Is Blu-ray dead?

Posted by: fredk

Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/06/12 11:37 PM

... or maybe just pining for the fjords?

By my non-scientific reckoning, number of tittles at the local rental store over time, the format is flat-lining.

I did a quick search and it appears that while the market is growing, it is doing so at a decreasing rate. According to this site, it has been increasing at 5% per year from May of 2008 to April of 2012.

With the vast majority of new Displays over the last three years or so being 1080p, one would expect that people would gravitate to full HD content. Yet...

It seems that people are instead moving to streaming of content. From what I can find, HD streaming is mostly 720p and does not necessarily include surround sound.

So, is Blu-ray (full HD) dead?
Posted by: CV

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 12:25 AM

I wouldn't say it's dead, but I think you're right about people liking the convenience of streaming. I still do more than my share of Blu-ray purchases, because I care about the quality, but I've also been watching more shows and films I'm unsure of on Netflix, and I like that it's just the content, not a million promos beforehand, and FBI warnings, etc., and it will always pick up where I left off, unlike Blu-ray, where it's a feature on some discs but not on others. They really needed more consumer-friendly standards on Blu-ray. It shouldn't be a chore to get to the goods you paid for.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 01:26 AM

I am in the same frame of mind as CV. I stream more content than I buy/watch on Blu Ray, however anything I know I will watch numerous times I buy only on Blu Ray.

I think people feel the convenience of streaming movies, just like downloading music, far outweighs the need/desire to have the higher definition hard copy on hand at any time. I also think most people will only watch a movie once so do not feel the need to purchase movies unlike music which they will listen to over and over.

Anyone checked to see if over all movie sales has dropped off over the last few years?

I am waiting for movies to be offered as downloadable for sale content just as music is, I only hope the HD versions are available.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 08:14 AM

I'm using DSL and isn't fast enough where I live for decent streaming. I got decent quality from VUDU, but not Netflix. But I'll pay $10-30 for a blu-ray before I'll shell out $7 to stream it, or $15 to watch it at a theater. In my current collection, I have around 500 discs, with about 63% in blu-ray.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 10:37 AM

Hmm. I plan on buying more new-release blu-rays this month than most months that I can remember.

Streaming seems nice, but the quality isn't always there, especially if your internet speed dips a little. I also want the best picture and sound for my theater, and streaming artifacts and lower quality sound become VERY evident at 138" and with 7.1 sound in a treated room.

This topic comes up every few months somewhere, and someday it might happen, but I don't see the death of it. Maybe sales are down because the movies out (prior to this week's The Dark Knight Rises release) have been pretty weak for a while.

Oh, and don't forget that in many markets, people have a cap on download size (only so many GB per month), that goes quickly with streaming anything of decent quality.

So, do I stream? You would think not with my above comments, but I do stream... I stream TV shows from Hulu when I am traveling. I will sit on one laptop doing something while Hulu plays whatever TV shows I am subscribed to on the other (or surf and watch on the same depending on how large of image I want to see). I love that convenience, but then again, when I am at home, I never seem to have time to sit down and watch one of my TV shows since most of them my family won't watch with me, so they queue up for me to watch when traveling. Of course, for TV shows, I am not so concerned about quality on a 15.6" screen and with laptop speakers.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 10:41 AM

There's more to the picture quality than saying you "can stream 720P".

Compression figures as heavily into picture quality as pixel resolution and, if it's a movie I care about, I'd avoid the banding and artifacting by watching a BD disc.

Though I agree it'll get there at some point.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 01:06 PM

Only when the speed and quality goes way up, and the price comes way down (thinking VUDU), would I even be interested.
Posted by: Boltron

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 02:35 PM

Bluray for the quality. I really can't stand to watch the so called HD from Cable and many streaming providers, it just looks awful. Compression artifacts drive me nuts.

It's really sad actually, people go out and buy expensive 1080p sets and then watch crap content. The high res set just makes it look even worse.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 02:35 PM

Alas, my local video store that I could walk to, suddenly decided to close this week - how sad. So I bought a bunch of their used BDs & DVDs yesterday for $3 each; however, I felt like I was a vulture picking on a carcass.

The 2 stores left in my area are now a considerable drive. Who knows how long they'll last?

I've never used any streaming service; however, my experience with VOD from Shaw Cable has been less than satisfactory - their HD movies don't look nor sound like full HD to me, unlike the fine quality of rental BDs or upscaled DVDs. Besides, their prices are about $3 higher per view than they should be. One advantage of VOD though, it doesn't impact on my monthly net download quota.

