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Why Has Blu-ray Failed To Catch Hold? 1162

Velcroman1 writes "My VCR is stashed in a closet, right next to a couple of CD-ROM players, a laser disc player, and other forgotten electronics. Is my Blu-ray player about to join them? Blu-ray really hasn't caught on — and probably never will. 'I'm surprised DVDs have continued to hang on,' said King, referring to the fact that player sales of over 20 million units in the US last year were pretty much evenly split between DVD and Blu-ray models. Blu-ray discs and players are clearly superior to DVDs, offering more features and a better picture overall. So why haven't shoppers been impressed?"
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Why Has Blu-ray Failed To Catch Hold?

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  • Not bothered (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aedan ( 196243 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:01PM (#35868896) Homepage

    I suspect most people aren't that bothered by picture quality.

    DVDs are handier than tapes, you don't need to rewind.

    • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DataDiddler ( 1994180 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#35868956)
      Hole in one. Past a certain point, most people just won't care. This is why most people listen to music on cheap, crappy speakers; the gains in paying an extra $X aren't worth it to them. Plus, people are naturally conservative by nature and won't change anything unless they're forced to or see enough of a benefit in doing so.
      • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:15PM (#35869256) Journal
        There are also (non quality related) advantages to DVDs, to this day:

        As with USB vs. Firewire(where Firewire is absolutely better; but modestly more expensive and much less common), the Blu-ray premium isn't nearly as crushing as it was back in the bad old days(TFA mentions a $70 Blu-Ray deck, albeit probably lacking support for some of the fancy features; but a DVD player can be purchased at just about any pharmacy for about as much as dinner and a drink...); but it is still the case that DVD is absolutely ubiquitous, while Blue-ray cannot be assumed.

        Want a disk that will play at your house, on your laptop(s)/desktop(s), at a friend's house during movie night, etc, etc? Blu-ray still can't promise that. DVD drives have, essentially, replaced CD drives in everything but dedicated CD players. You have to look to buy CD-ROM only devices(DVD burners aren't quite as ubiquitous; but DVD read/CD R/W is pretty much baseline). Blu-ray, by contrast, isn't wildly expensive; but you still have to ask for it, every kiddie going to college whose "TV" is a 17 inch macbook doesn't have it, most cheapy PCs don't have it.

        Then there's the fact that the user experience with some Blu-ray players has been almost hilariously hostile. DVD players, with comparatively rare and usually irrelevant exceptions, don't have firmware updates. Blu-ray, not always something that can be relied on to avoid that.
        • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Informative)

          by toastar ( 573882 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:20PM (#35869358)

          There are also (non quality related) advantages to DVDs, to this day:

          Well that and a dvd burner is 20 bucks whereas a bluray burner is about $100

          • Re:Not bothered (Score:4, Insightful)

            by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:32PM (#35869584) Journal
            And the per-disk cost, of course(both with blanks and with commercial media). DVD blanks are basically disposable, blu-ray rather less so(but still not large enough or stability-tested enough to be a viable alternative to the really pricey tape, for smaller users). Then, when you hit the store, you find that the DVD is ~50% the price of the BD, except under special circumstances.

            Given that people are willing to watch streaming video in the under-5mb/s range, quite happily if the price is right, the quality bump just isn't worth the extra cost.

            The one that I would like to see more of; but is basically certain to not happen outside of pirate circles, is greater adoption of the dubiously standard; but quite convenient, intermediate format of MP4 video recorded on DVDs. All the cheapness of DVD production; but better quality than MPEG-2 for the same size. Some DVD players support it, and computers have no trouble; but it is totally informal.
            • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Informative)

              by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:09PM (#35871342) Journal

              I think Blank Media cost is the big mover here.
              If BD_Rom blanks were the same price or even price/gig as DVD media the adoption rate would be much higher. The content creators have ensured this won't happen. What they don't realize is this has also greatly hurt the general adoption rate of the format.
              If disks were cheap, people would use them for their home movies, what with 720p cameras being commonplace now.

              I recently had to explain to someone that my sony* DCR-96 was DVD quality even though it wasn't 1080p/720p etc. they really didn't get it. It wasn't until I shot identical scenes on both the DCR and a FlipUltraHD 720p camera and mastered them to a DVD, then played it on a 1080p TV did it sink in that raw pixel counts don't help in consumer video. You're better off buying based on low light performance and SNR than on resolution.

              * I hate Sony's antics, and I shopped around for days to find an alternative camera in the same cost range, nada.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by riegel ( 980896 )

                and mastered them to a DVD...

                Your point is correct, but your test was flawed.

            • by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:14PM (#35871442) Journal

              The one that I would like to see more of; but is basically certain to not happen outside of pirate circles, is greater adoption of the dubiously standard; but quite convenient, intermediate format of MP4 video recorded on DVDs. All the cheapness of DVD production; but better quality than MPEG-2 for the same size. Some DVD players support it, and computers have no trouble; but it is totally informal.

