Being big fans of the Blu-ray HD format, we’ve compiled a list of ten reasons why you should buy a Blu-ray player, and Blu-ray discs going forward.
When Blu-ray first came out, it was pretty cost prohibitive for many people to buy one. A lot of people thought “Why should I buy this new thing, and then re-buy all my favorite movies again?” And they were right. At $800, why would anyone want to spend that kind of money? And then spend $35 a pop for movies?
Nowadays you can get a pretty good Blu-ray player from Samsung for $250, or from Sony for roughly the same price.
Thinking back to the first DVD player I bought in ’96, $250’s a deal.
And now that Blu-Ray Movies are so cheap on Amazon, why wouldn’t you get one?
9. The format war is over They stopped making HD DVD in February of last year. That means the format war has been over for nearly a year and a half. There’s no more worrying about whether you’re buying the “right” thing or not. Blu-ray is it. At least for now. A few years from now, will there be something better? Probably. But for now, Blu-ray is the mack daddy of home DVD viewing.
8. Ease of use People who are afraid of new things are afraid to go Blu-ray. Why? Because they’re used to their DVD player’s controls, and don’t want to learn something new.
Think back to when you got your parents to switch from VHS to DVD. It was painful at first, right? Constant calls asking how to do something. Confusion over which input to put the TV on.
Now that they’re used to it, it’s not so bad, right? Switching from DVD to Blu-ray is seamless. It’s not like switching from VHS to DVD. Think of it as switching from one car, to another. Sure, it’s new, and shiny, and different. But at its heart, it’s still the same thing you’ve known and love.
7. Support from all the major studios Since HD DVD is no longer being made, you don’t have to worry if your favorite movie will become available on Blu-ray. Chances are, it will.
Though, just because it will be available on Blu-ray, doesn’t mean that you need to re-buy it. Chances are, the standard copy you’ve got on DVD will look better on a Blu-ray player anyway. Re-buying the DVD with “remastered content” is sometimes a waste, and isn’t as impressive as movies that were filmed specifically in 1080P.
6. It’ll play your regular DVDs You don’t have to worry about whether or not your old DVDs will play in it. It’s a guarantee that they will, assuming you buy your Blu-ray player in the same country you bought your DVDs.
5. Sound quality There is no comparison. The sound quality on a Blu-ray disc is better than a standard DVD. Most Blu-ray players support the new Dolby Digital Plus format for HD audio. That means full surround sound on any movie on Blu-ray.
Wondered why some of your old DVDs didn’t have any sound coming out of the back speakers in your home theater? Wonder no more. Dolby Digital Plus is all surround sound, all the time.
4. Wireless Updates When there’s new software available for your Blu-ray player, whether it’s a patch to fix something that’s broken, or a new feature that’s being added to the format, you don’t need to do anything.
99% of the Blu-ray models in stores today have wireless networking built into them. So when you configure your player for the first time, you have it connect to your wireless network. The player does the rest, when it needs to.
Of course, it’ll most likely tell you there’s an update, and make you agree to some form of terms of service, for legal reasons. But other than that, it’ll do everything itself.
3. BD Live BD Live is a newer feature of Blu-ray. It’s pretty cool, too. It sounds complicated, but to boil it down: it’s interactive features utilizing the internet through your Blu-ray player.
Depending on your Blu-ray player, you can record your own audio commentary and upload it for others to listen to. You can watch the movie along with your friends, and have an interactive chatroom during the film.
There are other more subtle features, including downloading movie artwork, screenshots, and trailers. Some companies are also doing exclusive content for certain retailers. So if you, for example, buy a copy of The Dark Knight from Target, you may get special content that you don’t get if you buy it from Best Buy.
2. Big Screen TV Prices It’s no secret that you can get a pretty sweet deal on a huge TV nowadays. Where five years ago a 65″ TV would cost you $3,000, now you can get that same TV for $1500 retail.
Now that bigger TVs are getting cheaper, people can afford to buy them. And Blu-ray’s amazing picture is much more noticeable on a larger TV.
While it’s true that you may not notice the difference between 720p and 1080p on a 23″ TV, you certainly will on a 40″ or larger set. We’ve got a 40″ Sony at our place, and when we’re watching Blu-ray, and people walk into the room, they can tell it’s Blu-ray. Regardless of their knowledge of picture quality. It usually starts with “Wow, my DVDs don’t look that good.”
1. Picture Quality Those who haven’t seen Blu-ray will argue this point, citing that it’s not important how good a movie looks, but rather how good it is. Hogwash. Here’s proof.
Dumbledore in Standard Definition - DVD
Dumbledore in High Definition - Blu-ray
Click on the images to enlarge them. The top if Dumbledore (from the Harry Potter series of films) from a regular DVD. The second is from a Blu-ray movie.
