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November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues" 
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Post November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
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Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:30 pm
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Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Glad to hear you finally tried the Netflix streaming . . . I thought you'd be more impressed than you'd expected to be. The streaming experience isn't half as bad as most videophiles have always acted like it'd be.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:12 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Excellent reelthoughts. I also think that many people don't make the step from DVD to Blu-Ray, because the gap in quality isn't the same as it was between VHS and DVD. Of course, Blu-Ray looks better than DVD, but (for me) it's not worth the extra investment, particularly because DVD prices seem to have dropped significantly whereas Blu-Ray discs are really expensive.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:13 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Unke wrote:
Excellent reelthoughts. I also think that many people don't make the step from DVD to Blu-Ray, because the gap in quality isn't the same as it was between VHS and DVD. Of course, Blu-Ray looks better than DVD, but (for me) it's not worth the extra investment, particularly because DVD prices seem to have dropped significantly whereas Blu-Ray discs are really expensive.


I disagree. The first time I saw a Blu-Ray disc I actually said "holy shit" out loud. It was amazing. Even the upgrade of the regular dvd on the Blu-Ray player. My only problem with Blu-Ray is the cost: of the HDtv, of the Blu-Ray player and the discs (some of the prices on the latter are so high it leaves me scratching my head as to why a certain film would cost so much). Also, with the price of the regular dvds so cheap now it's almost not worth buying a Blu-Ray disc especially if the film in question is just a run of the mill Hollywood comedy. Watching Rambo massacre Burmese thugs in HD is glorious but do I need Paul Blart in HD?

My dvd buying, in general, has dipped a lot in the plast 3 years mostly because of Netflix. I used to buy at least 1 or 2 dvds a month prior. Netflix has saved me uber amounts of cash during that time.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:18 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Bondurant wrote:
Watching Rambo massacre Burmese thugs in HD is glorious but do I need Paul Blart in HD?


I really really like that sentence.

I invested in an HDTV a few months back and upgraded the DVD player to one made after 1998. The up-conversion is not exactly Blu-Ray quality but its close enough, given my enthusiasm for the authentic experience. I won't make the upgrade to Blu-Ray until the market crowds out the overwhelming number of DVDs out there. That should take, what?, a few years? Months? Years?

I'd be more enthusiastic about my streaming choices if they weren't cropped from 2.35 to 1.85 -- maybe it's my cable provider. DVD blues, streaming blues. Life would be easier in a small cabin in Lincoln, Montana. No electricity, no water. There I could practice wilderness training and not have to feel a slight rise in anxiety when I walk into Best Buy and see Wall-E playing from a Blu-Ray on a plasma screen. Modern life is rubbish.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:42 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I thought that was an excellent piece - it made me consider what purchases I have made since July 1st - not going to list them all, but it's 12 Blu rays, 15 DVDs plus 2 Doctor Who Box sets, best of Larry Sanders and all of Star Trek Voyager.

Most of the DVDs I pick up are in the £5 range, though I have picked up some Criterions of late, and they have proved more costly that most Blu Rays. I love the blu ray format but I am only buying blu rays that are my all time favourites or our new releases (such as Star Trek & Moon) I am not upgrading everything, I just don't see the point. I always prefer buying because I know that at some point in the future, maybe ten years or so... I can pull 'Network' 'Short Cuts' 'Fisher King' out of the library and watch them at my leisure.

We don't have streaming like Netflix in the UK yet, though we can't be far away. The rental shops have taken a hit, make no mistake. The truth of it is, sadly, there is a lot of people who are illegally downloading. A lot. I think that is really what is damaging. The general man in the street doesn't care that much about the the discrepancy between blu ray and DVD - as long as they get it and for free then they are happy. That certainly strikes me as the greater evil that's disrupting the market today.

It was clear to me that when Blu ray arrived, the studios did indeed see it as the golden egg, but as has been said, the jump from DVD to Blu is not the same as VHS to DVD, and there just isn't the public urgency to upgrade to blu films, when some DVDs are as cheap chips now.

