Bill Hunt Lists 5 Things Blu-ray Needs To Change

Posted by Tyler Pruitt on March 7, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Format War, Studios

BDchange.jpgOne of the most outspoken proponents of the Blu-ray Disc format has to be Bill Hunt of His opinions are well respected in the industry, and widely debated on the various Internet forums related to home theater and HDM.

In his latest daily "My Two Cents" post (March 6th), Bill outlines 5 things the BDA needs to do in order to gain acceptance by mass market consumers.

Here is the Cliffs Notes version:

 1. Lower Hardware Prices

2. Make Profile 2.0 Mandatory On All New Players ASAP

3. Lower Software Prices

4. Former HD DVD Studios Need To Release There Big HD DVD Titles ASAP

5. All Blu-ray Discs Should Have Lossless Audio

Related posts:

  1. The Digital Bits: Paramount and Universal are going Blu


25 Responses to “Bill Hunt Lists 5 Things Blu-ray Needs To Change”

  1. Ben Drawbaugh on March 7th, 2008 5:18 am

    Wow, talk about obvious.
    That’s about as bad as the “world peace” answer at a beauty pageant.

  2. Tyler Pruitt on March 7th, 2008 5:20 am

    I wonder why he didn’t mention any of this before the format war was over? ;)

  3. popeye9000 on March 7th, 2008 6:08 am

    You lost me at “his opinions are well respected in the industry.” Are you kidding?

    I used to read and respect Digital Bits several years ago until his column descended into a personal and irrational rant against HD DVD. What happened to this guy? Did Toshiba kill his dog or something?

    He has lost all credibility for some time now.

  4. Mi on March 7th, 2008 6:21 am

    Two points, a) he did say it before the format war was over and b) he’s right.

  5. The Guardian on March 7th, 2008 6:48 am

    popeye, all he said was Blu-ray could, should, and would win, and pushed for that to happen as soon as possible. And he was right on all three counts. If anything his credibility is higher now than before.

    I agree with everything except point two, I still couldn’t care less about web interactivity.

  6. Dave Cowl on March 7th, 2008 9:16 am

    @Popeye – he said in the industry – not amongst the internet masses. Bill’s cred seems to depend on which side you chose. BD people loved him and HD DVD didn’t (surprise).

    I also agree with many of these – I don’t think 2.0 should be mandatory – but it should be available and it isn’t.

    In some ways I think that Toshiba bowed out before they were expected to and that is a problem for the ‘big push’ – they need a slew of Bonus View and BD Live players for the big push and that is clearly lacking.

  7. Kevin Murphy on March 7th, 2008 11:07 am

    Odd, there was another format until recently that met most of these points, but whatever….

    He is right, of course.

    I’d add that the lossless audio should be either PCM or TrueHD. DTS-MA decoders are very rare and only found on expensive units. Sure, my Denon 3808 can decode them, but most cannot. The PS3 cannot. Do the DTS people give the encoding away for free or something? Can’t think of another reason why someone would use it instead of Dolby TrueHD.

    Anyway TrueHD decoders are pretty common. PCM allows people with 5.1 outputs to enjoy lossless audio with nearly any decent AVR made in the last 10 years. Pick one.

  8. Jonsson on March 7th, 2008 11:33 am

    This is the kind of rubbish news that you would expect to find in engdadgetHD.

    1, 3 and 4 is just what everyone whishes. Of course people want the players and the disks for free if possible. Of course everyone want’s the best movies. This is just plain obvious and very stupid comments.

    2, I do not really give s hit about the “features” of profile 2.0. I rather get a stable 1.1 player than the (for me) useless features of 2.0.

    5. Most people can not distinguish between lossless audio and a decent normal Dolby Digital 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack. 99.99% do not even have the hardware to make a lossless soundtrack justice.

