Blu-ray not singing the blues

March 6, 2008
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So Blu-ray won the high-definition format battle, effectively turning HD DVD into this generation’s Betamax.

Personally, this didn’t affect me at all. I managed to stay out of this turf war largely because a clearer picture and movie theater-quality sound are not things I’ve been willing to invest in. (I might think differently if I had a large-screen TV, of course). As long as DVD’s continue to play and my VHS machine still works, I’m good.

Am I alone here? Or am I missing something?

"If all we do is put high-def movies on discs, we're going to have a niche laserdisc business," Universal Home video head Craig Kornblau told Variety. "It's about creating a unique experience compared to the one we have with the DVD player."

Is there a “unique experience” to be had?

Or is Blu-ray just an expensive, slightly improved way to pump up the entertainment economy?

Your thoughts?
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  • I am a bit of a home theatre nut, but a lot of the movies I've seen in high-def formats really do blow open the doors of perception for films that make maximum use of the capabilities of the medium. I was given a free HD DVD player (whoops) when I purchased a 42 plasma TV last year - hey, my old TV died; what was I gonna do? I have seen both BLADE RUNNER and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY on HD DVD and they both represent immediately and starkly obvious improvements on their previously available standard-def DVD counterparts. (I'm sure there's nearly a 1:1 transference of picture quality between that and Blu-Ray.) 2001, in particular, looked like a whole new film; its vividness and clarity are astonishing, and the film likely looks as good or better than the fresh 70mm prints shown at the movies in 1968.

    As far as the experience, HD DVD and Blu-Ray are capable of everything DVDs can do; their interatcivity is just bumped up a notch, since you can call up menus and on-screen scene selection without interrupting the movie. HD DVD also featured picture-in-picture commentary, which I'm sure Blu-Ray will be providing soon, now that they're the last format standing.

    So, in a nutshell . . . yes. High def does offer advantages if you're interested in exploiting the full capacity of a visual medium - worthless if you don't have an HDTV, though, obviously. There's the rub.

    Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out if I should take advantage of the fire sale prices on HD DVDs or just cut my losses and buy a PlayStation 3.
  • I guess I don't have any thoughts...at all. I still play my 78's, watche tv on a 28 year old set, and wonder what the rest of you are talking about. I do realize that we have to do something later this year when they change over to whatever it is they are going to change over to. I just hope I can get some good advise on what to buy. (I remember the first tv my parents bought - a 8 round tube Ratheon, looked like a suit case). We watched Blade Runner recently and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to watching it again on this new format, whatever it is.
  • I just don't think your average video watcher or game player doesn't know much difference between the two. As video game fan and an IT person myself, I have been celebrating the Blu-Ray concept since Sony put it on the PS3.

    If you look at it, Blu-Ray is just starting on expanding space on their disk. Holding 25-50 GB per disk is nothing to laugh at (compared to HD-DVD's 15-30 GB). Ovbiously companies have seen the benefit of more space and the potentional success of this. Better Audio, Video. More content.

    Whats next? Complete Star Wars series and Special Commentaries on 1 to 3 Blu-Ray DVDs in 2012 (35 year Anniversry of the first one) with Hi-Def Remastered?

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