TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion


by vaulting16 / June 15, 2009 3:44 PM PDT

Hello all,

I would like to know what you the readers think about buying blu-ray right now. I see that player prices have dropped and so have movie prices. My big question is should I buy blu-ray or is another format around the corner, laying in wait to knock off blu-ray? Let me know what you think about time frames for the new formats. Also, what do you think these formats will bring? Thanks!

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There's ALWAYS something around the corner, hehe.
by ahtoi / June 15, 2009 6:32 PM PDT

...and that's why I don't have one.

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nothing will surpass Bluray for best PQ and AQ
by jostenmeat / June 21, 2009 7:58 AM PDT

for a very long time. It will be at least a decade. Life is too short for me to wait that long.

Nothing is right around the corner.

Now, there MIGHT* be dl's coming in the future, with extreme growing pains, even worse DRM issues, with failing limited bandwidth, but the PQ and AQ will be inferior. I'd bet a lot of money on that.

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Blue Ray
by Engineering Man / June 21, 2009 8:07 AM PDT

I love my Blue Ray player. The main improvement that I noticed the most is the audio. Its hard to explain; the gain seems much higher and the overall channell separation and audio quality is superb to normal HD.

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Just one thing stops me cold from buying a movie on BR.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 16, 2009 1:29 AM PDT

It's the DRM that gets updated from time to time and some title then stops playing.

This is the ONE THING that stops me cold from adding to my collection in BR.


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Please Explain
by vaulting16 / June 17, 2009 4:06 PM PDT

I don't quite follow... I am new to this idea.


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by 3rdalbum / June 19, 2009 8:57 PM PDT

There's one disadvantage with Blu-ray, and that is the DRM.

DVDs are easy to rip to hard disk for personal purposes - this is because the encryption on them was flawed and could be easily broken. Anyone who wants to make a backup copy or put it onto a media server can do this without trouble.

Blu-rays have much stronger encryption and supports "revoking" decryption keys. Each model of player, whether software or hardware, has a different decryption key. If one decryption key gets discovered and used in Blu-ray copying software, the AACS licensing association can revoke the key, causing it to no longer be able to be used to decrypt new Blu-ray titles.

Blu-rays released a couple of months ago cannot be decrypted to hard disk using commonly-available tools because all the discovered decryption keys have been revoked, and nobody has discovered any new keys.

In the extremely unlikely case that you'll never want to copy a Blu-ray to hard disk or to another Blu-ray disc for fair use purposes, there is still another potential problem with the DRM system. If the hackers discover the decryption keys hidden in your Blu-ray player and publish them, the AACS-LA will revoke those keys and your Blu-ray player will no longer be able to decrypt new titles until you connect it to the Internet to download a new key.

It could even be worse than that: Some players and PC drives can be "poisoned" by special instructions stored on commercial Blu-ray discs. The poisoning occurs when the AACS-LA finds that a particular drive has a a vulnerability to attack, so they put a special code onto the discs that will stop drives from authenticating new discs.

Paranoid science-fiction? I originally thought it was, but the AACS-LA has implemented poisoning for one PC drive that I know of (I own one). That's pretty bad.

You can update the firmware and decryption keys for these players by hooking them up to your network or burning the new firmware to a CD, but do you really want to be doing this every three months? (shortest possible period in-between key revokations).

Yes, Blu-ray gives you awesome picture and sound quality (on a decent TV, it's MILES better than an "upscaled" *snicker* DVD), but the DRM is a pain in the backside. I would recommend weighing up the pros and cons before buying. There is not likely to be a successor to Blu-ray any time soon, and as far as I know there's no new specification yet to be implemented in Blu-ray players that could cause compatibility problems.

The DRM is the real problem with Blu-ray and as soon as they can get rid of it, or as soon as the hackers can completely bypass the revocation system, we can all move forward and embrace the format. Until then, I have a love/hate relationship with Blu-ray.

