Theories on the pervasive BD playback failures?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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The huge failure rate on the new Bond movies really intensified my curiosity as to what is going on the Blu Ray world with so many failures in playback.. This is ridicuous for all BD owners. I don't care whether you have a $200 player or a $2000 player, they should ALL PLAY ALL DISCS AT THIS POINT!! I just don't know. I'm no engineer either. I wonder if this is also somehow related to the lack of DTS MA decoding in so many players?

But, my guess as to the root cuase is manufacturers putting in as little processing power as possible (to save a buck) and the machines getting hung up on these processing heavy Java menus (because of inadequate processing power). Not enough RAM or the likes.. Hence, failures, freeze ups and lock ups.

I see so many playback issues but the PS3 seemingly never fails.. Neither has my very robust Denon or 1st gen Panny BD-10. Now the Denon is known to have taken the big processing board right from their flagship receiver and put it in the 3800. So, a lot of memory there.. (but not so in the more buggy Denon 2500 - less memory).

Usually first gen machines are built like tanks.. I wonder if other 1st gen players (e.g. Pioneer, Sony, etc) have less issues, too. But then again, the Panny BD-10 which has played all discs since I bought it does not do 1080P24 or DTS MA (so no need to process those features frees up more memory). All Bond movies played in the Panny once I loaded an older August firmware update.

So, I know firmware can aid these things, too.. But why? Is it linked to processing power, too?

I always see Samsung as a problem, but they are a lower end manufacturer.. so I can see many hardware cuts and less proactive firmware releases.

I could be way off but I'd like to better understand these failures..



*** I also think it is related to the lack of on board DTS MA decoding to analog or LPCM. Few players do it (except the PS3 and Denon). Again, two very robust players... It, too, requires huge processing compared to TRUE HD..

I think with players like the new Pioneers (new Sony's), they may never get DTS MA. My bet is the skimped too much on memory and they are simply trying to figure out a way to Jerry-rig the memory usage to somehow do both DTS MA AND be able to load these heavy, intensive Java menus... That's why they say 2009 (for Pioneer) as they haven't a clue how to do it yet.

Am I right or totally out of my element as a theorizing troubleshooter??


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post #2 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 06:47 AM
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I lay blame on the software producers.All anybody wants is superior picture,sound quality,and reliability.How does a processor intensive memory hog like java really advance the state of the art? Dump it.Will anyone miss it?Is DTS-MA causing manufacturing headaches and reducing reliability? Then don't use it.TrueHD and PCM are just as good.Do I really need talking heads jumping in the middle of the movie to explain what I'm watching? The answer is NO!

All this fancy excrement they pile on just increases costs and shifts and shifts the manufacturing focus from where it belongs..

Andy
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post #3 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 06:57 AM
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Sony may be having some difficulty writing a specification that communicates how others can implement BD so it is fault free. Others also may have trouble implementing it. I suspect in general it is a software issue no matter the root cause.

W. Jeff Meier


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post #4 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 07:00 AM
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thebland....you've echoed my thoughts exactly. I've tried a few standalone BD players, ranging from Samsung (early model) to the newly released Panasonics (BD 35). None of them performed as flawlessly as my PS3.

I've always thought that the robustness of the processing power of the PS3, as it also has to offer enough power to play games, was the reason for it's performance.

No audio drop outs or stutters. No freeze ups. No HDMI "handshake" issues.

I've felt that it must have a pretty large buffer (read memory) so the frame rates on games looks smooth. This translates to smooth BD play, too.

In short, I still haven't found a stand alone player that can overall outperform the PS3.

Now, if Sony would just quit insisting on using a stand alone remote, I'd be very happy.

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post #5 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I see so many playback issues but the PS3 seemingly never fails.

People with older PS3 FW have reported issues with Bond playback but updating to current FW resolved the issue.

So, we all know the PS3 has enough horsepower & memory so these play back issues seems to come down to SW implementations of features on the discs that aren't compatible with certain player FW.
Then the player maufacturer is either blind sided or burdened with creating a FW update to resolve the issue.

I agree that at this point, there needs to be a standard disc format for feature/DRM that doesn't cause these issues.

If these issues continue during/after Xmas, it's not going to look good for blu-ray especially if consumers just start returning discs because they are not aware of FW updates or care not ro perform them that may or may not resolve the issue.

It's sad though that new players like the Samsung 1500 are having these issues.