              This is something I'd like to see also. All of our movies have been ripped to mp4 format and put on a hard drive on the media server, but there is no room in the car for such an item. It would be nice to fit a few movies per DVD for the kids to watch on long car trips.

              Which leads to the other two pluses for DVDs: (i) ripping a DVD is mindlessly easy nowadays, while ripping a BluRay still takes some effort, and (ii) region-free DVD players are the norm in most of the world, while I have not encountered a region-free BluRay player. We have a few DVDs which are region 0 (i.e. no region), a larger number which are region 1, but most are region 2. This is OK with a region-free DVD player, but wanting to view disks from different regions would mean buying multiple BluRay players.

          • A Snappy answer is that it failed because there are no Apple computers with blue ray built in. Sony tried to keep this proprietary from day one. It got into a pissing contest with Toshiba that delayed it. They didn't cut deals with other makers early. They didn't get them early into Apple or IBM or Toshiba computers (which is where the high end customers lurk). Just into Sony products early.

            I think they drank their own Koolaide on the PS3s technical superiority and assumed that bundle pricing would make

            • by darjen ( 879890 )

              Sony has a long track record of format failure. I avoid them like the plague.

            • by hazydave ( 96747 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:02PM (#35871222)

              The lack of Blu-ray support from Apple is entirely an Apple thing. They want people to support iTunes, not Blu-ray. The tiny bit of money they would have made on video professional who want Blu-ray support (which they can actually get, after-market, on the Mac ... Adobe tools support it) pales in comparison to the cash they're pulling in on iOS devices and products. In fact, just the iPad itself brought in as much revenue as the Mac last year... and it wasn't even launched until April.

              Sony won specifically because Blu-ray wasn't proprietary. Toshiba and Microsoft ran HD-DVD like a gaming console -- Toshiba sold every player at a loss, which they could, because they got a per-disc royalty. Blu-ray was rapidly licensed... other than the PS3, Sony wasn't even out with a BD player early on (they had to devote their supply of lasers to the PS3).

              Blu-ray in PCs wasn't a critical thing, just as DVD in PCs wasn't when DVD was new. PCs only adopt the new consumer formats once the drives hit a comfortable price point. Which is about where Blu-ray drives are these days.

              And this is the same evolution as other devices. The pundits do expect Blu-ray player sales to exceed DVD this year, for the simple reason that the CE industry has counted on new DVD features of some kind every year to drive new player sales. Particularly today, your best chance at a new sale is to someone who's already a DVD users. The premium player market was long ago established at around US$100. When 480p players hit the market, they were more expensive, but settled into the $100 niche. Then upscaling players took over that $100 slot. Now it's Blu-ray players... they are, after all, still fully functional DVD players. By Christmas, BD players will hit the $50 mark on sales, then pretty regularly into 2012 -- just as BD players first hit the $100 mark last Christmas, and now are readily available at around $100.

              Media sales are another thing... many discs are sold to people with multiple players. You may have that BD player in the livingroom, but DVD players in the car, the kids room, the portable player or PC for vacation use. This has many new BDs bundled with a DVD as well... they'll spend the extra $0.05 to make the BD sales. Disc sales were around 20% last year, depending on the film (films with geek appeal do a significantly higher share of BD sales than, say, chick flicks or kiddie films). This is expected to increase this year.

              That's not the whole story, though, because it's also keyed by retailer. Wal-Mart sells the most DVDs in the country, and they're still highly DVD oriented. Best Buy, on the other hand, went over 50% Blu-ray last year, and they continue to grow. DVD sales are skewing toward highly discounted older releases already, and probably keep moving that way. That's one big reason the studios are all about the Blu-ray, even though it hasn't dominated yet. Don't forget, it took quite some time for DVD to replace VHS, and that was without the backward compatibility.

              Another related factor: just try to find a standard definition television or camcorder any more. They essentially don't exist. Consumers are moving rapidly toward HD in all things, which starts to make DVD unacceptable, at least for certain films. Same reason I could imagine watching a small cast drama in SD, but wouldn't even bother to watch any pro sport in SD... just doesn't work anymore.

              • by rbrander ( 73222 )

                >They want people to support iTunes, not Blu-ray.

                I've heard the theory floated that MS threw all its weight behind HD-DVD, not because they believed it would win, but would lose. They wanted the format war to go on as long as possible to "run out the clock" for physical media at all, to move people straight to the streaming solution. Apple would have similar motivations.

                In a similar vein, TFA is conspicuously lacking in some crucial numbers that would really reveal whether BR is "failing". That is, wh

            • Somehow I do not think apple not using bluray has anything to do with it not catching on. Apple still has a small market share when it comes to PCs/laptops. They may have a lot of sales in tablets/phones/ ipods, but than again there is no disc drive in any of those.
          • It's not just the money. $100 isn't a bad price point for what should be a superior experience to a $20 player. My problem is the technology itself. I have a 2 year old Blu-ray player in my living room that needs constant updates to firmware to keep up with newer blu-rays. It's a pain to update because the USB port is in the back of the unit and it's not easy to access...

