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SteelSD
09-30-2007, 12:51 AM
As it appears many 'zoners have taken the high-def plunge, I've created this thread to talk about the high-definition media available. First, I've found the following thread at AVS Forum to be invaluable in identifying the best Blu Ray video available:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=858316

They do a pretty good job of ranking the films, even if I do disagree with some of the placements. For example, there's no way on Earth that Apocalypto should be ranked higher than Crank in the "Gold" tier. A Scanner Darkly under The Host? No.

But those complaints are minimal considering that I'm just thankful to have a useful tool to preview something resembling a consensus on PQ prior to purchasing a Blu Ray flick. Just note that the folks on the thread don't give a hoot if intentional film grain obscures detail (300) or the use of non-HD cameras in some shots (Apocalypto). But hey, PQ is subjective so like what you like. Overall, the list there is still a very good guide regardless of personal preference.

For live action movies, I can personally verify that the following represent live action "demo" material:

Crank
Kingdom of Heaven
Apocalypto (excepting the non-HD camera scenes)
Black Hawk Down
The Host
Curse of the Golden Flower

300 (which suffers from intentional film grain), Casino Royale, The Prestige, and Blood and Chocolate are close.

For animated movies (digital by nature):

A Scanner Darkly
The Wild
Happy Feet
Ice Age: The Meltdown

I'll be interested to hear more from folks about their Blu Ray experiences and I'd really like to hear more from those who've gone the HD-DVD route about the best flicks in that format.

WMR
09-30-2007, 01:11 AM
HD-DVD for me...

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is STUNNING in high-def.

Training Day is really good.

Ray looks spectacular.

Others that are particularly good (that I've seen):
- The Fugitive
- Serenity
- The Matrix Trilogy (really good)
- I bought the first part of the last season of the Sopranos on HD-DVD --> Awesome.

Out of all the movies I've seen so far on HD-DVD, Terminator 3 is the most impressive (esp. w/ 5.1 surround DTS). Oh yeah: Children of Men is INCREDIBLE in HD.

Razor Shines
09-30-2007, 01:15 AM
I have Black Hawk Down on Blu Ray and it is amazing, I'd never considered the different degrees of HD. I have noticed that it is better than the other Blu Ray movies I have. The two movies I was most excited to get on Blu Ray were Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers, and I can see the difference between the two, but We Were Soldiers is still great.

Fly Boys, Casino Royale, Tears of the Sun and Men of Honor are all pretty cool. I was planning on buying 300 on blu ray, but I might not now. Does the intentional film grain detract that much from the high def experience?

SteelSD
09-30-2007, 01:57 AM
HD-DVD for me...

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is STUNNING in high-def.

Training Day is really good.

Ray looks spectacular.

Others that are particularly good (that I've seen):
- The Fugitive
- Serenity
- The Matrix Trilogy (really good)
- I bought the first part of the last season of the Sopranos on HD-DVD --> Awesome.

Out of all the movies I've seen so far on HD-DVD, Terminator 3 is the most impressive (esp. w/ 5.1 surround DTS). Oh yeah: Children of Men is INCREDIBLE in HD.

Children of Men, Serenity, The Hulk, and Heroes Season 1 has me teetering on the edge of trying to find a value 1080p HD-DVD player. Knowing that Transformers may not be released in Blu Ray is another serious concern for me. The Matrix trilogy would have been a draw if the final film would have produced answers rather than questions.

I appreciate the info on the other flicks. My wife is completely opposed to a purchase of an HD-DVD player, but I'm expecting the prices on the 1080p-capable models to come down over the next six months, so I might end up buying one on the sly without her knowing. Shhhhh...;)


I have Black Hawk Down on Blu Ray and it is amazing, I'd never considered the different degrees of HD. I have noticed that it is better than the other Blu Ray movies I have. The two movies I was most excited to get on Blu Ray were Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers, and I can see the difference between the two, but We Were Soldiers is still great.

Fly Boys, Casino Royale, Tears of the Sun and Men of Honor are all pretty cool. I was planning on buying 300 on blu ray, but I might not now. Does the intentional film grain detract that much from the high def experience?

I have Fly Boys, which is a decent movie with excellent PQ. Not "reference" IMHO, but it's still excellent. Black Hawk Down just pops off the screen and at 24 frames per second, it pops even more. Casino Royale at 1080p isn't as nutty good as Crank, but it's super-clear and the black levels on my HDTV are exceptional. I have to thank avsforum.com for that because I piggybacked my settings based on recommendations from a guy who has a professional calibration setup.

I'd suggest a purchase of 300 even considering the injected film grain. The grain is more noticable over the first third of the movie. After that, it's considerably lightened and that's where a ton of the action is. It's a solid "buy" IMHO and if you liked it in the theater you'll still like it from a true-to-the-master source on Blu Ray.

At this point, I do have to comment on how important it is to have a properly calibrated HDTV. We can do a decent job via "eyballing", but the info I was able to gain from a pro really makes the PQ "pop" in a way I couldn't possibly get by trying to do it myself. Seriously, it was like night and day.

WMR
09-30-2007, 02:24 AM
Please elaborate on calibrating your settings... are you talking about the picture contrast etc. etc. settings?

Razor Shines
09-30-2007, 03:27 AM
Please elaborate on calibrating your settings... are you talking about the picture contrast etc. etc. settings?

Yes, I'd like really like to know as well.

SteelSD
09-30-2007, 12:06 PM
Please elaborate on calibrating your settings... are you talking about the picture contrast etc. etc. settings?

Yep. Brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc., etc. Optimal calibration is different for each TV and should be tweaked to adjust for the amount of ambient light in your viewing area. I'm again going to reference avsforum.com:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=166

Many of the threads there have posters who give feedback on "optimal" calibration settings for their units, including some folks who use professional calibration equipment. I'm fairly tech-savvy, but still consider myself a neophyte for things like calibration. I can "eyeball" it pretty well but after finding optimal calibration settings for my Samsung LN-T4066F I consider my viewing experience to be forever changed. A picture that used to look great now looks absolutely fantastic, with some of the deepest blacks I've ever seen on an LCD TV.

For reference, I'll post the settings I'm using and should note that different settings are necessary depending on the TV's firmware version.

Picture: Movie Mode

Contrast: 93
Brightness: 46
Sharpness: 25
Color: 55
Tint: 50
Backlight: 7
Color Tone: Warm1
Size: Just Scan
Digital NR: Auto

Detailed Settings:

Black Adjust: Low
Dynamic Contrast: High
Gamma: -1
Color Space: Auto

White Balance:

R-Offset: 21
G-Offset: 20
B-Offset: 21
R-Gain: 0
G-Gain: 21
B-Gain: 26

Setup:

HDMI Black Level: Low

My Color Control:

Pink: 20
Green: 15
Blue: 15
White: 15

Edge Enhancement: On
xvYCC: Off

Now, those settings are only viable for my make and model of LCD TV, but it's a good example of how complicated calibration can get. Do a search of the threads at avsforum.com and you might run across the right settings for your TV. It's well worth taking the time.

