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Blu-Ray

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Blu-Ray

Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:13 pm

Picked up a Sharp Blu-Ray player a couple weeks ago and have been enjoying films in 1080/24p on the Sony 50" SXRD rear projector (shame that Sony is ditching rear projection).

Best Buy was running a deal that allowed me to pick five movies off the shelf to go with the five movies available on mail-in rebate. I've also found some deals in the past week like Amazon and Toys 'R Us running buy one get one deals. Already picked up nearly 20 Blu-Rays, including the five disc Blade Runner release.

Ridley Scott's final cut of Blade Runner (sans the Harrison Ford narration) is great and looks drop dead gorgeous in full HD (1080p).

Glad that Warner went with Blu-Ray to effectively end the high-def format war only a few days after I bought the player. At this point I can actually say that the picture on the TV looks better than most of the pictures I see at the movie theater. The audio is uncompressed in 5.1 PCM, Dolby TrueHD, or DTS Master and sounds better than theater audio as well. It's going to take a lot more to justify paying $9 for a movie ticket. That's not much less than what I pay for Netflix a month and I can easily go through 10-12 flicks during that period.
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Unread postby Bayou Tribe » Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:34 pm

Mac, sorry to be intrusive, but what was the price on the player + 10 free dvd's (5 in store, 5 mail in) if you don't mind me asking?

Glad that Warner went with Blu-Ray to effectively end the high-def format war only a few days after I bought the player.


That helps, but I still have the worry on what'll come out on top. I want to make sure I'm backing the right horse if I'm going to spend the money. But I am in the market for a new tv (I think I'm going 52" Bravia but I'm still open to suggestions) and player.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:50 pm

Bayou Tribe wrote:Mac, sorry to be intrusive, but what was the price on the player + 10 free dvd's (5 in store, 5 mail in) if you don't mind me asking?

That helps, but I still have the worry on what'll come out on top. I want to make sure I'm backing the right horse if I'm going to spend the money. But I am in the market for a new tv (I think I'm going 52" Bravia but I'm still open to suggestions) and player.


I paid $400 for the Sharp BDP20U.

The Bravias are nice, though Sony LCDs are not always the best value for the $$$$. I like Sony a lot, but Sharp Aquos and Samsung displays are often just as good and better values. Sharp and Samsung are both OEM LCD manufacturers - they actually make the LCDs that Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc use in their TVs.

As for Blu-Ray, it is not a bad idea to wait a few months. For one, most current players aside from the Panasonic are Profile 1.0 players. Profile 1.1 is mandatory for players introduced now - it requires a secondary video and audio decoder to be built in for Picture-in-picture stuff like Director Commentaries. I bought a Profile 1.0 player because I don't listen to commentaries on my DVDs. I'm more of a movie and the occasional featurette kind of guy.

Profile 2.0 (first player comes out in May) adds online support for internet interactive features and more storage on the player.

For anyone that wants to ensure 2.0 support now the best thing to buy is the PS3 because it has enough horsepower to do it all with a firmware upgrade.

I didn't care so much about the future profiles.

Insiders have been saying for the past week that they expect Paramount and Universal to at least announce they will support both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray; that they are working on the logistics right now. Paramount's exclusivity deal had an out clause if either Uni or Warner declared exclusive for the other format, so they are free to do what they want. Universal's exclusivity deal ended when the year changed and it was not renewed.

Both also have to deal with one major problem: Spielberg is a Blu-Ray supported. Close Encounters was remastered by Spielberg for Blu-Ray and Paramount's exclusivity deal did not include any Spielberg stuff. He has said that the new Indy movie will only be released on Blu-Ray and DVD. Universal attempted to announce the Back to the Future series, Jurassic Park, ET, and Jaws for HD-DVD only to have to retract their announcements because Spielberg would not allow them to release any Amblin owned properties on the format.

Michael Bay has also stressed his fondness for Blu-Ray.

I'd expect by summer we will have a clear winner and that by the end of the year some good players will be under $300 with Profile 1.1 or 2.0. That's when I'll buy a second player along with a 40" 1080p LCD for the bedroom and actually start getting rid of my duplicate DVDs. No need now when the LCD in the bedroom is only 720p and hooked up to a DVD player.
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Unread postby Bayou Tribe » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:29 am

Phenomenal. Thanks for all of the great advice Mac, just what I was looking for.
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Unread postby municipalmutt » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:51 pm

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:
Bayou Tribe wrote:Mac, sorry to be intrusive, but what was the price on the player + 10 free dvd's (5 in store, 5 mail in) if you don't mind me asking?

