I know that a lot of you are probably like me, and have a lot of content archived on D-VHS and possibly even PC hard drives that was collected from broadcast HD material. Recently, I started converting some of these movies to HD DVD (I support BOTH formats) and got kind of tired of splitting the movies up into two different discs (using dual layer DVD's). They worked great and all, but there were a few shows that I just didn't feel like swapping discs on, and even a few would have actually required 3 discs!
That got me to thinking... With a Blu-Ray 50 GB, I could LITERALLY put the entire original (high bitrate versions of) the "holy trilogy" on ONE disc! That was all the motivation that I needed. I did some searching around, and found that the Sony internal (100) model supports both the 25 and 50 GB discs in both -R and -RE forms. Other drives (which actually are MORE EXPENSIVE) only supported the 25 GB single layer variety.
After looking at some websites, I noticed that both Circuit City and Best Buy had the Sony recorder on sale for $599, which was less than most online retailers. I went by Best Buy in person, and to my surprise, they had a couple of them in stock. I wasn't expecting this, as their website stated that they were not available for store pickup. I just so happened to have a 12% off reward zone coupon, and I ended up purchasing it for $529.
After going home, I plugged the drive into my primary PC, and my computer (for some strange reason) would not boot into windows OR go into the BIOS settings. Apparently, the drive confused my "older" (and I use this term loosely) motherboard. Determined to make this work, I pulled the drive and installed it into my son's "newer" computer. It was recognized and worked fine.
I loaded the supplied software, and did a test burn with a 25 GB BD-RE disc. I am not about to start burning $18 coasters at this point. Sure enough, my first 5-7 discs would have been "coasters", as my Playstation 3 refused to play them and came up with an error code. After doing a search on the 'net using this error code, I was pointed to a thread that explained that this issue had been fixed through a recent patch on Cyberlink's website. By installing the "Sony patch" to the Director software that came with the drive, I was FINALLY able to produce WORKING Blu-Ray movie discs for the PS3.
At this point, there are only 2 "issues" that I am experiencing:
1) There are audio dropouts that appear to effect the first minute (only) of the video files. After the first 30 seconds to a minute, it doesn't appear to happen again. This is consistently happening, even when the source video file has no noticeable issues. This HAS to be happening during the processing of the files in the Cyberlink software. My temporary fix for this is that I am going to put some type of "filler" intro material before the feature, so that the audio dropouts will be over before the movie starts.
2) My receiver does not flag the video as full dolby digital. My HD DVD conversions of the same material DID. This is a Playstation 3 issue, and it also happens when you play a "normal" video file from the media center. The interesting thing is that the audio "sounds" fine, and is most certainly multi-channel. When I select to view the information on the stream, the PS3 shows an accurate bitrate for the video, and lists the audio as Dolby Digital 48Khz @ 256 Mbps. In comparison, a "regular" 5.1 signal from a retail Blu-Ray disc shows 48Khz @ 640 Mbps. At this point, I do not know if the audio source for my videos is actually at a higher audio bitrate and is being downsampled by the PS3, or if the issue with my receiver not flagging the 5.1 signal as Dolby Digital is a PS3 firmware issue. I suspect the latter, as the video and audio is NOT being processed or converted IN ANY WAY by the Cyberlink software. It would be interesting to see what kind of output a set-top Blu-Ray player would show.
Overall, I am EXTREMELY pleased with my initial results. Using the -RE discs is a VERY conveinent way to "proof" my burns. I thought that I should share my results with you all, since I was unable to find much info about doing this from performing a search on the internet. If this information has already been covered here, please forgive me, as I have been VERY busy lately and have not spent much time on this forum recently. I Hope this information will help those who were looking for a solution for making a durable (and more importantly conveinently usable) backup of your archived HD material...