Is Blu-ray Doomed?

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ghiblifan

I'll never stop being amazed at the stupidity of my fellow man. I had this argument with a friend a good while back and remember him desperarately trying to think of good reasons for digital download to succeed Blu-ray. So eager was he to embrace the next new thing... the cutting edge. Well he has since lost a hard drive full of downloaded movies and knows what can happen now. All my films are on discs... and they will emain that way. Of course I offered drive failure as one of my reasons against digital download when I argued with him... "I'll just back it up!", he said. Crazy talk, with HD an ardent movie buff will be counting in terabytes, not gigabytes. So what...they buy TWO multi terrabyte hard drives? Wonder how many download vs disc purchases it will take to start seeing the benefit after buying two huge HDDs? Nonsense. Of course he started in good faith with the backing up, but we all slack off on back ups. And now having lost his collection, he sees the error of his ways. I say collection, but to my mind he had nothing. Just 0's and 1's on a drive. Yes, my blu-rays also have the same 0's and 1's, but they don't fail, I don't need to back them up, I can buy bargains on ebay, I can sell or trade afterwards... the list of good reasons to support the physical format is endless.

I imagine buyers of the Sony PSP 'Go' are also regretting embracing the digital download concept, too. They bought that and can now only buy games and content off Sony themselves... who set the prices where THEY want them. An owner of a normal PSP can browse ebay for bargains, sell or trade their own games when they've played them - all of these perks are denied to those who were too eager to embrace the cutting edge without thinking it through.

A physical format puts a little more control back in YOUR hands...the consumer's hands. Digital download is of benfit ONLY to the businessmen who are after your hard earned money. You will be at their mercy when it comes to prices, where you can shop and how many times you can re-download owing to drive failure... if at all. Embrace digital download at your peril!!!

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verilitas

As soon as the gaming industry develops games that look as good as the movie Wall-e does even on DVD, they will certainly need larger media capacity.  BD just seems like the most natural choice for the games of the future. 

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someone1234

Is anybody having this problem with BR disc: they are very scratch prone. I have to handle them very carefully. And this is one reason to postpone BR deployment in corporation and home. CD was easy to destroy by scratching but you have to put effort in it (you can use CD disc in kindergarten and all of them will play).  DVD’s are more easily broken (my kid just reloads DVD and after a while DVD is unplayable, I am not talking about shooting DVD across room).  BR is the worst. What is good coming from 50 GB of date on BR disc if one invisible scratch makes it unplayable?

And for external HD: they are the future. Small, easy to transport and connect, huge capacity and rewritable.  No one will choose BR 50 GB disc over 200GB external portable hard drive.  Not to mention DRM problems with BR.

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3DARTWORK

ISPs charging an arm and a leg or shutting you off after you
download a few movies? Sorry but anyone that thinks blu-ray is dead
just because you can pay almost as much and not get a physcial product
is nuts, oh, and then have a HDD fail and have to buy it again unless
you backed it up or burn it to a disc, by then with the cost of the
burner and burning media, you have paid just as much if not more and
you have a cheap burned copy of a blu-ray disc.

Come on people.
Downloads are easy, fast and simple for demos, chatting, updates and
some other content, but full mainstream products?

Maybe years down the road when granny computers have 20 exabytes of storage
and 50TB wireless, capless internet people will start to move towards
downloads as a FULL replacement to physical media, but even then,
people will still favor getting something in hand for their hard earned
money. I know I do as well as the people I know.

Renting movies is a bit better but your spending money on something you can't keep.

 

Josh DeHaan
3D Artwork, Inc.
http://www.3dartwork.net/

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BlazePC

Take a step back and consider this...

How long did the battle between VHS and Betamax rage on?  Now consider how quickly the battle between HD-DVD and Blu ray was over.  Reflect back on the years 1995/1996 when DVD started to make it's emergence and what prices were for that initial (and meager) catalog of movie transfers that were available at the time - and how expensive discs were even 3-4 years later.  Then consider how devoid those discs were of ANY valuable special features or adequate (albiet easy to say in hindsight) audio sound tracks.  Oh, and let us not forget just how expensive DVD players were back then too and stayed so for many more years when compared to current Blu ray transport timeline - not to mention how "glitchy" they performed from one brand to the next or even one model to another.  The problem is, quite honestly, short term (consumer) memory loss.  If there's one thing we've been taught with the Blu ray story - it's this - the whole evolution (is) (was) WAY quicker than anything that came before it in relation to distributed softmedia content.  And the value proposition with respect to quality of picture and sound, functional flexibility and layered benefits far out stretch previous techologies.  Even more important, if you shop wisely, you can obtain content on Blu ray and Blu ray playback vehicles at a greater level of maturity then previously available in previous formats (along a comparable time line) and proportionately cheaper. Within the matter of what - roughly 2 years since general introduction? 