SteelSD
09-30-2007, 11:12 PM
Just purchased and watched "Troy- Director's Cut" on Blu Ray tonight. My review:

Troy- Director's Cut

Length: 196 minutes (yes, over 3 hours)
Rating: Unrated

Story: Well, we all know the story. Or do we? Yeah, we do. Unlike some "Director's Cut" releases, this isn't a re-working of the movie we saw in 2004. It's just some added scenes here or there. The most memorable is our introduction to Sean Bean's King Odysseus that takes place prior to his initial meeting with Achilles. Otherwise, the bulk of the added material is either battle, battle prep, or watching the citizens of Troy preparing for the imminent siege. None of the added material actually detracts from the plot or storyline and it could be argued that some of the additional "prep" setup does more to humanize the Trojan population and produce a heightened level of anxiety. That being said, I can see why the added film was originally cut given the 162 minute length of the cinema version.

As an aside, I knew I recognized the actor who played the character Murtagh in "Eragon". That was Garrett Hedlund, who played Achilles' cousin Patroclus in "Troy".

Video: Not "reference", but excellent picture quality (PQ). However, this film did have opportunites to really pop (i.e. 3D effects) but didn't do so enough. There was some issue with unintentional background grain during night shots, which hurt this transfer. Also, while I've heard that the color had been enhanced versus the DVD release, many backgrounds appeared muted. The close-ups were very solid and one could see every bit of detail in soldier's armor, which is always a welcome treat.

Audio: The audio is uncompressed PCM. Sweet! The sound is spot-on. It's never overwhelming and it's clear as heck. There is a lot of dialogue in this film and it all sounds as if you're sitting in the room with the characters. The music is crisp and always engaging.

Special Features: Unlike many Blu Ray releases, this disc is loaded with special features. Some are repeats of the original 2-disc DVD set, but we've got 34 total special features here. While that's much appreciated, many are very short and only a handful are 1080p.

Overall: The story is longer, and is slightly enhanced by the additional footage added if you have the patience to sit through a 3+ hour movie. The video transfer is excellent, but doesn't have the "pop" we see in high-end . The audio is fantastic and the Special Features are really above and beyond what we're used to seeing on Blu Ray discs, even if some are familiar. It's worth a purchase, but only if you already liked the original.

Ratings (Out of 5):

Story: 4
Video: 4
Audio: 5
Extras: 4

TOTAL: 4.25

justincredible
10-03-2007, 10:44 PM
For you High-Def guys, what TVs are you watching on? I am in the market for a HDTV but I still can't figure out which model I want. I have been looking at 40"-47" 1080p LCDs. Any suggestions?

By the way, I was at Circuit City looking at TVs and they had Next playing on one of the displays. The few minutes I watched of it looked incredible.

Boss-Hog
10-03-2007, 10:54 PM
For you High-Def guys, what TVs are you watching on? I am in the market for a HDTV but I still can't figure out which model I want. I have been looking at 40"-47" 1080p LCDs. Any suggestions?

By the way, I was at Circuit City looking at TVs and they had Next playing on one of the displays. The few minutes I watched of it looked incredible.
Panasonic TH-50PX75U Plasma

Sea Ray
10-04-2007, 09:53 AM
I bought a 43" DLP (Samsung) 4 yrs ago and have been very pleased with it. If I bought one today I'd get an LCD or a plasma, probably lean towards the plasma due to the pixel burnout issue on LCDs. I also think the best picture out there regardless of price is a plasma. Plasmas are still more expensive than other options but that gap is closing. They've also come a long way in reducing burnout on the plasma TVs. I hope to get another 4 or 5 yrs out of my set and then upgrade. My set definitely needed calibration out of the box and AVS Forum was invaluable in helping me with that.

RFS62
10-04-2007, 10:07 AM
Sony KDS-R60XBR2 60" SXRD

Bose surround sound.

I'm going to snag a Sony Bravia XBR4 46" LCD for the office before Christmas, just waiting to see if the prices are going to come down.



http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/4193TC89CML._AA280_.jpg

Johnny Footstool
10-04-2007, 11:08 AM
Optoma HD72 projector firing a 101" display. Watching standard definition TV broadcasts on the thing almost makes you ill. Watching high-def sports almost makes you cry.

SteelSD
10-04-2007, 11:59 AM
For you High-Def guys, what TVs are you watching on? I am in the market for a HDTV but I still can't figure out which model I want. I have been looking at 40"-47" 1080p LCDs. Any suggestions?

By the way, I was at Circuit City looking at TVs and they had Next playing on one of the displays. The few minutes I watched of it looked incredible.

Samsung LN-T4066F (40" 1080p LCD)

http://ai.pricegrabber.com/pi/3/55/85/35585215_640.jpg

It's a Best Buy exclusive, although it can be found elsewhere online. Fantastic picture and the deepest blacks of any LCD TV I've come across. I was REALLY lucky and found a pristine "open box" model for $1340 at my local Best Buy. Initially, I figured I'd be spending around $2500 on a 1080p LCD unit so I was completely giddy. After calibrating it and watching a bunch of Blu Ray flicks, I'd recommend it to anyone even at full retail (@$1800-1900). However, it's probably not for those who have a lot of ambient light in the room due to the reflective screen.

justincredible
10-04-2007, 01:20 PM
Samsung LN-T4066F (40" 1080p LCD)

http://ai.pricegrabber.com/pi/3/55/85/35585215_640.jpg

It's a Best Buy exclusive, although it can be found elsewhere online. Fantastic picture and the deepest blacks of any LCD TV I've come across. I was REALLY lucky and found a pristine "open box" model for $1340 at my local Best Buy. Initially, I figured I'd be spending around $2500 on a 1080p LCD unit so I was completely giddy. After calibrating it and watching a bunch of Blu Ray flicks, I'd recommend it to anyone even at full retail (@$1800-1900). However, it's probably not for those who have a lot of ambient light in the room due to the reflective screen.

That's a beauty. I am going to start researching it. They have them at the Tri County Best Buy so I might go check it out this weekend.

SteelSD
10-04-2007, 07:52 PM
That's a beauty. I am going to start researching it. They have them at the Tri County Best Buy so I might go check it out this weekend.