That helps, but I still have the worry on what'll come out on top. I want to make sure I'm backing the right horse if I'm going to spend the money. But I am in the market for a new tv (I think I'm going 52" Bravia but I'm still open to suggestions) and player.


I paid $400 for the Sharp BDP20U.

The Bravias are nice, though Sony LCDs are not always the best value for the $$$$. I like Sony a lot, but Sharp Aquos and Samsung displays are often just as good and better values. Sharp and Samsung are both OEM LCD manufacturers - they actually make the LCDs that Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc use in their TVs.

As for Blu-Ray, it is not a bad idea to wait a few months. For one, most current players aside from the Panasonic are Profile 1.0 players. Profile 1.1 is mandatory for players introduced now - it requires a secondary video and audio decoder to be built in for Picture-in-picture stuff like Director Commentaries. I bought a Profile 1.0 player because I don't listen to commentaries on my DVDs. I'm more of a movie and the occasional featurette kind of guy.

Profile 2.0 (first player comes out in May) adds online support for internet interactive features and more storage on the player.

For anyone that wants to ensure 2.0 support now the best thing to buy is the PS3 because it has enough horsepower to do it all with a firmware upgrade.

I didn't care so much about the future profiles.

Insiders have been saying for the past week that they expect Paramount and Universal to at least announce they will support both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray; that they are working on the logistics right now. Paramount's exclusivity deal had an out clause if either Uni or Warner declared exclusive for the other format, so they are free to do what they want. Universal's exclusivity deal ended when the year changed and it was not renewed.

Both also have to deal with one major problem: Spielberg is a Blu-Ray supported. Close Encounters was remastered by Spielberg for Blu-Ray and Paramount's exclusivity deal did not include any Spielberg stuff. He has said that the new Indy movie will only be released on Blu-Ray and DVD. Universal attempted to announce the Back to the Future series, Jurassic Park, ET, and Jaws for HD-DVD only to have to retract their announcements because Spielberg would not allow them to release any Amblin owned properties on the format.

Michael Bay has also stressed his fondness for Blu-Ray.

I'd expect by summer we will have a clear winner and that by the end of the year some good players will be under $300 with Profile 1.1 or 2.0. That's when I'll buy a second player along with a 40" 1080p LCD for the bedroom and actually start getting rid of my duplicate DVDs. No need now when the LCD in the bedroom is only 720p and hooked up to a DVD player.


Thanks for all the info but I'll wait. Laying down over four hundred bucks for a ps3 to ensure future upgrades isn't a cost effective option for me. Especially for someone who owns over 20 xbox 360 games.

When a blu-ray player under 200 bucks with upgradable firmware comes out and there is a bigger selection of titles, I'll make the jump. I got burned bad on the Sony Music Stick Walkman and I'm still leery of their (Sony) proprietary media formats.

I have a decent upcoverting DVD player that outputs 1080p and my old DVDs look pretty damn good for now on my 61 inch samsung dlp.

edit: I was going to buy the 60 inch Sony SXRD LCOS set but at the time I made the purchase (July 2006) that model had the nondetachable elephant ear side speakers and it was a deal breaker. Picture was great though. IMO I want to see unobstructed TV screen and would prefer a monitor with no speakers since I have a decent surround system.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:48 pm

municipalmutt wrote:Thanks for all the info but I'll wait. Laying down over four hundred bucks for a ps3 to ensure future upgrades isn't a cost effective option for me. Especially for someone who owns over 20 xbox 360 games.

When a blu-ray player under 200 bucks with upgradable firmware comes out and there is a bigger selection of titles, I'll make the jump. I got burned bad on the Sony Music Stick Walkman and I'm still leery of their (Sony) proprietary media formats.

I have a decent upcoverting DVD player that outputs 1080p and my old DVDs look pretty damn good for now on my 61 inch samsung dlp.

edit: I was going to buy the 60 inch Sony SXRD LCOS set but at the time I made the purchase (July 2006) that model had the nondetachable elephant ear side speakers and it was a deal breaker. Picture was great though. IMO I want to see unobstructed TV screen and would prefer a monitor with no speakers since I have a decent surround system.


