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mygif

No we don’t need it.

Yes it’s good, and IMO worth purchasing IF you like good video quality and IF you have a large High Definition display.

Yes you’ve wasted both your time and mine in writing this pointless article.

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mygif

Hey, at least it was free. :)

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Candlejack said on July 27th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I’m intending to keep buying DVDs as long as they make them. When nothing can be purchased except as a Blu-Ray or the 3D, I’ll just quit buying. The older I get, the less need I have to watch the same movie a dozen times, anyway. And, like you, there’s a certain amount of fatigue with buying the same damn thing in a new format.

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mygif

My eyes actually aren’t good enough to tell the difference between blu-ray and DVD most of the time (certainly not with animation, and that’s a large fraction of what I watch), so my biased answer is “no.” Blu-ray does nothing for me but cost more, so why should I bother with it?

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Anton P. Nym said on July 27th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

For most people, Blu-Ray is an extravagance… but there are some for whom BR makes sense. They’re the ones with the monster-big 1080p sets that can actually take advantage of the extra resolution.

I got a BR player from work as a gift, and on my 26″ TV (1080i cube-o-glass model, it’s an oldie for an HD unit) the difference is noticeable but not drastic. Go to a 42″ set, though, and it really is better. If I every saw it on that 108″ demo screen I read about it’d probably be beautiful.

But for most of us schlubs, the extra image density is a waste.

— Steve

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mygif

I don’t find the Blu-Ray image quality sufficiently good to really WANT it; I figure, the next time I need to buy a player for my DVDs, I’ll get a Blu-Ray one because by that time, they’ll all be Blu-Ray ones. A DVD player falls, for me, in the category of “items I only replace when they die”. I think it’s pretty clearly a way to require people to buy stuff they already own…and really, how many movies really need a Blu-Ray presentation, anyway? I can see with something like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or whatnot, but do I need When Harry Met Sally in ultra-hi-def?

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Mad Scientist said on July 27th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

If you don’t have a HDTV of decent size, then no, Blu-Ray is going to do very little for you. If you DO have a 40+” 1080P TV (and more significantly, 120-240Hz), you’ll notice a very large difference between picture quality between four hundred eighty lines of resolution that you get from a DVD and the one thousand eighty lines you get from a Blu-Ray.

It might not be *necessary*, but it’s quite a significant difference.

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mygif

This has been my argument against blu-ray for years.

That and why I don’t consider this video game console so great as compared to last generation.

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Snap Wilson said on July 27th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

No, we don’t need it, but that’s not news. The production companies are really pushing for digital distribution and eventually, the bandwidth will support it. Brick and mortar rental, optical media, they’re headed the way of vinyl in as little as ten years.

The real change people aren’t anticipating is the eventual end of the movie theater. Right now, I can stream The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on Netflix for free, or I can go pay ten bucks to watch it in a theater. This movie isn’t the only one out in theaters that is currently available for digital distribution. A higher percentage of films are going straight to Blu-Ray/DVD every year. Attendance at theaters is dropping and their answer is to raise prices and sell more advertising, making the experience even less consumer-friendly.

Art house flicks and the U.S. release of foreign films will be the first to go, but eventually you’ll see mainstream films fall under the theater knife, till were down to only a handful released at any given time. As it is, production companies are filming fewer movies now than in years past do to slumping sales. Overhead-free distribution is a much more lucrative model than what theaters currently provide.

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mygif

What we “need” is beside the point. Do we really “need” DVDs? Blu-Ray stores more information, and it’s an improvement on DVDs. The price will come down in a few years, and in the meantime you can buy anything you want on DVD.

But you know what? Don’t buy the same thing twice unless you really, really like it. You don’t have to replace a perfectly good VHS tape with a DVD, or a DVD with Blu-Ray. I just bought a movie that wasn’t available on DVD on video, and I’m glad I did. (“Denise Calls Up,” an indie film. It’s good!)

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mygif

This is rather inane and obvious, and has been repeated by most everyone since the format appeared. I think the problem is a format, period. I have a feeling the point is going to be moot in the coming years as (as already noted) Netflix comes into dominance, and most everyone simply pays a subscription for access to a high quality video library on demand from the Internet. You know what? Isn’t the future fucking awesome?

