking greek.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 10 years ago

    I was in a similar spot as you and chose to go with the PS3. I really enjoy the PS3 as both a gaming system and a media player, but you’re right about the disappointment of high-def. It’s just not worth an upgrade, especially when you compare it to “upconverted” DVDs.

    I am fortunate enough that my local library carries Blu-Ray discs alongside DVDs, so I get to see a lot of Blu-Rays. I don’t think that I would recommend a stand-alone Blu-Ray player to anyone.

    • TheEmrys
    • 10 years ago

    My reason? My upconverting DVD player is good enough on my HDTV. Pay for a new player and a new batch of movies? No thanks.

      • astraelraen
      • 10 years ago

      Most people would kill someone for saying that… but I agree!

      Most upconverting DVD players do a *[

    • brm001
    • 10 years ago

    Get the Netflix Blu-Ray upgrade, cost problem solved

      • GodsMadClown
      • 10 years ago

      If their BD library was deeper, I just might. Right now, however, I don’t think the benefit is worth the cost.

      Right now I have the $17/month plan (3 discs). The blue-ray fee is $4/month. That’s an increase of a little less than %25 to my monthly cost but only about 5% of my current queue is available in BD.

      • potatochobit
      • 10 years ago

      I think the biggest cost in the package is the new TV
      people who want a HD TV already have one. convincing the rest is quite hard although prices are low now that it is quite appealing.

Pin It on Pinterest