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Sci-Fi Fantsay
by gkamer / June 20, 2009 12:25 AM PDT
In reply to: The DRM

"It could even be worse than that: Some players and PC drives can be "poisoned" by special instructions stored on commercial Blu-ray discs. The poisoning occurs when the AACS-LA finds that a particular drive has a a vulnerability to attack, so they put a special code onto the discs that will stop drives from authenticating new discs."

So, if I read this correctly, what you're saying is if hackers find and use the decryption key on my player, through no fault of my own, and without any legal recourse, they can send a huntand destroy command out to destroy my hard drive? And you know this because it happened to you? Sorry, dude, I have to call B.S, on your post.

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Sadly they are stumbling on DRM.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 20, 2009 1:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Sci-Fi Fantsay

Read;forum-threads and yet again the efforts on DRM are hindering them from delivering a working product.

That is, instead of working on "making it work" they continue to direct the efforts to making it barely work.

I haven't heard of any poison feature (nothing but banter) but I have seen players "update" and then stop playing discs that worked fine before the update. And without the update some new title won't play so if we buy into BD we are at their mercy.

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firmware updates are not mandatory
by chrisr67 / June 20, 2009 11:13 AM PDT
In reply to: The DRM

In regards to firmware updates, you don't have to burn them to CD everytime you want to update your player. The easier way is to copy it to a USB flash drive. It takes all of 2 minutes!
I've had my PS3 for 2 years and have only updated it 3 times with the latest firmware updates. It's not like your blu ray movies won't play if you don't update your player. It's not mandatory that you update your blu ray player every time a new update is available.

To those of you "on the fence" in regards to purchasing a bluray player, I say go for it! You can get an excellent bluray player now for under 150 bucks and the picture and sound quality is much better than standard DVD's. Even "upscaled" dvd's. The blu ray format is here to stay folks. Nothing is going to replace it for at least the next decade, so while technolgies do advance every 6 months, you won't have to worry about your bluray player being obsolete for quite some time.

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Firmware updates are unavoidable.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 20, 2009 10:02 PM PDT

Look in our Samsung forum about playback issues. It appears that too many devices are going to market with bugs that only the firmware update can fix.

Then another title comes out and you need yet another firmware update.

Reality is that while this is not mandatory, some content won't play without it.

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What size TV do You have??
by givemeaname / June 16, 2009 2:30 AM PDT

Part of up grading is having the right sized TV & not sitting way too far to see any diffrance.

I been BluRay for a few years.. been through hell with my one Samsuck player (I have 2 Samsungs). I got a panasonic bd80 a few months ago and it is night and day from that to that one Samsuck. I only had to do one update and that is when I got it, the samsungs I have done a few updates in the sametime frame.

For another format, it's going to be years (15-20+ years), mostliky a spinoff of BluRay using 200gig disc but will only happen when 4k TVs come out in the masses, it would be backwords conpatable too.

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Yes, if...
by bearvp / June 16, 2009 2:41 AM PDT

Upgrading to a Blu-ray player is worth it if you have the following:

- A HDTV of 40" or larger (50" or larger is best)
- A quality surround sound system that can take advantage of the DTS-HD/TrueHD sound formats. To me, the upgrade in audio quality is the best feature of Blu-ray over DVD. A HTIB surround sound system won't cut it very well to appreciate the HD audio formats.

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HD audio
by JeepMysteryProb / June 18, 2009 11:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes, if...

Blu-ray players now have onboard decoding for these formats, so if you don't have a up to date receiver, the player can send a compatible decoded HD audio stream to it. By doing this you get the benefits of HD audio. Although this is a solution, it should remain a temporary one; as for the player decoding the HD audio is not quite on the same level of quality as you HD audio capable receiver. Anyway, both work.