Of course, I assume this lack of drive in the Blu ray market is to do with the high price of blu rays, and the do need to come down, if they want to compete... but if they can't of course, Hollywood already had the answer - 3D. That's another topic in itself, but I can't say it appeals to me. I do however foresee this grisly future where the only films that get made are 3D CG bonanzas that dull the senses and the mind.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:08 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I have been waiting for a post about this. We have a PS3--and we just got the netflix streaming disc. My husband, an avid tv watcher (more so than I) was saying that if it wasn't for weekly sports--he would have canceled cable.

He has been sick with the flu this past week--and from Monday-Thursday has been watching round the clock tv--none of it cable or DVD's or blu-rays. He has watched the Red Dwarf series and the English Office. He also watched Penn and Teller episodes and Quantum Leap and Mystery Science Theater 3000. I think he even turned on the A-Team.

Yes, it would be nice for new movies to go on there--and I was actually debating about canceling our netflix subscription since we don't get our money's worth out of it--until we were able to steam on the PS3. Now having the video streaming of older movies (and some of them absolutely terrible--but you might pick up in a Blockbuster just for laughs with friends). I actually was going to buy The Office Season 5 this week--and found out it was already on netflix streaming. I was thrilled. It saved me 30 dollars.

I come from an avid movie watcher family. (Actually my dad introduced me to your site) As young kids--every Friday was movie night where my little brother would rearrange the furniture to make it like a "theater" My parents would not think twice about traveling 45 minutes to Red Bank or an hour and a half to NYC to see a movie that wouldn't be here locally. My husband and I would go to a lot more movies if finances allowed--and we see plenty. So between seeing movies in the theater, and buying them on blu ray and dvd--that is where a huge chunk of our entertainment budget goes--unless we get taken out to eat, we rarely go out to eat just the two of us.
I typically won't buy a blu ray unless it is under 20 dollars. 20 dollars is my max--unless it is something really special. I also won't buy a movie if I know I won't watch it again--and watch it only once. So, typically the movies I pick out--might not be the best, highest reviewed movies (because there is only so many times I can watch a drama) but the cheesy feel good movies that I can watch mindlessly. Dramas and award winners I typically rent. I think from the summer on we bought about 7 blu-rays--all good prices. (Ghostbusters, Up, The Proposal, Elf, Snow White and regrettably Transformers--that one my husband picked up at 9.99.) I think the most expensive was Up--but the rest due to coupons and discounts and timing were anywhere from 9.99 (Snow White and Transformers) to 20.99 (Ghostbusters was 12 and Elf was 17.)

So between buying movies (even though we haven't bought as much as we would have liked; and going to the movies (which is lessening--regrettably we missed Zombieland) netflix is just an added bonus in our tv and movie watching entertainment.

The only frustrating thing is we only have one player that will stream movies--so when we go upstairs we have to watch real cable.


Last edited by Starearedkid on Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:20 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Bondurant wrote:
Unke wrote:
Excellent reelthoughts. I also think that many people don't make the step from DVD to Blu-Ray, because the gap in quality isn't the same as it was between VHS and DVD. Of course, Blu-Ray looks better than DVD, but (for me) it's not worth the extra investment, particularly because DVD prices seem to have dropped significantly whereas Blu-Ray discs are really expensive.


I disagree. The first time I saw a Blu-Ray disc I actually said "holy shit" out loud. It was amazing. Even the upgrade of the regular dvd on the Blu-Ray player. My only problem with Blu-Ray is the cost: of the HDtv, of the Blu-Ray player and the discs (some of the prices on the latter are so high it leaves me scratching my head as to why a certain film would cost so much). Also, with the price of the regular dvds so cheap now it's almost not worth buying a Blu-Ray disc especially if the film in question is just a run of the mill Hollywood comedy. Watching Rambo massacre Burmese thugs in HD is glorious but do I need Paul Blart in HD?