I'm still mistified on what www.blufocus.com is doing to test these discs and pass the info on to the player manufacturers.

2014
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post #6 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 09:25 AM
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There may be another issue involved. It could be a change in the BD+ that Fox may be using. This has happened, to a lesser degree, with earlier titles. The first being Fantastic 4: Silver Surfer. It should be noted, someone with a PS3 mentioned in another thread that they DID have problems until they upgraded their FW. That pretty much shows its not a memory problem. FW updates for other players will eventually come out. I went through this with Samsung and with Sharp. Joy.
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post #7 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 09:28 AM
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I've always attributed the reports to a combination of the security encryption (BD+) and underpowered processors struggling with BD-J.

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post #8 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42Plasmaman View Post

People with older PS3 FW have reported issues with Bond playback but updating to current FW resolved the issue.
.

I agree.. But in general, the PS3 is the most reliable player.. and has the most horse power. I think there are a couple issues, but I would bet processing power is #1. Firmware updates are certainly needed as an older August update got my Panny BD-10 to accept and play the Bond discs... But this firmware was from long before the Bond discs were released.

Likely a few factors.


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post #9 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big J View Post

There may be another issue involved. It could be a change in the BD+ that Fox may be using. This has happened, to a lesser degree, with earlier titles. The first being Fantastic 4: Silver Surfer. It should be noted, someone with a PS3 mentioned in another thread that they DID have problems until they upgraded their FW. That pretty much shows its not a memory problem. FW updates for other players will eventually come out. I went through this with Samsung and with Sharp. Joy.
J

If this does indeed turn out to be BD+ or other matters related to disc security, Fox has to be told in uncertain terms by the BDA that this has to stop. General public will not put up with this nonsense. They are going to expect all their Blu-ray movies to play in their Blu-ray players. No firmware update nonsense is going to be tolerated.

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post #10 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xradman View Post

If this does indeed turn out to be BD+ or other matters related to disc security, Fox has to be told in uncertain terms by the BDA that this has to stop. General public will not put up with this nonsense. They are going to expect all their Blu-ray movies to play in their Blu-ray players. No firmware update nonsense is going to be tolerated.

It sure sounds like a security issue. This is not good for BD. Shortly after Silver Surfer came out, there was a large increase in returned/open box players at the local Best Buys by me. Not everyone knows to or wants to update their FW. Nor should they.
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post #11 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 02:07 PM
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It's all the Java crap.
DVD features are wonderful. interactive PIP commentaries are simply a waste of cpu power and space.
Online server authentication also causes hiccups.

The proper setting for sharpness is always0.
Also my Oppo BDP-103D is region free.
That makes me awesome.
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post #12 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 02:13 PM
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I would soooooo much prefer simple, quick loading menu systems on these disks. I don't need all these pretty fluffy features to make the disk load and perform slowly, while increasing the chance they won't play.

What I -DO- need are disks that load up and play effortlessly.
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post #13 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 02:29 PM
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It's simply a moving target. By the time the player guys (new firmware) have caught up with the software guys the software guys have implemented a whole new set of features. The PS3 has the least number of issues because the software guys wait on the PS3 guys (to catch up) since it's roughly 98% of the market. The rest of the hardware guys are left out in the cold!

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post #14 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 03:52 PM
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The fact that firmware fixed can fix these problems makes me think it is not just a computer power and memory issue, unless it is a matter of memory leeks and garbage collection problems in the Java implementation on the players. There may be some of that, but I think the disc developers also need to change their practices. I think there may be sloppy coding practices and sloppy QA by the software developers. Many developers these days do not try to, or even know how to, optimize their code so as to not over tax the hardware. QA also has the obligation to make sure the software runs on the targt platforms before it is released. Just writing to the "spec" is not good enough. The software needs to also work! From what I read, most of that QA is done on the PS3, which is one reason the software runs pretty reliably on them. QA should be testing these discs on Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, Samsung and others before the disc are released. My guess is that many of the problems could be fixed in the software before the disc is released. This is what traditional software developers typically do. They do not just release the software and let the hardware guys update the firmware or OS. If the Blu-Ray platform is going to survive, I think the software developers need to take responsibilities for these issues and not just expect the hardware teams to change the firmware. I am sure there are firmware issues that need to be addressed - but changing firmware for a large number of disc just should not be happening. I would hope the developers of the disc will be diligent in providing a product that runs on existing hardware and firmware. Of course, this is all speculation since we do not know exactly what is causing all the problems.
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post #15 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 06:26 PM
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I just watched Thunderball Blu-ray version on a BD55 and had no problems at all. I don't know what machines would be having problems with the new James Bond Blu-ray releases.
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post #16 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 08:07 PM
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I'm totally annoyed that the stupid Java menus take forever to load (fast is a relative term in the BluRay world). Also, many of them kill the ability to turn off the machine and pick up where you left off. If the disc has a simple menu, this usually works. If it has a fancy Java menu, it doesn't usually work. Hate it! DVD has had the ability to pick up where you left off for ages. A big step back.

