Blu-Ray – Rookie Upstart or Just a Busted Format?
I’m a big proponent of the Blu-Ray format. Is it because of the high-bit-rate TrueHD surround sound in DTS? Is it because of the 1080p video that makes the images on the screen come to life? Is it because of the amount of features and quality that can be crammed into a 50 Gb Disc? The answer is that it’s all of the above.The Blu-Ray Disc is a leap forward technologically, and something that was inconceivable about 5 years ago in the heyday of the DVD format.
Of course, the main barrier of entry to the Blu-Ray Disc “party" is the cost. Currently, a person working minimum wage or a lower-end job can most assuredly afford a DVD player and a $1 rental to have a great family movie night, but they can’t afford the setup necessary to watch movies in 1080p.
Another problem with Blu-Ray is that it’s still traditional thinking about a market that’s increasingly skipping over into the digital realm. Microsoft earlier this year made a powerful statement about not needing to install Blu-Ray players inside their Xbox systems by offering 1080p streaming video over the Internet. How well this service works remains to be seen, and the cost is still a bit too high, but if it works, streaming video could easily supplant both the DVD and Blu-Ray formats.
With streaming video, so long as there is an Internet-enabled box underneath your TV, you can access the content you want over the Internet at any time, and hopefully for a monthly fee instead of an individual, per-movie cost. Even better, if you’re the sort that doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, an HTPC is an investment in the future of movie watching.
With an HTPC and an Internet enabled Wireless-N card, you’ll send your video watching into new heights. A simple DVR program and a TV tuner will ensure that all the content that you already pay for via cable and satellite can easily be recorded and watched later. Furthermore, for those that have the know-how, the Internet is littered with copies of high-resolution movies, even 1080p movies that, even with a good Internet connection will only take 3-4 hours to download.
The harsh reality for the DVD and the Blu-Ray format is that physical discs seem to be on their way out. For those that can afford to pay for their video, it seems that streaming is a much more friendly solution that doesn’t involve the use of a physical rental location at all. Just sit down, pop open the bag of popcorn and hit play – your movie should start after only a few seconds of buffering.