My CES HD DVD/Blu-ray Impressions... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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This is not designed to bait more partisan responses so if you have any “go Blu” or “BD is just to sell lame game consoles” replies, please consider them all duly noted (about 5 million times already) on other posts…

Anyway, I spent some time at all the relevant booths at CES – both formats associations, Toshiba, Sony, etc. Here are my main observations.

1) There was no denying that, while NO ONE was officially saying anything, the energy was all with BD. The Sony booth was plain out mobbed both days I went (yesterday and today) and the Toshiba booth was doing just ok. Same for BD versus the HD-DVD booths. When I went to the HD DVD player section of the Toshiba both in Monday afternoon (traditionally one of the busiest times), I was the only one, which was great because I got to ask a lot of one-on-one questions. At Sony I had to wade into the crowd and asking questions felt like being in the White House press room.

2) (And I say this as a PS3 owner and therefore effectively a BD supporter)… I gotta say, it may be too bad the “war” isn’t lasting a little longer because I think it would have been better if there had been more need to push product innovation on Sony and the BD group longer. When you get passed the BD has won vibe at the show, my as objective-as-possible view of the actual product was that HD DVD was way ahead of the BD DVD in terms of all the extra features and functionality.

To the latter point, it was so sad really. I went from the Sony booth where they were tooting BD Live and the still unscheduled 2.0 profile (in some cases with the Godzilla director there to show it off himself). And when you get to the their actual demo of BD live what was the big, great feature (really the ONLY feature they had to show)? A downloadable Godzilla ring tone for your cell phone! Are you kidding? Apparently not. It was really depressing. And I pushed the reps on the details but they had very little else they could offer. I was hoping for “this is just the tip of the iceberg and here are some of the other great things it will do” but all they could show was “and here is where you could register the disc online or join an email list, etc. Really, really lame… And the interface still looked terrible. And it totally removed you from the movie – all the content was its own screens that froze the movie and dropped the sound. I asked if they would have BD Live features that were able to play WITH the movie and were integrated to its time code and they said nothing currently was in the works, “but anything is possible.” They didn’t seem to “get it” at all. (Oh, they also showed how they would be able to update the trailers you see with a film over time, as if this was a great feature for consumers! I couldn’t help but point out that they can’t manage to get more than a token set of trailers on the PS Networks so I’m not holding my breadth on this…)

Then I walked over to the Toshiba booth where they were showing off discs and players already available that made the still unfinished, unscheduled BD Live stuff look like amateur hour. They had live Internet connection features (don’t know if they have a brand name for this) that wrapped around the live movie playing and while still gimmicky were way better than a ring tone. You could see GPS data of where in the world the scene was based at, you could get trivia scrolls, PIP discussion windows, real-time online shopping for products related to the film and current scenes, etc.

What concerned me is Sony didn’t seem at all concerned that their competition already had features they can’t even yet articulate as on their short-term radar. I would have felt better if they really demonstrated they knew what the other camp had and were promising to get there or better soon…

Again, I own a Blu-ray player and not an HD-DVD one. I am happy Blu-ray will continue and overall I am in the camp that believes the “format war” needed/needs resolution for eventual broader consumer adoption and I also don’t buy that prices will go up (and in fact will continue to go down) without this format competition. But it does appear that the BD camp (or at least its leader Sony) is pretty far behind in the feature camp and I hope this doesn’t shut down the feature innovation development pace. I could see that happening also because without a “keeping up with the Jones’” incentive, all things being equal it is more cost effective for Studios to release products with as few extra features as possible.
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post #2 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:32 PM
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Thanks for the report. I must say that the BB-Live concept (and whatever HD-DVD's feature is called) has no appeal to me at all. Why on Earth would I want ringtones? Or any of these features? I'd like internet capability to update firmware and nothing more. Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but the rest of it is a bit too Big Brother for me.
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post #3 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:34 PM
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Good post Citivas - it's nice to read something that's not incredibly fanatical.