            I just built a new computer and put blu-ray in it so my son can watch some of his movies that we purchased on blu ray, but again, scol

        • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:28PM (#35869500) Journal
          There's another difference which makes DVDs more easily playable.

          You can easily buy _cheap_ multi-region DVD players.

          It's still not easy to find cheap multi zone Blu-ray players.

          I know some guy who buys lots of original stuff (especially shelves of anime) and he lives in NZ.

          The trouble is most english sub-titled bluray anime releases are in the wrong zone for NZ blu-ray players!

          So he had to go to a different country to buy a bluray player and take it back... I told him he shouldn't support such idiocy, but he just had to buy one.

          Who gets hurt by this bullshit? Good customers like him. Those people downloading MKVs aren't hurt :).
        • by vlm ( 69642 )

          but it is still the case that DVD is absolutely ubiquitous, while Blue-ray cannot be assumed.

          Thru the magic of streaming and mythtv the only place my kids watch old fashioned physical disks is in the car. Can you even buy a blueray player for a car? For less than a kilobuck?

        • Two important pluses for DVD that you didn't mention:

          1. I can rip it. Blu-ray is still hard to rip.

          2. I can easily get a region-free drive and player. I'm still not seeing cheap region-free Blu-ray players.

          So even though I do have an HDTV, and do see the quality difference, and do have the money to buy Blu-ray rather than DVD... I still buy DVD in preference, because of Blu-ray's DRM. Way to go, movie studios.

          (That said, I rent Blu-ray.)

          • Blu-ray is still hard to rip.

            I've never had an issue, and since I don't own a Blu-Ray player, I have to rip all my discs.

            In fact, since I have yet to find a movie on Blu-Ray that isn't at the original frame rate and progressive scan, the number one issue I have with DVD ripping (consistent de-interlacing and pulldown removal) goes away.

            Although I don't actually automate, with AnyDVD HD, eac3to, DGAVCIndex (or ffmsindex), AVISynth, Xvid or x264, and mkvmerge, it's close to automation, with only a few conversions needing some extra tweak

          • by batkiwi ( 137781 )

            Both makeMKV (which has osx and linux versions in addition to windows) and anydvdHD do 2-click ripping of blu rays.

            I own a few blu rays, but all of them are ripped on my mac and then transferred to my mythtv backend. I got an external usb2 blu ray drive for $60 that does the trick.

        • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Informative)

          by Beardydog ( 716221 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:55PM (#35870042)
          You can basically stick a DVD drive in a badger and get its best possible picture out the other end.

          If I stick a Blu-Ray drive in my mom's computer, her 1080p TV will get 720p, at best, I think. If I stick it in my computer, with HDCP, but plug it into my iz3d monitor, I get 720p, at best ( no HDCP support ). If I plug it into my TV with VGA, because Westinghouse TV's apparently forget how to receive HDMI for weeks at a time, I get 720p, at best. Or if I accidentally leave the iz3D drivers running, thereby breaking the video chain of trust. Or if the wind blows.

          People buy DVDs to play on -all- of their devices. Even old people watch DVDs through computers now. Getting Blu-Ray to work doesn't involve buying Blu-Ray discs, it involves upgrading every goddamned component you have, then crossing your fingers.

          And the software. JESUS CHRIST.

          I get to choose between CyberLink something or other and PowerDVD something or other... the only two options... both cost money. The OEM that came with the drive installs fine, but fails to install an update without it which it can play no Blu-Ray discs. When it finally runs, it's visibly horrible software, littered with stock photos and upsell messages. It enforces every no-skip, no-fast-forward, no-screenshot, no-noting rule to the hilt until you just wish Flanders was dead.

          I love the picture, and now that I've got it all working, it's worth having the Netflix Blu-ray option.... but I'm not going to pay money to own discs that do their level best to thwart me at every opportunity, and if fell through a wormhole into the past, I would probably skip the whole thing and pirate my HD content. 720p only? Fuck, that's probably all I get half the time, anyway.
          • The software problem with DVDs on PCs was bad for a long time, too. You could get a DVD drive with a hardware decoder card, or one with software only. The software was most decidedly not free -- heaven help you if you lost the Power DVD disc that came with your PC, and Linux support was sketchy at best for quite a while. Some DVDs would come with some crappy player software that didn't include CSS encryption, but would sometimes goober up the DVD software you already had (PC Friendly!). If you have a D
        • I upgraded the firmware on my DVD player. Now I can fast forward through the FBI/Interpol warnings, and turn macrovision off. Is there a Blu-Ray player that can do that?
      • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:18PM (#35869314) Homepage

        The people who write about this kind of stuff usually fail to understand this. As a tech writer, it is probable that you and everybody you know has everything fancy things like HDTVs and you are naturally invested and interested in new tech.

