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Blu-ray: What’s New?

Posted by James Segars on May 8, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Format War, Studios



Blu-ray is having quite an eventful week, isn’t it? First we heard that Blu-ray wasn’t doing all that hot. Next, we were graced with a B2G1 from Amazon, and a B1G1 from Costco. Later, we got wind of the finalized MSRP for the ultimate Panasonic Blu-ray player — the DMP-BD50 — which only furthered the collective belief that CE companies continue to miss the mark in the pricing department.

To be perfectly clear, we’ve got nothing but good things to say about Panasonic, as they are true pioneers of the Blu-ray technology, and they continue to push the BDP envelope unlike the titular company, Pioneer, who’s content to release new Blu-ray players that are devoid of BD-Live features, at prices that are entirely too high given their feature set.

Call us crazy, but wasn’t the diverse CE support for Blu-ray supposed to promote healthy competition amongst the CE manufacturers? And wasn’t this competition supposed to lead to lowered prices across the board, as opposed to a series of overpriced and underwhelming standalone players? Does anyone else find it a bit unsettling that most Blu-ray supporters the world over will sooner recommend the PS3 over ANY other Blu-ray standalone player on the market? Perhaps not, when you consider the fact that it offers consumers — Pioneer, you might want to take note of this — the best value over every other Blu-ray player due its dual nature as both an HD gaming system and a 2.0 BD Player complete with TrueHD and DTS: MA internal decoding.

It’s obvious that in order for Blu-ray adoption to truly take off, CE companies will have to dethrone the PS3, we simply finding it distressing that few companies, if any, are doing anything to compete effectively with it.

At any rate, with all of that commentary out of the way, we bring you the final nugget of news, which truly is a good sign for the long-term vitality of the Blu-ray format. Starting in October, The Criterion Collection will begin releasing their first Blu-ray discs. While details are a bit sparse at the moment, Criterion has pledged to keep prices of the BD releases “equivalent” to their SD counterparts — which is great news to our ears. Criterion also promises to include all of the previously released supplemental material found on their DVD’s on the Blu-ray versions. If you’re so inclined, you can peep the first thirteen titles, here.

Related posts:

  1. Panasonic Announce Final Standard Profile Player
  2. Lawyers Gone Wild: Blu-ray Companies Sued Over Alleged Patent Violations
  3. Toshiba Reaffirms Blu-ray Stance
  4. Best Buy Sunday Ad October 5th 2008
  5. New 16 layer 400GB Blu-ray Discs Backwards Compatible?

Comments

27 Responses to “Blu-ray: What’s New?”

  1. JohnC on May 8th, 2008 4:18 pm

    This seems stupid and all “conspiracy theory”-like, but it’s come to my mind and I’m going to say it – what if the major blu manufacturers have made some sort of agreement with Sony to delay the development of their standalone players to allow the PS3 to sell more, so that Sony can catch up on their losses and start making a good profit with the machine? In other words, Sony is deliberately making sure their PS3 continues to be the player with the best features and price on the market until they’re comfortable that it’s reached the level they’re satisfied with?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a blu-ray fan, and I think this will change during or after the summer, but at the same time I am not unaware of Sony’s past “practices”.

  2. Bigdmelt12 on May 8th, 2008 5:04 pm

    I really hope all these CE companies are really feeling their decision to go blu, looks like its really working out for them….Almost makes me laugh that they cant even crack the ps3 stronghold. What did blu ray winning do for sony camp, only make them richer, because none of these other companies can compete, goooooo BLU..not

  3. Dave Cowl on May 8th, 2008 6:12 pm

    PS3 is subsidized to reduce the price of entry.

    It will be a while before a non-subsidized unit can compete head to head with the PS3.

    And it may be years before BD players have even close to the BD-Java performance or the persistent storage capacity of the PS3.

  4. Dave Cowl on May 8th, 2008 6:14 pm

    Oh also the reports that Blu-ray is doing poorly because Feb was less than January are a bit of a joke.

    Holiday spending is always higher than the rest of the year. The drop off into Feb/Mar is not something specific to Blu-ray… it is simply a seasonal effect.

  5. Merrick97 on May 8th, 2008 6:25 pm

    Well said Dave,

    The fact that people have been falling for these “doomsday” reports based on bluray not doing as well in early 2008 as it did in the 4th quarter of 2007 is completely idiotic.

    James, Im disappointed that guy like you who has shown to be reasonably intelligent can fall for these idiotic “bluray isnt doing so well” reports. Has the death of HD-DVD upset you THAT much?

    I challenge you to show me ONE time in dvds history where the sales of dvd were HIGHER in the 1st quarter of the year following the previous years 4th quarter.

    If bluray sales havent jumped quite a bit by 4th quarter of 2009, then the possibility exists that bluray is in huge trouble.

  6. Merrick97 on May 8th, 2008 6:27 pm

    Heck, Ill say that if bluray is STILL doing poorly in 4th quarter 2008, then Ill say the doomsday scenarios reports could have merit.