If you're going to research that model, you should be aware that it's basically the final iteration of Samsung's LN-T406xF line. The "x" is basically the iteration (for lack of a better word). Previous models like the LN-T4061F and LN-T4065F have different shaping (they lack the bottom "curve") and don't have the distinctive blue light at the bottom. My wife thinks the light is silly, but she has little appreciation for the coolness factor of matching the TV with my PS3 and lighted PS3 stand. Chicks! ;)

Other differences:

The LN-T4066F has a newer main board (1009) and more recent firmware. This helps avoid some intermittent green and pink color "flashing" I've heard of from 4061 and 4065 owners. The 66 is also rumored to have deeper blacks than the other "406X" models, although I haven't seen all of them lined up and properly calibrated for optimal black levels so I can't personally verify that. I can verify that the dynamic contrast ratio on the 4066 is 15,000:1 versus 10,000:1 for the 4061. The 4061 and 4065 models are still strong sets and should be less expensive than the 4066 at full retail, but there are additional considerations with those.

After I have the TV a while longer, I'll probably write up an Epinions.com review on the set as most of the user reviews available online for the 4066 aren't very detailed. Some things I like other than the PQ:

1. All the buttons are heat sensitive (like the PS3).
2. The remote is intuitive, even if the buttons are a little small.
3. Swivel base!
4. 3x HDMI inputs.
5. Dual-source Picture-in-Picture. Yes, you can watch a Blu Ray movie on your PS3 while checking ESPN on the smaller PIP display at the same time. And yes, you can swap audio between the primary and secondary displays.
6. It has a setup feature that will automatically identify A/V sources attached.
7. Single-touch input source swapping.
8. Will display digital pictures and play MP3 music via "Wiselink" USB input from thumb or flash drive. Biggest MP3 player I've ever seen!
9. Appears to support 24 frames-per-second video signals for better HD resolution.

Some "cons":

1. The TV supports audio output via "RCA" cables, but not video output. Won't make a difference to most, but does to me as I have an Archos 504 portable DVR that can't input upstairs from my dish receiver (it's downstairs).
2. Bright backlight helps, but reflective screen can be an issue for rooms with high amounts of ambient light.
3. My universal remote appears unable to learn "Info" button functions from included remote. Might be a "me" issue of course.

The Sony Bravia XBR LCD series, as RFS noted, is another great line with excellent picture quality and detail. If I didn't get such a great deal on the Samsung set I purchased, I'd still be on the fence between that and a 40" XBR LCD. I have to admit that the Sony XBR series is nice looking, but as my setup (PS3, Sony surround sound, TV stand) is all black, the Samsung is damn sexy.

gonelong
10-05-2007, 09:45 AM
Optoma HD72 projector firing a 101" display. Watching standard definition TV broadcasts on the thing almost makes you ill. Watching high-def sports almost makes you cry.

If you have cable, get yourself a booster. I had the same opinion of standard TV, now I'll gladly watch most of the channels.

InFocus SP4805, 94" picture. (EDTV - 480P, but stunning nonetheless)

I also have an Olevia 232, 32" (720P)

I have been very happy with both to date.

http://www.evertek.com/imageshare/2/150x150/232S12-R-UNIT.gif

SteelSD
10-16-2007, 07:40 PM
Update for Blu-Ray enthusiasts...

It appears that most major electronics retailers are having huge sales this week on Blu-Ray offerings. The local Best Buy here has all Disney titles at buy-one-get-one-free and a bunch of other titles at $14.99. I've also heard online that Circuit City and Fry's are having similar sales. Went to BB yesterday and picked up:

Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2
The Fifth Element- Remastered (Must have 2007 date on back cover and "Beyond High Definition" in silver foil on front cover)
Layer Cake
Final Fantasy- The Spirits Within

I could have spent another 100 bucks on that sale, but I had already ordered Smallville Season 6 on Blu-Ray and was going to pick up the regular Transformers Special Edition today so I passed on a lot of really good stuff.

But at least I can now confirm that PotC: Dead Man's Chest is certainly the best live-action movie "reference" title. It blows away nearly everything else in picture quality. Truly fantastic transfer.

KronoRed
10-16-2007, 07:54 PM
Beware of POTC 1 BLU-Ray, it has framing issues during the first Sparrow/Turner sword fight, missing heads.

SteelSD
10-16-2007, 10:37 PM
Beware of POTC 1 BLU-Ray, it has framing issues during the first Sparrow/Turner sword fight, missing heads.

Yeah, I heard about that prior to the purchase. Folks say it's minor, but I haven't unwrapped it yet. I really wanted the POTC 2 because of the PQ reviews I've read, but at $15.00 I figured I'd pick up the 2nd at well. I don't think it's likely that Disney will replace any current copies because, unlike the first iteration of The Fifth Element, the issue appears to be only a few seconds of the film. But there's always hope.

Speaking of The Fifth Element, I'm watching it right now and it just pops off the screen. From all reports, the initial transfer was crap, but this "remastered" version pops off the screen and really does highlights the extreme color palette used.

Also just received Smallville: Season 6 on Blu Ray from an amazon.com seller. They advertised it as "Used- Like New", so I was shocked to receive a new/sealed copy for all of $45 w/shipping. Haven't watched it yet, but I'll report on it for those interested as soon as I have a chance.

SteelSD
10-19-2007, 12:53 AM
Well, I've watched the first few episodes of Smallville: Season 6 on Blu-Ray and I'm entirely underwhelmed. And that's being polite. I've purchased Heroes: Season 1 on regular DVD and I'm currently watching Transformers on regular DVD and both offer, IMHO, better upscaled video quality than what I've seen from the Blu-Ray Smallville set.

It's pathetic that Warner Bros. couldn't produce a better transfer. There's a better review here:

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/959/smallvilles6.html

Maybe they're seeing some shots I'm not, but a 4/5 "Video" ranking is, to my eyes, way too aggressive. The Blu-Ray version of the sixth season of Smallville is fathoms away from "reference" material and is, at best, low Tier 3 material from a PQ perspective. That's fine if one wants a picture that's better than broadcast TV, but not at all good for those who were expecting to see a great deal of "pop" or a lot of clarity. The colors are spot-on accurate, which is about the best thing I can say about the PQ.

Color me disappointed.

Playadlc
10-22-2007, 02:06 AM
Yep. Brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc., etc. Optimal calibration is different for each TV and should be tweaked to adjust for the amount of ambient light in your viewing area. I'm again going to reference avsforum.com:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=166

Many of the threads there have posters who give feedback on "optimal" calibration settings for their units, including some folks who use professional calibration equipment. I'm fairly tech-savvy, but still consider myself a neophyte for things like calibration. I can "eyeball" it pretty well but after finding optimal calibration settings for my Samsung LN-T4066F I consider my viewing experience to be forever changed. A picture that used to look great now looks absolutely fantastic, with some of the deepest blacks I've ever seen on an LCD TV.

For reference, I'll post the settings I'm using and should note that different settings are necessary depending on the TV's firmware version.