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My 2-cents
by Dan Filice / June 16, 2009 3:45 AM PDT

As others have stated, if you have the right equipment to highlight the benefits of Blu-Ray, then you will totally enjoy the new format. Obviously if you have a 20" TV with standard video connections, then don't bother. The good thing is that Blu-Ray players are backward compatible and they upconvert. I love the HT experience, and to me, the stunning picture and audio quality is well worth the investment. Yes, you need to update the firmware once in awhile, but no big thing. A friend who has a Samsung BR player couldn't play the new James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace", so I bought it from her. It plays fine on both my PS3 and Panasonic BD35, but I've kept up with firmware updates. One cool thing about BR discs is that they have "Smart Menus", where during the middle of playing the feature, you can call-up the menu and change settings without the need to completely stop the movie (such as changing to the "Director Commentary" mode).

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Good Luck to all.
by lingChange / June 23, 2009 9:06 AM PDT
In reply to: My 2-cents

This is a MS canal is it not? Better start thinking.

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Yes Man!!
by JeepMysteryProb / June 17, 2009 11:56 AM PDT

With some electronics this same questions arises: Is it worth it? This is typical. In the case for blu-ray, my answer is that it is totally worth it. This is the kind of situation that I say that you need to have it in order to appreciate the magnitude of the upgrade. I own a Sam-sung BD1600 player. It is the best player for the price point. So you should research blu-ray players that have the feature that you would use, remember carefully read the specifications; due to the standard of blu-ray players rising, be sure you get a solid player. Blu ray is about eight times better than DVD, even though you may not have up to date equipment. Also,blu-ray is the next and present standard format. So jumping on board is not really a risk.

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Thank you to everyone
by vaulting16 / June 17, 2009 4:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes Man!!

Thank you for everyone's input. I think I might go for it and buy a player. I probably won't buy movies I already have, but new ones will be a different story. Again thank you.

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Try it once, at least, plus some tips...
by WildClay / June 20, 2009 5:44 PM PDT
In reply to: Thank you to everyone

Now that it sounds like you plan in getting here are a few tips.

1. As for replacing movies you already have, unless you are really cash strapped I suggest you try it once on an action film or one with a lot of special effects or where there are new audio options, True HD DTS Master is to excuse the pun, music to the ear, if you have the right stuff. I found as I mentioned, things like Top Gun, The Bourne Identity, and Cars totally worth it, but on a few and I learned fast the upgrade was just not worth it for the video or audio, these included things like You've Got Mail, The Holiday, and a few others I tried and wish I had not bothered.

2. Read the cNet reviews of the players, the latest one is one of the best as it zooms in on what I think are the biggest differences, and on the top of the list is load time for a disc, and menu speed, my old unit was just plain painful. Another key is how well it does on upscaling 480i, since if you plan use your Blu-Ray for regular DVD's then this is a key function, the reviews were great!

3. Look at the interface/output options and make sure you have tthe flecibility you need, for example with just HDMI at least on my HT receiver you can only upscale from component inputs, so I wanted one that had both HDMI and component outputs, as well as more than one option on audio, there is of course HDMI but mine also has optical and coax digital outputs, so it is good too look at the entire end-to-end world you are in an ensure you get what you need.

4. Wireless Internet unless you happen to have an internet connection where your DVD player is, I didn't and was glad I could go wireless with a dongle.

I doubt you will be unhappy with most choices, I went sort of middle of the road with the Pani BD80 and am very happy with that choice. It was a smidge slower on load and menu transistions, but topped the list in upconverting 480i DVD's.

Have fun with your new toy, at the end of the day that is what really counts.

As for going PCM instead of native bit-stream it is true that you can always get audio, but you get the most of of native mode, but this is more of a function of your HT receiver than your Blu-Ray player.

I picked up mine on Ebay for 300 bucks.

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Blu-ray is great
by prberg / June 19, 2009 2:47 PM PDT

I agree with what others have said. If you have a good TV and a good sound system then blu-ray is great! The picture and sound quality from blu-ray is the best you can get (for your home theater at least). I don't think there will be any new formats anytime soon. People say that streaming/downloading movies from the internet is the next thing. As of right now I'm not a big fan of getting my movies from the web. My connection isn't that fast and the quality isn't that great.