I think that there is a parallel with the situation of the initial poor quality of MP3 audio that was convenient, but didn't sound very good, especially on big systems. The same thing is happening with streaming overly compressed video/audio that the average consumer seems to be embracing. Adequate bandwith for full HD streaming will always be a problem.

I don't like it, but what to do??

TAM
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 04:39 PM

I used to buy used DVD's and then later, used Blu-Rays from my local brick'n morter rental stores, then discovered I could buy new for about the same price, or slightly higher, than they were selling on Amazon instead. I'll take new over used anyday. Plus the fact they don't sell used 3-D, I haven't been to a brick'n morter rental store for a couple of years now. I've never rented from Robo Boy (Red Box, or similar devices).
Posted by: SBrown

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 05:41 PM

Instead of buying cds, I have been getting BD concerts instead because they don't cost much more and you get to see them live. I bought over ten of them for the holidays and want to make it a habit each month.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/07/12 07:30 PM

Originally Posted By: jakewash
...
I think people feel the convenience of streaming movies, just like downloading music, far outweighs the need/desire to have the higher definition hard copy on hand at any time...

This is exactly what has me wondering if Blu-ray is effectively dead.

B&M rental is definitely dead. I don't know how Netflix's physical rental system is doing. Maybe I'm just an oddball, but I don't repeatedly watch movies. I like to see something new each time. I would hate to be in a position where I have to buy anything I want to watch in full HD.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/08/12 12:27 PM

Originally Posted By: fredk
I would hate to be in a position where I have to buy anything I want to watch in full HD.


But you have to buy or rent (and some rentals are actually limited in sound anyway) a physical disc in order to get full HD. 1080p with HD 5.1 or 7.1 sound without artifacts or significant compression (even if they SAY it is HD) is still disc based, or some massive torrent download. Streaming still doesn't offer that. Too much bandwidth reuirement today.

But you are right, like Jakewash posted too, a lot of people are about convenience not quality. I remember with MP3s first came out, people thought that a super compressed digital version of a compressed disc version (CD) of an analog recording, and college kids LOVED sharing them around. It was about being cool, trendy, and convenient. Same with streaming at its current level.

MP3s have come a long way, and streaming will get there eventually too. Just years away due to compression and bandwidth limits, but that won't stop people from saying that streaming is the best and blu-ray is dead. Not just you... Some industry "experts" keep writing articles about it too and these same arguments are given to them as feedback as well.

With all of that, if you love streaming, are willing to overlook the shortcomings, and never buy movies any more, then more power to you. Who am I to take that away? I just want the best image and picture and am willing to pay $15-$20 on a disc and not only have full 1080p 100% of the time with DTS-MA soundtracks that are never streamed. So I will stick with discs.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/08/12 02:58 PM

What I think would solve many streaming issues would be to not stream at all but download the movie at full HD quality ahead of time then play from your PVR hard disk. The folder it downloads to would be on a constant watch and anything older than 24hrs is deleted, not much different than your VOD account as they are right now, only it is done in your house and not on the cable companies mainframe.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 12:23 AM

Nick. I understand what I need for full HD and that is what has me concerned. The Blu-ray growth curve is not unfolding as it should if the format is going to take over from DVD.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 12:57 AM

Most people I've talked to haven't bought a blu-ray player yet. And a lot of them are still waiting for their CRT TV to go out before replacing it.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Most people I've talked to haven't bought a blu-ray player yet. And a lot of them are still waiting for their CRT TV to go out before replacing it.

Now that's interesting. I find the opposite. Even my cheap assed ex now has a flat panel.

I've searched, but can't find any estimates of how many CRTs are still out there. Interestingly, India just crossed the 50% threshold in flat panel vs crt shipments last year.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 07:11 PM

My sister just asked me the other day...
"Our DVD player just died. Should we get a Blu-Ray player? Will that still play our DVDs?"

She has a 60" LED TV and using DVDs. Yuck.

Ignorance is abound out there amongst the common population.

I like the idea of being able to download something at higher than streaming quality (legally of course), but to equal the quality of a new movie on Blu-Ray, you would need to download a minimum of 30-35GB per movie with just one audio track and no extra features. Sure, that is HD audio, but isn't that part of the idea.

Maybe start downloading and after enough of it buffers you could start (like streaming does now), but let a gig or so come down before starting instead of 50 MB for current streaming.

