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Hello. My wife and I recently got a Sony xbr4 52" tv back in March, and in Nov we got the Onkyo HTIB ht-s7100 which I absolutely love. My wife likes all the new toys but a basic sdtv with two speakers would also make her happy. With all of our dvd's and blu ray's played through a 40gig ps3, we have the hardware to get the most out of blu-ray where picture and sound are concerned.


With all the movie studios switching to blu-ray it would seem logical that each movie released on blu-ray would meet some kind of minimum standard. That doesn't seem to be the case however. Each blu-ray movie can have widely varying standards when it comes to picture quality and audio quality. Some blu-rays don't even have the same supplemental material as their dvd releases.


I've already become somewhat stingy over what dvd's I purchased. I found it was better practice to wait up to a year before getting a movie on DVD just to make sure I was getting the unrated uncut special edition director's cut version with as many features just to avoid double or triple dipping on the same movies.


So for me, these "rules" or what have you are my current dogma for when it comes to a blu-ray purchase and I was wondering if anyone else did something similar.


1. I never blind-buy a blu-ray. There have been some exceptions to this rule (blu-ray's given as gifts, or purchasing a blu-ray for someone else in the hustle/bustle of holiday shopping).

2. I use a dvd library management program like DVD profiler which keeps track of what you own and keeps track of a wishlist for you.

3. If there is ever an oppurtunity to return a dvd, always check to see if it has a corresponding blu-ray version before opening the dvd. If there's a blu-ray version of a dvd I take the dvd back and purchase the blu-ray version, however if reviews of that paticular blu-ray are poor (detailed below) then if its a movie I want it goes on wishlist and hope they release a better version of it.

4. I always research a blu-ray online before purchasing it. I usually check reviews here at avs as well as the professional and user reviews at blu-ray.com. What I look for in a review is a minimum 4-5 rating in picture quality and audio quality. The blu-ray should have DTS-HD or Dolby-TrueHD or PCM lossless audio tracks. I personally want the better picture and sound and I swear I can hear a discernible difference between the loseless and lossy audio tracks. So far I've preferred the loseless audio track on each BD I've purchased.

5. I only buy movies that I know I'll watch more then once, otherwise its a rental from netflix.


Thats about it. As a result, the only blu-ray's I've bought so far that I wish I could return are Terminator 2 and Rocky. Picture quality on both aren't as good or much of an upgrade over their dvd versions and Terminator 2 blu-ray is stuck with the same audio track as the DVD. By being more discriminating about my movie purchases, I now own 300, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dark City Director's Cut, Evil Dead 2, The Golden Compass, I Am Legend, Kung Fu Panda, Planet Earth series, Starship Troopers, Sweeney Todd, Wall-E and Legend of the Waterhorse and have been immensely satisfied with each one.
 

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Screenshots, and reviews. Must have no grain hardly.
 

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At this point, no lossless is a dealbreaker no-matter what. Otherwise:


1. If I like or think I'll like the movie

2. PQ

3. Do I or did I ever own it on DVD?

.

.

.


1,000. What other people think about the movie
 

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For purchases, I try to greatly limit my "blind buys", and only buy the ones that I know have a lot of rewatch potential. Otherwise, it is a rental in the Netflix queue.


Sometimes, a really nice packaging will push me towards a "buy", but those are extreme exceptions. For 99% of my collection, I like all the cases to line up neatly in my media shelves.


Bonus features and supplemental materials are not very important to me. For example, Wall*E has a 2 and 3 disc BD version. I saw the movie in the theater and liked it. I bought the 2 disc BD of it, but I have absolutely no idea what is on disc 2, or what might have been on disc 3, and I really don't care. I have the movie in top quality, and that is good enough for me.


I know that others have different opinions and some percentage of people enjoy all the bonus materials.
 

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What's SD DVD?


I will only buy on SD if it doesn't come on BD, or in a very rare case, when the BD release really screws over the content.


Seggers
 

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The Blu-ray release has to port over all the special feature content from the best existing DVD release. In the future, I will not purchase a bare-bones Blu-ray title if I know a loaded DVD of the film is available. I own so much already, that replacing a title with a Blu-ray version makes no sense to me if I'd end up losing commentaries and making-of documentary content.