I've never attended CES, but as a dual format owner I think you're right on the mark.

BD's advantage in capacity and bandwidth are hard to beat, but HD DVD is way ahead in terms of extra features and interactive content. Also, in my personal opinion, far ahead in terms of usability and and refinements in menues, navigaton etc. The format war coming to a close may be a good thing, but I'll really miss those HD DVD features if they fade away.
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post #4 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citivas View Post

2) (And I say this as a PS3 owner and therefore effectively a BD supporter)… I gotta say, it may be too bad the “war” isn’t lasting a little longer because I think it would have been better if there had been more need to push product innovation on Sony and the BD group longer. When you get passed the BD has one vibe at the show, my as objective-as-possible view of the actual product was that HD DVD was WAY ahead of the BD DVD in terms of all the extra features and functionality.

To the latter point, it was so sad really. I went from the Sony booth where they were tooting BD Live and the still unscheduled 2.0 profile (in some cases with the Godzilla director there to show it off himself). And when you get to the their actual demo of BD live what was the big, great feature (really the ONLY feature they had to show)? A downloadable Godzilla ring tone for your cell phone! Are you kidding? Apparently not. It was really depressing. And I pushed the reps on the details but they had very little else they could offer. I was hoping for “this is just the tip of the iceberg and here are some of the other great things it will do” but all they could show was “and here is where you could register the disc online or join an email list, etc. Really, really lame… And the interface still looked terrible. And it totally removed you from the movie – all the content was its own screens that froze the movie and dropped the sound. I asked if they would have BD Live features that were able to play WITH the movie and were integrated to its time code and they said nothing currently was in the works, “but anything is possible.” They didn’t seem to “get it” at all. (Oh, they also showed how they would be able to update the trailers you see with a film over time, as if this was a great feature for consumers! I couldn’t help but point out that they can’t manage to get more than a token set of trailers on the PS Networks so I’m not holding my breadth on this…)

Then I walked over to the Toshiba booth where they were showing off discs and players already available that made the still unfinished, unscheduled BD Live stuff look like amateur hour. They had live Internet connection features (don’t know fi they have a brand name for this) that wrapped around the live movie playing and while still gimmicky were waqy better than a ring tone. You could see GPS data of where in the world the scene was based at, you could get trivia scrolls, PIP discussion windows, real-time online shopping for products related to the film and current scenes, etc.

What concerned me is Sony didn’t seem at all concerned that their competition already had features they can’t even yet articulate as on their short-term radar. That worried me I would have felt better if they really demonstrated they knew what the other camp had and were promising to get there or better soon…

Again, I own a Blu-ray player and not an HD-DVD one. I am happy Blu-ray will continue and overall I am in the camp that believes the “format war” needed/needs resolution for eventual broader consumer adoption and I also don’t buy that prices will go up without this format competition. But it does appear that the BD camp (or at least its leader Sony) is pretty far behind in the feature camp and I hope this doesn’t shut down the feature innovation development pace. I could see that happening also because without a “keeping up with the Jones’” incentive, all things being equal it is more cost effective for Studios to release products with as few extra features as possible.

What you bring up is the #1 reason why I stayed far away from Blu-Ray. It's a unfinished product that lacks in more ways than I am willing to list and they seem to keep coming up with "Updates". BD 1.0, 1.1, 2.0. Whats next 3.0? Really I try to stay up with this, but Blu-Ray is even confusing for me. I don't know what players can decode what or what features it has.

It's a giant mess and thats why I love HD-DVD. Every player gets you to the same goal, easier to use, the menu system is amazing etc.

Blu-ray is going to fail due to the simple fact of it being to hard to choose a good player and what you can live without.

I want this player because it can decode TrueHD, but wait the price is over $500 what? This player is nice but it can't do TrueHD and has no internet port at least it's cheap...