Picture: Movie Mode

Contrast: 93
Brightness: 46
Sharpness: 25
Color: 55
Tint: 50
Backlight: 7
Color Tone: Warm1
Size: Just Scan
Digital NR: Auto

Detailed Settings:

Black Adjust: Low
Dynamic Contrast: High
Gamma: -1
Color Space: Auto

White Balance:

R-Offset: 21
G-Offset: 20
B-Offset: 21
R-Gain: 0
G-Gain: 21
B-Gain: 26

Setup:

HDMI Black Level: Low

My Color Control:

Pink: 20
Green: 15
Blue: 15
White: 15

Edge Enhancement: On
xvYCC: Off

Now, those settings are only viable for my make and model of LCD TV, but it's a good example of how complicated calibration can get. Do a search of the threads at avsforum.com and you might run across the right settings for your TV. It's well worth taking the time.

Steel, I don't mean to be a pain in the ***, but I can't find the calibration settings for my TV anywhere on that site. I know it's there, but I am having a heck of a time finding it.

I have two samsung HDTV's. I have the Samsung HL-S5087W and the Samsung LN-T3242H.

Could you point me to the proper place to find the exact settings for these sets? I would really appreciate it.

SteelSD
10-22-2007, 12:23 PM
Steel, I don't mean to be a pain in the ***, but I can't find the calibration settings for my TV anywhere on that site. I know it's there, but I am having a heck of a time finding it.

I have two samsung HDTV's. I have the Samsung HL-S5087W and the Samsung LN-T3242H.

Could you point me to the proper place to find the exact settings for these sets? I would really appreciate it.

I can do more checking when I get off work, but here might be a good place for you to start for the LN-T3242H:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=828105&highlight=ln-t3242h

SteelSD
10-22-2007, 09:32 PM
Playadlc, here's the HL-S5087W thread. It's 600-odd pages long so good luck! Generally you should be able to find acceptable calibration settings in the first few pages of either link I've posted.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=665890&highlight=HL-S5087W

SteelSD
01-06-2008, 09:46 PM
For those interested, news broke on 1/04/08 that Warner- previously format neutral- would switch to Blu-Ray exclusive in mid-2008.

http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/01/04/warner-sony-bluray-tech-cx_pco_0104paidcontent.html

Earlier this year, Paramount migrated to the HD DVD only camp, which resulted in a slight hit to Blu-Ray. But Warner choosing to go Blu Ray-only is akin to dropping an atom bomb. The resulting blast will leave HD DVD with only two exclusive major studios (Paramount, Universal) and Blu Ray will possess about 70% of the Hollywood HDM pie.

Personally, I want the HD "war" to go on for as long as it takes to get me as much free stuff and as many price cuts as I can. The decision by Warner won't much affect my selection when purchasing (I already buy all Warner on Blu-Ray anyway), but I'll sure think twice about buying any HD DVD's going forward.

As for movies, the holiday season has been kind. My recent acquisitions:

Blu-Ray

Blade Runner 5-Disc Collector's Edition (PQ a little soft, but wow! What a value!!)
POTC: At World's End (Superior PQ, but the worst of the three films)
Resident Evil: Extinction (Good PQ, not nearly as much action as the other two. Lots of digital softening for Milla's close ups.)
Shoot 'Em Up (Over-the-top like "Crank", but with Monica Belucci too!)
Superbad (A little soft in the PQ area, but hilarious)
2001 (degradation of the master copy hurts the PQ, but still stunning)
War (PQ a little soft, and not as much action as I anticipated. Maybe "Scuffle" would have been a better title.)

HD DVD

Bourne Utimatum (Update your firmware. Then it's a great PQ and action flick. Did I mention UPDATE YOUR FIRMWARE?)
Hot Fuzz (Fantastic PQ, funny, and unexpected action the first time you see it)
Stardust (Underrated fantasy flick. Sort of "Princess Bride-ish". PQ is really good)

KronoRed
01-06-2008, 09:54 PM
Beware of POTC 1 BLU-Ray, it has framing issues during the first Sparrow/Turner sword fight, missing heads.

Disney is now offering replacement disc's, hooray for the mouse :D

SteelSD
01-06-2008, 10:11 PM
Disney is now offering replacement disc's, hooray for the mouse :D

Yep. Good deal there.

Also, I should have noted that a small amount of incorrect 5th discs shipped with the Blade Runner collection. It's supposed to be the "Workprint" version as stated on the disc, but it's basically a copy (IIRC) of the first disc. Free replacements for those too.

WMR
01-06-2008, 10:15 PM
Steel: Why would you hesitate buying a HD-DVD that you saw out there that you liked? You already own a player.

SteelSD
01-06-2008, 11:25 PM
Steel: Why would you hesitate buying a HD-DVD that you saw out there that you liked? You already own a player.

If it's a "must buy", I'll probably grab it. However, if this whole thing goes the way I think it likely could, everything's going to be on Blu-Ray eventually. While the Toshiba HD-A2 I own is good, I get better playback results from my PS3, shorter load times, and more frequent firmware updates. Secondly, I've found that some releases have been more expensive on HD DVD (particularly the combo disc offerings).

However, for exclusive catalogue "want" titles, I'll wait as they might either eventually be released on Blu-Ray or end up in the HD DVD bargain bin. For example, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have purchased "Serenity" on HD DVD. Ditto with "Batman Begins" as that one will almost assuredly be released on Blu-Ray either within the next year or as part of a trilogy set. I have to believe that "The Matrix" trilogy will also be around on Blu-Ray within the next year. I often wonder if part of Warner's relationship with Toshiba didn't either include exclusivity for that set or that Warner wasn't offered some kind of incentive to release that trilogy only on HD DVD.

I also wonder if Warner wasn't disappointed in the sales volume of what should have been a "must-have" HD collection (Matrix) if they agreed to produce it exclusively on HD DVD. Just my thoughts, of course, but Warner must have had some valid reasons to make the switch beyond just trying to create format uniformity in order to further the HD movie market. And as they've produced a huge volume of format-neutral titles, including the recent "Harry Potter" collection, I'd muse that they don't like the sales numbers they're seeing despite Toshiba's consistent claims that they have nearly half of the HD "standalone" player market. Of course, Toshiba also includes their X-Box 360 add-on as a "standalone" and obviously excludes the PS3.

But HD DVD player prices have been down to less than $100 (HD-A2 in November + five free mail-in) and to under $200 (HD-A3 is $179 at Sam's club with 7 free movies- 2 in box) over the past three months. They've been giving away "King Kong" in-box along with "Heroes: Season 1" AND the five free mail-in offer. Considering that the HD DVD standalone players have consistently been cheaper than standalone Blu-Ray players (and definitively so), the fact that Toshiba has only half the market there isn't good. Then mix in the reported 7.2 million PS3's sold thusfar, and it's a bloodbath for Blu Ray.