I wasn't just referring to the quality of the picture, but the overall quality. In comparison to DVDs, VHS tapes are bulky and take up lots of shelf space. There is no such difference between DVD and Blu-Ray discs. Also, the handling of DVDs (chapters, subtitle and language options, extras etc.) is a big improvement over VHS. To my knowledge, there is no advantage of Blu-Ray discs in this respect.

Personally, I watch a lot of older films, frequently in black and white. While there may be a huge difference in picture quality between DVD an Blu-Ray when it comes to new releases (particularly films like Wall-E), I doubt that The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, for instance, will look significantly better on Blu Ray.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:35 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Additionally to what I was saying in the my post, what is happening in the UK is that people are illegally downloading to their PC and hooking it up to a hub box that streams all around the house. I have a friend who does this, and while impressive, it just doesn't grab me.

I do think Lovefilm (UK's netflix equivalent) are streaming movies but not sure the ratio of catalogue titles, new titles etc.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:38 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Unke wrote:
Excellent reelthoughts. I also think that many people don't make the step from DVD to Blu-Ray, because the gap in quality isn't the same as it was between VHS and DVD. Of course, Blu-Ray looks better than DVD, but (for me) it's not worth the extra investment, particularly because DVD prices seem to have dropped significantly whereas Blu-Ray discs are really expensive.

I nagree completely, whenever I see Blu-Ray being shown at Best Buy, i'm not particularly impressed, I care more about whether a movie is actually good rather than how good a movie looks, and the extra special features aren't really tempting for me, as I usually only watch deleted scenes anyways. And except for a select few titles, i'm not really impressed with the PS3's game selection, so i've got no desire to buy one for as long as I live, and I can't afford it anyways so I won't be loosing any sleep over it.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:31 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:23 am
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Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I don't buy into the idea that downloads are going to kill physical media any time soon.

Will it become a higher percentage as time goes on? With the growing presence of Netflix Instant Streaming on devices such as the Roku box and many Blu-ray players, and even some TV's, certainly.

But I see services like Instant Watch being useful for impulse viewing, where the delivering isn't very important, compared to the convenience of having it right there and right now. Those looking for a high quality experience are going to be waiting a long time before online downloads meet their requirements.

Downloading music is a different experience because it is an audio-only experience. A vast majority of people are listening to their music on devices and in situations where high quality isn't a big concern, so the tradeoffs in quality vs. convenience tip the scale towards the latter in most cases. I can see downloading TV shows, because they are throwaway experiences. Watching Survivor on an iPod isn't drastically different than watching it in HD at home, but when given the choice, I'll still watch it in the best quality possible.

In my opinion, those that have difficulty noticing the difference between Blu-ray and upsampled DVD aren't watching good transfers, don't have decent equipment, or just haven't watched enough on Blu-ray to become tuned into the quality difference. I liken it to back in the VHS days when I used to record everything in 6-hour mode, and thought it was just fine. That is, until I started recording in 2-hour mode on a regular basis, and then those EP recordings looked just awful. When I first got my projector setup, SD TV didn't suck as much as I expected it to. But now, after years of watching HD, watching SD is not a pleasant experience and I avoid it completely.

If all you ever eat is McDonalds hamburgers, you don't realize what you're missing by not eating at a decent restaurant. If you're accustomed to eating at decent restaurants, a McDonalds hamburger isn't going to be very appealing any more. I'm that way with wine. I'm not a wine enthusiast, so I have no appreciation for what fine wine is like. That doesn't make the wine not worth its price in general, just that its qualities are lost on my uninitiated preferences.

High prices are fast becoming a non-issue in the Blu-ray world as well. Players are reaching down below $150 for decent units ($100 for off-brand stuff that I'd never buy), and new releases can be had for as little as $10 (recent promotion for Disney's Up as a clear example of this). In many cases, the special edition DVD sets are more expensive than the Blu-ray counterpart that contains the same materials, but with 6x greater video resolution and lossless sound, not to mention the online and interactive components that the studios are gradually getting better at.