Also what is up with the very very small text on most of the menus? I know that my display isn't huge but I have to get up and cross the room to see the text half of the time. What are these software idiots doing? Do they program on 103" panels? How about large/small font options?

I totally agree that every manufacturer shouldn't have to release a firmware update for each new title. Are there any development standards for the menu system at all? What the ? Basic UI stuff here. Shouldn't be that tough.
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post #17 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 08:38 PM
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Great thread bland, echoes my sentiments exactly! At this point in time it is simply ridiculous that so many discs won't play in certain players. When you go buy a Blu-ray you should be able to come home, unwrap it, throw it in the player, and enjoy. I just wonder what is happening or gonna happen when more joe six packs buy into blu-ray and encounter these types of issues. I'd say most if not all of them will return either the disc and/or the player as well. Most will not know how to do a firmware update or even have heard of it before. I too have bought about 4-5 standalones and always end up encountering some type of issue and just return it and stick with my trusty ol' PS3. The PS3 is a true beast and while it won't bitstream which is what I was wanting to do I'm starting to think letting the PS3 decode the audio is just as good so I'm going to stick with the PS3 as my Blu-ray player in my theater room. It's just simply absurd that new disc comes out, like Bond films, and 90% of players won't play them correctly or at all. I agree with everyone else as well that if its java or something along those line causing this then get rid of that crap! Just deliver the movies to us with the greatest possible audio and video quality and make sure they work when you press play!!!
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post #18 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I wonder if this is also somehow related to the lack of DTS MA decoding in so many players?

My guess would be the BD-J menus.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

But, my guess as to the root cuase is manufacturers putting in as little processing power as possible (to save a buck) and the machines getting hung up on these processing heavy Java menus (because of inadequate processing power). Not enough RAM or the likes.. Hence, failures, freeze ups and lock ups.

The Panasonic DMP-10 works and it uses the Sigma SMP8634 Rev. A which is one of the slowest Blu-ray SoCs released. On the other hand the Samsung BD-P1500 with the latest NEC SoC doesn't work. I think it is a combination of the BD-J VM and the SoC which determines whether the James Bond movies work. That is why the Samsung BD-P1500 doesn't work while the Sony BDP-S350 does work even though both players use the latest NEC SoC.


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So, I know firmware can aid these things, too.. But why?

A firmware update can update the BD-J VM which processes the BD-J programs.
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post #19 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

It's simply a moving target. By the time the player guys (new firmware) have caught up with the software guys the software guys have implemented a whole new set of features. The PS3 has the least number of issues because the software guys wait on the PS3 guys (to catch up) since it's roughly 98% of the market. The rest of the hardware guys are left out in the cold!

This post wins

It has zero do to with power, memory, or build, and everything to do with player penetration percentage. PS3 by far is the best selling Blu-ray player, and because of that no one dares to author a disc that won't play in the PS3. Therefore PS3 is the first player to get QC'd and it is the one most thoroughly QC'd.
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post #20 of 210 Old 10-24-2008, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

This post wins

It has zero do to with power, memory, or build, and everything to do with player penetration percentage. PS3 by far is the best selling Blu-ray player, and because of that no one dares to author a disc that won't play in the PS3. Therefore PS3 is the first player to get QC'd and it is the one most thoroughly QC'd.

This hypothesis may be very true - however - it is NOT good news for the future of the blu-ray format, assuming folks would like to see blu-ray widely adopted outside of the relatively limited PS3 gaming community. These compatibility and firmware programming issues need to be resolved and managed effectively in the world of standalone players in order for the blu-ray format to prosper!

A long-time audio/video addict!
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post #21 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

This post wins

It has zero do to with power, memory, or build, and everything to do with player penetration percentage. PS3 by far is the best selling Blu-ray player, and because of that no one dares to author a disc that won't play in the PS3. Therefore PS3 is the first player to get QC'd and it is the one most thoroughly QC'd.