Waiting for things to play out isn't really my nature, but when we get to a 70%/30% studio support ratio in favor of Blu-Ray and an extreme advantage in players in market, it's time for me to get even more bearish on the probability for HD-DVD's long-term survival. Many financial and industry analysts are already toting the Warner move as being the death knell for HD DVD. And it could be as Warner had the biggest total piece of the HDM pie for 2007.

HD DVD has to do something to respond, so look out for more HD player offerings at or around the $100.00 price point in the near future (probably the HD-A3).

Probably a longer response than you (or anyone) was looking for, but that's my reasoning. :)

GIK
01-07-2008, 12:42 AM
Yup, it's over. Blu-Ray has won the "war". It's just a matter of time until Universal (and Paramount) go BR-exclusive.

Whether or not it's the better format, it'll help end consumer confusion and give hi-def media a chance to really take off.

SteelSD
01-07-2008, 01:19 AM
Yup, it's over. Blu-Ray has won the "war". It's just a matter of time until Universal (and Paramount) go BR-exclusive.

Whether or not it's the better format, it'll help end consumer confusion and give hi-def media a chance to really take off.

I agree that it's pretty much over. IMHO, having Disney in the BR-exclusive camp gave them a big advantage to begin with. Coupled with the PS3 BR "Trojan Horse" effect, it really never projected to be an HD DVD world for next-gen HDM. Losing Paramount was a minor hit, but it was only delaying the inevitable. The Warner move simply pushes the HD DVD demise forward.

Warner actually pushed the idea of HD DVD/Blu-Ray combo discs at last year's CES. No one else bit, and here's where we're at- with the largest seller of DVD and HD abandoning a format they previously thought could help.

Retailers have been helpful as well. When I walk into a Sam's Club or a Target, I see Blu-Ray endcaps. When I walk into a Best Buy, I see Blu-Ray demo and browsers talking about Blu-Ray. Even during last week's buy-3-get-2-free HD-DVD sale, I was next to an HD DVD player owner while searching for movies worth buying. Neither of us could find those five so we left without purchasing anything other than a single Blu Ray title (RE: Extinction). And with Warner gone, it's only going to get worse.

BuckWoody
01-07-2008, 08:48 AM
The HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray battle officially ended on Christmas morning when I opened up my shiny new HD-DVD player from my wife. :cry:

As far as movies go, we have the Transformers, the last two Harry Potters, Knocked Up, Serenity, and Children of Men plus five more coming from the deal for buying the player. We got Goblet of Fire, Knocked Up, Serenity, and Children of Men during a 2-for-1 deal at Amazon...Santa brought me the other two.

I haven't had a chance to watch them all yet what with all the football on lately but I've watched the Transformers and Serenity. I loved Transformers, having been a big fan of the cartoon. It was really popular during my college days and we watched it every afternoon after classes. That one really put the player through its paces and it did great. I watched Serenity last night and really enjoyed it. One thing I noticed in that movie was that the actors had really bad skin. Not sure if that was due to the fact that they saved money on the movie by not hiring the best make-up people or if it was just the HD-DVD format showing *everything*. ;)

Maybe a few months down the road I can present a viable argument for getting a PS3 for the basement. Maybe.

deltachi8
01-07-2008, 12:21 PM
I took the gamble on the HD DVD player when I nabbed a Toshiba A3 for $99 with 7 movies. Not really a regret as it upscales my existing DVDs very nicely. I will wait for a price drop on Blue Ray players though before buying.

GIK
01-07-2008, 09:38 PM
HD-DVD is definitely cheaper, but the problem is, the library catalog isn't as large as Blu-Ray...and it will be falling behind with Warner-Bros/New-Line's announcement.

Just as an example, here's a few movies you'll only see on Blu-Ray:

The Lord of the Rings
The Matrix trilogy
I am Legend
Batman (new releases)
Harry Potter (new releases)
Blade trilogy
Austin Powers 1-3
Se7en
The Golden Compass
Blow
Dark City
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Wedding Crashers
Harold & Kumar
Dr. Zhivago
North By Northwest
Casablanca
Citizen Kane
Heat
The Shawshank Redemption
Twister

and on and on...

WMR
01-07-2008, 09:40 PM
I own The Matrix Trilogy on HD-DVD.

You can still find a large portion of those on that list on HD-DVD.

SteelSD
01-07-2008, 11:11 PM
HD-DVD is definitely cheaper, but the problem is, the library catalog isn't as large as Blu-Ray...and it will be falling behind with Warner-Bros/New-Line's announcement.

Just as an example, here's a few movies you'll only see on Blu-Ray:

The Lord of the Rings
The Matrix trilogy
I am Legend
Batman (new releases)
Harry Potter (new releases)
Blade trilogy
Austin Powers 1-3
Se7en
The Golden Compass
Blow
Dark City
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Wedding Crashers
Harold & Kumar
Dr. Zhivago
North By Northwest
Casablanca
Citizen Kane
Heat
The Shawshank Redemption
Twister

and on and on...

As WilyMo noted, The Matrix trilogy is already out on HD DVD. I haven't heard any reports of LOTR trilogy being produced, but it's hard for me to believe that it won't be. I really doubt that trilogy could be produced (especially in the "Extended" versions) in high-def on HD DVD anyway unless they included lossy audio. Not enough storage space.

Future Harry Potter films, The Dark Knight, The Golden Compass, I am Legend represent a big hit to the HD DVD side. No more Smallville: Season 7 either. I'd love to see the Blade Trilogy and Dark City (extremely underrated film) released in Blu Ray. Twister has an HD DVD scheduled release date for May 6th though, but that might be in doubt at this point.

But even with Warner in the mix, the HD DVD list is pretty sad over the next five to six months.

http://hddvd.highdefdigest.com/releasedates.html

They timed the arrival of the Bourne trilogy right, as it came fairly hot on the heels of huge deals on HD DVD players, and Stardust is a fun recent exclusive. The Kingdom may be something I'll want to own. But I'm looking at that list for HD DVD-exclusive big hits and/or films of decent interest and all I get back is:

Zodiac: Director's Cut (Paramount)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal)
Beowulf (Paramount)
Bee Movie (Dreamworks)

For catalogue titles, here's what I'd be even mildly interested in:

The Pianist (wife loves it...no wisecracks!)
Dazed and Confuzed (re-release)
Star Trek Orig. Season 2 (Paramount)

That's it. Apparantly, Paramount has postponed the Jack Ryan collection, which is a solid catalogue trilogy. I'd love to have the new, retooled and remastered Star Trek original series seasons, but as Paramount is likely the next studio to go Blu, I ain't shelling out money for it on HD DVD. Beowulf might be the only new release HD DVD exclusive I'll purchase this year, unless Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk are X-Mas HD DVD release date targets (assuming HD DVD is still around).