  7. James Segars on May 9th, 2008 8:17 am

    I think you might have misinterpreted what I said, slightly, Merrick.

    Personally, I don’t think that Blu-ray is doing poorly, but I do think that it could be doing better.

    I’m far more agitated by the fact that CE companies are still churning out standalone players that are far too overpriced.

    As we draw nearer to “year three” for Blu-ray, I feel like the adoption/curiosity is not yet where it needs to be. Bear in mind, I’m just going off of what I hear amongst my friends and family, among others, who still seem rather indifferent and — oddly enough — have no idea that HD DVD has lost the battle.

    DVD was a bit slow to infiltrate the mass market, sure, but it wasn’t debuting in the world we currently live in. Given the economic strain, and the rising gas prices, if “well-to-do” people can’t justify the purchase of either an HDTV or a Blu-ray player/PS3, I’m worried that Blu-ray will have an even harder/longer time getting off the ground.

    With that said, it’s in my best interests that Blu-ray succeeds, as I’ve chosen to invest in Blu-ray as well, following the demise of HD DVD. So don’t worry about me being the herald of Blu-ray’s “demise.” At this point, I’ve got nothing but love for the tech, but whole lot of resentment towards the powers that be. Follow me?

  8. thomas p vinelli on May 9th, 2008 8:23 am

    who’s really knows what will happen,but like all company’s i’m sure they have a idea where things will stand by the end of the year.its been said many times that vhs,laserdisc,and dvd all had their growing pains.prices were high,and as the market grew prices went down.can ce’s lower the price with a format almost 2yrs old.i suppose they could.surely they are in control of blu-rays future.but if we can clearly see price is holding back bd from mass adoption,they can to.history of electronics shows that sales of a product like bd lowers prices.but maybe we live in different times now where mass adoption needs to happen more quickly,then in the past,so lower prices need to happen faster.the first ce that can make a bd player around 200.00 will make a lot of money and jump start bd as a format.

  9. thomas p vinelli on May 9th, 2008 9:14 am

    the other end of this is despite negitive press there is a slow down with bd and i think the bda is behind it.uni titles won’t happen till july 22 08.i think they will pour it on then because they can show all studio support behind the format.
    the other think is being early adoptors,we live in a faster time zone,meaning we want cheap players,cheap movies,blockbuster titles of the past and present,and we want it now!the bda is going to be targeting jp6 and the time zone is slower or normal,so i can see there point of view.
    i’m sure bd will catch on but as always we have to wait for jp6 to respond to the format,with there wallet,then we will know where the format is going.

  10. Dave Cowl on May 9th, 2008 11:48 am

    @JohnC – while I enjoy conspiracy theories as much as the next guy, I think that features like DTS MA and BDLive could have been released much earlier than they were.

    We saw BDLive working at CES in January on the PS3 (and for that matter on the BD50 – at least we were led to believe that).

    Really I think that the CE makers just want to get it right. They were rushed into releasing and as a result some of the first batch were far from ideal. I think they just want to take their time to get the software in these players working properly before they release the players.

    The feeling I get is that they feel that time is on their side. Neither the studios nor the CE want BD to take over from DVD any time soon. They make more money if there are two options – the cheap option for the majority and the expensive one for those who want something better.

    The DVD and BD products coexist much better than VHS and DVD (though of course you can buy hardware with VHS and DVD coexisting also…)

  11. Mehar on May 9th, 2008 12:35 pm

    If something happens to Blu Ray, which seems likely considering how the biggest economy in the world isn’t doing so well, Panasonic will suffer the most. I think other companies are assesing the market and seeing what is happening to the global market at this point, which is probably why they are not going full on with Blu Ray.

  12. James on May 9th, 2008 1:18 pm

    @Mehar

    Why Panasonic in particular? Why not Sony/Samsung/Pioneer etc….

    I feel like Sony has invested the most time and money into securing BD’s future, no?

  13. Dave Cowl on May 9th, 2008 7:26 pm

    James – Sony has done a lot when you consider the PS3, but iirc their players are made by Pioneer. Their PC drives are rebadged Panasonic drives.

    Panasonic is definitely one of the major BD drive players. :)

    In Japan, the BD CE market is ‘owned’ by Sony, Panasonic and Sharp.

  14. thomas p vinelli on May 9th, 2008 8:15 pm

    @dave
    there are reports theres a lot of finger pointing going on between studio’s and ce’s to get the price down.the studio’s want the ce’s to lower the prices of sol players,so they can sell there 40.00 bd discs,and the ce’s want the studio’s to lower prices so they can sell there over priced players.both want their cake and eat it too..they don’t get it.

  15. Mehar on May 9th, 2008 8:22 pm

    James: Panasonic because you said it yourself they are pioneering Blu Ray at this point.

    Sony’s only falling back on the PS3, nothing more.

  16. James on May 9th, 2008 8:26 pm

    @thomas

    I think that theory is entirely plausible. No one wants to have to subsidize their product. However, I think that someone is going to have to make the move sooner or later, especially before the holiday season of 2008.

