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BOL 803: Bluray is already dead

by Woadan / September 6, 2008 2:26 AM PDT

The problem with Bluray (and it would have been HD DVD had it won the format war) is that it's another format change that requires us to buy all of our movies once again.

How many of us were happy to buy the cassette, LP, AND CD of our favorite albums? How many of us forked out more money again for the remastered edition with the extra tracks?

It's surprising that the manufacturers didn't look at ways to enhance the existing DVD format. Oh! Wait! Toshiba did that recently didn't they?


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There lots of hyerbole about the death of physical media
by minimalist / September 6, 2008 5:07 AM PDT

thrown around on tech blogs and on BOL. It makes for juicy chatter but it doesn't mean that;s the way its playing out in the marketplace. The

Downloadable video will inevitably be the norm but there are going to be a lot of growing pains in the meantime. It can't go mainstream until we resolve the gazillion competing formats, the lack of selection, lack of portablity, DRM restrictions and the looming bandwidth caps from ISP's).

In the interim period (the next 8-12 years) there is a lot of money to made on content. Don't underestimate the appeal of a single device that plays all your older movies as well as any new ones you buy or rent. This is the distinct advantage of a FORMAT as opposed to closed, proprietary systems like Xbox live, Apple TV, Comcast VOD, Vudu, Netflix streaming etc.

Once digital downloads finds its one true format (like the mp3) and the content isn't locked down to specific boxes then it will become ubiquitous. My guess is its going to be a big mess until them.

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I wasn't talking about downloads...
by Woadan / September 6, 2008 5:53 AM PDT

My main point was that the cost of buying the player, plus buying all of our movies again, is high. And most people seem to be content with their current DVDs. I'm not sufficiently induced to invest in it. There just isn't enough of a quality increase to justify the cost.

Sony may have won this format war, but it will end up being a pyrrhic victory for them because the adaption rate will be low. (They lost with betamax because it wasn't as easy to use as VHS. They'll lose with Bluray because it still involves buying a player plus media disks.)

I agree that the death of physical media is inevitable. The question of how long that will take is going to be based on how hard the MPAA fights against it, either by DRMing downloads, or trying to institute broadcast flags, or working against any sort of download. But if the MPAA and its constituent movie studios don't embrace it, then they'll be where the music labels and the RIAA were in 1998 when Napster pulled the rug out from under them. People want it digitally, and if the studios don't make it easy and uncluttered to download and use, they'll go to P2P solutions.


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who says you have to buy all your movies over again?
by minimalist / September 6, 2008 6:50 AM PDT

<i>My main point was that the cost of buying the player, plus buying all of our movies again, is high.</i>

Who says you have to buy "all your movies over again"? My blu-ray player plays DVD's just fine. But if I'm faced with the choice of buying new releases in HD or SD its a no brainer. And of course Netflix has every blu-ray available for the movies you just want to watch once.

Digital downloads are great in THEORY but underwhelming in practice. I find all the bloviating around the tech blogosphere about how "physical media is already dead" to be pretty silly given the reality of what's available out there right now.

Its like declaring the gas engine "dead". Its premature and glib. I mean you can claim its "dead" all you want but GM, Toyota and Honda are going to continue making billions of dollars off them while people wait for the next thing to become truly compelling (ie mainstream). I feel the same thing is true with physical media, especially when it comes to movies that people want to own.

My 360 is fine for the occasional impulse rental of a big blockbuster (good luck finding any old classics or catalog titles that don't appeal to 20-year old males). But I'll be damned if I am going to BUY anything from Apple, Xbox, Comcast, Amazon or Vudu if its going to be overpriced, over-compressed, DRM'd crap that is stuck on some proprietary box. This isn't a bold new vision of the future. This is worse than what we have now. The only thing that's new is the instant gratification angle.

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The gas engine is dead
by Nicholas Buenk / September 6, 2008 9:27 AM PDT

Or at least dying though. Wink Wish it would hurry up.

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The electric car is banned.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 6, 2008 9:39 AM PDT
In reply to: The gas engine is dead
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by Nicholas Buenk / September 6, 2008 12:34 PM PDT

That's not an electric car, that's an electric tricycle. Wink

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The 3 and 4 wheel versions are banned.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 6, 2008 12:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Hehe

Next thing we'll see is the bicycle ban.

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No one I know has
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 6, 2008 5:13 AM PDT

Bought a single Bluray disc. Maybe they'll call that "pent up demand."

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Well I work with 4 or 5 people who have bought players in
by minimalist / September 6, 2008 7:03 AM PDT
In reply to: No one I know has

the last 8 months as they have upgraded their TV's. Maybe we are "the elite" but only the elite were buying DVD players back in 1998 as well. It has to start somewhere.