Now, when I look at the Blu-Ray exclusives, I get:

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/releasedates.html

New Releases:

3:10 to Yuma
Dragon Wars
Good Luck Chuck
Sunshine
Saw IV
We Own the Night
30 Days of Night (which really does own the night)
No Country for Old Men

Catalogue:

Con Air
The Rock
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Crimson Tide
Master & Commander
Ice Age
Dogma
Gattica
I, Robot
Godzilla
Hidalgo
Unbreakable

And that's just through the beginning of May. Sin City is a weird one. The original is reportedly still owned by Disney and could see production in 2008, but Sin City 2 is Weinstein; meaning that the second could see an HD DVD-only release.

Honestly, I see the two exclusive-release lineups side-by-side over the next few months, and see Blu Ray simply throttling HD DVD in sales volume over the next few months even with Warner being kind enough to wait a bit to go BR-only. Once they leave...well...

GIK
01-07-2008, 11:13 PM
I've never seen a U.S. release for The Matrix trilogy. Did you buy an import?

GIK
01-07-2008, 11:13 PM
http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/07/paramount-following-warner-out-the-hd-dvd-door/


The Financial Times is reporting that Paramount is preparing to use a get out clause in its HD DVD exclusivity deal, and go back to Blu-ray, about 4 months after ending its dual-format release schedule. The move would be a result of Warner's switch to Blu-ray, using a "get out" clause in Paramount's promotional agreement with the HD DVD camp. No details on what it might take to rip up the contract and make Michael Bay very, very happy, but if the rumor proves true this could make the slow death he predicted for HD DVD a very, very fast one.

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:14 PM
I can't believe they didn't get LOTR trilogy extended editions out on Hi-Def for the Holidays.

SteelSD
01-07-2008, 11:16 PM
I've never seen a U.S. release for The Matrix trilogy. Did you buy an import?

Seriously, I see two copies of that in both releases ("Complete Matrix Trilogy" and "Ultimate Matrix Trilogy") every time I walk through my local Best Buy's HDM section.

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:16 PM
I've never seen a U.S. release for The Matrix trilogy. Did you buy an import?

Nope. Bought it at Best Buy. They actually have two Matrix Trilogy releases. One is just the three movies; the other is called "The Ultimate Matrix" something or other... that's the one that I got. It's the one that is the hi-def transfer of the earlier Ultimate Matrix release that contained the anime Matrix movie and special commentaries by critics and historians.

GIK
01-07-2008, 11:17 PM
Well, I stand corrected. Thanks, WMR/Steel.

Now, if Paramount goes BR-only shortly...

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:20 PM
NP, GIK.

Thanks for this amazing site. My favorite place on the internet.

SteelSD
01-07-2008, 11:27 PM
http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/07/paramount-following-warner-out-the-hd-dvd-door/

Should Paramount bolt, that'd be the proverbial killing stroke.

And I know that Michael Bay wasn't happy about the move to HD DVD exclusivity. He's still not happy. You may have seen this already, GIK, but for everyone else, here he is in all his glory at michaelbay.com:

http://www.shootfortheedit.com/forum/showthread.php?t=842


Well another studio down. Maybe I was right? Blu ray is just better. HD will die a slow death. It's what I predicted a year ago. Now with Warner's down for the count with Blu Ray. That makes it easier for Wal-Mart to push Blu Ray. And whatever Wal-Mart pushes - wins. Hd better start giving out those $120 million dollars checks to stay alive. Maybe they can give me some so I can give it to my Make-A-Wish charity, just to shut me up. Have faith people Transformers will come out in Blu-ray one day!

Bay

Um...ouch?

If Endgadget's source is right, it's time to prepare for HD DVD bargain bin dumpster diving.

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:29 PM
Hey Steel: You are the king of the dumpster diving deals. Make sure you bump this thread whenever you come across a deal in stores or on the internet.

I love me some cheap hi-def DVDS. :D

GIK
01-07-2008, 11:33 PM
Yup, I caught that, Steel. Now, I'm not the biggest Michael Bay movie fan, but at least he's putting his view out there.

Another snippet from Mr. Bay:


I know the look, color, and sounds on my own movies better they anyone in the world. I color-time every single image, and am there for every single audio tweak. I see my films in the editing and final process no less then a 100 times. I know ever single nuance. For some idiots [sic] on these posts who think I can't make an informed choice on what format in the end, has the truer results for my own films. Well you where to shove.... My films finished in Blu-Ray are better - more true. Hd is better than DVD, but just not as good as Blu-Ray. So buying a Transformers Hd is still the best you will see this movie as of today. But when Paramount caves for Blu-Ray in the future - This will happen, then you will see Transformers one day finished in Blu-Ray and I will sure be able to tell the difference.

Bay

http://www.shootfortheedit.com/forum/showpost.php?p=10195&postcount=80

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:38 PM
Damn, that's interesting, GIK.

SteelSD
01-07-2008, 11:45 PM
Well, I stand corrected. Thanks, WMR/Steel.

Well, if you didn't realize that the trilogy was out in the US, it's likely because stores probably didn't order either of the trilogy offerings in any kind of volume and then, since it likely took weeks to sell a copy or two of the overpriced catalogue trilogy, just didn't re-stock.

The biggest mistake(s) with releasing those films in an HD format was that consumers lacked the ability to purchase any of the films as single copies and then they compounded it by not really including any neat collectibles in the box at a price point that really isn't realistic for three "catalogue" films. The irony is that Warner may have used the sales figures from these collections as a reason to chuck HD DVD, but unless contractual stipulations prevented Warner from releasing the films separately, they skewed their own numbers.

All I can say is that I hope Warner will do a better job of giving consumers either choice (separate Matrix films) or value (more extras) when they release the movies on Blu-Ray. Otherwise, I still won't buy.

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:49 PM
When I bought it at Best Buy, Steel, it was marked down 10 bucks from the previous list.

I think I paid seventy dollars for the Ultimate Matrix which, for 4 movies, was quite reasonable considering the general price for HD-DVDs.

The lower-tiered Matrix Trilogy was selling for ten dollars BELOW that.

WMR
01-07-2008, 11:49 PM
The extras on the Ultimate Matrix package are wonderful, Steel.

SteelSD
01-08-2008, 12:08 AM
Yup, I caught that, Steel. Now, I'm not the biggest Michael Bay movie fan, but at least he's putting his view out there.

Another snippet from Mr. Bay:

http://www.shootfortheedit.com/forum/showpost.php?p=10195&postcount=80

Seems like you and I are on the same wavelength, GIK, as we've been reading the same stuff.

Bay is bold and he's brash but he's also a perfectionist who wants his work to be displayed the way he prefers. From both a PQ and and audio perspective, I agree with Bay. I feel that "Transformers" would have been better as a Blu-Ray release.