        The truth is, a lot of people don't even have TVs where blu-ray would matter, even if they did care about the difference between really good (DVD) and super good (blu-ray). My parents only bought an HDTV last year, which made everything look better already...so until they get used to that, why go blu-ray? When I come home at night and see people in my apartment building's windows, I see quite a lot of tube TVs still going strong (remember, analog broadcast is dead but the cable companies are keeping it alive and well).

        Sure, all of my friends have HDTVs but I am young, tech savvy, and by the time we graduated college and moved into new apartments, you couldn't buy anything else. However, judging by the number of people content with pretty mediocre panels and crappy built in speakers--I wouldn't guess any of them care about quality all that much (not to mention the people who watch stretch-to-fit content without thinking anything looks wrong).

        • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Informative)

          by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:53PM (#35869998)

          well that is it is shelf life. for most people TV's represent a 10-20 year investment. If you bought an HDTV 10 years ago, your not thinking of replacing it for another 5-10 years.

          Ultimately Blue ray has a major design flaw. it forces people to update hardware that shouldn't need to be updated ever. google(or Bing) Blue Ray update problems. you get 80 million results.

          James cameron's Avatar is the best example of it. something like 1/3 of the blue ray players had to receive a firmware update to play it.some took only 5-6 days to come out others took months.

          when you finally got your update, you had o then hook your player up to the internet. for most people that means disassembling the tv stand moving the player to your computer desk and hooking it up there, along with a cheap tv so you can see what you are doing. Or making a really long patch cable and stringing through the house to hook up the player long enough to get the update.

        • Re:Not bothered (Score:4, Interesting)

          by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:34PM (#35871758) Homepage

          Well, and given the angular resolution of most people's eyes, honestly unless you have a very large big-screen TV and plan to sit very close to it, most people won't notice the difference at all. The human eye can differentiate to around 1 minute of arc, which at 14 feet (the width of my living room) translates to 1.24 millimeters, or about 20 pixels/inch. An HDTV has a resolution of 1920 pixels wide; at 20 pixels/inch this yields 96 inches--which means for a TV set smaller than 8 feet wide, the pixels don't contribute anything when I'm sitting 14 feet away, unless I have exceptionally good eyes. (I don't.) Even at 480i, with 720 pixels horizontally, at 14 feet distance, a 42inch monitor will have roughly 20 pixels/inch, which is right at the hairy edge of many people's perceptions.

          Now if you stand right in front of the monitor (or have a 23" computer monitor with a resolution of 1920 by 1080), you can see the pixels. But you're not staring at the thing from 14 feet away.

          So it's not just a matter of the average person not caring. The extra pixels are also being wasted on most people.

      • Hole in one. Past a certain point, most people just won't care. This is why most people listen to music on cheap, crappy speakers; the gains in paying an extra $X aren't worth it to them. Plus, people are naturally conservative by nature and won't change anything unless they're forced to or see enough of a benefit in doing so.

        One further reason (beyond not caring about incremental quality differences) is that "High Definition" has been a moving target. I've stood on the sidelines watching HD and the like s

    • That and the idea of buying a new player right now with most people pinching their pennies in this down economy.
      • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:16PM (#35869286)

        That and the issue that not everyone has a huge LCD panel for a TV. Sure, some people have 50" 1080p TV's, but some have 20-30" 720p sets (where the difference between dvd and bluray is small), and some still have CRTs (where the difference between dvd and bluray is non-existant).

        I, for one, still have a CRT, and I've heard various horror stories of bluray players not outputing any picture at all to a set that didn't support HDCP (such as my s-video/component/composite connections). On my computer, where I do have a bluray-rom drive, I found out that my video cards (two) and monitors (three) didn't support HDCP. The idea of replacing so much hardware to watch a movie is just ridiculous.

        Plus, I have reservations about the Internet-connectivity on these discs. I buy a disc because I want the content forever. Is that content really forever if I have to download it from Sony each time I want to watch it? Can they use the connectivity to violate my privacy?

        Plus, and I'm sure this has been fixed on the new high end players, but the original bluray players took 60-90 seconds to play a disc. My dvd player takes less than 10. Why would anyone want to sit around and wait for a player to boot?

        Furthermore, the ever-changing DRM environment on Bluray discs is in perpetual upheaval. Many older players won't play newer discs. Some older players will, but only with firmware updates. But again, this is more hassle than I'm willing to deal with.

        Once I finally upgrade my TV and monitors, I'll probably take a more serious look at Bluray, but as it stands there are too many issues (many created by DRM-happy studios). I wish the upgrade to Bluray had been more about fixing what was wrong with DVDs, making it a defacto DVD-2.0, rather than the creation of a new format with a whole new set of problems.