Compared to the last excruciating platform shift - we've got it hella easy with much more VALUE ADD if you ask me - but what do I know?  And remember, prior to DVD we had VHS/SVHS and dinosaur sized laser discs - ugh...

Now the younger members of this community may be compelled to poo poo any or all of this, but the fact remains - like everything else, an enhanced version is inevitable, with higher capacities, further advancement in interoperability & usage and even more astounding output presentation compared to what you see today - rendering the NOW state somewhat obsolete.  But the Blu ray journey has set a new foundation and we witnessed it collectively in fairly short order.  Yes indeed, the youngest consuming generation is gonna get excited about digital downloads and the inherent portability of it and I admit that I do too, even the worst pundits have a use and need for it and they eventually will use it - but people DO LIKE, and in the vernacular "DO WANT" tangibles and physical formats are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Blu ray marks a great technology transition and a great example of "swift" adoption.

Not to mention, it simply looks and plays Bitchin!

(the only real beef I have with the plethora of blog communities out there [on this subject] is the multitude of inane types still crying about prices being too high; i.e. $30 disks.  The availability of content at fair (and certainly lower than MSRP) pricing is readily available.  Learn to shop via the internet & retail channels and develop patience instead of falling prey to impulse buying habits and gobbs of money you will save!)

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STorpedo

Heh, I suppose its very possible and reasonable to expect the main movie media to be turned over to the internet, however I am positive that Blu-ray will be used for a. Games (for at least another 20 years until clients like steam completley take over) b. external data storage (yes you can use external HDD's, but they're bulky, and hard to carry around) c. things that the DVD is used for now, i.e. Windows OS and other installation discs, and other stuff I can't be bothered to think of.

 On the whole though, it's more than reasonable to expect the whole blu-ray movie ordeal to be moved over to the internet in the next 2-4 years.

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norwedsh

Given the right number of years, we will see the Blu Ray go the way of any other format. It's why I don't by DVD or CD's anymore. How many versions of the White Album does one need?

Will I get one? Most definitely. It will be a burner and it will go into the HTPC that I will be building soon. Will I buy Blu Ray discs? Absolutely. Will I buy Blu Ray movies? Not for myself. Gift and such sure, otherwise it's Netflix for me, Baby!

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fuzz_64

Cut the prices of buying a movie on BR and it'll do just fine among the masses.

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curlybrian

People bought VCR's for hundreds of dollars, the cost of the player is not much of a deterrant.    Charging 50% more for the same movie is the killer.  A repeat of the raising of the music CD price from $12 to $17 and wondering why the market for them tanked in five years (and never recovered).  Idiots are doomed to repeat history.....

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pcfxer

Same reason I don't buy CDs anymore. SACDs are just so much better it isn't worth my time supporting a dead format.

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shadowbluefox

The fact is blu ray is kind of a great media when the fact that it has such a high storage capability. On top of that it is easy to upgrade firmware if needed. Digital distrubution wouldn't be able to survive if there were download caps. That is why I believe if isps would decide to do there plan to charge per megabyte that digital distrubution wouldn't be able to survive. Then physical copies would become more dominant. On top of that its easier to just go by the movies you want and watch right away or rent from a movie rental place. So in the end digital distribution is good for now with current isps charging only for speed in some cases. Blu ray will get stronger as adoption rate keeps going up.

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M2012

 

Yes, I agree.  The whole Blu-Ray bashing is getting really old really fast.  Would you rather wait hours upon hours downloading a hi-def movie or just go out and buy the real thing (with all the special features included to boot) in less time?

But wait, current Blu-Ray discs might be replaced by...

 "In December 2008, Pioneer Corporation unveiled a 400 GB Blu-ray disc, which contains 16 data layers, 25 GB
each, and will be compatible with current players after a firmware
update. A planned launch is in the 2008-2010 time frame for ROM and
2010-2013 for rewritable discs. Ongoing development is under way to
create a 1 TB Blu-ray disc as soon as 2013."

(source : wikipedia)

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Phated1

With many people finding great deals on HDTVs nowadays, and with the price of bluray players dropping, the cost of upgrading to bluray isnt the biggest concern in my opinion.  The big cost concern is the hefty price tag of 35$ a movie.  For people owning x360s and ps3s already, 40 bucks is cheap compared to games, but to the mainstream american mom or dad, thats alot of money to spend everytime the family wants to pop in a new movie.

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horzo

Who buys movies?? You can rent anything you want, and I suspect most people are like me... once you've seen a movie, how many times do you need to see it again?