And I'm a guy who's watched that film no less than five times on HD DVD. I had to do a whole lot of tweaking to my settings just to get Transformers to get close to the best Blu-Ray films I own. The audio, while decent, is a bit low on bass. The HD DVD offers no lossless audio. Disc storage space limitations were cited as the cause. Imagine that. My audio receiver won't process TrueHD, but it'll take on uncompressed PCM like a champ. Yet Transformers only gives me Dolby Digital-Plus. And at weak bass levels. Sigh.

SteelSD
01-08-2008, 12:30 AM
When I bought it at Best Buy, Steel, it was marked down 10 bucks from the previous list.

I think I paid seventy dollars for the Ultimate Matrix which, for 4 movies, was quite reasonable considering the general price for HD-DVDs.

The lower-tiered Matrix Trilogy was selling for ten dollars BELOW that.

I'm happy that you're happy with your purchase. Really. It's just that I wouldn't pay any more than fifty bucks for that collection, especially after finding out that none of those films actually maximized their potential picture quality. While I'm a big fan of those movies, you need to understand that I didn't own an HD DVD player when those collections were released. If I had owned a player, I'd have probably purchased those nearly upon release. But I expected those films to be "reference-quality" and from the reviews I've seen, they're not. If the encodes for Blu-Ray raise the bar, then I might be interested.


The extras on the Ultimate Matrix package are wonderful, Steel.

I don't doubt that and certainly wouldn't want to take away from that which you've enjoyed. And even though I really liked the Matrix trilogy, I've seen a majority (if not all) of the extras. What I was hoping for was some additional value as was offered with the Harry Potter or Blade Runner HD/BR collection sets. Give me some film cells or a cool case. Give me a sweet resin bust and cool packaging like the regular SD DVD "Ultimate" set. Something I can display And give it to me for a price that makes sense for a "catalogue" release.

Not trying to say that you didn't make the right choice in purchasing, WM. Just noting that I'm a bit of a different animal.:)

BTW, if you want to see one of the best FULL-HD "making of" extras, get "Shoot 'Em Up" on Blu Ray. Simply fantastic PQ and AQ. At times, you feel that you're actually on the set.

SteelSD
01-10-2008, 01:11 AM
With all the Blu-Ray talk after the Warner move, I wanted to mention what I consider to be an underappreciated HD DVD gem- "Stardust" (Paramount). I gave it a shout-out in my 1/06/08 post, but after watching it again, I enjoyed it even more.

The film hypes Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro as the draws, and each give excellent performances. But it's little-known Englishman Charlie Cox who really seals the deal in this flick as a truly good hero who plays a character that actually grows during the film. "The Office" and "Extras" writer/producer Ricky Gervais also gives a cameo that's a great inside joke to "Extras" viewers.

"Stardust" isn't an epic, but it's in the same vein as "The Princess Bride", which was a similarly underappreciated diamond-in-the-rough theatrical release. And it's just as good. The PQ leaves a little to be desired due to softness in some scenes (I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5), but the plot and execution are excellent, as is the audio. The film's pace is great throughout the 127 minutes and never leaves you wanting (a rarity).

Even if you have doubts about the format, I'd suggest a purchase of this film on HD DVD (heck, even on SD DVD it's a good buy). It's got a ton of value as a family film (PG-13) and it's worth repeated viewings. Just good and feel-good. That's a pretty good match for a fantasy title.

SteelSD
01-24-2008, 01:07 AM
The pendulum has swung toward Blu-Ray in the HD "war" after Warner's announcement. Because of that, and because of Toshiba's push prior to that, a good number of HD DVD offerings have great price points right now.

So let's talk about "Heroes: Season 1". Originally priced at $99.99 at Best Buy, the HD DVD contingent started offering this set for free with the purchase of the X-Box 360 add-on player. The resulting market flood, when combined with low consumer confidence, has created an environment where I was able to sell my used SD DVD set for $30.00 and then purchase a brand new HD DVD set for exactly that price. Score.

While I don't consider the HD DVD "Heroes" box set to be a 5 of 5 in picture quality (it's 4/5 most of the time and has a lot of scenes that are soft), it's much MUCH better than the SD DVD set and quite a few scenes are reference-level to near reference-level. It's cerainly better PQ than "Smallville: Season 6" on Blu Ray (and it's not even close). In short, it's the best Heroes has ever looked and if any local HD DVD owners can find the boxed set for under $35.00, I'd suggest that it's a must-buy.

RFS62
01-24-2008, 08:15 AM
Steel, do you think HD DVD will survive, now given the Warner move?

SteelSD
01-24-2008, 11:15 AM
Steel, do you think HD DVD will survive, now given the Warner move?

I think the writing is pretty much on the wall and if Paramount goes neutral, as some are speculating they will, it'll be completely over. And the Warner move was huge.

From avs.com forums (source: NPD group)- January 1st half standalone player sales:

Week 1 (ending 1/5/08):

Blu-Ray: 15,257 units
HD DVD: 14,558 units

Week 2 (ending 1/12/08):

Blu-Ray: 21,770 units
HD DVD: 1,758 units

Those numbers don't include the PS3 or 360 add-on players, but week 2 coincides with the Warner announcement. And the whole time, Toshiba has had the price advantage for standalone players. Toshiba is reportedly going to be trying out a new "aggressive" marketing strategy but it'll likely be too little, too late.

RFS62
02-12-2008, 10:15 AM
Just got this email from Netflix yesterday...

You're receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don't worry, we will contact you before this happens.

GIK
02-12-2008, 12:25 PM
Best Buy to Recommend Blu-ray as the Customer’s Digital Format Choice


MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is taking a step forward in addressing consumer confusion about high-definition formats. Beginning in early March, the leading consumer electronics retailer will prominently showcase Blu-ray hardware and software products in its Best Buy retail and online channels in the United States.

“Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way. We’ve listened to our customers, and we are responding. Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format,” said Brian Dunn, Best Buy’s president and chief operating officer. “Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them.”

Dunn continued, “Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely-accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices. Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products.”

“With the explosion of HDTVs, customers are hungry for quality, high definition content. We believe our move to feature Blu-ray should help consumers feel confident in their hi-def content choices,” said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy’s senior vice president, Home Solutions. “Best Buy is excited by the next generation of digital products and we know our customers are too. We are excited about helping customers find the right mix of products and services to make the next generation of high definition entertainment technology come alive for them. We believe that Blu-ray is the right solution for consumers.”

Best Buy currently carries a wide array of Blu-ray hardware and software products. The company noted that it will continue to carry an assortment of HD-DVD products for customers who desire to purchase these products.

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/index.jsp?epi-content=GENERIC&newsId=20080211006384&ndmHsc=v2*A1200142800000*B1202791267000*DgroupByDa te*J2*L1*N1000837*Zbest%20buy%20blu-ray&newsLang=en&beanID=202776713&viewID=news_view

SteelSD
02-13-2008, 12:32 AM
Just got this email from Netflix yesterday...

You're receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don't worry, we will contact you before this happens.