    • by ArcherB ( 796902 )

      I suspect most people aren't that bothered by picture quality.

      DVDs are handier than tapes, you don't need to rewind.

      We are going to get Blue Ray player for Netflix and whatever other apps will be included. Since we are willing to stream from Netflix, the extra resolution we would get from a Blue Ray disk doesn't really matter to us. DVD is good enough.

      • I think your mention of Netflix is more of a reason why the uptake for Blu-Ray is so slow, and it's the same reason why Blockbuster has gone down in flames -- physical media just isn't as lucrative as it used to be. Before fast Internet speeds, DVDs had no real media competitor besides dwindling VHS players with their obvious disadvantages. Blu-Ray came out in the age of streaming media and portable storage small enough to fit on your keychain. I haven't bought anything on physical media for years now, w
        • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Informative)

          by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:34PM (#35869610) Journal

          Why are you people still reading the comments to this article? I read this far and every point worth making has already been made.

          * People don't care enough about better quality (in visuals and audio -- they do care about better quality in content)
          * The price vs improvement isn't worth it to those that don't care
          * DVDs can be copied by the pirates much easier (so why would they want to upgrade)
          * Equipment compatibility issues (older vs newer DRM may or may not work with your player)
          * Slower load times
          * Better portability to "anywhere" -- even computers pretty much have DVD readers in the base model
          * When you stream your content, you don't really care about Bluray (physical media isn't as important)

    • by jaymz666 ( 34050 )

      That and the total improvement of blu-ray vs DVD just is nowhere near the huge difference between DVD and VHS in other areas aside from rewind

      Blu-Ray is also more expensive than DVD counterparts.

      Remember when DVDs were first released the VHS market had a rental price policy for months after release and then consumer prices would come later. You could buy the Matrix on DVD for under $20 or pay $90ish for the VHS, or rent it.

    • Re:Not bothered (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:13PM (#35869190) Journal

      Exactly. I don't even bother to put on my glasses for SD TV. Why would I spend money on a TV with a better picture I can't even see without the glasses I don't want to wear?

    • I suspect most people aren't that bothered by picture quality.

      DVDs are handier than tapes, you don't need to rewind.

      Not to mention how good some DVD players are at upscaling. It's not HD, but it's close enough for the majority. Count that in with the compressed HD streams that many people are used to seeing from their cable provider and what HD actually looks like gets muddied in the public eye.

    • Re:Not bothered (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:32PM (#35869576)

      This is exactly it, it isn't about (marginal) gains in picture quality, it's about convenience. DVD beat VCR because disk don't need rewinding, they don't get mangled by your tape player, they don't degrade each time you play them, you can skip straight to the bit you want to watch, oh and they happen to have better picture and sound, but that last point is pretty far down the list of selling points. Blu-ray offers nothing except better quality picture and sound. To displace DVD, it's not enough to be a better DVD (DVDs are pretty good as it is, and good enough for most people), you have to offer something new.

      This is why CDs weren't displaced by a better CD format (although they exist), they were displaced by downloads, because downloads are more convenient. It will be downloads that displace DVDs too, because the convenience of having movies available on-demand is hugely more convenient that going to a store to rent or buy a physical disk. People will even accept slightly lower quality for the convenience of downloading.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      In fact most people, where their new 42" LCD is at and where they sit, they cant SEE the difference between a bluray and a DVD. Most people sit more than 12 feet away from their nice shiny LCD widescreen. and this is too far for a 42" to see the resolution increase a 720p signal gives you. you have to sit even closer to see 1080p

      SO the rich guy that has his 62" above the fireplace and he sits 20 feet away... he cant see the 1080p he paid for. It's why I laugh hard at people that are shopping for 690hz

  • It's simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deathnerd ( 1734374 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:02PM (#35868916)
    DVDs still work just fine.
    • Re:It's simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35869022)
      That's exactly it. CDs were a major improvement over cassette tapes and DVDs were a major improvement over VHS, no more rewinding and they took up way less space, so there was a compelling reason to switch. Now the motivation is gone; the form factor is the same, the picture isn't that much better, and Bluray players and discs are still relatively expensive compared to DVDs.
      • by sycodon ( 149926 )


        People get tired of buying a whole a fucking new player and new versions of their favorite movies every few years because some duchebag company tries to push the latest thing.

  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:02PM (#35868922)

    For 99+% of what I or my wife watches on DVD we couldn't care less about a better resolution or extra features. That really eliminates motivation to get a Blu-ray player.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot&worf,net> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:25PM (#35869448)

      Exactly. It's also hurt by early adopters to Blu-Ray which had horrible mastering. I believe Talledega Nights was worse on Blu-Ray than DVD (and not just extras - picture quality too!).

      Upscaling DVD players do a remarkable job these days (and if you got one of the old discounted HD-DVD players back in the day, wow it's hard to tell).