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zeringue

Blu Ray's slow adoption is because:

 

  • The format war kept many people on the fence.
  • Numerous other hardware upgrades are required for  the full benefit
  • Needs to be connected to the web for updates, or newer discs may not play
  • Media is expensive
  • Hardware was expensive, but dropping
  • Its owned by Sony, who willfully distributes root kits
  • Concerns of Piracy put a great deal of hassle on the consumer to make the media providers happy
  • PS3 adoption was poor
  • Economy going south 

 

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atomaweapon

I keep hearing random idiots and nobodies preaching on how "digital distrobution" is going to take over physical media any day now. Ikeep chuckling everytime I hear it because these guys must not live in the real world. Why in the hell am I going to wan tto download a 4 GB file to stuff on a hard drive for 10-15 bucks when I can buy the thing and own a physical copy for much less.

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Antilogic81

Cnet has lost all credibility with me. You can't even get a regular 480i tv show to stream properly at semi peak hours and they expect us to jump on some bandwagon that has a large waiting time of 4-6 hours before you can watch the movie - and that's if their servers are up to snuff, most aren't...and with a 250gb limit cap on downloads...I don't just download movies, I would download episodes too, and thats only what I download, what if I my family wants to download the stuff they want to watch too. Now I have to set rules on how much is downloaded and designate a way to decide who gets to download what and when, can you imagine if I had 5 kids or an extended family thrown into the mix - all living under one roof? Does it really have to be that complicated? It's a damn movie...

There is room for one than one medium (ie digital downloads and physical disks) in how people can enjoy their movies at 1080p, saying those methods can't play nice is retarded.

No, if anything Bluray will make digital downloads a viable option...I don't see how it would go any other way.

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ApoX-911

If Blu Ray can handle the economic recession, eventually it should catch on. DVD had the same humble beginnings, 300 to 400 dollar players with limited selection of titles. But with prices falling all the time, it's getting more and more within reach.

 What many fail to realize is this. For the complete blu ray experiance, one also needs to have a HD capable tv (LCD or plasma). Upgrading to blu ray sadly is not just buying a br player and hooking it up like DVD was. 

 Digital downloads pose more a threat to the video rental business than the movie business as a whole. With more devices being introduced that can stream media to a television from a PC. But even that is threatened with the bandwidth cap debate.

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brainwins

I agree with most of the posters. I don´t think we are there yet on digital distribuition. Specially if studios try to DRM their movies the way game publishers are doing it. I don´t wanna marry to a download service that will take away my movies if I stop using its service.

I think only physical rentals are gonna suffer from digital distribution. But I still don´t trust any seller to download a movie I wanna keep for a long time.

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I Jedi

It dies, shows signs of coming back, dies again, shows signs of coming back... Why don't we all just agree that it'll probably never overtake DVD sales/Internet downloading? Its adoption to this era came too early and the pentalty is being carried out. 

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maniacm0nk3y

If Digital Download reigns supreme, or any type of "soft" format, then screw everyone. I think you NEED to have physical media. Downloading for most people is time consuming. Quality, more often then not is a lot worse compared to physical copies.

Who wants to wait up to 6 hours to buy and watch a movie? I sure as hell don't. With ISPs also trying to put limits, it's like, WTF? What are people thinking? 

 I can't think of anything else because it's simple.

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QuadraQ

I'm getting really sick and tired of the Blue-ray haters and pundits who say that digital downloads doom the format. This is the most short-sighted, wishful thinking I've ever seen. Digital downloads are great, and are definitely the future in the long-term. In the short-term they are a joke.

Bandwidth restrictions in large parts of the world (including the U.S.) are nowhere near what's needed for full quality 1080p video. This will change in time, but it will take many years. Even when that hurdle is overcome, digital downloads don't offer many of the features that we've come to expect with DVDs, much less the more advanced features of Blue-ray. They also lack the 'share with friends' factor. You can't easily share the videos you purchase digitally with your friends, due to drm, and format incompatibility. There will always be a need for a format you can walk into a store and buy for the less technical savvy people (in other words, the majority of consumers for years to come).

The real obstacles to Blue-ray adoption have been high prices (which are falling faster than they did for DVD) and the HD TV adoption curve. These factors will change faster than universal broadband needed for digital downloads.

Pundits also seem to forget that Blue-ray from day one has made burner drives available (again prices are falling fast) and a higher capacity disc format is always a good thing. The extra scratch protection that is part of the Blue-ray spec is another significant improvement.

In the end, I predict that Blue-ray will be the last of the successful physical media formats - one day as ubiquitous as CDs and DVDs are now.

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AndyYankee17

I don't think the problem is digital downloads, I think the problem is the gap between VHS and dvd was much easier to jump than the gap from dvd to brd. BRD is nice but very expensive. if I could afford a BRD player then I would buy one.