I got my sony blu-ray player for less than $200 and I love it. Highly recommended. I can find good movies for $10-$25. I'm very happy with the blu-ray experience.

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And now for something completely different ...
by azjazz / June 19, 2009 3:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Blu-ray is great

I wouldn't recommend getting a Blu-Ray player ... yet ... depending on what your existing equipment is.

I currently have a relatively new 60" plasma (a Pioneer 6020FD), and a standard DVD player with an HDMI output.

I have been playing my existing DVD collection through my standard definition DVD player (480p output), and my plasma TV does an *absolutely phenomenal* job of converting the DVD output to 1080i. I have played plenty of DVDs on my system. It may not be quite as good as Blu-Ray (I have played plenty of HD content as well), but I would say that it gets you 90% of the way there for a lot of movie playback. That is, unless you are from the "how many hairs can I count in his armpit" group of folks.

Personally, I'm willing to wait around until Blu-Ray players are under $100, and then I *might* make the plunge.

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Seems silly...
by Pepe7 / June 23, 2009 9:17 AM PDT have that wonderful Pio w/o a BD player ;(. It's like buying a Ferrari while living in a country without any freeways....

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Let's See...
by Flatworm / June 19, 2009 11:29 PM PDT

Is it worth it? Well, if you are a poor person begging on the street corner for enough spare change to get yourself a Big Mac, then probably not.

For everyone else, for the price of a couple of concert tickets or a trip to the movies with a family of four complete with popcorn and large drinks, you can buy a Blu-Ray player these days. It so deeply enhances the movie watching experience on a large-screen 1080p television that you will never regret it for a moment. It takes MONTHS to get over the "Wow!" factor (if you've got kids, this "Wow!" factor is particularly pronounced for animated content).

The DRM thing is only an issue if you intend to engage in piracy. Now, I myself am a pirate at heart, but not to the point where I would do without the wonderful benefits of Blu-Ray merely to indulge my swashbuckling tendencies.

Most newly-released Blu-Ray disks include a digital copy that you can put onto your computer and/or mobile devices if you wish. For about 99.9% of the population this satisfies anything that the Blu-Ray DRM system might leave wanting.

And as to the notion that "something better" is coming, I am quite certain that your wait for this "something better" will be painfully long. Blu-Rays take advantage of even the most advanced features of the very most modern televisions, and higher resolution TVs for the consumer are not in the offing at this time. Because Blu-Ray technology has yet to approach the theoretical storage capacity of the media, and because Blu-Ray players can have their firmware updated to accommodate new features, it is likely that Blu-Ray will remain the top format for decades to come, perhaps lasting as long as phonograph records did as the dominant recorded entertainment format, and maybe longer.

If you want one, get one. Now's probably a good time. Players can be had sometimes on sale for around $150 now, so how much can the price drop, $125 at most? Disks are now approaching the prices DVDs were at three or four years ago, with some titles now on sale under $10. What are you waiting for?

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Oh really?
by porsche10x / June 20, 2009 3:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Let's See...

Regarding: "The DRM thing is only an issue if you intend to engage in piracy..."

Did you read the previous posts? Apparently, the DRM "thing" is an issue for YOU if OTHERS engage in piracy!

Until this topic, I didn't know just how extensive blu-ray DRM is. I don't know if this is more of a theoretical issue for now, but if my new BR player stopped playing new releases because of a DRM issue, I'd expect a new BR player to be overnighted to me, financial compensation for every minute that I spent even wondering what was happening, and the president of Sony to come to my house and be my house boy for a year.

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DRM Issues?
by WildClay / June 20, 2009 7:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Oh really?

I guess I will have to do more homework, I have never had a Blu-Ray DVD "diabled" and started buying them soon after they came out, I did upgrade my player but that had nothing to do with locked movies it was that the first player I got was very very slow navigating through menu's which I found a pain, the Pani BD 80 is substantially faster going through menu's and loading the disc.