I am waiting for a player that can do EVERYTHING needed to get the 100% enjoyment out of my player before I am willing to spend anything. The one player that may not do it all, but at least I can watch both formats is the Samsung dual format, At least this one seems to be the best as long as it does not cost to much.
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post #5 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:37 PM
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Excellent post and I have to agree with you. The XA2 does everything so seamlessly. While on the Panny 1.1 player there are interruptions for pop up menus, disc mavigation, interactive games, etc much like dvd. Hopefully the BD 2.0 players get up to spec with the HDDVD 1.0 models.
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post #6 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:39 PM
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It's really nice to see an objective post in here. I honestly wish more people could contribute in this way. I would love to attend something like CES, unfortunately i'm a few thousand miles away.
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post #7 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:45 PM
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Good post Citivas. I really pity HD DVD and I hope that Universal and Paramount remains committed to HD DVD and unleash further potential of HD DVD. FU WARNER.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #8 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:46 PM
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Great post and I agree with you.

BD-J is absolutely the worst part about bluray next to the region coding.
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post #9 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:49 PM
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BD-J is going to become a performance bottleneck resulting in operational issues until the launch of well equipped Profile 1.2 and 2.0 players besides the PS3 and Panny.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #10 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:49 PM
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I think it'll probably take Blu-ray another two years to get where HD DVD is today. Blu-ray still being 'unfinished' and being an unrepairable disc format are two reasons why I will not buy any Blu-ray player today, and I definitely do not want a fugly PS3 game console in my HT. In the future I may buy a good dual format player, but only to play all of the HD DVD discs I own today and in the future, and to possibly rent a few Blu-ray titles as well. Otherwise, looks like the future for me is in HDD storage and Media Center.

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post #11 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:50 PM
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Blu-ray - unfinished FINE. But what do you mean by FUGLY PS3 ? It's an excellent entertainment CONSOLE thought it cannot do a strip dance despite running HOT.

Looks like you wanna do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxR2jeSplO4

Blu-ray : 340
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post #12 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Good post Citivas. I really pity HD DVD and I hope that Universal and Paramount remains committed to HD DVD and unleash further potential of HD DVD. FU WARNER.

I have to agree with you there. LOL!!!
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post #13 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

BD-J is going to become a performance bottleneck resulting in operational issues until the launch of well equipped Profile 1.2 and 2.0 players besides the PS3 and Panny.

The Panny 1.1 player is slow in this regard as well. It is not smooth like an HDDVD player.
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post #14 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Blu-ray - unfinished FINE. But what do you mean by FUGLY PS3 ? It's an excellent entertainment CONSOLE thought it cannot do a strip dance despite running HOT.

It's frakkin' ugly imo. Now if it looked more like a modern piece of HT gear, then hooray.

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post #15 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

I hope that Universal and Paramount remains committed to HD DVD and unleash further potential of HD DVD. FU WARNER.

IF Universal, DreamWorks and Paramount sticks to being HD DVD exclusive and continues to release more and more exciting titles, they could outdo Blu-ray titles feature-wise for years to come. I still get the impression that Blu-ray is "lazy" in this regard.

I still think it would be good for Toshiba to release an inexpensive dual format player, declare the format war "over" and do what they need to convince Universal, DreamWorks and Paramount to only release on HD DVD. The HD DVD exclusive studios could remain exclusive (and create great titles) and the Blu-ray exclusive studios could remain BD exclusive if they wish. Instead of having both a Blu-ray and HD DVD section at retailers, they could just have one "High Definition Titles" section or something like that.

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post #16 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:58 PM
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Great post!

I would like to see a way to handle a little more storage, and a good manager/utility to clean up previously downloaded materials/cookies. It is discouraging to use your web-enabled machine to connect to the internet and download SD video. I understand that this may be the presentation for some deleted scenes and blooper reels but HD trailers would be nice. Right now I download those on X360 or PS3.

Really, this is a great way to download the extra commentary track, pics, deleted scenes, etc. and not have to pay to put another disc in the box. I don't mind 2 discs, but for most extra content that will get one to a few viewings why not just make it downloadable and skip the cost of adding it to the physical package?