 

and I don't understand Digital downloads, how can you compare them to BRD when their quality is worse than DVD?

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praetor_alpha

How does blu ray compare to analog downloads?

lol

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jcollins

I think Blu-Ray is doomed as it stands, but not due to electronic downloads per se.  There's enough going on as it is to nix HD electronic downloads (caps, throttling, etc) that I think it's really in question whether or not it's going to be a viable competitor in the future.

What I think will kill Blu-Ray is the price.  The players are finally coming down, but as long as there are $30 DVD players ($50 for upscaling) and $5 to $10 bargain DVD's ($20 for common DVD's),  $150 to $200 for the ultra low end Blu-Ray players and $30+ for common Blu-Ray discs.  Quite frankly, it's insane in this economy.  And without the competition of HD-DVD, you don't really see the big sales on Blu-Ray discs like you used to. Sure, it's pretty in HD, but is it worth $10+ per disc and $100+ per player?

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arosadler

I wonder if anyone has considered flash memory for hard copy distribution of HD Video? It's getting cheaper all the time, and capacities will be more than large enough, and it's nearly indestructible. I just can't help but feel that optical disks are obsolete as a whole. They are bulky, fragile and optical drives are noisy, bulky and power hungry. I thought we all were supposed to be going green?

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Covaelence

This is the second article i've read today about the supposed "death of Blu-ray" which is in my eyes, completely ludicrous.

I'm not some Sony fanboy, but i can sure as hell appreciate the quality difference between a Blu-ray and a standard def DVD. It's insane how much better the picture and sound are compared to DVD's. I don't even -buy- DVD's anymore. I literally refuse to, because it's doing a disservice to all of my sensory perception.

Hi-def is how film and audio is meant to be percieved.

 The fact that these people keep reitterating that downloads are the way of the future: well, that might be the case....in say 20 more freaking years. Cause first, you are going to have to get the ISP's to STOP capping bandwidth. Who is going to spend their time downloading 1,000gb of data for a hi-def res film as well? Even if they wanted to wait hours upon hours to watch whatever it is they desire, by the end of a week, the ISP would probably shut you down for "pirating" or some other nonsense.

 Blu-ray is a long way from death, and honestly, as far as every other person i know... DVD's are a thing of the past. They only still sell because the Blu-ray drives are still fairly ungodly expensive. The only reason the Blu-ray discs themselves are still expensive is because it's a brand new format and until it has as deep of a hold as DVD does, it's -going- to be more expensive. That's just the way it is. Eventually, the price will come down. It's simple economics.

 This argument does nothing but irritate me because it's filled with ignorant babble from people who are probably just crying because Microsoft lost.

 Maybe digital downloads will win in the end, but not until every man, woman, and child is blessed with some sort of beyond godly fiberoptic+ internet connection: I.e. when hell freezes over.

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arkweld

Can you just repeat this every three months? That way you won't have to keep trying to find different ways to write another "the inevitable demise of Blu-ray" article. It's getting old, tired and lazy now.

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jcollins

True, it's sort of reminiscent of the old "PC Games are doomed" spiel isn't it?  Say, speaking of which, isn't it about time for another article on that too? :)

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arkweld

Maximum PC should also start running those "why HDTV won't take off" articles too. Those were pretty popular back in 2000 and I haven't seen one of those for a while.

 edit: here's one to get you started from 1999.

High definition television (HDTV) will fail to offer broadcasters,
cable operators and TV manufacturers new revenue sources, according to
a new report by Massachusetts-based Forrester Research. The report,
titled "HDTV Dreams, SDTV Realities," concludes that standard
definition television (SDTV) will turn out to be the better alternative
when it comes to digital television.

The report,
which was based on information gathered from networks, station groups,
cable and satellite operators, programmers, manufacturers and
retailers, suggests that HDTV won't be affordable ...

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6675/is_/ai_n26452549

 

I've been watching HD broadcasts since 2001. So all these so-called "Blu-ray experts" should save their article ideas for ten years and then think about writing something when they actually gain some perspective. Clearly their skill at prediction isn't their strong suit, because they said the same with DVD, CD, VHS etc. etc. etc

There's one attention-seeking pundit born every minute. And then someone to jump on the topic to try and get some hits the minute after.

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curlybrian

If it takes 10 years before even a 10 percent penetration I think they were right with the call about HDTV.  Anyone that bought a HDTV before the DRM stranglehold standard bought a disposable multi-thousand dollar stop-gap product.  What "real" version of HDTV are we at now?  I think the real HDTV is at least 1 more version away.

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jcollins

Well, they were right about VHS dieing.  Eventually... :)

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