Bingo. As I've said before, this behavior just reinforces the idea that BD is little more than the PS3 format-even 2 years after introduction. That's not going to help with mass adoption. If anything, it will hinder it.
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post #22 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 06:01 AM
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As I said before, all the CEs need to band together and refuse to release a firmware update for this Bond fiasco. Force Fox/MGM to recall/replace all the discs that are out there and the studios will think twice before messing up like this next time. We can't have CEs scrambling to release FW everytime studio decides to tinker with the menus.

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post #23 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 06:17 AM
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Oh....please....please....no more HD-DVD vs BD debates. That format war is over. I'm glad I stayed on the sidelines until it was over, so I didn't have to join the debate.

Overall, like most AV equipment, the manufacturers are trying to build to a price point. Shortcuts develop (processing power, memory, etc).

Still, that doesn't account for how the ubiquitous PS3 seems to have got it right, at one of the lower price points for BD equipment, while other companies just can't seem to do it.

IMHO, we're in 2nd, 3rd generations of some players. It should be clear on a hardware, and software side, what's needed.

Audio HD codecs have been out for a bit, now. Issues should be behind the manufacturers since those codecs haven't changed since they've been released.

The enthusiasts here on these threads do indeed want to wring everything possible out of the format. My guess is, the guy (girl) who goes into BB, CC, etc just sees all the formats on the box under the displays, and buys the one that has the most "logos" on the box. Little regard is given to whether the unit they purchase actually does what it's supposed to do.

When the unit freezes, hangs, audio drops out, they just schlep it back to the store. Maybe they even give up on the format and stick with their trusty DVD player that they bought for $70, figuring that $300 BD player isn't worth the hassle.

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post #24 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

It's simply a moving target. By the time the player guys (new firmware) have caught up with the software guys the software guys have implemented a whole new set of features. The PS3 has the least number of issues because the software guys wait on the PS3 guys (to catch up) since it's roughly 98% of the market. The rest of the hardware guys are left out in the cold!

Ironically, the PS3 has the most processing power of all. So, that may be part of the success of the PS3.

I believe it is the same ls story of manufacturers skimping on quality (or in this case CPU power) and it coming back to bite them. Again, some players have never failed to play a disc (my almost 3 yr old Panny BD-10 for example).

It could also be a proactive updating on Sony's part making sure the firmware is updated incessantly. The PS3 has been regularly updated. Firmware is certainly a related part in addition to processing power in my view. I say this because the Bond films failed to initially play in my BD-10 until I realized I missed a firmware update 3 months ago (well before the Bond films). As soon as I loaded it, all played (like every other disc I ever put into it). It may be that when processing power is plaentiful, the firmware updates are easier to write (rather than designing circuitous programs to get around anemic processing power. I am certain this is why so few players decode DTS MA.

Now the Panny BD-10a which came out at 1/2 the price of the BD-10 (replacing it), has been plagued with playback issues. It weighed less, was half the price and likely had a smaller percentage of the memory (but an equal number of firmware updates relative to the BD-10). But the list of bugs with the 10a is / was long...


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post #25 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Ironically, the PS3 has the most processing power of all. So, that may be part of the success of the PS3.

I believe it is the same ls story of manufacturers skimping on quality (or in this case CPU power) and it coming back to bite them. Again, some players have never failed to play a disc (my almost 3 yr old Panny BD-10 for example).

No again, it has nothing to do with CPU power. The reason your Panny BD10 has few issues is because it is one of the original Blu-ray players, and thus all of the authoring houses have them in house to test. The new Sony, Pioneer, Samsung, etc, players that just came out this year are probably not in their testing bench yet. The BD10 has no special superchip in terms of CPU power.

PS3 is the #1 tested machine by authoring houses since it is by far the #1 most sold Blu-ray disc player, hence it has the least problems. It also has frequently updated firmware. For an example of a problem disc, when "The Descent" came out it had to be recalled because it did not play in the Pioneer 95fd; it didn't play right because one of the files was in the wrong directory, however although that broke spec some players checked that directory and found the file anyway. Thus it worked in some players and not in others; the ones it worked on essentially did something extra that the spec did not call for, while the ones it did not work on followed spec.