As far as I can tell the only pain of DRM is if you plan to knock-off movies and it may also be an issue for all of the "fair-use" options prior to DRM but if that is true I have not run in to any so far.

To be fair in that last statement, I should say how I use Blu-Ray, I put the movie in the player, that is hooked to my HT reveiver, that is hooked to my HDTV and play the movie, then put it back in the case until next time. Having kids means some of my Disney and Pixar ones have been in and out a LOT of times since purchase and I have to admit I have watched Top Gun a number of times, it is a great HT "demo" movie if you want to show off your system to friends Happy

I would be interested in anyone expanding on my fair use rights if they know what they are, that is, what limitiations DRM has impossed on legal users that was not a limitation with regular DVD that were copy protected and if all it means is that the lock is better I don't think that really counts.

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Good, Don't buy a BR player or...
by Dan Filice / June 20, 2009 8:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Oh really?

..any BR movies. This will leave more for me and the other folks who have BR players and have been enjoying the format for some time. I've got two BR players and two large HDTVs and I have never had any issues playing any movie. After a year, I still enjoy the WOW! factor, as do my wife, kids and friends.

I agree with one of the other posters in that some BR discs are stunning while others are so-so, but sheesh, this was an issue with regular DVDs too. I have many DVDs in both standard-def and Blu-Ray, and all I can say is that when I've done an A-B comparison (I have an upconverting DVD player sitting next to my PS3), the BR disc is just so much better than upconverted. The full 1080-24p display immerses me into the scene. While upconversion is good, it doesn't compare to BR. If anyone can't see this difference, then they don't have a good display or their settings are wrong.

So please keep thinking that BR is a bogus format. I'd hate to have someone with a jaded opinion of BR actually have a chance to enjoy it. By the way, I'm headed to Best Buy to buy the BR release of Ghostbusters. Yes, I have the 2-pack of the originals, but I can't wait to see the BR quality and enjoy the HD audio benefits!

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So-so vs Stunning
by WildClay / June 20, 2009 8:25 AM PDT

I agree with you that regular DVD had the same issue, my point was not that Blu-Ray is not worth it, it was only that content can make a difference in how much more you get out of it when replacing a movie you already own or deciding to spend 10 bucks more on a movie where the difference is likely not worth it.

Even with that I tend to buy new releases in Blu-Ray even if the video is not "worth" it since I have moved on from 480i, my choice not to replace a 480i I already own is where I tend to make the call the most often and many I have no intention of replacing, they are just fine upscaled or converted.

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Many Variables to that Question
by WildClay / June 20, 2009 1:45 AM PDT

I have the Pani BD80 and must admit I have never regreted getting it. First to cover a couple points I saw in this thread I have seen mention that some of my Blu-Ray discs might be disabled, I have about 40 in my collection now, and so far none have been disabled. The update of the firmware is a fact, I have had to do one so far, I do not bother in keeping with the latest, I only upgraded bacause a new disc I bought would not play. I have yet to hook my player to the internet so I had to D/L the upgrade and put it in the player, it took over from there and applied the upgrade, it was about a 1 hour job if you count the time to find it in the Pani support section, D/L it, burn to ISO format DVD, and finally put it in the player. Once I put the player on the net the process per a friend that has the same player is like a 15 minute job.

Now on to your question about another format around the corner, as far as my research has shown, no there is no new format waiting to come out and blow away Blu-Ray anytime soon.

Next comes the equipment, I have a 58" Pani HDTV and where I have bought Blu-Ray version of movies I already owned, I can say in many cases the difference has been knock your socks off, in others it is ho-hum, of course my player has great upconversion and so does my HT system, so the 1080i from the Blu-Ray uponversion or the 1080p from my HT receiver really does a good job.