I mistakenly picked up the Robocop Blu-ray release and it contains nothing from the terrific 2-disc 20th anniversary release. I will not make that mistake again.
 

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I used to buy new dvds every tuesday but now for blu-ray I always wait for a review and then I rent it . If I like what I saw ( terrific picture and sound quality ) and I love the movie then is a definite purchase for me. Also I usually wait like 1 or 2 weeks after release for a better price. You can usually find bluray movies at standard dvds prices over the net.
 

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For me the bottom line is bang for the buck. What goes into that is how good the movie is, PQ, AQ, number of times I will re watch it, version and price. Blade Runner and The God Father cost more but there is value there due to the effort that went into restoring them. T2 has always been a lot cheaper but I never picked it up until it slipped under $7. At that point the bang for the buck equation moved to a buy even though most of the other factors were fairly weak.
 

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1. Quality of the movie


2. Quality (supposed or checked) of the picture


3. Quality (supposed or checked) of the audio.


And I am becoming more and more demanding, especially as far as criteria 1. and 2. are concerned!
 

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1. Do I "really" like this movie?

I've started a "pending BD release" section in my DVD cabinet and have started watching every film there to determine if I enjoyed the film enough to warrant upgrading it for subsequent viewings. I've found that I bought a lot of movies that while fun/beautiful I doubt I'll watch again even on DVD, so they'll be sold. The Austin Powers movies fell into that category as did Akira. Others, like Event Horizon and Any Given Sunday will be upgraded.



2. How well is the release priced at Amazon?

Wall-E (3-disc DVD for the extras - $23, 2-disc BD - $19) = WIN

Katt Williams (DVD - $15, BD - $17) = OK (even though the audio is only DD5.1 on both)

Man On Fire (SteelBook DVD - $20, BD sans extras - $26) = FAIL

For most I can wait for a sub-$20 price drop, then buy.



3. No blind buys/rent it first?

I've seen the error of my old buy it Tuesday, return it Thursday problem.

Unknown new releases go into the Netflix queue first. If I like it enough, then it goes into the Amazon wishlist. This has saved me money so far on Hancock(liked the movie, but no replayability), Hell Ride(underwhelming), and Transformers(still trying to block out the memories). I would've bought all of these sight unseen and regretted it.


I honestly rate PQ and AQ down the list. So long as there's a bit of improvement, the judder-free 1080p24 playback and anti-scratch coating make the upgrade worthwhile.
 

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1. I have to like the movie a lot. If it wouldn't make my top ten for the year in which it was released, I'm probably not going to buy it.


2. It has to be the closest thing to a director's cut that's out there. For example, I didn't buy KILL BILL, even though it's my favorite movie, because it's not the Japanese version. And I didn't buy WILD THINGS, because all that extra footage was intentionally left out of the movie by the filmmakers for creative reasons.


Also, it has to be in the proper aspect ratio. That means PLANET TERROR is okay, because it was changed by the director, but EYES WIDE SHUT is not, because the director, for whatever reason, had intended for it to be in 4:3 on home video.


3. It can't be a transfer which has been upscaled from SD, like the British version of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was.


Other than that, I'm good to go. I figure no matter how bad the PQ or AQ is on a BD, it'll still be better than the DVD. And in the end, content rules over all. If the movie is good, that's what matters.


As far as extras are concerned, I don't really care. At most, I'll watch them once. If I already have the extras on DVD, then it really doesn't matter to me at all. I'll never not buy a movie I want because it lacks special features. However, there are rare occasions when I will buy a movie that I normally wouldn't because it has a very intriguing extra.
 

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1. The girl on the box has to be super hot. (Usually Jenna Jameson)

2. It HAS to be boy-girl. I'm hetero.

3. I'll usually only buy titles from Red Light District or Anabolic.

4. Interracial is fine. But no midget or gonzo for me.

5. I'll usually go by the title, if it sounds good it usually is (eg. "Big Night Sticks Little White Chicks")


That's about it for my Blu-ray purchases.
 

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I consider Blockbuster and Hollywood Video to my library so I never buy outside of keeping a few somewhat unknown goodies around should unexpected guests arrive.
 

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That I want to see the movie.


That's all I need. Any Blu Ray is better than the DVD. I can't imagine letting a lack of some other technical spec (even non-lossless audio) stop me from seeing a movie I really might like on Blu Ray.
 
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