Optical Drives Are Holding Us Back - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Apple's Phil Schiller explained Apple's reasons for removing the optical drive from their desktop computers and why Blu-ray is not a great technology.


He told Time:
Quote:
"These old technologies are holding us back. They're anchors on where we want to go. "

What about the competition:
Quote:
"We find the things that have outlived their useful purpose. Our competitors are afraid to remove them. We try to find better solutions - our customers have given us a lot of trust."

"In general, it's a good idea to remove these rotating medias from our computers and other devices. They have inherent issues — they're mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power."

Could the future of Blu-ray be in jeopardy?
Quote:
"Blu-ray has come with issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make [it] a complex and not-great technology…So for a whole plethora of reasons, it makes a lot of sense to get rid of optical discs in desktops and notebooks."

Of course, Schiller said that it's much better to buy movies from iTunes and have them available to watch on all of the user's Apple devices.

What do you think?



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post #2 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 08:29 AM
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it seems pretty obvious to me that the survival of Blu Ray is a big part of the 4K push. streaming is able to do 1080p with decent audio, but 4K will require huge bandwidth and that will cause issues with providers etc. Its a pretty smart move. 4K keeps Blu Ray on top of the hi tech game.

Apple doesnt like Blu Ray becuase they didint make it and its a competiter to iTunes. plain and simple. i still have issues with iTunes. The picture, even in 1080p isnt as good as Blu Ray. The audio isnt as good, and once in a while ill get the "buffering" message and want to throw somehting into the screen.
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post #3 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 08:46 AM
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I'll take what he says more seriously when he comes up with a viable alternative.

Streaming looks like crap right now, with inadequate bitrate/bandwidth. That will be exacerbated by any increase in resolution.

What else you got for a "hard" copy? Flash memory in its various permutations doesn't qualify and is vulnerable to magnetic fields corrupting the data. A Blu-Ray that is not handled carelessly/excessively and is stored properly, does qualify. Yes, we don't know about its longevity with absolute certainty, but DVDs and CDs have held up well, occasional manufacturing defects aside. So what is the alternative to optical data storage now or in the near future? I say "near" future because sure, optical has drawbacks and there will no doubt be something better eventually.
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post #4 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:00 AM
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I thought that BD was not capable of having enough room for 4k unless the information was compressed?

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post #5 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:18 AM
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Seriously speaking, as a consumer, the removal of the optical drive gives me one less big reason to consider Apple as a viable alternative. But maybe their strategy is to move away from desktop computers entirely and give people a good reason to go along with their idea. I also sincerely doubt that they will pass on the (marginal) savings to consumers from doing this. At the least, a move like this will give them the freedom to shackle users to whatever choice of DRM they choose.
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post #6 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:25 AM
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@MShu18

Well, Blu-Ray is *heavily* compressed now, with VC-1, MPEG2, and AVC (H264) allowed by the Blu-Ray spec. But you probably meant even more compressed.

The new H265 is supposed to be more efficient than H264 on the order of ~2x. Amend the Blu_ray spec and you have that to work with. The average Blu-Ray main movie will oftentimes fit a single-layer BD25 backup. If you re-encode the audio to AC3, probably most movies would fit. (Yeah, I know, blasphemy). So a 4k movie, with an increased bitrate requirement of 4x, using a more efficient codec, could just about be squeezed onto a double layer BD50.

So there you are. Or you could add another layer or two to Blu-Ray. I recall there was some work done along those lines when BD was being developed, and it shouldn't be too difficult to roll that out. All difficulties would then disappear. Except for the fact that you'd have to upgrade your hardware to play it.tongue.gif
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post #7 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:26 AM
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Apple is a company that aim hipsters and those who wants everything to be as easy as possible, at the expense of some quality. There is no way you can compare A/V quality of a BD and streaming. A blu-ray is between 25-50GB, imagine if you would have to use such bandwidth every time you watch a movie on AppleTV, the "buffering" icon would on every 5 sec and you would end up with a $10k internet monthly bill.

That said, I sadly believe that most consumer is willing to lose some quality at the expense of ease-of-use, click and watch service. Maybe Apple is right, unfortunately.

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post #8 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:29 AM
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I have an iPhone and have been considering buying a Mac to go with it. But as a home theater enthusiast and collector of the highest quality a/v format available I will not buy a laptop that can't play anything from my collection. And I'll be damned if I'm going to pay to "rent" a lower quality digital copy of a movie I already own.