People who dismiss Blu-ray as not being that much better are most likely in denial or they haven't truly been exposed to the extra quality possible when compared to DVD.

So, no, I don't buy the argument that online downloads are killing physical media. DVD's have matured to the point where they are a bargain bin commodity, and rightfully so. They have been replaced by better technology. New releases on DVD shouldn't be any more expensive than $10 because they're not worth more than that. Many movies aren't worth $25 on Blu-ray because they're throwaway experiences, but I bought Up on Blu-ray for $10 because it got good reviews, it's Pixar, and it was $10. I haven't even seen the movie yet, but the price was definitely low enough to incent me to do so blindly.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Blu-ray is $16.49 at Amazon right now. Star Trek is $20.99, Terminator Salvation is $16.49. There are plenty of other examples of new releases that go for less than $20.

Many of these movies aren't worth even $15 in my mind, but that's largely because Netflix makes renting them so incredibly convenient. Without Netflix, I'd be buying a lot of these titles for the prices they're going for.

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Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:44 pm
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Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Really interesting Reelviews. I especially appreciated you mentioning bandwidth. ISPs will really have to do some serious investing if streaming really takes off. That required bandwidth is nothing to sneeze at. Downloads are imperfect too. Sure, storage is increasing, but hi-def movies are huge.

Apart from the lack of a physical copy, streaming/downloads usually don't have any special features like deleted scenes or a commentary track. I'm not the biggest fan of either, but if it's a movie I really like they're a bonus.

Unke wrote:
I wasn't just referring to the quality of the picture, but the overall quality. In comparison to DVDs, VHS tapes are bulky and take up lots of shelf space. There is no such difference between DVD and Blu-Ray discs. Also, the handling of DVDs (chapters, subtitle and language options, extras etc.) is a big improvement over VHS. To my knowledge, there is no advantage of Blu-Ray discs in this respect.


Initially, Blu-Ray discs were supposedly easier to scratch/damage than DVDs. I don't know if this is still the case.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:46 pm
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
Sorry BigScreen, but not EVERYBODY is going to be blown away by BLu-Ray, and i've seen Blu-Ray being demonstrated in Best Buy on expensive HDTVs. and i'm still not that impressed by it, and even if I was, I still can't see it as reason enough to blow 200 bucks on a Blu-Ray player, for me it's more important how good a movie is rather then how good it looks, so I don't care how amazing a film looks on Blu-Ray, I have perfectly functional regular DVD player that's ten years old (in case your wondering, my DVD player is a Samsung DVD/V 2000, it's one of those players that plays both VHS tapes and DVDs)that works just fine, so I see no real reaosn to buy a Blu-Ray anytime soon, I won't buy one unless Blu-Ray becomes that standard, something which I don't see happening for another 15 years or so.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:57 pm
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I think Blu-ray is worth the investment, but some rules need to be followed. Blu-ray is better than DVD, but as James has said, you won't see the benefits unless you have a good TV and player (I don't think you need a huge TV for Blu-ray. I have a 32" LCD at 1080P and Blu-ray looks great). And although Blu-ray is better than DVD, it's not a huge night-and-day difference like it is with VHS (although this depends on the movie, quality of the Blu-ray and DVD, your home theater, etc). Here are some rules that I personally follow when it comes to purchasing Blu-rays.

I will only buy a movie on Blu-ray under the following circumstances:

1. The movie is a personal favorite of mine.
2. The Blu-ray is at a cheap price (or at a price low enough to consider a purchase).
3. I have never owned the movie on DVD.
4. I watch the movie frequently.
5. The audio/video of the Blu-ray is a significant improvement compared to previous DVD versions. (I know by default Blu-ray will be better, but some movies on Blu-ray aren't much of an improvement compared to a previous DVD release. That's why I go to various DVD websites to see screencaps and make comparisons.)


