Seven reasons not to buy Blue-ray yet

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The formatting war between HD-DVD and blue-ray has been over for months, so many people are considering switching over to Blue-ray. This article is going to outline the top seven reasons why you shouldn’t buy a blue-ray play just yet.

#1. Cost of the movies

Out of all the reasons you should wait on buying anything related to blue-ray, this is definitely the most compelling. It’s no secret that new technology is expensive, but that goes double for blue-ray. HD-DVDs were actually much cheaper to buy because manufacturers could simply retool their DVD factories and start making HD-DVDs for little extra cost. Blue-ray on the other hand, is not so easy to manufacture. Therefore, in order to manufacture blue-ray discs, manufacturers had to buy new, expensive machinery. Because of this, Blue-ray discs are still anywhere from 25% to 100% more expensive than regular DVDs! You don’t have to take my word for it, either. You can go to your favorite DVD retailer, and compare prices on new movie releases in both blue-ray and DVD formats. You are likely to see that most blue-ray movies are about ten dollars more expensive for each DVD. The best solution to save your money is to wait until scale of economy drives the prices of blue-ray movies down.

#2. Cost of the players

Like all new technology, blue-ray players are much more expensive than regular DVD players. Nowadays, you can get a decent DVD player for $100, but a decent blue-ray player may cost you $300 or more. Think about this for a second…are you willing to this much money for the privilege of buying more expensive movies? The folks at Sony are laughing their way to the bank every time someone forks over the cash for a new blue-ray player. Your best option is to wait until you can get a high quality, reliable player for a reasonable price. You may have to wait years before the players finally reach this point, but frankly, DVD’s still look very good on virtually any television or projector.

#3. Annoyance of security for players

Believe it or not, DVDs have encryption. Unfortunately for the movie industry, this encryption was broken very easily, which allowed people to quickly and easily transfer DVDs to their computer so they may be stored, or burned onto a blank DVD. I, for one, keep a copy of my favorite movies on my computer for easy access.

Because it was so easy to copy DVDs, Sony decided to step up security for blue-ray movies, at the expense of us, the consumers. The ramifications of this are profound, and will be discussed in this point, and points to follow. First and foremost, the copy protection on blue-ray discs was broken fairly soon after their release into the market. Because of this, Sony actually changed the security protections on their discs. After this change, new blue-ray discs WOULD NOT PLAY in current blue-ray disc players. This forced all the blue-ray disc player manufacturers to develop new firmware which needed to be installed on all their players in order to play newly released movies. What does this mean for you? Ever time Sony changes the security protection on their discs, you are going to have to wait a couple days, and then spend an hour to download, burn, and install new firmware for your blue-ray DVD player. So far, I’ve wasted over three hours of my life and about 4 dollars in blank DVDs just so I could install new firmware in order to play newly released blue-ray movies. Even when I bought Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (which turned out to be disappointing) I had to wait over a week before a firmware update was available for my player. The player I own is a LG BH-100. What really scares me is that if the manufacturer ever decides to discontinue support for my player, as soon as Sony changes the security again, the player will be unable to play any new movies ever again. That’s really comforting.

In short, Sony’s security protection software for blue-ray DVDs is one of the biggest engineering and business blunders of the century. Not only are their security features always broken days after being released, but it’s terribly inconvenient for us, the consumers.

#4. Annoyance of getting blue-ray to work on your computer

If you have a modern computer, chances are you have a DVD drive. If you want to play blue-ray movies on your computer, be prepared to jump through hoops. First of all, you need to have an approved operating system, processor, graphics card, monitor, connection to the monitor, and software player. If any one of these things is not up to Sony’s outrageous security related demands, then you will still be able to play the blue-ray movie, but the visual quality will be intentionally ruined to look worse than a VHS tape…and no, that isn’t an exaggeration. If you’re not sure what the exact requirements are for each of these components, chances are, you don’t meet the requirements.

#5. Buying computer software in order to play blue-ray on your computer

If you bought a blue-ray drive for your computer expecting to play movies, brace yourself. Many blue-ray drives on sale right now come with software which is intentionally crippled. For example, if you want to watch a blue-ray movie on your computer with Dolby digital 5.1 sound, you are going to need to fork over 70 dollars for an upgraded version of the software that came with your player. Usually, this is Cyberlink PowerDVD. Can you see how expensive this can become? What makes me really angry is that this is all a ramification of Sony’s copyright protection fueled by Sony’s greed. You could look at software from Sly Fox, which copies the entire blue-ray movie to your computer, and removes all copyright protection. This way, you won’t need to buy expensive software to play blue-ray movies, but you will have to buy Sly Fox software. You will also need 50 GB of free room on your hard drive and wait for however long it takes to copy the movie over, which is an annoyance to say the least.

#6. Burning Blue-ray is not a realistic possibility yet

If you have a modern computer, you probably have a DVD burner. DVD burners are cheap, and blank DVD’s cost about 50 cents each, which is reasonable. Blue-ray burners do exist, but the cost of both the players and the media is prohibitively expensive. At the time of this writing, the cheapest blue-ray burner is $250, but that does not support blue-ray re-writeable media. The cheapest blue-ray burner that is able to read and write to re-writeable is about $350. A similar situation existed when DVD writers were first developed. The only responsible solution is to wait. Simply wait for the price of blue-ray DVD burners to fall. That way, you’re ensured cheaper players, and technology which is better tested than drives available on the market right now.

Not only are the burners expensive, but the recordable media is even more so. The absolute cheapest 25GB 2X BD-R I could find on was $8.99. Of course, shipping is another $6.99. The blue-ray media is prohibitively expensive right now. Right now, if you buy single discs (ignoring shipping), you will get 2.78 GB for every dollar you spend. If you buy single-layer DVD-R, you will get 9.4 GB for every dollar you spend, which is a vastly better deal. Right now, the blue-ray burnable media is simply too expensive, and not worth it. Again, the solution to this problem is to wait. The prices will eventually come down, so why hurry and get blue-ray now? The best way to make your wallet happy is to simply wait it out.

There is one more cold reality that you should consider about burning. Blue ray players for televisions DO NOT support discs burned with a computer. This is part of Sony’s master plan to eliminate piracy. So don’t think you can rent a movie, copy it, burn it, and play it in your blue-ray player, because you won’t be successful. The only solution I know of is to use a media-PC equipped with a blue-ray drive, and use that as your blue-ray player for your television or projector. Again, if you don’t have a media-PC, this is yet another costly item you will have to purchase in order to watch burned blue-ray movies on your television. Unfortunately, waiting isn’t going to fix this problem, although it may bring cost down on a media-PC.

#7. Renting is more expensive

It’s already widely known and established in this article that blue-ray movies are more expensive than regular DVDs. Unfortunately; you can expect that to be true even for renting blue-ray movies! That’s right; companies such as Netflix are planning on charging their customers a couple extra dollars each month for access to their high definition library. For the very last time, the best solution to this problem is to simply wait. Netflix and other rental places don’t want to charge their customers more, they are forced to because of the high cost of blue-ray movies. Once blue-ray movies become cheaper, these extra renting charges should disappear.

In summary, it is clear that one day, blue-ray will be standard, but that time has not come yet. There are still many problems with blue ray relating to the cost of players, computer hardware, blank media, and the movies themselves. While the movies may be in high definition, in my opinion, that is not worth all the extra cost. The best thing we, the consumers, can do is wait until the prices drop. Waiting will not solve all the problems, especially ones related to bizarre security and copy protection requirements, but waiting is still the best way to save some substantial money.

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Posted under Shopping

This post was written by admin on September 3, 2008

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