If your TV is under 40" or so it is likely a waste of money, so assuming you have a 50" or larger set, and a good one, and a good Blu-Ray player then it comes down to content for me. I will give a few examples, "Top Gun" in Blu-Ray is like seeing the movie for the first time the image is that impressive even compared to the upconverted 480i DVD I had, "Cars" was the same. On the other hand movies like Hitch, EdTV, any "chick-flick", most drama's with few special effects and high action scenes are not worht replacing an existing copy if you have it. So bottom line is content makes a big difference, in many cases the audio was remastered and even then the difference except in action flics was marginal, not worth a replacement of an existing DVD but might be worth it if you are buying it for the first time.

Finally, your economic sistuation plays a part in the decision, not as dramatically as a street begger to a NFL star quaterback as mentioned. If 300 bucks is not a "big" outlay for you then I think it is worth it but that is not the only measure, the cost of your player is peanuts compared to the cost of the movies, Blu-Ray movies at places like Amazon are still generally much higher than getting a 480i DVD. They can easily be 10 bucks more and sometimes even higher. The good news is you can pick on a movie-to-movie basis, in non-action movies and where I don't care about getting a digital copy for my PC (which is like always) I will still buy a regular DVD over the Blu-Ray version.

So bottom line is, that putting aside the raw economics, if you like to really get the best bang out of the HT & HD TV, have 50" or greater TV, and sunk a few grand into your rig, can afford the cost of the discs, then Blu-Ray is well worth it in my opinion, if not, then the answer would be to wait.

Blu-Ray players as well as the discs are dropping in price pretty fast and it will not be long before a Blu-Ray disc of a new released movie will about the same cost as a 480i version, the cost of the players is also dropping like a rock.

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size of display means nothing without viewing distance
by jostenmeat / June 21, 2009 7:56 AM PDT

Assuming one has perfect 20/20 vision, to enjoy the full benefit of 1080p, one approximately needs a 32 degree viewing angle of a 16:9 screen. Again, that's if you have perfect vision.

What does that mean? If you have a 50" TV, and you sit farther than 6 ft and change, you do not enjoy the full benefit of 1080p.

Now, before someone freaks out, and says something, "OMG, HOW CAN YOU SIT SO CLOSE?", I offer a post of mine that compares my recent in movie experiences.

With that in mind, I enjoy a 42 degree viewing angle. In my case, DVD is simply unbearable. I have not put one on since '07.

As for DRM, this will never go away. It will probably only get WORSE with future DL's. Regardless, it's a complete non-issue for me. No problems here, nor at my brother's.

While Samsung models are the named culprits here, it must be stated that they notoriously had the worst firmware support for the players for a while. How much they've improved, I do not know.

I am running an experiment myself, but I don't know how long I'll keep it up. I'm currently trying NOT to update FW, because I'm curious how long it'll take before I run into an issue.

I've updated only 3 times out of 13 updates thus far. My brother has updated one single time. I have a Pana BD30 which is already three generations old, and my brother has a Sony.

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6' 6" from 58"
by WildClay / June 21, 2009 8:05 AM PDT

I sit 6 and a half feet from my 58" screen and my eyeballs have no problem, I actually sat the same distance from a 50" screen and not being as videophile can't say I really noticed any difference that jumped out at me and scream, of this is too far away, nor did I feel any less immersed in the image.

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From my personal experience...
by pulmonq2 / September 27, 2010 7:07 PM PDT

The only time I find myself considering blu-ray is when the DVD version of a film is poorly transferred and the only alternative is blu-ray.

However, my sense of ethics has, so far, prevented me from supporting Sony, due to their seemingly insane obsession with wanting to control everything that you own, DRM being one example.

From a home theatre standpoint, I personally have no issues watching up-converted standard DVD on either my parent's 40" LCD TV or my 61" DLP (both Samsung). Both of my up-converters, an A-35 and a DV983H, do a very nice job.

It also looks like we are within a few years of holographic data storage, thanks to GE's efforts, so that's another consideration.

Maybe this is getting too deep, but in my opinion, one should really only consider upgrading if there is both a logical and practical reason to do so; not simply for how 'cool' it is, but for its social value, as well.

For me, blu-ray could be nice to have, but it's just not important enough to dent my credit card with.

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