Thursday, November 6, 2008

Finally Joined the Blu-Ray Owners Club

Well, I finally broke down and bought a Blu-Ray player. I've been following the technology pretty closely for the past several months, especially after the demise of HD-DVD. I finally settled on the new Sony BDP-S550. In addition to having great picture and audio quality it supports all the latest features like Profile 2.0 and can either bitstream or internally decode all the new lossless audio formats such as TrueHD and DTS-MA. The setup was probably the easiest of any DVD player I've owned too. Watched Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk tonight...both were awesome! The interactive features on some of the titles are a bit of a disappointment to me, at least when compared to some of the HD-DVD titles I am familiar with. Not sure if this is an issue with with the BD spec or just the content, though.

The other thing that bugs me is how long it takes to load and navigate through a disc. Again this is not an issue specific to this player, and in fact the Sony fares much better in this regard than other BD players. But with HD formats and all the bits that have to be transferred between the disc and player, navigation is noticeably slower than with normal DVD's. And hearin lies the problem with Blu-Ray and physical media in general. In this day and age of DVR's like Tivo and internet-based on-demand services, the whole process of physically loading a disc into a player and waiting for it to spin up seems so archane, and I'm finding myself getting extremely impatient since I've come to expect instantaneous feedback. And the interactive features are extremely excruciating to navigate through at times. This is why I think that perhaps Blu-Ray may ultimately fail in the end and lose out to some type of internet -connected, media sever type of device, especially when higher speed (> 5 Mbps) internet service is more the norm.