I mean, hell, some of the Bond discs do not play at all in some players. Do you honestly thing that is anything but poor QC? I mean, it is not exactly difficult to discover the disc doesn't start so long as you put it in the player that has an issue. The problem is authoring houses don't seem to have all the latest players or the QC people simply aren't testing them all.

Could you give me any logical reason why an authoring house would consciously elect to have a disc not play at all because of their menu implementation? Remember, there is nothing special about the Bond discs except that they don't play.
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post #26 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

No again, it has nothing to do with CPU power. The reason your Panny BD10 has few issues is because it is one of the original Blu-ray players, and thus all of the authoring houses have them in house to test. The new Sony, Pioneer, Samsung, etc, players that just came out this year are probably not in their testing bench yet. The BD10 has no special superchip in terms of CPU power.

PS3 is the #1 tested machine by authoring houses since it is by far the #1 most sold Blu-ray disc player, hence it has the least problems. It also has frequently updated firmware. For an example of a problem disc, when "The Descent" came out it had to be recalled because it did not play in the Pioneer 95fd; it didn't play right because one of the files was in the wrong directory, however although that broke spec some players checked that directory and found the file anyway. Thus it worked in some players and not in others; the ones it worked on essentially did something extra that the spec did not call for, while the ones it did not work on followed spec.

Fair points but it doesn't explain why Samsung, an early player, had numerous issues (as did the initial Sony's). Likely the Sammy sold far more than the BD-10 as it had a MSRP of $1300. But your points seem reasonable but really makes the authoring houses look out of date as those initial players are almost 3 years old now and 20 or more BD players have hit the seen! You'd have to assume they only have their original players in house to test with.


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post #27 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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The Bond menus are very graphic intensive... I have seen few Blu Rays with such sophisticated menus. A lot of Java. THe Bond discs, though they all play fine in my Denon and Panny take 3 minutes to get to the film in the Denon and 5 minutes to get to the first seen of the movie. This is about 2X the typical amount of time. Yes, it could be authoring but it could also be processing intensive, too, causing many players to hang up on them.. THe Panny showed a few 'Reading' Icons as it played the discs - usually it just shows one 'reading' icon. There was a lot of info to process these discs as it took almost twice as long to load these compared to all my other discs.


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post #28 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 07:36 AM
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Interesting thread. I would prefer it if the format worked as simply as DVD with the addition of being able to skim and select scenes while the movie is still playing (that's a nice upgrade I think everyone appreciates).

Ultimately, people will buy into blu-ray for the picture and sound upgrade - not for all these gimmicky features and fancy menus.
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post #29 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post

Interesting thread. I would prefer it if the format worked as simply as DVD with the addition of being able to skim and select scenes while the movie is still playing (that's a nice upgrade I think everyone appreciates).

Ultimately, people will buy into blu-ray for the picture and sound upgrade - not for all these gimmicky features and fancy menus.

OR the average consumer will NOT buy into Blu-ray since the image quality of SD DVDs is good enough, their players often cost ~$100, the media is often on sale at Wally World for $4-5 AND THEIR PLAYERS AND MEDIA WORK!! I had thought that the Blu-ray format had reached maturity and it was safe to purchase a stand-alone player that was reasonably high end, but if this fiasco continues, the average consumer will continue to shy away and for good reason and BD becomes a niche product. I had hoped to replace my trusty George Foreman that plays ALL BD products because it just does not look "right" in my AV cabinet with all of the other AV gear and move it next to a HD TV that is not connected to the rest of the AV toys and use it mostly for games (rather my kid would use it mostly for games).

At this point in the evolution of BD players, it is unacceptable for these issues to occur--the BD format and hardware should be stable by now.

The BD Group (or whatever it is called) needs to have a standard (Profile 1.1, 2.0 or ???) to which the movie industry must adhere and the disks be tested before being released to the public. My fear in Blu-ray winning the lop-sided format war was that it would become a niche product due to lack of acceptance by the general public and I hope that does not happen.

I wonder how the newest top end Sony, Pioneer and Panasonic BD players are working with the Bond BD disks???

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post #30 of 210 Old 10-25-2008, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Again, some players have never failed to play a disc (my almost 3 yr old Panny BD-10 for example).

My understanding is based on a player's profile it may or may not support certain features. This could explain why older players have less issues... they simply aren't running the fancy code. Processing power isn't an issue unless you are concerned about how long it takes the code to run. Luckily computers don't quit in the middle of a job. Although it does get rather ugly if it hasn't been told what to do with the code (via firmware).

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