    These cmments are just total rubbish. If this guy is respected, well I do not see why from this article at least :-(

  9. Michael Mayo on March 7th, 2008 12:01 pm

    While Bill Hunt is personally a gracious guy and much better mannered than me, his whoring for Sony/BDA lost my respect a long time ago. I think his site helped sink HD-DVD with its biased fearmongering and consumers are now reaping the consequences – high-priced players with three-card-monty specs, and studios trying to sell overpriced crapola twice. The one good thing about this, to me, is that I’ve finally discovered HD-PPV; five bucks gets you a high-def movie I would have watched only once anyway, instead of spending $25 bucks for the movie and some crappy supplements. We won’t know for another year or two, but my hunch is that Blu-Ray has muffed its chance to replace standard DVD and will never be more than a niche seller touting eye-candy sales while failing miserably on catalog items. No matter how they spin their “victory”, I think this is still just Betamax II unless they get serious about getting the prices down or below their “war-time” levels.

  10. Dave Cowl on March 7th, 2008 12:02 pm

    People want lossless audio since it is the best presentation possible and that is what the format needs to be about, regardless of any single opinion. Same with 7.1 audio.

    Likewise for web features – they need to be available for those who want it, though I disagree with mandatory in players for web features.

    DTS-MA is apparently ready for the PS3, and BD Live was on the PS3s at CES – my understanding is that it won’t roll out on the PS3 until it is available on players like the Panasonic BD50 and Sony 550. Which is all the more reason that they need to get their act together and get these features in to the hands of the people.

  11. Belard on March 7th, 2008 4:26 pm

    Sorry… but I agree with others… the 5 points are kind of… Duuuuuuuuuuuuh!!

    I don’t agree #2 : Profile 2.0 as mandatory, in a sense that I don’t want it/need it. But that by not having it “standard” – actually lowers the amount of studio support for such a feature. Many people think that 2.0 MEANS a huge difference, not what it really is… internet connection.

    The COST difference between the two is very small in the real world: My ROUGH estimate manufacturing cost:

    $4 = Network chip, connector and software.
    $4 = 1GB of FLASH type memory.
    $9 = Total

    Hmmm… and if ALL Blu Players had them, perhaps even cheaper. In the real world, not worth the $100~200 extra price.

    Now the 2.0 players seem to have more audio options and such which do actually add value to the player.

  12. MaxTheSilent on March 7th, 2008 8:16 pm

    I especially love this, from his ‘Now don’t be afraid of the big, bad unfinished format’ speech:

    ‘The reason for the different profiles is that both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc were rushed to market about a year before they were really ready. So Blu-ray was forced to start releasing players and discs in 2006, before all of the interactive specs had been fully finalized. Conversely, HD-DVD had finalized their interactive specs by the time they launched, but there was a reason for this too: HD-DVD’s HDi interactive scheme isn’t as advanced or powerful as Blu-ray’s BD-Java.’

    Huh? Considering that BD-Java still doesn’t even exist in any functioning form I imagine he must have a crystal ball to be able to state this. Basically, if BD-J can manage a simple PIP commentary then it’s already miles ahead of where Blu-Ray is now.

    But if BD-Java is more advanced than HDi or Universal’s IME I imagine it must be able to make you a cup of coffee and iron your clothes while you’re watching the movie.

    Picture-In-Picture functionality and downloadable content. If you try and tell me it gets any more advanced than that at this point in time then I straight-up call you an effing liar.

    And I love the notion that Blu-Ray was ‘forced’ to go to market with unfinished specs. It sure didn’t stop the PS3 going on sale with the necessary chip-set included to make it future-proof.

    Even in ‘victory’, this guy still has his head buried firmly up his butt.

    Even more irritating is that people read this tripe and believe it.

  13. Ryan on March 8th, 2008 5:35 am

    Yeah he is right, but everyone already knew all of this. Ask ANY customer remotely interested in the technology.

  14. Jonsson on March 8th, 2008 7:31 am

    It appears that a lot of people around here doesn’t understand that that there is a lot of people that DO NOT WANT extras, picture in picture, and all that crap.