I know why Apple takes this position--so people buy movies from them--but they're wrong. I am an example of how they are limiting their market by refusing to incorporate Blu-ray into their products.
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post #9 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post

@MShu18
Well, Blu-Ray is *heavily* compressed now, with VC-1, MPEG2, and AVC (H264) allowed by the Blu-Ray spec. But you probably meant even more compressed.
The new H265 is supposed to be more efficient than H264 on the order of ~2x. Amend the Blu_ray spec and you have that to work with. The average Blu-Ray main movie will oftentimes fit a single-layer BD25 backup. If you re-encode the audio to AC3, probably most movies would fit. (Yeah, I know, blasphemy). So a 4k movie, with an increased bitrate requirement of 4x, using a more efficient codec, could just about be squeezed onto a double layer BD50.
So there you are. Or you could add another layer or two to Blu-Ray. I recall there was some work done along those lines when BD was being developed, and it shouldn't be too difficult to roll that out. All difficulties would then disappear. Except for the fact that you'd have to upgrade your hardware to play it.tongue.gif

TY sir.

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post #10 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:43 AM
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Apple makes nice products, but I hate closed technology. I want to backup my movies and music in native formats that I can transport to any device and not rely on a single vendor. I rip all my music to FLAC and movies to MKV in native format. I can then stream them to my TV via my Oppo or my Roku via Plex App and copy or convert them to any other format for my other devices. I hate streaming from most places for anything serious because of the higher compression rates and limited audio. Nothing beats a good BD in DTS-HD. Apples refusal to support acknowledged open standards drive me further form them. Sure they want to lock you into Apple, I get that.
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post #11 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 09:59 AM
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Not to veer too far off topic, but data compression is a very wide subject unto itself.

H264 was quite an advance in efficiency over the old MPEG2, and H265 promises another significant increase. (Leaving aside the proprietary MS VC-1 codec, which it seems is being used less these days). All codecs perform pretty well at their optimum bitrates, but lower the bitrate and the picture degrades in different ways. MPEG2 is prone to macroblocking and noise in dark backgrounds, particularly if flat part priority is sacrificed in the encoding. H264 is prone to posterization in dark areas and banding when the bitrate gets low enough. But overall, it degrades more "gracefully" than MPEG2. So I have to laugh when people say their re-encodes to, say, BD9 size (AVCHD on double-layer DVD) are indistinguishable from the original. Maybe on their TVs they are. But that detail they imagine they're seeing is long gone. (Some of it was lost in the original encode done at the studio; with each re-encode with a lossy codec, you lose more.)

I have to wonder how well H265 will really perform. It may be that its efficiency is overstated. On a 4k set I'd damn well want all the detail preserved that's possible. You will lose some inevitably with *any* compression, however small the loss may be.
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post #12 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeddyP View Post


Of course, Schiller said that it's much better to buy movies from iTunes and have them available to watch on all of the user's Apple devices.
What do you think?

And this is the real reason why Apple has never put a BD drive in any of their products. No money in it for them. I'm actually surprised that they didn't remove optical drives sooner. Heaven forbid that a person uses their Apple hardware to enjoy entertainment from a non-Apple source.

You know what's really holding us back? People settling for convinience over quality.
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post #13 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 10:12 AM
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Stupid Apple. BluRay is a great technology, better than degraded streaming, and optical is here to stay.
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post #14 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 10:12 AM
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I love Blu Ray, and Apple products - broadly, the need for optical disc media is vastly diminished - I have several Macs, and have barely used any optical drive for some time now. Between broadband downloads, high speed LANs and even USB sticks, their days are numbered. So its inclusion is not really necessary anymore

BR is certainly better than streaming, though I think Apple's content has been getting progressively better. But lack of lossless audio is a big deal to me, so I don't rent too much from anyone. Conversely, not every title is worth owning, nor is every title a visual or audible feast, so streaming some content at a much lower cost makes sense. Lost of stuff my kids want to watch is done via Apple TV, and they are quite happy.

Where Blu Ray falters beyond its physical nature is the baggage of slow load times (though this is getting somewhat better), BD-Live/Java, many with an inordinate number of trailers, inconsistent menus across titles authored in various ways... It's rare, but how great it was it to but in the Avatar Blu Ray, and just press play? Far too few disc just "play." BDA licensing is apparently fairly onerous as well.

And of course, the physical media is not playable anytime anywhere on any device in your home...so this does not fit the paradigm of a media mesh that Apple is building - and that is the right approach.

It's why some of us rip our Blu Rays to play on various media devices within the home, to have the flexibility to watch what you want. when you want, without dealing with finding and loading discs from one room to another, and worrying about scratches and smudges, or simply getting lost). Right now, one can start a movie in one room, and pick it up in any other room, or iOS device. quite seamlessly.
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post #15 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

Where Blu Ray falters beyond its physical nature is the baggage of slow load times (though this is getting somewhat better), BD-Live/Java, many with an inordinate number of trailers, inconsistent menus across titles authored in various ways... It's rare, but how great it was it to but in the Avatar Blu Ray, and just press play? Far too few disc just "play." BDA licensing is apparently fairly onerous as well.