      And Blu-Ray really only benefits new movies. Catalog movies often suffer worse on Blu-Ray due to poor mastering. (Compare the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray releases of Apollo 13 - yikes. The Blu-Ray has blown highlights, extensive DNR and other crap that despite a 66% increase in available storage capacity, it has less details than the HD-DVD version - at times it's so bad signs in the background are blurry).

      Blu-Ray doesn't offer much these days - in the early days they were often worse than DVDs (if you're an extras buff like me the Blu-Ray would be 50% more expensive for just the movie alone) when they were mastered well, and for the vast majority of people, a DVD is far more convenient because there are players everywhere - cars, portable (there are a few Blu-Ray portable players, but there are far more DVD ones), computers, and attached to practically every TV in the household. A Blu-Ray player is rarer, can probably only be watched on the "good" TV, and doesn't offer much more for most people.

      Even though I have both players, even I have to sit down and figure out if the extras are worth the extra cost, see if the mastering is any good (avsforum.com is good for this), etc. Even then I often buy DVD copies and reserve the Blu-Ray for movies I want (unless the differential is small).

      DVDs plus DVRs replaced inconvenient VHS. Blu-Ray doesn't add as much value to the mix these days for its cost.

  • Price! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:02PM (#35868928)

    Because "regular price" for many blu-ray movie is $29.99 compaired to $17.99 for a DVD. The only times I buy blu-ray over DVD are for action movies that I really enjoyed (and that the improved picture quality is actually noticeable) or deep discount sales when I can get them for under $15.

    • I haven't bought one partly because of it being a Sony controlled standard, and partly because of the price. I was expecting the price to drop to about the same as a DVD, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I almost bought a PS3 slim, but they dropped 'other OS' support, and things seemed to go downhill from there.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:03PM (#35868940) Homepage Journal

    Until my DVDs started to give me disc read errors. I'm tired of wasting money on planned obsolescence, I'm not replacing that collection with BluRays just to have them crap out on me in 5 years. Anyway, a better format will be out by then... I'm skipping this cycle.

  • This just in... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#35868952)

    Many people don't want to spend thousands to re-buy their entire movie collection at a higher price.

    Especially when DVD looks almost as good as BR from across the living room on the 40 inch HDTV.

  • interwebs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#35868958)
    Sony finally won the standards war but is almost irrelevant because people now watch stuff on-demand via streaming.
  • by DaveInAustin ( 549058 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:05PM (#35868962) Homepage
    and are being replaced with lower-quality .mp3's? Because most folks care about content more then they care about sound or picture quality.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I just got my HDTV this year and I'm surprised as to how many movies in my DVD collection have only been recently released on bluray (or are still waiting).

    The fact is hi-def is just coming out of the early adopter phase.

    Time will tell, but I bet a lot of those DVDs are being purchased by people on standard def.

  • Because... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_one_wesp ( 1785252 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:05PM (#35868972)
    ...the economy is in the toilet, and people aren't rushing out to improve their video quality when they don't have the money to do so (or maybe they just don't care to do so).
  • Not worth it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fulminata ( 999320 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:05PM (#35868976)
    Because it's a substantial price increase for an incremental upgrade in quality and often a downgrade in convenience.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:05PM (#35868984)

    My biggest problem with blu-ray early on was that the first generation of players was awful. They were slow as Christmas (WAY slower than the first generation of DVD players) for one thing. Newer players are considerably faster and come with a lot more features. Unfortunately, it doesn't help that blu-ray discs still come with forced trailers (way more common with blu-rays than with DVD's) from most studios (Universal and a few others being notable exceptions).

  • Lets see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35868994)

    The viewing experience is only marginally different unless you are watching on a big hi-def screen.
    The movies cost more
    the players cost more
    and what is the point of rereleasing old movies on Blu-Ray - like theres gonna be more shades of black and white?

  • by 0x15e ( 961860 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35869006)

    This is the first I've heard of it.

    Seems to me that someone at Fox just decided Blu-Ray was failing and wanted to write an article about it.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35869008) Homepage Journal
    Basically, quality is not a big enough selling point for most people as long as the old stuff was adequate. DVDs advantages over VHS went well beyond just the quality, with instant seeking, no degradation over time, extra features on the discs, and lower price points. They were compelling. Blu-Ray is just more quality for more money, there aren't really any new features, and it requires you to upgrade your screen to use it. Most people are still on SD screens, because they work and HD is just more expensive. Maybe when their old TVs break they'll upgrade to HD, but there is certainly no hurry.
  • One-word answer: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35869012) Journal


  • by thepike ( 1781582 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35869016)

    I have a blu-ray player, but I still buy a lot of movies on DVD (because they're cheaper). The main reason is just that a lot of the movies I buy don't really benefit from having better graphics. Sure, if I'm watching the new Tron, I want good graphics, but if I'm watching some random comedy film, do I really need that boost?