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mygif

I buy DVDs for the special features. I remember way back when DVDs were first out, it was pretty standard to have a disc for the movie and a disc for features. Now everything is packaged in either just the movie or the “special edition” for ten bucks more. Take Wall-E for example. On amazon I can get the single DVD disc movie for $27, or the Special Three Disc DVD Edition for $39. Or I could get the two disc Blu-Ray for $31 which has everything the three disc DVD has. All of Pixar’s movies are going this direction.

And another quick search on amazon shows that the Iron Man 2 Disc edition is cheaper in BD than DVD. I’m upgrading to get more of what I want (the features), cheaper, in a higher resolution.

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mygif

I’m enjoying having a BluRay player, but honestly, I think – like music and games – movies are starting to move towards digital more than anything else.

When it comes to BluRay, though, I have my own rules:
1) I won’t buy anything over $20.
2) Only buy something that I would see in theatres. This includes most GOOD action, sci-fi and fantasy movies, along with outstanding animation, such as Pixar.

Everything else? Honestly, I’m starting to move it to digital. Dramas, comedies or old horror flicks? No need.

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mygif

If I had a BluRay player, I’d only buy BRs with more extras than their DVD counterparts. And rarely.

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mygif

I have a Blu-Ray player. It was on-sale, and I use it as a Netflix streaming machine. I own four Blu-Ray discs– three I got to choose with purchase of the player, and one is secondhand. I can’t tell the difference in picture quality on an HDTV, but it magically upconverts the standard DVDs anyway.

Conversely, I’ve got hundreds of DVDs, and I don’t think I want to buy Tim Burton’s Batman in a third format. Yet.

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mygif

Hey, at least it was free.

No, there was an opportunity cost of about 5 minutes for me to read, understand, and come up with a snarky reply to this article. I could have used that time to come up with .0000000001% of the cure for cancer or watch 1/20th of the Matrix on Blu-Ray. I hope you’re happy.

(Parenthetical comment inserted here so that people recognize this as satire.)

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mygif

What pretty much everyone here has said. Nobody needs Blu-Ray, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one if its the sort of thing that appeals to you.

But I tend to agree with the people saying that stuff like Netflix streaming, and the slow, nasty, pathetic death of movie theaters and brick and mortar video stores is going to change the way everyone thinks about this sort of stuff anyway.

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mygif

Despite some of the comments made here, I don’t see all-digital distribution becoming pervasive any time soon. The simple answer is because you have to wait for all the old people used to going out to see or buy movies to die first (ie. why physical music still sells, albeit at lower numbers these days). Not to mention there are people who like having the physical and people who like the social experience of the movie theatre. Plus (get this) not everyone has good Internet connections, or even personal Internet access.

Blu-Ray is useless to me. I’m not a tech geek and I only change formats for anything when I absolutely have to. As long as my DVD player and my DVDs work, I can’t help but be bemused by people who rave about Blu-Ray.

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mygif

one – the resolution difference between bluray and dvd is actually much greater than the difference between vhs and dvd.

vhs – 330 x 480
dvd (sdtv) – 720 x 480
bluray (1080p / hdtv) – 1920 x 1080

as said, if you don’t have a 30″ flat panel, you won’t notice the difference, same as if you were watching on a 13″ crt you’d have a hard time distinguishing between dvd and vhs. doesn’t mean the difference isn’t there.

two – bluray / 1080p is approximately equal to the resolution you see on the big screen at the multiplex, which puts bluray as the capstone of highest possible quality release for movies going back to the dawn of cinema.

(there are a few exceptions either way, some movies aren’t even capable of rendering at 1080p and i think 70mm can go higher, but this covers the vast majority at 35mm or lower)

dvd has been fuzzing up the fine details the entire time; it’s better than vhs, but still less than half the resolution of what was originally filmed.

three – imax already films at a much higher resolution than 1080p, and digital movie cameras like the red series will only push that higher.

ergo, the next format after blu-ray is the most logical opt-out point for the average viewer; only movies filmed using new digital or imax cameras will be ABLE to be released in a higher resolution than bluray, and you’ll have to buy an even higher resolution television to be able to view them at that quality.