Too right. tongue.gif

I typically make a main movie backup without all the junk (trailers/menus/extra audio streams) and watch that. I might store away the original having never played it unless there are extras I think might be interesting. All that because I hate the load times and trailers, etc.
I also make MKVs that I can play on my TV direct from external hard drive, just for the convenience of not having to pull out a movie, put in the disc, etc. I typically re-encode using quality based encoding (CRF 18), to save a little space, and because I think that's just about the quality my TV is actually capable of displaying.

But I really think most of the inconvenience involved in Blu-Ray is the fault of the studios. Specifically DRM and their contempt for us by putting autoplay trailers on the disc, complex BD-J discs that load slowly...I could go on.
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post #16 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 10:49 AM
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Apple thinks that blu-ray is not a great technology because Apple hasn't figured out a way to scrape a monthly fee out of your bank account with blu-ray technology.

Wake me up when streaming can match blu-ray in pq and aq using todays internet infrastructure.

Next question?
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post #17 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Apple thinks that blu-ray is not a great technology because Apple hasn't figured out a way to scrape a monthly fee out of your bank account with blu-ray technology.
Wake me up when streaming can match blu-ray in pq and aq using todays internet infrastructure.
Next question?

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post #18 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 11:07 AM
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Someone please inform Mr. Phil Schiller, that, until the day that he (Apple) or any other company can provide me with (1080p/24 BD) quality video & lossless audio (DDTHD & DTS MA) I will stick with my BD disks.
What a joke...... perhaps streaming is ok for some content......I have apple TV and very high bandwith available to me at home and have yet to pay for a movie on itunes.
Don't get me wrong, if you can send me the same audio & video quality (like BD) via your streaming network great, but until then I will wait. As far as I know, VUDU is one of the few that can provide some really good picture content, yet the audio is still lossy.

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post #19 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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LOL - why is it that the optical disc purists always point to streaming? Is it ignorance that prevents them from seeing the potential of downloads to far surpass the PQ and AQ of BD?
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post #20 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

LOL - why is it that the optical disc purists always point to streaming? Is it ignorance that prevents them from seeing the potential of downloads to far surpass the PQ and AQ of BD?

Not with current infrastructure. There's simply not enough bandwith for the entire country to be streaming 20Mbps right now, nor are there plans to build this infrastructure. Delivery of a 50GB file, or even a 25GB file takes an hour or so with an internet connection that is more than average and with average interenet connections and a lot of people using them to d/l this sort of content it will take longer yet.

Sorry to bust your bubble about streaming but it isn't there yet or anytime soon.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Not with current infrastructure. There's simply not enough bandwith for the entire country to be streaming 20Mbps right now, nor are there plans to build this infrastructure. Delivery of a 50GB file, or even a 25GB file takes an hour or so with an internet connection that is more than average and with average interenet connections and a lot of people using them to d/l this sort of content it will take longer yet.
Sorry to bust your bubble about streaming but it isn't there yet or anytime soon.

Like I said . . . ignorance. You really don't understand the difference between a movie that is streamed and a movie that is downloaded to your hard drive do you? Nor have you heard of the new H.265 video compression codec. That is crystal clear from your response.
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post #22 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 12:28 PM
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Like I said . . . ignorance. You really don't understand the difference between a movie that is streamed and a movie that is downloaded to your hard drive do you? Nor have you heard of the new H.265 video compression codec. That is crystal clear from your response.

yeah, ok. and just how long is it going to take to download this crystal clear movie before i can watch it? and just for a rental?

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post #23 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 12:42 PM
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Eh, I could see good quality, legit downloads being an alternative, I guess. And the point of this thread is: What would be the alternative to Blu-Ray, if Mr. Schiller had his way? So there's an alternative.

It would still be DRM encumbered, count on that. But Blu-Ray has AACS and BD+ protection now, so call it even. Folks would find a way to use their legally purchased videos on more than one device, at more than one location. Forget "renting", most times if I like a movie, I want to buy it instead. If it's a matter of renting only, count me out.

An hour to download a 25 GB 1080p MKV though? I have Comcast broadband and there's no way that's happening at my house, what with slowdowns, especially during the day. Maybe others could do it.

I'd still want a "hard" copy though, immune to hard drive failure or flash drive data decay. So I guess I'd have to burn it to BD25.
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Optical drives are not holding us back, the movie industry is. Apple, screw them, they have never done anything but lie through their teeth. Removing old features for apple is about forcing their users to buy expensive adapters and upgrade multiple parts of their ecosystem in order to work, its never been about anything else to them. They removed the floppy drive when everyone was using it, cant tell you how many times I had to deal with someone who could not move something because they had no floppy drive. Every mac that comes to work needs an adapter to connect to a projector, 99% of the PC laptops connect directly. What is more simple? adapters, or just using the laptop and not carrying anything? Its not about being simple its about screwing people over and profit margins, just as another poster said dispite the fact that apple strips their computers of most common ports they still charge just as much or more than comparable computers with all the ports. If apple cared at all about moving things forward they would not be creating proprietary standard, like the silly DVI port they used to have that just had a different shaped outside. They would create a single really robust video display and KEEP it for 15 years. Not swap out video ports every 3 years.