If you can’t see the difference you don’t need Blu-ray. But, it’s unlikely that you won’t be able to see it. It’s pretty evident how superior the Blu-ray picture is.
Note: These images aren’t retouched in anyway. They’re straight from the discs. Blu-ray is just that good.
That concludes my list. Hopefully I’ve helped answer some questions you’ve got about Blu-ray, and why you should buy it. Any questions that I didn’t address, or things you want to know, feel free to drop them in the comments section, and I’ll get you an answer.
You may have heard that Distribution Video Audio Inc has thrown in the towel when it comes to making VHS tapes.
The company was the last major company making VHS tapes in the US, and has made the announcement yesterday that they’re giving up making VHS tapes, since the market’s declined so much in the last years.
ARSTechnica reported on this yesterday, and I for one say “about time.” I don’t think I’ve bought a VHS tape since my first DVD player back in 1997.
No news has surfaced that VCR manufacturers will stop making VCRs, but you have to assume that’s within the next two years.
Noteworthy fact: the last major studio release that was put on VHS was back in mid-2006.
In watching War Inc on Blu-ray yesterday (thank you very much, Netflix), I was shocked that there were 4 full trailers before I could get to the menu to watch the flick. It got me thinking, how many is too many?
What do you think? How many ads are too many for a DVD you’ve bought/rented, before you’re frustrated and skipping ahead to the menu?
After having seen I Am Legend at the premiere in New York City, I was thoroughly satisfied with the film. It had an elegant ending that left viewers with an explanation, if even a typical Hollywood one.
When the DVD release announcement was made, with the news that an alternate ending would be included, I was anxious to see the “controversial” ending. I had heard that the movie’s original ending was extremely different from the original Richard Matheson novel, so I picked up the book.
For those that don’t know the ending of the Matheson novel, and don’t mind me spoiling it, Show Spoilers
Neville realizes he is now the outsider, the abnormal one. The creatures fear him and hate him. Rightfully so, since he’s been hunting and killing them every day since the world ended. He accepts that he has become a legend, and that they must kill him, because he is no longer the way humans are supposed to be. This is a new species, one where he is the one that’s out of the ordinary.
The ending of the book intrigued me, mainly because I think Will Smith would have done a fantastic job with it. This isn’t the ending that the filmmakers made as the alternate ending, but it has similar themes.
The alternate ending is detailed below, behind spoiler hiders. Read on if you have seen the alternate ending, or don’t mind heavy spoilers.
When Neville, Anna, and Ethan barricade themselves behind the Plexiglass in Neville’s lab, we see the alternate ending. After realizing the creature has been cured, Neville doesn’t send Anna and Ethan away with the cure to find the colony of healthy people in Vermont, nor does he grab an old Army grenade and take as many creatures with him as he goes.
While watching the Alpha Male creature’s actions, he realizes that in taking a creature for his studies, he was intruding on their society. It’s a similar concept to that from the book – that the creatures are existing as they should, and Neville is interfering. The Alpha Male (played by Dash Mihok of Romeo & Juliet) hunted Neville down, not to kill him and satisfy his basic instincts, but to rescue one of his own. Contrary to Neville’s assumptions, the creatures have not completely devolved and lost all human traits.
Neville calmly opens the Plexiglass doors and rolls the subject out into the destroyed lab full of creatures. The Alpha Male screams at his subordinates, and while they hiss and growl at Neville, they do not harm him as he retrieves the injection to revive his subject. After reviving her, the test creature and the Alpha Male have a tender moment, showing that the creatures are still capable of love. The creatures take their rescued hive member back, and leave Neville, Anna, and Ethan unharmed.
The creatures weren’t after Neville to kill him and eat him. All they wanted was to take back what he stole from them. They go back to their existence as a new kind of society, a variety of the human species, while Neville, Anna, and Ethan start out on the road to Vermont.
The alternate ending has points that I prefer to the original, such as the fact that the creatures can still think, plan, and love. I also enjoy the open-ended feel to it. Rather than show the viewers that Anna and Ethan arrive at a colony in Vermont, and that the world will eventually be okay, all we know is that Neville and his new friends head towards Vermont, leaving the creatures behind to live their lives.
What did you think of the alternate ending of I Am Legend? Did you prefer it over the original ending?
The upcoming release of DVD of Cloverfield has the internet buzz picking up again. The Bad and the Ugly has a roundup of the information spreading on the DVD, and new stuff on the viral sites. There’s a new poster on one of the viral sites for a “missing man” named Teddy. Some seem to think this is hype not for the DVD, but for Cloverfield 2. We’ll see.
The DVD will be out April 22nd, and includes two alternate endings. Hopefully one of them will be less sucky than the theatrical version.