Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do you Blu-ray?

I know it will probably lessen my web cred (if it exists) but I'm not a fan of Blu-ray. I guess it's because I'm just easily appeased: 192kbps MP3s are fine for me, I've never used FLAC; DVI is fine with me, I only use HDMI if it's an easy option. I'm just not a fan of high-def, I guess, mostly because I've never sat there thinking "Man, this 192kbps song sounds aweful! I wish I could have lossless!" or "This DVD is terrible! I wish I could have HD!" I realize that with these things usually it's kind of a once-you-try-it-you-don't-know-what-you've-been-missing kinda deal, but I guess I figure, I'm content now, I don't see the reason to change. Yeah, I'm lazy.

I'm getting off track. I still stick with DVDs because I just don't see the need to change. The thing that turns me off most about BD is that stupid video that plays constantly at Target, showing the exact same Spiderman 2 scenes and the cheezy announcer voice. "On a normal DVD, the video and audio have to literally be squeezed to fit on the disc." Duh. It's called compression. And if you didn't know that DVDs are compressed, you probably don't know that the M4As you buy from iTunes are compressed too. And (without any research) I'm betting that Blu-rays are compressed too, just to a lesser degree.


Gah! I'm sidetracking again. The real reason I don't switch to Blu-ray is I just don't see the benefit. Like I said, I'm content with DVD and I honestly don't believe that if I compared a Blu-ray to a DVD that I'd notice that much of a difference (although my brother believes I would). To me, it seems like comparing a 192kbps song to a 320kbps song: sure, there might be a quality increase there, but it might be so slight that to most people it's indiscernible. Don't get me wrong, I think that BDs are great because now you can store up to 50GB of data on a disk! That's quite a leap from DVD's 8.5GB. But my question is, does it really make that much of a difference when it comes to video and audio?


In addition to my skepticism, there's another real reason that I doubt Blu-ray's dominance: the timeline. Blu-ray was introduced in 2006 [1], and here it is, almost 5 years later, and DVDs are still prominently the largest format used, both in rentals and sales.
However, I've failed to realize how long it took DVDs to pass up VHS: DVD started in 1997 [2], and it only passed up VHS in 2002 [3]. I think the reason behind that is definitely price, as it took forever for DVD players to come down in price. The same goes for Blu-ray, except I think things are a little different this time. Take for example the Playstation, which is a good example of a cheap DVD/BD player that appeals to a wide audience: the PS2 was released in 2000 [4] at a price of $300, which dropped to $200 in 2002 [5], and continuing until $100 in 2009 [6]; the PS3 was released in 2006 [7] at a price of $500 for 20GB, and is currently $300 for a 160GB (hard to find data in between, even harder to compare because the 20GB doesn't even exist anymore). In any case, I think this shows that the PS3 dropped quite a bit more rapidly than its predecessor, but the point I would argue more is this:
  • DVD releases in 1997 + PS2 releases in 2000 = Passes VHS in 2002
  • Blu-ray releases in 2006 + PS3 released in 2006 + Beats out HD-DVD in 2008 = Still behind DVD in 2010
Notice that Blu-ray has something that DVD did not: support upon release. DVD had to wait for 3 years before it even had a console that doubled as a player, but Blu-ray had the PS3 pushing it almost as soon as it came out. True, Blu-ray was also competing with HD-DVD for a while there, which could have slowed it down a bit (because who wants to create a collection that may end out being completely worthless? I feel kind of bad for the HD-DVD fans at this point.), but they both had HD-TVs helping them. In any case, it seems like it took DVD 5 years to pass VHS, and it's coming on 5 years for Blu-ray, and Blu-ray players have the advantage of playing DVDs (a luxury that DVD did not have with VHS).


And lastly, I am deathly sure that the Blu-ray will have a successor, as everything does. There was a 10 year gap between the DVD and BD, so that puts the next disc/data/movie form at 2016, which really is not that far away.

My logic is not entirely sound, I will admit, and I can definitely say that I could be proven wrong and even change my viewpoint, but this is where I stand today.
-Bry

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