    I also think that none of the involved parties are eager to drop prices too soon, too low, in fear of people drawing a direct comparison to HD DVD’s “fire sale” back in November of 2007. Not to say that it would be the same, because it wouldn’t be, but I’m sure they’re leery of sending the “wrong message” with cheap players hitting the streets before BD has had adequate time to fully mature amongst the mass market adopters.

  17. Jonsson on May 9th, 2008 11:21 pm

    Hi find this constant moaning over prices combined with all the “blu-ray fill fail because it overpriced” statements quite amazing.

    After all you guys in US can buy a player for 400$ unless I’m mistaken? That’s a quite normal price for a good DVD player in many places in Europe.

    The price point for a new release of a high-profile movie is often 29 EUR for a NORMAL DVD. That’s about 45$ gentlemen.

    I would happily buy BD stuff for 40$ and players for 400$. The only reason that I haven’t gotten a player yet is because I want to ensure that I get a mature product with all the quirks worked out.

  18. Dave Cowl on May 10th, 2008 12:20 am

    The price of the players will drop naturally due to economies of scale and the Chinese companies entering the marketplace.

    If history tells us anything it is that the price of the media will not reflect the cost of the media in any way shape or form…

  19. Jared on May 10th, 2008 8:55 am

    Why does this site,witch in my opinion should have gone the way of the Dino, keep bashing Blu ray. Oh…I know…because it is run my a holes that can’t get over the fact the Blu ray one and now feels the need to bash the hell out of the format at every turn. IF HD DVD had prevailed would this have happened…Doubtful at best. Get over it. Blu won, their will be no widescale adoption of HD downloads and Hd DVD ain’t coming back folks. Get over yourselves. BTW Let the bashing begin. I don’t give a F$#@

  20. Mehar on May 10th, 2008 9:19 am

    What are you talking about? Just because a site is namned one thing dosen’t mean it should disapear. If you don’t like the site then don’t browse through it, simple isn’t it?

  21. thomas p vinelli on May 10th, 2008 9:55 am

    @jared.
    were not bashing bd,the bashing was during the format war.the bda made certain promises during the war they didn’t keep.
    we new bd would still cost more then hd dvd after the war was over,but not this much.i do understand the production cost of players and movies and recooping r%d costs.i just feel we live in different times and they can’t afford to drag out pricing to long like they did with dvd.with new technologys on the rise waiting to make their mark and knock off blu-ray they are going to have to take a hit sometime to get bd to the massadoption point.besides the ce’s make other products, they make tons of money with,and they could afford to sell bd sol players cheaper.
    knowing how greedy ce’s are it will take china to snap them back in the real world,once china takes all those sales away from sony and panny,samsurg,pioneer,etc.things will change,but they already know its coming….greed

  22. The Guardian on May 10th, 2008 11:42 am

    I think, for what you get, the Pioneer players are a great deal. Of course I’ve said all along that I don’t WANT net access (Hello? Sony? Why do you make me say no to my PS3 going online EVERY time I put in a BD?!)…

  23. webdev511 on May 10th, 2008 6:17 pm

    @Guardian

    YOU may not want want web based content today, but are you willing to drop $700 on a player today and suck it up buy a new player when you finally see web based content you do want?

    Player prices have to drop and movie prices have to drop, hopefully the latter won’t suffer a quality drop (except for Fox because they can’t really get worse, can they? They better not screw up the BD release of Patton or I’ll be PISSED!) when prices do finally come down.

  24. Tyler Pruitt on May 10th, 2008 9:17 pm

    Im thinking we need to added a threaded comment system….

    We are in the process of a complete site redesign, so look for it soon!

  25. Jonsson on May 11th, 2008 12:05 am

    webdev511, I think you do not get it.

    Guardian is not alone. I do not want it. A lot of people do not want it. When I buy a player I will make a point of byuing one WITHOUT any bloody network connection. Sony, do you here me ?!?

    Despite what the feature freaks think, there is a lot of people that buy a disk for the FILM alone.

    PIP, BD Live, etc. etc. we couldn’t care less about all that crap. I’ve almost NEVER whatched any of the extracts on any DVD that I got.

  26. The Guardian on May 11th, 2008 5:00 am

    Exactly Jonsson.

    I don’t care about the web stuff at all – I have not even paid attention to what web stuff any of my discs might happen to have. It simply does not interest me. I rarely even look at normal “special features” except on movies like Ice Age where you expect them to be funny and almost like getting a little more of the movie.

    webdev511, I would be perfectly happy to drop the $800 on this Pioneer player knowing full well that it does EVERYTHING I want it to do and does it better than any of the lower cost players.

    Player prices will drop – and are dropping. There are $298 profile 1.1 players at Wal-mart now. Pioneer Elite, however, you EXPECT to pay a premium for the quality (much like Denon) so I don’t see why people are complaining about the price tag on it. It’s not intended for the mass market, it’s intended for the enthusiasts who can either afford it, or like me will sacrifice other things to be able to get it.

  27. bigdmelt12 on May 11th, 2008 12:42 pm

    quite the article there segar

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