four – if filmmakers were prone to ignoring new tech, avatar would have used a lot of blue bodypaint and stop-motion robots. the future isn’t in disc formats but content. eventually we’ll have another resolution jump in broadcast television, digital projection will allow for imax-resolution presentations at standard multiplexes, video games will look as good as pixar movies, and so on.

all this will drive sales of ever higher resolution televisions, regardless of whether that home content is coming on a disc or from netflix servers. if you have the cash you can alredy get hdtvs with built-in dvrs, bluray drives, and internet browsers.

you can choose to opt out at any time, but it’ll be akin to playing mario on your 17″ crt on your original NES instead of buying a wii. if playing super mario bros is all you want, then that’s all you need, but the wii has a lot more on offer than the virtual console, if you follow me.

five – i tend to stay one console generation behind on purpose. all the games are cheap and i never feel ripped off paying $60 for a weak game. i’m playing the same game with bluray, but don’t conflate saving money with better stuff not being a worthy investment. it’s all fantastic if you can afford it. if you can’t, the argument is moot anyhow.

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mygif

Put me in the “digital will kill all formats” category, with Blu-ray a last stop before the switchover. And then the market changes and digital becomes just another format choice.

Digital streaming allows for denying audiences a sense of ownership. Unfortunately, it also requires cheap, fast internet. Currently the telecoms are still interested in getting customers to use their businesses, and in part they do this by underselling their services. But already we’re seeing the beginning of the end with free/cheap data plans for mobile phone users. Eventually, rates for home internet will increase as well.

Furthermore, services like Hulu are already eying increased commercials and membership fees. Netflix will probably follow suit at some point. These companies are currently under charging in terms of the service they provide, and eventually they’ll have to increase revenues to maintain their profitability and expanding services.

So, your streaming of data is going to cost more, and the data content you stream will cost more on top of that. It may take 10 years, but I figure we’re closer to five or three. At which point owning media will become a more viable and attractive option again.

And this is without considering things like Hulu and Netflix pulling shows (which they do all the time), lack of bonus features, inability to loan stuff to your two friends (in 2015) who don’t stream things, the fact that not everything will ever be available for streaming (or even illegal download), and so on.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the production companies stop manufacturing physical goods at some point, but even then home consumers will find a way to “backup” digital media themselves, much like how people burn .mp3 discs today.

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Adam Ruining said on July 28th, 2010 at 8:28 am

Concurring with AJ, to the “steaming wins” argument, are you taking into account the major telecoms’ push against net neutrality, that speeds are rarely as advertised, that data caps are increasingly common, that streaming quality is nowhere near Blu-Ray level, that there’s little to no incentive for the telecoms to lay more or faster lines, and that regional restrictions on streaming are as onerous (or moreso; I’m talking about the stuttering I’ve found after establishing a reliable proxy) than region-locking physical media (none of my region-free DVD players stuttered on foreign discs)?

As alluded, take Hulu. Free with commercials on my laptop, $10/month plus with commercials on my PS3. Thanks, but no thanks.

I’m all for digital distribution, but I don’t see it getting much better for a long time.

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mygif

I really did think Blu-Rays were a cash grab and silly too. Until we bought ourselves a ginormous TV and a PlayStation (the best Blu-Ray player option, hands down by the way – it costs about the same as a top of the line player, but also plays games, music, DVDs, downloads its own firmware, has free online multi-player and you can use it as a media center!!!)

The TV was an almost accidental purchase. We got married last year, and had some extra funds, and figured our small living room would be a lot more livable with a flatter TV in it. At the store, the guy convinced us to buy the store brand 240 hrz 42 inch, rather than a smaller name brand. It actually had a better warranty than the others. We do not regret it. As others have said, at that size the difference is actually quite notable.

Now, most Blu-rays are about the same price New DVDs were a few years ago, and in some cases they are CHEAPER. We actually got two seasons of weeds for 10 bucks each – way cheaper than they are on DVD.

That price is also way cheaper than going to the movies. So that’s what we do. We watch movies at home now, make our own popcorn, and save like 20+ bucks every time we do. And it is a comparable experience.

Which is to say nothing of the fact (As others have mentioned) that normal DVDs no longer have special features on them. They’ve moved them onto the Blu-Rays. And we are the kind of people who actually listen to the commentary track. So there’s also that.