    In terms of of features I would be quite happy with a profile 1.0 player. I just want to watch the damned movie !!!

    I think that BD got it all right, all the useless features only appeal to the die hard fans, and the early HD-DVD adopters just doesn’t get it !!!

  15. ron on March 8th, 2008 8:28 am

    Why pay $400+ for a blu ray for only 1080p? If that is the case go out and buy an good upconvert player and save yourself some money.

    A next gen player should be next gen, 1080p, lossless audio and proflie 2.0.

    I would rather have what I don’t use than want what I don’t have.

  16. Ryan on March 8th, 2008 4:27 pm

    Honestly I just got into the interactivity of the HD discs, I tried it on Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift – and I loved it! I’m sad to see HD go before A lot of people ever got to try it. Good point about about HD DVD being accomplished on all these points as well …

  17. Ralf the Dog on March 8th, 2008 4:47 pm

    Please ban all 2.0 features. Please require the studios not to include PIP and online content. Please revoke the license of any studio that includes these features.

    We don’t want glass beads and trinkets, we want better quality audio and video (in that order. Audio is far more important). We don’t want the studio to spend money on some stupid animated menu that you can’t skip out of.

    Spend your production budget on quality not flash.

  18. paulw on March 9th, 2008 11:46 am

    He forgot to add Region Free to his list.

  19. Belard on March 9th, 2008 1:48 pm

    Region Free is one of the BIG reasons why HD-DVD lost. besides almost half the storage space.

    I have about 600 DVDs in my collections, and they have 7 whatever country codes.

    99% of the population isn’t effected by region codes.

  20. Ryan on March 10th, 2008 6:57 am

    Oh yeah he could add something about the unnecessary previews you can’t seem to skip, and the Blu Ray previews as well. If you’re watching a BD it’s probably safe to assume you already bought the player, and are interested in the technology. I hate the load times on players, and coupled with the long preview sections it’s rediculous how long from “power” to “play” can take.

  21. Dave Cowl on March 10th, 2008 9:04 am

    Do you think that this would be different if those studios released on HD DVD instead?

  22. paulw on March 10th, 2008 12:17 pm

    “99% of the population isnít effected by region codes.”

    Not with DVD it’s not but it is with Blu-ray..

  23. Dave Cowl on March 10th, 2008 1:20 pm

    As it stands, for the most part, the 33% or so of BDs that are region coded are the major new US releases and will get release in the other regions in a timely fashion, just as the DVDs are. This will increasingly become the case when Universal and Paramount are also releasing discs on Blu-ray.

  24. Belard on March 10th, 2008 6:09 pm

    I have a rather large collection – with movies/shows from Europe and Asia.

    I don’t have a problem… eventually if the show is worth anything, it gets ported to another country or the producers don’t go with Reigion locking… its up to them, not Sony , Blu-Ray whatever.

    Just like the jerks in studios (Disney) think that throwing 5-10mins of previews that can’t be skipped (must FF)- just makes people feel all good inside. Buts its pure greed and not some Blu-RAY thing.. When the AVG chip puts the disc in the player (like my own) – they let it play and press the PLAY button when it says too. After a few times, the kid Tells mom “I want such and such” My 3yr old knows how to FF thou ;) I think they should be shot for that, but its an opinion.

  25. Jonsson on March 10th, 2008 11:27 pm


    Why would it be different with Blu-ray? What you say is just not true. Rather on the contrary, there are fewer regions for Blu meaning that there is less chance a title will not be available in a region.

    As Belard said, if the title is worth anything it will come to all regions.

    It’s not a real problem for 99.99% of the population on DVD and there is no reason to believe it will be otherwise for Blu-ray either.

    The non-skipable regions is another issue though. If the corporate jerks putting that crap in really wanted to encourage people to hack the players, they couldn’t have found a better way of doing it.

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