All of the Blu-Ray players have upgradeable firmware, it's just that the new Profiles require extra hardware.

The disc format it not Sony proprietary. It was developed jointly with Phillips just like the CD was.

CDs use near infrared lasers for scanning. The foil is actually closer to the label on top than to the bottom of the disc, so damaging the label is more likely to do harm. Because of this there is more space needed due to the distance between the laser and the data.

Same goes for DVD which is very similar to CDs except it uses the narrower red laser and has the ability to refocus to create a secondary layer. HD-DVD is essentially a DVD with a blue laser, an even narrower laser that allows for more data.

Blu-Ray is physically different in that the data layer is much closer to the bottom of the disc. Because of this a hard polymer was developed so Blu-Rays actually have much more protection than a DVD because they need it. The closeness of the data to the laser allows for a change in aperture to create a better focus. There's not a need for as much space between data lines because there are not problems with light dispersion like with DVD and HD-DVD.

As for $200 players, I expect them before Christmas. Panasonic has a Profile 2.0 player coming in May that I'd guess will start at $500 but will dip greatly as more players come on the market. Blu-Ray has Panasonic, Sharp, Samsung, Phillips, Sony, Funai, LG, and just about every other manufacturer on board to create players. I expect the Funai will be available for less than $200 before the summer is over. That'll drive other prices down.
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Unread postby municipalmutt » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:59 pm

The disc format it not Sony proprietary.



Maybe not technically, but if Sony is involved there will be some serious copyright protection. Which is still a deal breaker for those of us that like to tinker with things like playing different regions dvds.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:57 am

municipalmutt wrote:

Maybe not technically, but if Sony is involved there will be some serious copyright protection. Which is still a deal breaker for those of us that like to tinker with things like playing different regions dvds.


With movies that is almost unavoidable. The studios are the ones that want DRM. Fox stopped releasing Blu-Rays for a while until more copy protection was put into place.

The way both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray work is that the studios get to decide if they want to publish region free stuff or not.

One of the reasons the regions were set up is because distribution rights vary in those regions. While Universal may distribute a movie in North America, Fox might be the distributor in Europe. Universal doesn't want you using a European DVD or Blu-Ray in the US from another distributor when they hold the rights here.

You will find region free players possibly way down the road, but that's where the issue with the regions lies.
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Unread postby jfiling » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:01 am

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:Michael Bay has also stressed his fondness for Blu-Ray.


It matches perfectly his fondness for making completely shitty movies.
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Unread postby municipalmutt » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:45 am

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:
municipalmutt wrote:
Maybe not technically, but if Sony is involved there will be some serious copyright protection. Which is still a deal breaker for those of us that like to tinker with things like playing different regions dvds.


With movies that is almost unavoidable. The studios are the ones that want DRM. Fox stopped releasing Blu-Rays for a while until more copy protection was put into place.

The way both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray work is that the studios get to decide if they want to publish region free stuff or not.

One of the reasons the regions were set up is because distribution rights vary in those regions. While Universal may distribute a movie in North America, Fox might be the distributor in Europe. Universal doesn't want you using a European DVD or Blu-Ray in the US from another distributor when they hold the rights here.

You will find region free players possibly way down the road, but that's where the issue with the regions lies.


http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071007-new-blu-ray-discs-with-bd-drm-failing-to-play-on-some-devices.html


New Blu-ray discs with BD+ DRM failing to play on some devices

By Jeremy Reimer | Published: October 07, 2007 - 10:47PM CT

One upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, most consumer products were expected to work "off the shelf" and didn't require frequent "firmware updates" to do so. With the new generation of HD DVD and Blu-ray video players, however, this is the norm: firmware updates are to be expected because the players are constantly evolving and are built around a DRM scheme (AACS) that can be "updated" in the event that a hack is found. Blu-ray goes one step further and adds another layer of anti-copy technology known as BD+, but the latter is only now starting to be used. As it turns out, it appears that it's causing problems for many honest customers.

Case in point: two new Blu-ray titles that have just been released—Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Day After Tomorrow. Both of these titles have been reported to exhibit various degrees of failure on some Blu-ray players. Some refuse to play until after an interminable two-minute delay, others skip randomly making watching the movie futile, and then there is this gem:

Image


Thank you, DRM. Image courtesy Engadget.