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Stressfactor said on July 28th, 2010 at 9:31 am

As a fellow “Doctor Who” fan I also wonder about Blu-Ray. I mean, I’m sure it’s great for the newer stuff but I kind of shudder to think how cheap and tawdry something like the old William Hartnell stories might look like if ‘upgraded’ to Blu-Ray.

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mygif

For older stuff? We don’t need it and I’d even be in favor of buying Blu-Rays with their resolution intentionally degraded.

For the new stuff? For Avatar, for every CGI movie that goes straight bytes to disc without such things as a film transfer standing in the way, for everything that’s shot now in high-def IMAX? Hell yeah we need it. (Well, not need, but for like 5 bucks more hell yeah, I’ll take it.)

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Kid Kyoto said on July 28th, 2010 at 10:08 am

I just got an HDTV and wi-fi blu ray player. For me the wi fi was more important than the blue ray part. I have a massive netflix queue and can now see about 1/3 of them on my TV at any time.

For $2 more a month I can get blue ray disks sent to my house without dropping $20+ on one movie. No need to rebuy anything.

So yeah it can be made to work but I have no plans to upgrade my collection to blue ray.

What would impress me though is if they used the extra storage to put on more content. Why not put a whole season of the simpsons on 1 blue ray disk, that would be worth the money to me to have more content in less storage space.

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drmedula said on July 28th, 2010 at 10:16 am

Waitaminute- why are we talking about Blu-Ray when we could be talking about Doctor Who?

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mygif

I get blu-ray discs when they aren’t significantly more expensive than the DVD, depending on the DVD – I wouldn’t get a $25 blu-ray movie if there was a $15 DVD, but I might get the $70 blu-ray TV box set instead of the $60 DVD. I’m also more likely to get the blu-ray for an explodey action movie than a serious drama or comedy.

I have Rogers here in Canada, and a download cap. A movie download can take up a significant percentage of my cap. BOO CAPS.

A couple of things:
– Depending on the original medium, it doesn’t make sense to have high-resolution versions. I don’t think you’ll ever see colour old-school Doctor Who blu-ray discs. The source material was so often videotape that a DVD gets you everything the blu-ray would. That’s why the Eccleston/Tennant series 1-4 are only available on DVD – they filmed in SD, not HD. Torchwood, the Tennant specials and the Matt Smith stuff *are* on blu-ray. It’s different for, say, Star Trek, which used film stock.

According to the Tardis wiki, Doctor Who was mostly film stock through Spearhead in Space, so there are some possibilities there – but that is primarily black & white material, some of which would be from a home recording off of a TV due to the BBC’s destruction of part of its B&W archives. Spearhead From Space might have an outside chance at being a blu-ray, because it’s on film and in colour.

– For older movies: because they were made on film stock, there is visual information lost on DVD that is present on the blu-ray. The weird side effect is that despite a greater fidelity to the original source, the movies can look off because most of us have only seen them on TV; thus, your mileage here may vary.

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mygif

It’s really simple: higher resolution lets you take advantage of larger screens. When TVs get even bigger than now, a higher resolution will be introduced, and a new format to store it if Blurays can’t handle it (which is likely unless they stick 8 layers on the Blurays).

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mygif

I am not jumping ship, I love movies in general, but I do not need BR, i am fine with DVD, hell VHS in the cases of rare movies never seen on dvd. It is a big rip off, even for DVD’s, I remember a pitch for dvds that we could manipulate movies by different camera angles and the like. I haven’t seen that even in blu-ray. some of the BR come with no bonus features, that is a huge crock and rip off IMo

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mygif

Having a Blu-Ray player is nice, especially if you have a model that upsamples DVDs. My wife and I regularly watch TV series on disk, sometimes in the living room, which has an old big-screen TV, and sometimes in the bedroom, were we have our HDTV and Blu-Ray player. The difference in quality is noticeable, and nice.

That being said, if we are buying a new season of a show, and we have the choice between DVD and Blu-Ray, we’re likely going to get the DVD version because it’s cheaper, and cheaper enough to put the Blu-Ray version out of reach.

The benefits of getting a Blu-Ray player, though, is that 1) it will still play DVDs just fine, even better than a regular DVD player in some cases and 2) if they stopped making DVDs tomorrow and moved everything to Blu-Ray, you’d be set.