So back to my original point, the movie industry puts all sorts of stipulations on streaming content to force it to have small buffers and lower quality. All they need to do is allow people to preload the full MKV or BR quality movie ahead of time, even let people store them. Heck they can even create a service that automatically stores movies on your computer if you own it and guesses which ones you are likely to use. This does not require the fastest internet.

The cloud should be about having multiple copies of things where the most commonly accessed items are local and cloud and the less commonly accessed items are only in the cloud. But instead all the companies want to force you to only use the cloud, so create their own problems.
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post #25 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Not with current infrastructure. There's simply not enough bandwith for the entire country to be streaming 20Mbps right now, nor are there plans to build this infrastructure. Delivery of a 50GB file, or even a 25GB file takes an hour or so with an internet connection that is more than average and with average interenet connections and a lot of people using them to d/l this sort of content it will take longer yet.
Sorry to bust your bubble about streaming but it isn't there yet or anytime soon.

But how long does it take to go to the store and get the BR? Preloading a BR that takes an hour is no more time than it will take to go to a store and rent it most of the time. Remember you need to account for both trips to get the rental and return it. Also if these services were available and mainstream people would start paying more for broadband to get faster speeds. Most non tech savy people I know think of internet as an extra bill and just go for whatever is cheapest or in a package.
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post #26 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

LOL - why is it that the optical disc purists always point to streaming? Is it ignorance that prevents them from seeing the potential of downloads to far surpass the PQ and AQ of BD?

The problem is that there IS NO current consumer download option that 'far surpass'es PQ and AQ of BD. At the moment, BD represents the best PQ/AQ available at the consumer level. Also, you can (without too much effort) take the BD content and make a full quality digital copy or re-compress it to work on your various devices as needed. I seriously doubt we will see (anytime in the reasonable future) a downloadable digital copy with better PQ/AQ than BR that is not locked down to the point that interoperability becomes an issue.
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post #27 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Not with current infrastructure. There's simply not enough bandwith for the entire country to be streaming 20Mbps right now, nor are there plans to build this infrastructure. Delivery of a 50GB file, or even a 25GB file takes an hour or so with an internet connection that is more than average and with average interenet connections and a lot of people using them to d/l this sort of content it will take longer yet.
Sorry to bust your bubble about streaming but it isn't there yet or anytime soon.

Quote:
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Like I said . . . ignorance. You really don't understand the difference between a movie that is streamed and a movie that is downloaded to your hard drive do you? Nor have you heard of the new H.265 video compression codec. That is crystal clear from your response.

I had heard about that codec a few months back but where is it NOW? The new apple computers have no Blu-ray drive NOW so there's a disconnect here. Plus, even if this codec is twice as efficient, there's still the fact that it will be a 12 to 25 GB file to download or something at 10Mbps to stream; the fact remains that the infrastructure for everybody to do this is just not there right now. I think I acually do understand the difference between streaming and downloading to a hard drive but that isn't the point and there's no reason to go personal, especaially when you don't know me or what I do or don't know. But that is immaterial because streaming or downloading the bandwidth is not there in the internet infrastructure to handle a bunch of people doing that at the same time. Apple wants you to buy all your content from their store and noplace else. As they sell bits and bytes they don't like people buying physical media from someplace else, they ship without a Blu-ray drive.

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post #28 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 01:40 PM
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At least Apple could join Google (fiber) and start getting affordable 1 gigabit internet out. Apple, meet us half way.
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post #29 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 01:40 PM
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I read somewhere a while back that Steve Jobs once called Blu ray "a big bag of hurt." I think it had to do with the issue of having to pay Sony fees to license the technology if Apple was to ever incorporate Blu ray into its computers, which he outright refused to ever do. Also, I am a Blu ray supporter.
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post #30 of 85 Old 10-29-2012, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post

At least Apple could join Google (fiber) and start getting affordable 1 gigabit internet out. Apple, meet us half way.

Affordable is not in apple's lexicon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehosey2 View Post

I read somewhere a while back that Steve Jobs once called Blu ray "a big bag of hurt." I think it had to do with the issue of having to pay Sony fees to license the technology if Apple was to ever incorporate Blu ray into its computers, which he outright refused to ever do. Also, I am a Blu ray supporter.

Cheap-@$$ MoFo (with a creaky wallet) is..

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