Still have internet provider bandwidth caps though.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 07:54 PM

If your internet provider is the same as your cable/movie download they could/should wave the bandwidth cap for these downloads, after all it would be in their best interest, more movie sales.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 10:43 PM

Originally Posted By: fredk
Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Most people I've talked to haven't bought a blu-ray player yet. And a lot of them are still waiting for their CRT TV to go out before replacing it.

Now that's interesting. I find the opposite. Even my cheap assed ex now has a flat panel.

I've searched, but can't find any estimates of how many CRTs are still out there. Interestingly, India just crossed the 50% threshold in flat panel vs crt shipments last year.


Probably depends on how affluent the people are you associate with. Most people I associate with are in the lower category. Work, church, etc. most also think you have to have a DVD player to play DVDs. Some don't even know what a blu-ray is. Some are still only or mostly playing VHS tapes. My retired sister falls into this category. I gave her an LCD panel about 4 years ago. These same people also have trouble trying to switch from cable/antenna to DVD and back again it seems.

Also, what's interesting, even some of the more influential fall onto this same category, now that I think about it. It just depends on how tech savvy they are. I just don't have many tech savvy friends.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/09/12 10:50 PM

Originally Posted By: nickbuol
...
Ignorance is abound out there amongst the common population.
...

I think it may actually be indifference. Up-scaled DVD gives reasonable quality. I expect that is enough for many.

Catbrat. I'm not hangin' with the rich crowd.
Posted by: J. B.

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/10/12 07:13 AM

how would anyone expect people to enjoy HD !
they bought the brightest, most intense over-saturated image machine in the store, they have it installed by the delivery man, and then watch in total darkness until they get bleeding eyes.

done like this, there is no difference whether they watch VHS or DVD or Blu-ray; they all look the same: OVERBLOWN and over-processed.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/10/12 08:17 AM

Some info from within the industry that is no secret but most people don't realize.

The thing to remember about broadcasters/streamers/etc. is that 1080p & 720p refers only to pixel count. Many (most) online content providers use algorithms that compress the visual data to save bandwidth requirements but the pixel count remains the same.

The algorithms provide enough compression that the higher resolution can be delivered at a lower bit rate. While still better than SD, this does result in a softer image and increased motion blur for faster scenes.

Technically, they are not speaking false when they say something like , "broadcast in 720p" but that dos not mean that you are receiving the same quality that is present on the original material such as a Blu-ray copy.

Another trick is up-conversion. Just like your DVD or BR player will up-convert SD to HD, it is obvious from looking at it that a lot of HD TV content is merely up converted an SD source. This is not a necessarily bad thing as older shows most often were not filmed in HD so this is the best you can do to accommodate people's big screen TVs.

When it gets a bit more grey is when a provider upconverts an SD movie that could easily have been obtained from a HD source but they prefer to save $ and use thier old source, yet advertise it as being broadcast in 720 or whatever. Technically still an accurate statement, but still an inferior product.

Another thing to remember is that your local TV provider gets it's content from upstream providers. Content is often compressed even before they get thier hands on it. Take, for example only, (I obviously have no knowledge of the true situation for your provider unless you subscribe to our service) The Walking Dead. AMC may not apply any compression to the master source copy it sends to the upstream mass broadcasters. However, these upstream providers almost assuredly apply compression to allow them to send more channels to thier customers, the local cable/TV companies, via their data pipes. In turn, the local cable company may choose to apply additional compression to allow for as many channels as possible via their broadcast media methods.

In short, a lot can happen between you and the zombie. If you want to feel like you are getting the absolute best picture possible, then you really need to invest in the BluRay.

However, a lot of broadcast HD is still Very Good and I'm not knocking the quality of all broadcasters. Also, BR won't help you with new releases if your not willing to wait a few months. I for one, need my zombie apocalypse as it happens or at least with a 24 hour delay so I can watch the PVRed version and skip commercials.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/10/12 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: J. B.
how would anoyone exPect peepl too enjoy HD !
they bought br1ghtest, most intenz oversattrated image manchin in store, they have it in stall by the dlivery mann, and watch in TOtal darknesz untill they get bleedink eyes. NO GOD JONK!!

done like thi1s, ther is n0 deferens whther they watch vHS or DVD or Bloray; they all look same: OVERBLOWN and over-process!!

REFLECT!!! You are tru world videopile.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/10/12 06:46 PM

At last, somebody with a sensible answer.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Is Blu-ray dead? - 12/10/12 10:11 PM

Agreed.