As far as any of this being necessary — well, what really is necessary, honestly? I don’t have to watch TV. I can read a book. If worse came to worse, we could tell stories to each other around the campfire. Necessary, no. Nice to have? Yes.

L.

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Mary Warner said on July 28th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I was against DVDs. I just want them to pick one standard and stick with it forever, even if a better alternative comes along. Replacing everything with new technology every few years is just not an option for poor people. I didn’t even have a VCR until the early ’90s, and then I spent years slowly building up a movie collection from garage sales and such. By the time I had a decent number of tapes, I couldn’t watch anything else because there were no more tapes for rent at the stores– just DVDs. I didn’t get a DVD player until this year (it was a gift from its previous owner), and now DVDs are becoming less common.
I just can’t keep up with this, and I know I’m not the only one.

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mygif

I have a big ass HD TV and HD satellite programming to watch on it. Much like the move from VHS to DVD, I can no longer watch SD without getting itchy. Even my wife, who swore we did not need an HD TV, gets the SD itch. She just watched Firefly for the first time, on DVD, and spent the whole time bitching about the picture quality. And her broken foot. Though one did lead to the other (foot to Firefly. Which is neither here nor there).

The point is, once you go HD, you can’t go back. Blu Ray is part of that. Built into a PS3, you can’t go wrong. We only rent Blu Rays if we can help it, and if we buy, which we don’t do that often, we buy Blu Ray, because even upscaled in a good upscaler (and the PS3 is just that), we can still see the difference. And we’re not even video nerds. Although, also we are somewhat cheap, so we aren’t even going to consider re-purchasing stuff we already have unless the price forces us to buy it again. But unless you have a big ass HD TV, no, Blu Ray is not necessary.

As for old Doctor Who, thanks to the quality of the source material, DVD quality is the absolute best quality that you can get out of the original tapes and film reels. The only thing a Blu Ray upgrade would do is allow lossless audio. The picture is already the best it is ever going to get (except for possibly the 1996 TV movie and maybe, just maybe, Spearhead From Space, but probably not even in its 16mm case).

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Jonathan Miller said on July 28th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

By the way, I think it was “The Reign of Terror” VHS box set, not “Invasion of the Dinosaurs.” 😉

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fsherman said on July 29th, 2010 at 8:18 am

Oh, there are executives who’ve acknowledged Blu-Ray is intended to keep the money coming now that most people who have a DVD player have one.
They’re gorgeous to look at, but I have no urge to spend money on one, or an HDTV. But since there’s a huge after-market even for laserdiscs, I’m sure I’ll be able to get tons of DVDs (I do like owning my own) for years.

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mygif

I have a 55″-inch Samsung LED HDTV. The difference is huge in my living room.

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mightybaldking said on July 29th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I’ve got a good 42 inch HDTV, and watch 1080p whenever possible.

Quite frankly, at the distance I am comfortable sitting from the tv, I can’t tell the difference between a standard digital cable channel and an HD channel. (although the few remaining analog channels really suck)

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mygif

Between Netflix and my Roku, I no longer have any reasons to buy movies at all anymore. So I’ll agree with Kyle TW: “Isn’t the future fucking awesome?”

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Fardels Bear said on July 31st, 2010 at 3:51 pm

The point isn’t to get you to buy something three times, it’s to get you to buy it once. With video on demand, DVR, torrents, and other entertainment sector competitors like video games, DVD producers are starting to lose a lot of customers. The Blu-ray disk helps them combat that in two ways — it gives you something it’s hard to get elsewhere (torrenting and playing Blu-ray quality video is tricky, and DVR and video on demand is generally closer to DVD-quality), and it’s at a higher price point, so even if you sell less, you can still keep revenue up.

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Alex Kary said on August 11th, 2010 at 2:05 am

I kind of agree with you, the only reason that I have bought Blu-Rays is to watch documentaries, particularly wild-life ones. The detail you get in those massive serengeti scenes, or the extreme closeups makes it worth it. But for regular movies, I don’t see a lot of point.

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bergmaniac said on August 17th, 2010 at 6:10 am

Criterion Blu-ray. Preservation and restoration of great works of cinema, and being able to watch them in pristine condition, is reason enough to justify the format’s existence.

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