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post #17 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 10:59 PM
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Great post. I think the bottom line is that many people just wanted have a winner so that life could move on. I'm not too concerned about the lack of interest in interactivity at this stage in the game with Blu-ray. The movies look and sound great. I think it will just take a little more time before Disney and other studios take the lead in exploiting the supposed advantages of BD-Java.
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post #18 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Blu-ray - unfinished FINE. But what do you mean by FUGLY PS3 ? It's an excellent entertainment CONSOLE.
[/url]

+1.

As I have stated , I don't understand the negativity toward the PS3. After my TiVo, it is the favorite component in setup. And I bought it primarily as an HDM player as I am not a gamer. I don't understand why some people would automatically write it off because it can play games. Would you automatically discredit a smart phone because it can play music? From my POV, I am getting an HDM player with massively more powerful processor and HD capacity at a seriously subsidized price. What's not to love about that? And in actual practice, the Blu-ray movies look great, I like the movie controls and menus UI and remote, and it is a fantastic up-converter of my SD DVD's.
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post #19 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW, its probably already been discussed here, but the Blu-ray camp was also reporting that they have successfully prototyped 100 and 200 gig formats on their discs and expect it to be coming down the pipeline in a year or so...
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post #20 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:04 PM
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MidnightWatcher was just saying he thinks it's ugly - it doesn't mean it doesn't work well.

I have a PS3 and I quite like it - but do think it's kind of weird looking - and I'd much prefer a tray-loading drive. Now the Panasonic DMP-BD10A - that was sweet looking .
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post #21 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:04 PM
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I have to agree though that the ps3 is pretty damn ugly. But it is a good blu ray player with a ton of options. But I as a game machine well...thats another story. A short one.
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post #22 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:05 PM
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I don't discredit it just because it plays games, I don't like it because it's ugly and doesn't look like it has any place in a home theater setup. Release a "PS3 HT Edition" and then I would be more interested. (In reality though I would only buy a dual format player). Otherwise, no thanks.

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post #23 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citivas View Post

+1.

As I have stated , I don't understand the negativity toward the PS3. After my TiVo, it is the favorite component in setup. And I bought it primarily as an HDM player as I am not a gamer. I don't understand why some people would automatically write it off because it can play games. Would you automatically discredit a smart phone because it can play music? From my POV, I am getting an HDM player with massively more powerful processor and HD capacity at a seriously subsidized price. What's not to love about that? And in actual practice, the Blu-ray movies look great, I like the movie controls and menus UI and remote, and it is a fantastic up-converter of my SD DVD's.

i agree wholeheartedly...the ps3 is easily the best piece of electronics gear i have ever owned or purchased.the fact that it is not only a great bd player but also a true next gen game console only increases its value in my estimation. the life span on the ps3 should be fantastic and it is only going to become more attractive as the great games start to role out and blu-ray really takes off. unfortunately any interactivity hd dvd currently has is about to become a moot point and its time for some to realize this. and for those who want to bash the ps3 you can be comforted by the slew of profile 1.1 and 2.0 players being announced and shown at ces. it won't take long for blu-ray to really start rolling along in the interactivity department.
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post #24 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:06 PM
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I guess it is a pretty big problem, because smaller releases will be much more expensive to produce for smaller companys because of the added cost of BD-J programming, meaning less non-blucbuster release. In a better world bluray would use HDDVD's interactive layer and not BD-J.
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post #25 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Citivas View Post

BTW, its probably already been discussed here, but the Blu-ray camp was also reporting that they have successfully prototyped 100 and 200 gig formats on their discs and expect it to be coming down the pipeline in a year or so...

Yeah, but it's called a pipe dream.

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post #26 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MidnightWatcher View Post

I don't discredit it just because it plays games, I don't like it because it's ugly and doesn't look like it has any place in a home theater setup. Release a "PS3 HT Edition" and then I would be more interested. (In reality though I would only buy a dual format player). Otherwise, no thanks.