    Because of that, I rarely stream action movies from Netflix, because I do want the bump in graphics. Mostly on Netflix I watch TV shows, since the quality isn't going to be great anyway and it doesn't matter, and go out and buy my favorite movies.

  • Featuritis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#35869018)
    From TFA:

    Blu-ray players connected to the Web can offer games, extra movie features, and additional bonus materials online that DVD players generally can't. And the latest Blu-ray players can handle 3D discs, something no DVD player can do.

    I don't want any of that shit, especially if I have to pay extra for it. I just want to watch a movie.

  • One, because to be honest up-sampled DVDs look pretty good.

    Two, most movies are now shot in a style that looks like someone let a cat piss on the celluloid. Seriously, who the fuck wants to pop in the Battlestar Galactica Blu-Ray and see film grain and shitty lighting in hi-def!?

    Three, for the price point, Blu-Ray doesn't deliver enough value except for the rare really well-shot movie.

    Four, digital downloads. All things being equal, anything on disc is slightly antiquated. I rarely buy a disc of anything

  • The picture IS better, but the problem is that pictures on DVD are already really good. I'd bet a lot of people can't immediately see the difference, especially if they don't have a side-by-side comparison to look at. As for the features? Does anyone really watch those anyway? I bought several of the multi-disc box sets of different movies I've liked, but I realize that most of them I only watch the movie itself. The special features stay in the box (Though I love the commentary on my Futurama discs, those

  • DVDs are better. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:07PM (#35869046)

    DVDs don't crash because some jag-off decided to run Java code between frames of my movie. DVDs don't make me worry about version numbers, patching my player, or any of that jazz. And that's just technical.

    I have a DVD player in every computer, and connected to each TV - meaning portability. All my friends have DVD players. It's easier to find movies on DVD.

    DVDs are cheaper.

    I have a huge collection of DVD's. I'm not going to repurchase everything.

    Next will be going back to solid state non-spinning media. People don't change formats for picture quality (see: Betamax). They change for convenience/durability.

    • If someone starts selling movies on solid-state media, I agree, Blu-Ray will fall to that. But currently it's *much* more expensive than pressing a disc, so it's not something that's just around the corner. And the MPAA is not so big on the downloading. Those facts might change over time but if we're going to speculate about what might replace Blu-Ray in the future you might as well talk about how new magic technology will distribute movies via fiber optic connection from a kiosk to your brain-drive -- why

  • Too good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gorkamecha ( 948294 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:08PM (#35869052)
    Honestly, the quality is too good - You can see the wizard behind the curtain. Real life example: My geeks friends and I were all standing around watching Iron man 2 on a super huge LCD screen at best buy. It was the scene where Tony escapes his captors in the clunky MKI armor. We all noted that the suit looked like plastic, not metal. That you could see where the joints didn't quite connect. In short, the illusion was shattered. I haven't bought a blue ray video since. (I have a PS3, I own a few blueray films that I got for the extra features - But I prefer to watch plain old DVDs.)
  • Joe consumer walks into Generi-Mart and sees a DVD of a movie for ~$15 and the same movie on Blu-Ray for ~$25...picks DVD. He knows Blu-Ray is supposed to be better but for ten bucks less DVD is good enough. He doesn't even consider DLC or digital copy in the equation. He'll just get his "techie" buddy to RIP it for him.
  • by kenrblan ( 1388237 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:09PM (#35869086)
    Netflix HD streaming video and similar features with Cable and Satellite. Most people watch a movie once and aren't concerned with building libraries. The DVD was established well before on-demand and streaming were as viable as they currently are. People concerned with building collections will buy the BluRay player. One other factor was a general wait-and-see attitude while the BluRay vs HD-DVD format war was still ongoing. People waited and better options presented themselves.
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:09PM (#35869100)

    First of all, the pricing is all wrong... why are these things so expensive? I understand that they were initially gouging the early adopters, but we should be more in-line with DVDs by now.

    Second, they are delicate. You get rentals (if you can find them) and they seem more prone to scratches than DVDs.

    Third, picture quality is awesome, but you often don't really notice from 25 feet away. Sometimes I have to really pay attention to whether it is Blu-Ray or DVD if the upsampling is decent.

    Fourth, selection. Finding pre-2005-ish movies seems to be almost impossible. There have been some things worth buying since then, but not a whole lot. They need at least release the "watch over and over again" classics.

    Fifth, player cost. I still haven't seen any for $20 at Walgreens.

    Sixth, online. People watch "TV" more and more on their computers. Leisure time isn't what it was in the 90s.

    Finally, replacement. VHS wore out, so re-purchasing an old movie on DVD was reasonable. It is much harder to chuck away a perfectly good DVD.

  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:10PM (#35869108) Journal

    ...I have a home theater but there are several reasons why people aren't interested.