I read about that at avsforum.com. It could be anything from a reactionary response to Warner's move, a calculated move due to a Sony enticement, or a business decision based on the percentage of damaged discs returned. From what I've read, HD-DVD's are more prone to scratching than are Blu Ray discs, especially combo discs.

Funny thing is that I actually like the combo discs and have never had a single issue with any that I own. But I've also seen a good number of HD-DVD enthusiasts swear off combo discs entirely- and with a passion.

In any case, this isn't good for HD-DVD or the high-def consumer. I've seen pretty much nothing resembling decent brick-and-mortar store deals for Blu Ray since Warner's announcement and the HD-DVD deals I've seen have been extremely limited.

I want the war.


Best Buy to Recommend Blu-ray as the Customer’s Digital Format Choice

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/index.jsp?epi-content=GENERIC&newsId=20080211006384&ndmHsc=v2*A1200142800000*B1202791267000*DgroupByDa te*J2*L1*N1000837*Zbest%20buy%20blu-ray&newsLang=en&beanID=202776713&viewID=news_view

Good find, GIK. That's another major injury to HD-DVD, even if your average Best Buy employee can't figure out the difference between the formats. And it's not a surprise that Best Buy is making such a move considering that the margains on Blu Ray standalone players are much larger than the HD-DVD players they've almost had to give away.

The HD-DVD camp has made a minor push with recent BOGO offers at Best Buy, but at this point only massive HD-DVD software discounts over the past month or two would have been able to get customers to care. Frankly, even if the HD-DVD camp would be able to offer films at half price (and they can't) versus their Blu Ray competition, I don't see them pulling out of this death spiral. The PS3 "Trojan Horse" effect always projected to be too large to overcome.

Basically, I think a lot of folks who purchased bargain-basement priced HD-DVD players over the past few months did so in the anticipation that HD-DVD movies would end up in the realm of regular DVD pricing eventually due to either HD price wars or the possible resolution of the "format war". Heck, even as an early adopter of Blu Ray via the PS3, I resemble that customer. I waited until the HD-A2 hit a $98.00 price point and currently have 13 HD-DVD flicks; paying retail for only four of those.

Toshiba has a huge mess on their hands right now and I don't see any way out- especially after Warner leaves for good. Best Buy has been pushing hard into high def for quite a while and considering the number of under-educated consumers who are likely to purchase an HD TV over the next couple of years, an additional push into recommending Blu Ray as the HD format of choice portends a death knell for the HD-DVD format.

WMR
05-17-2008, 09:36 AM
Bought: Sunshine, the Planet Earth Series, TMNT, Blade Runner 5-Disc Complete Collectors Edition, No Country for Old Men, Terminator 1 & 2, I am Legend, Total Recall, and RoboCop for BluRay.

SteelSD
12-21-2008, 11:22 PM
Figured I'd revive this one because there are a number of Blu-Ray deals right now. As I noted in the Video Game thread, the local Sam's Club had Blu-Ray + regular DVD combo packs at $20.88 for the following films:

The Eye
The Bank Job
Rambo (new)
The Forbidden Kingdom

The Bank Job is a really good film and the picture quality (PQ) is excellent throughout. The Forbidden Kingdom is great popcorn fun and another film that rates at least a 4.5 on a 5 star scale for PQ. The Eye is a an ok flick, but never really gets scary and if you're paying attention you can see all but one or two plot twists coming. Very good PQ (4.0). I haven't seen the new Rambo, so I can't really comment. None are major price-point deals, but are still good values if you want to grab the BD film for yourself and give the SD DVD version away as a gift. It's like an X-Mas present for 2. :)

All three local Wal Mart stores have a "Hancock" Blu-Ray remote (official Sony) combo pack at $29.98.

Best Buy is currently running a 50% off sale for ALL HBO DVD/Blu-Ray sets. I picked up the Band of Brothers mini-series on Blu-Ray for $37.99 and it's been worth every penny from what I've watched so far. It's basically the same price at amazon.com, but I'll pay tax to have a pristine copy in-hand today. The first couple of episodes do suffer from heavy grain, especially during dark scenes, but the third episode is immaculate. This appears to follow the reviews I've seen for the HD DVD import sets. The interviews with the Easy Company vets at the beginning of each episode boast simply perfect PQ. The audio is robust, discrete when appropriate, and entirely ballsy during the battle scenes. I wish I could properly describe the effect its had on one of our cats, but you'd have to see it to believe it.

Now that we've looked at the good stuff, let's talk about the better stuff...

The interactive field guide application is a HUGE bonus to those who already own the SD DVD version of the set, but who watch this series over and over again (like me). The interactive field guide time line allows one-click access to background information about the members of Easy Company, offers info about military lingo, policy, and strategy, and allows picture-in-picture video from the era that correlates with the video being shown. Oh, maps too. All of it is optional info as you have to click when the time line marker reaches an icon (all on the bottom of the screen). There's also optional PIP commentary from the actual Vets from Easy Company. Simply fantastic and the high-def presentation has me finding new things even though I've seen the series about 6 times by now. Simon Pegg is in the first two episodes. How did I only notice that tonight??

For anyone with even a passing interest in Band of Brothers, I'd suggest that this Blu-Ray set is a "must buy" at that price point.

Best Buy's sale also means that The Soprano's Season 6, Parts 1 and 2 on Blu-Ray are also on sale for only $34.99 each. That's a much better price point than I've seen at any other retailer and, honestly, probably the first fair price point I've ever seen for those units at a brick-and-mortar establishment.

There are a lot of good deals out there right now and it appears that studios are starting to fight for portions of the Blu-Ray market. Me likey.

WMR
12-22-2008, 03:54 AM
I wish they'd go ahead and release the entire Sopranos series on blu-ray.

Jpup
12-22-2008, 10:30 AM
I wish they'd go ahead and release the entire Sopranos series on blu-ray.

It would probably cost 300 dollars. I would love to buy the series, but I have always refused to pay the price for it. It's silly that it's so expensive after all these years.

WMR
12-22-2008, 12:13 PM
It would probably cost 300 dollars. I would love to buy the series, but I have always refused to pay the price for it. It's silly that it's so expensive after all these years.

I have the entire series on DVD (along with the last season on HD-DVD).

I'm so much of a Sopranos junkie that I'd willingly--gladly?--pay that for the entire series on blu-ray. :redface:

SteelSD
12-22-2008, 08:46 PM
It would probably cost 300 dollars. I would love to buy the series, but I have always refused to pay the price for it. It's silly that it's so expensive after all these years.

Heck, the MSRP for the entire series on standard def DVD is over $300 even now, although Best Buy is having a sale at "only" $174.99. I have a feeling that the MSRP on the entire BD collection would be $450 to $500 at minimum.

HBO has been pushing long for quite a while with their MSRPs.