I don't have much of a problem with its appareance besides the fact that it is a major dust magnet. But its a mute point for me anyway as my wife prefer solutions where most of the equipment is hidden (and don't get me started on how even at CES this year most of the AV furniture manufactures are still 5 years behind the times on designing great looking stuff that can handle the heat any game system, receiver or DVR throws off these days). In the sceme of things, it is still more attractive that most of my equipment, except perhaps my receiver. I wouldn't pay a dime more or buy/not buy a product that has the features I want on the basis of the exterior design. Though I totally appreciate that some do.
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post #27 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:11 PM
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I guess it is a pretty big problem, because smaller releases will be more expensive to produce for smaller companys because of the added cost of BD-J programming. In a better world bluray would use HDi and not BD-J.

Agree. Functionally, everything was better w/ HD DVD in my opinion, but BD of course has the bandwidth, capacity and scratch resistant discs (which I love). If only Sony & Toshiba had agreed on a unified format to use the BD physical disc and the HD DVD authoring. (Not sure how/if the file formats differ.)
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post #28 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmonster View Post

I guess it is a pretty big problem, because smaller releases will be much more expensive to produce for smaller companys because of the added cost of BD-J programming, meaning less non-blucbuster release. In a better world bluray would use HDDVD's interactive layer and not BD-J.

I think the whole BD-J is harder to program and will cost more is being overstated, but that's just my opinion based on my experience. It may be harder, but that will naturally work itself out. A handful of specialty companies and internal services groups within the studios will end up doing most of these and they will quickly develop reusable code and development tools, etc. It is a short term problem.

My worry was more the lack of imagination or commitment to real product innovation that I was getting from the Sony booth. Tools or no tools, they have to have a clue what they want to do with BD-J.

My guess is, the innovation won't come from Sony. Fortunately for all its flaws, Java is a pretty robust product. Eventually some celver producers with a passion for their product will come up with the really cool stuff and Sony and the other studios will just rip-off that success if it connects with buyers and gets any kind of buzz. It will just take a lot longer than the pace the HD camp was moving in where there seemed to be a focused strtaegy on cool features as a differentiator.
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post #29 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:24 PM
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BD-Live :

The problem is that everybody perceives this interactivity thing differently. For me there's the, "what harm could it do?" view towards of certain features that I won't object to even if I'll never use it, to "gotta fix this thing" in how audio should be streamed via HDMI, how to avoid sluggish UI in some disks.

But once in a while, I just wonder if people have thought things through. Why on earth for example, would community chatting be useful after watching a movie? In case noone's noticed yet, the remote is not going to break any speedtyping records. How can you chat using the remote?

I can see perhaps if new subtitles are available can be useful - if some great polish movie was rushed out and they screwed up the subtitles, being able to download a fixed one (or a new language) onto persistent storage and made available as a new choice in the subtitles button, that sounds useful.

But seriously, internet chatting?
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post #30 of 157 Old 01-08-2008, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obispo21 View Post

Agree. Functionally, everything was better w/ HD DVD in my opinion, but BD of course has the bandwidth, capacity and scratch resistant discs (which I love). If only Sony & Toshiba had agreed on a unified format to use the BD physical disc and the HD DVD authoring. (Not sure how/if the file formats differ.)

I have not seen a BD disc. From what I understand, the bottom part of the disc that is scratch resistant prevents the light reader from just jumping from one part of the sector to another. So if the top part of the disc gets scratched, as in the silver part where the data is saved gets scratched and it peels some silver off, there is no way that that scratch resistant side will be able save it. Maybe, what I am saying is just applicable to DVD disc since I have not seen a BD disc.

I have had few DVD movies that have so many scratches and it jumps. All I do is sand it with 4000 grit sandpaper and it goes back to normal again. However, there was one where I had the silver(data) part scratched, I didn't bother.

But yeah, that scratch resistant thing is quite cool but I'm guessing that it jacks up the price as well.
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