    (1)If you don't have a home theater and a giant screen to display movies on, you probably couldn't care less about the difference in quality between DVD and BluRay (plus, I've seen some crap BluRay transfers that were no improvement over DVD.)

    (2)Until mini-vans start coming with BluRay players by default, my wife will continue to buy DVDs to zombify the kids on car trips.

    (3)My personal hatred of BluRay - Taking several minutes to startup due to the DRM and HDCP handshaking, key updating, communication, et cetera.

    It is utterly ridiculous that putting a DVD in my Sony BluRay player versus a BluRay means a playback difference of 3 minutes (and I have a fast BluRay player.) Note that some BluRay Discs do not exhibit this behavior but all are still sloooooow compared to DVD.

  • by feepness ( 543479 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:11PM (#35869152) Homepage
    It used to be about how BluRay will fail completely. Now it's "only" selling half of the market.

    No, BluRay will likely never have the complete hold of DVD, simply because download is a real option. But it's certainly not going anywhere.

    What do you think will be in the next consoles? [eurogamer.net]
  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:12PM (#35869162) Homepage Journal

    Plain and simple. Most people aren't looking to play in high definition on Frank's 2000 inch TV.

    And for screens 60" and smaller high def, while noticeable just isn't enough of an improvement to merit the switchover.

    That and the huge install base of DVD players and drives out there is just an 800 lb gorilla that Blu-Ray has to struggle to overcome.

    And the capper.

    If there had NOT been a credible format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, we'd probably have seen better adoption by now. The format war completely crippled uptake of the format for YEARS. As such, neither HD platform gained the critical early traction necessary to overtake DVD. Now, this late in the game, since it has to now compete with streaming/downloadable content as well, it's going to continue to stumble.

  • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:12PM (#35869172)

    I'm not running out to re-purchase my entire collection of DVD's in Blu-Ray format...

    And I've always been picky about what I purchase.

    But any new movies I buy have been in Blu-Ray format.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:13PM (#35869174)

    On my TV, (37" 720p/1080i) I don't notice any quality difference between Blu-ray and DVD.

    But I do notice that the disks take a lot longer to load, trailers are harder to skip over (one blu-ray had nearly 15 minutes of trailers that I had to skip by fast-forwarding then when it hit the next one, I had to fast-forward again and repeat about 8 times), and I can't easily rip a Blu-ray to my hard drive so I can watch it on the plane.

  • by Fr05t ( 69968 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:14PM (#35869236)

    50% market share isn't that bad is it? For a long time after DVDs came out VHS was still selling and renting well. Most people I know (including my parents) upgraded to Blu-Ray shortly after getting a >40" LCD.

  • And it "isn't catching on?" Plus the economy in the US still is pretty much in the crapper... what are worldwide figures? What are figures by country? Just because the US doesn't adopt something doesn't mean it's not getting adopted. The US has access to web streaming in HD of many shows and movies that the rest of the world does not - could that have anything to do with it?
  • by librarybob ( 1043806 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:21PM (#35869366)
    The article states that Blu-ray player shipments are about to outstrip plain DVD. It's not like Blu-ray has failed. It *has* taken a while to capture the people who are still moving to HD. It *may* have a problem in competition with streaming (if you live in an area where there's sufficient bandwidth). I suppose the biggest issue is: will people continue to want to "own" content in physical form? The case is still out on that one (and even a minority position might be a very large market). Personally I think Blu-ray is still the only way to go if you've got/built a home theater.
  • by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:37PM (#35869674)
    We recently got our first blue-ray player. This is after a string of DVD players which barely lived to the end of their warranties. I think quality is definitely a forgotten art, everything is made so cheaply. The real annoyance is intolerance for scratches. Almost every movie we watch stops and has to be skipped through at least once. One out of every four movies it seems like we end up having to take back. This is usually due to tiny little scratches that I remember being able to play through no problem in older players when DVD was newer. It's not just Blueray or even this player. DVDs do it too and our more recent DVD players did it.

    Maybe I'm just being too cheap myself and need to buy a more expensive player? I don't know. Rented VHS sucked too, the tape stretched with use and just wore out in general creating a lousy picture. At least you could almost always still watch it though. You didn't have to stop and restart it but if you did it at least you didn't have to find your spot again. Actually, our new Blueray player does remember the spot but that often times just drops it right back into the scratch that stopped it in the first place.
  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @12:50PM (#35869920)
    really, you just got my money does blu-ray really have to shove it down your throat with forcing you to watch something too? That and I had a free blu-ray that did not work and would play some director picture-in-picture with no way to turn it off. And finally, turn on the player to watch something and it updates. Blu-ray manufactures and movie companies act like they don't like money.
  • by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @02:44PM (#35871862)

    The usual reasons: not enough bang for the buck, the perception of a forced upgrade, DVDs work just fine, thank you. Plus the draconian DRM that goes with all HD stuff.

    It all adds up to a non-starter for me.


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