How nice of Fox to include a link to their web site in this helpful and friendly message! Unfortunately for the owners of the player in question, the second-generation Samsung BD-P1200, there is no new firmware to download for the player. Visiting the URL listed above—which after a maze of redirects and confusing menus finally does get you to Samsung's BD-P1200 firmware page—will give you no satisfaction. The latest firmware listed there is the same 1.0 version that shipped with the player. The same fate is in store for owners of LG's first-generation dual-format BH100 player.

Owners of the most popular Blu-ray disc player, Sony's PlayStation 3, are able to view both movies without issue, as long as they have updated their unit with the latest firmware version, 1.93. The Sony S1 and various Panasonic models can play the movie, but have the aforementioned slow load time issue. Samsung's older BD-1000 will play the movie but will skip uncontrollably.

So what is the issue with these titles? Both make use of advanced features that utilize BD-J, the Java virtual machine that is part of the Blu-ray spec. Silver Surfer uses BD-J to add a more dubious "feature"—the BD+ copy protection that is layered on top of Blu-ray discs' existing AACS copy protection. While some have claimed that it is BD-J that is at fault and not BD+, the latter requires the former to operate (it runs in a Java virtual machine), and a quick perusal of what BD+ actually does indicates that it is quite likely the culprit. BD+ is being rushed out to titles only shortly after the spec was finalized, partly in response to hackers cracking the protection on AACS earlier this year. This wouldn't be the first time that extra layers of copy protection have harmed legitimate consumers: earlier this year Sony had to recall 20 DVD titles protected with ARccOS that caused problems on some DVD players.

When Paramount recently announced that they were switching to HD DVD releases, one of the reasons a spokesperson gave Ars was that the Blu-ray spec was not "market-ready." Perhaps this is the sort of thing he meant.

Fox's position is that the problem is entirely the fault of the player manufacturers. Steve Feldstein, Fox senior VP of marketing communications, told Video Business that "consumers should lobby their hardware manufacturers to release firmware upgrades post haste" and that "the title was well-reviewed and playing well on updated players."

This is small consolation for those folks with players that haven't been updated and those that can't be updated. Perhaps I'm just old and curmudgeonly, but it seems crazy to me that one should ever have to worry about applying firmware updates to a standalone movie player. Many of these players don't have Ethernet ports, as the Blu-ray spec doesn't require them. Updating the firmware on these units involves downloading an .ISO from the web site, unpacking it, burning it onto a CD-R or CD-RW, putting the disc in the player, rebooting, following the prompts, and hoping that all goes well.

I don't know, maybe I'll just go out to see a movie tonight instead.
Last edited by municipalmutt on Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby municipalmutt » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:51 am

http://www.engadget.com/2005/09/02/blu-ray-players-to-punish-users-who-hack-their-gear/



Blu-ray players to "punish" users who hack their gear?

Of course the looming next-gen optical format war about to go down between Blu-ray and HD-DVD might be kind of interesting if it weren't taking place, well, in your very livingroom. But with talks broken down and devices starting to crop up, it looks like the first blows will soon be felt—but aren't they supposed to be hitting one another and not the end user? Because this little bit in a Reuters piece this morning left us a little unsettled:

On top of that, consumers should expect punishment for tinkering with their Blu-ray players, as many have done with current DVD players, for instance to remove regional coding. The new, Internet-connected and secure players will report any "hack" and the device can be disabled remotely.

Are they talking about PVP-OPM techniques and rejected HDMI keys, or something else far more sinister? Because apparently "A hacked player is any player that is doing something it's not supposed to do," which open to a pretty fair amount of interpretation—most of which egregious.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:14 pm

Haven't watched Day After Tomorrow, but Silver Surfer worked fine in my BD player.

I don't really have an issue with studios protecting their stuff and the hardware companies accommodating them. My player plays BD+ stuff just fine and I have no interest in changing the region coding on the player, just as I've never done that with my DVD players.

One could certainly argue that you have a right to tinker with your own electronics, but the agreement you essentially sign every time you purchase hardware (and some software) and use it is that you will not. It voids the warranty on the hardware anyways.

The Samsung players have been the ones with the most amount of problems. I didn't buy one for that reason. The Sharp had a strong reputation and has played everything I've put in it thus far, doing a good job of it too.
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Unread postby municipalmutt » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:18 pm

Well good luck with your player. I hope you enjoy hours of hassle free viewing. I'm going to wait a little bit more.
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