Last edited by ck100 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:25 pm
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I think one factor people are not considering is the lackluster output of movies right now. How many uninspired remakes, unnecessary sequels and cliched, formulaic movies are we getting? Probably more than we think.

I'm not saying all the movies out there right now are bad, but studios are playing it too safe considering most movies today are $70-200+ million in terms of budget. The more riskier the movie, the less likely you'll get your money back. Studios these days prefer to bet on sure, safe, comfortable movies. I haven't gone to the movies or bought DVDs as much as I used to because as I've said - too many uninspired remakes, unnecessary sequels and cliched, formulaic movies. If people aren't going to go to the movies because they're not liking the output, then why should they buy the DVDs/Blu-rays of these movies? They're better off just watching the movies on cable or getting them from Netflix or what have you.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:32 pm
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I hardly ever buy movies anymore as well. It's like JB said, purchasing a DVD is an investment, and when it comes to media, there's so many different things I do that re-watching movies is very, very low on the totem pole. I play video games, I watch sports, I blog, and I rent movies that I either haven't seen or want to see again just once more.

Sad to say, but movies for me have shifted toward disposable entertainment. Even the really good movies with strong plot and characters. I just don't re-watch much anymore. There's something to be said for freshness. And while I can justify the purchase of audio and video equipment because I use it all the time, the same cannot be said of a DVD anymore.


Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:44 am
Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
James, in your post you say "At that rate, the bandwidth and speed will eventually be available to allow high-def streaming, but that time is years away. Until them, the market for discs (both standard DVDs and Blu-Rays) will continue to dominate."

I have to let you know that streaming 1080 has already arrived! It will be available through the XBOX 360 with their new XBOX live dashboard update which arrives on November 17th. I'm not sure if you weren't aware of that fact or just forgot, but everyone that has tried the streaming through the Preview versions of the dashboard have been blown away. See here http://blog.streamingmedia.com/the_business_of_online_vi/2009/10/xbox-1080p-streaming-quality-is-incredible-handson-with-video.html.

Microsoft was able to pioneer some technology to make the streaming basically instantaneous and 1080p. It's really incredible. If we already have this technology that is possible now, just imagine what we might have even 2 short years from now. In my opinion, blu-ray is over before it really even began.


Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:47 am
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Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I'm a big Blu-Ray fan, but it's certainly true that your apprecaition of it depends on both your equipment and the source material. On my 60-inch plasma, some Blu-Rays look great, while others look just like regular DVD. One of the best upgrades I've seen is 2001, which has major visual artifacts in the DVD version that are all corrected in the Blu-Ray. It's so good, in fact, that you can clearly see the phony backdrops that Kubrick used in the Africa scenes.

Like JB, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of video from Netflix streaming via the PS3. Some older movies look awful, but the best films look just as good as broadcast HD (but not as good as the best Blu-Ray). Where streaming has not yet approached high quality is in the audio. There is still no streaming I've heard that can come close to the amazing quality of uncompressed 5.1 audio from Blu-Ray played on a good sound system.

I believe that there will be a market for some time for Blu-Ray discs from those people who appreciate the highest quality video and audio. But, realistically, that group is not going to do much for Hollywood's profit line.


Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:40 am
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Post Re: November 12, 2009: "The DVD Blues"
I prefer Blu-Ray to DVD for various reasons. For me a better looking pictures allows me submerge myself that much more in the story. The closer to get to clarity the easier it is to get lost in it (for me anyway). But it's also my choice because of the incredibly incredibly sized increase in data storage allowing for more content on fewer discs or just flat out more content not to mention the whole damage resistant technology they are using (which comes in handy when you have a 6 year old who insists on handling her own movies).

I have no qualms with the whole streaming content thing but I still see it as more of an impulsive one time buy and watch deal. For people who actually want to own the movies they want makes it a little different. I'd have to find the article but I'm pretty sure most people think that discs are still going to be the majority medium until 2030. Change comes slowly.


Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:47 pm
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