And I bet you might have had a hard time finding tons of people buying DVD's two years after their introduction in 1997 either. In fact I remember that specialty shops like SunCoast were some of the only places to buy them and they were expensive then as well.

Of course none of this guarantees Blu-ray's success. Its quite possible it will remain a niche product. But my point is that people have become so used to immediate feedback in the age of the internet that they are way too quick to dismiss things as failures if they don;t become huge successes overnight. And that's just not the way the consumer electronics works. Its slow and steady.

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It's not like you get nothing for buying again...
by Nicholas Buenk / September 6, 2008 9:28 AM PDT

1920x1080 progressive video is pretty fracking awesome you know.
But I think downloadable media may well catch on before Blu Ray at the rate it's going.
With h264 codec, it takes only about 10GB to have a 2 hour 1080p movie. Now a say 20mbit internet connection could do that in just 3 hours. That's not bad, beats a car trip and is faster than the mail man. A fibre connection should even be able to stream 1080p video. There's no need of anything proprietary or DRMed, but it's easier to suck up to the content companies I bet if you do go that route.

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You actually think that
by minimalist / September 7, 2008 2:41 AM PDT

content producers will just give up all their DRM game playing and say, "Oh OK, we'll just give people high super high quality 10GB downloads without DRM and without any strings attached at all"? And that the cable companies (who are beginning to limit bandwidth to push their own product mind you) and all the Apples, Xboxes, Vudus, etc (who love their little proprietary walled gardens) and will just welcome this this open arms?

I have to say you are awfully optimistic. I take a more cynical view. All I see is a fragmented markert filled with a bunch of players obsessed with nothing but their own little myopic concerns. They are completely unwilling to cooperate with one another to create a flexible, high quality, universal standard that could finally propel digital downloads in to the mainstream.

It took the music industry 10 painful years to finally get to this point. My guess it will be just as long for the video industry.

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Some already "get it."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 7, 2008 3:50 AM PDT

Look at the model used by the series "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog."

Some will catch on faster than others.

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That is IF Dr. Horrible turns out to be profitable
by minimalist / September 7, 2008 6:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Some already "get it."

As far as I know the Whedon still has to make his money back. Even if the show does have modest success, a small experiment from a director with an already established, highly wired following, does not a sea change make for the rest of the industry. 95% of the content that the mainstream consumer actually wants to see is still controlled by slow as molasses old media who will fight to the death to maintain absolute control over how consumers can get their content.

Its sort of like how the blogosphere loves to drag out Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and Jonathan Coulton and parade them around as poster children for bold new distribution models in music. But they are not really representative of the music industry as a whole. They occupy niche markets and their experiments, while interesting, are not nearly as earth shattering as we tech enthusiasts might like to believe.

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I think it'll happen eventually
by Nicholas Buenk / September 11, 2008 1:44 AM PDT

It has with audio.

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One big difference with audio
by minimalist / September 11, 2008 1:44 PM PDT

was the fact that existing CD's, which lacked any sort of DRM could be easily ripped by programs like Itunes. The devices had a reason for being because people already had what they needed to fill them.

DVD's are different. Handbrake. Mac the Ripper and DVD Shrink are at best shady grey market programs that are a long way from mainstream consciousness. If the iPod's popularity were tied to nothing but new iTunes Music store purchases I am not convinced it would be the juggernaut that it is today.

I foresee the transfer for video as being a longer process than music.

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I have never....
by Magishine / September 6, 2008 4:18 PM PDT

...bought a "premium" version of something I already owned. VHS to DVD was different though because you usually got more for the same price.

Now, that may sound self contradictory but usually these "Premium" editions only have, in the case of music for instance, one or two new tracks. I don't think it justifies buying the whole thing all over again.

The thing with Bluray is that it jumped the gun IMO. DVD was a huge change from VHS. Bluray isn't that big of a jump. "Oh the picture looks better." Yay...

So many people are wondering why they should buy a disc that is more expensive and has advantages that most people either can't take advantage of yet (because they don't have the proper TV) or they can do the same thing for cheaper (Upconverting players).

Bluray makes sense in gaming because the discs hold more than DVDs, so it's not completely dead. But I think it will go the way of the UMD soon enough.

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Why the heck would I buy again?
by Renegade Knight / September 8, 2008 7:10 AM PDT

Since BlueRay plays DVD's I don't have to buy any of my old movies again. My DVD player never did do VHS.

I'd say BlueRay isn't dead for this reason.

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