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Blu-ray General Discussion Area


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*Hi, I thought it might be a good idea to establish a general discussions thread about Blu-ray since so many views and questions about Blu-ray are popping up in the "Upcoming Releases" thread, kind of filling up that space when people are looking for info on new releases (on both DVD and Blu-ray).*


*This thread can be used for questions about the format, the equipment, etc. This will not be used for posting upcoming Blu-ray releases. That will still come under the "Upcoming Releases" thread.*




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Hawkeye, I have the Sony S300. I love it, and I read recently that it is manufactured for Sony by Pioneer.


However, I would suggest that you go with a newer model in order to get profile 1.1 (picture-in-picture capability, also known as ?Bonus View?). The Sony S300 I have is only profile 1.0, no picture and is unable to update to the 1.1 profile. If you are interested in hooking up your Blu player to the internet to get access to some movie sites tied into a disc you are watching, you should also hold out for profile 2.0 (aka ?BD Live?), which is starting to roll out now.


Here are some possibilities to consider:


1. the Sony S350 which has profile 1.1 and will be able to handle 2.0 when the upgrade disc comes from Sony in a few months. Lighter, smaller than the S300, Sony improved it with the profiles and some audio capabilities, but eliminated a few features from the S300 (slow motion and the 5.1 outputs on the back). Currently available in many places and street priced at $399 but available on Amazon for $324 and at Costco at $379)

2. the Sony S550 which has the same features as the S350 and restores audio output jacks and will have profile 2.0 built-in. as well as 1.1. Has better capability for decoding several special audio functions right in the player, as opposed to in your receiver/amplifier. Due out in a few months (before Christmas) and is rumored to be street priced at $499 (but expect that price to drop in stores).

3. Panasonic DMP-BD30K which has 1.1 profile but not 2.0. Don?t think it will be capable of upgrading to 2.0. An excellent Blu player and many people swear by it. Streetprice is $399, but Amazon has it for $336 and Costco has it for $359.

4. Panasonic 50 which is supposed to have a few more features than the 30 model. It sells at $600, but many think it is overpriced.

5. There are other models out there. I don?t know anything about the Pioneer players, but you can look up reviews online.


The attached link will answer some of your questions. It also discusses players in a top left hand link under ?Shop and Learn.?



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  • 4 weeks later...

I think I have mentioned elsewhere that Sony is supposed to be taking $100 off their Blu-ray players, including the new S350 and the upcoming S550, around September 28th. An interesting piece at blu-ray.com today sheds more light on that (and that it may be temporary, so get them while you can).


Sources: Sub-$200 Blu-ray Players Coming this Winter


Sources have indicated to Blu-ray.com that at least one company will offer a limited number of Blu-ray Disc players for under $200 this holiday season. These players would likely be offered during special "door buster" sales, like those commonly seen on the Friday after Thanksgiving - a day which retailers commonly refer to as "Black Friday".



These players will likely be entry-level BonusView (Profile v1.1) players that companies hope to empty from their inventory as BD-Live (Profile v2.0) players begin to saturate the market.



Additionally, recent industry whispers that Sony would be lowering the MSRP of their BDP-S350 and upcoming BDP-S550 also appear to be true, but may only be temporary. Official word has yet to be given from the consumer electronics company, but we have been informed that if these players do receive price reductions, the prices may not last long.



Blu-ray Disc companies are determined to make Blu-ray the hot item this holiday season. No longer competing with the HD DVD format, consumer electronics manufacturers and movie studios hope to lure consumers to the high definition format this Winter with inexpensive players and a wide variety of titles.



Note: As mentioned above, this information comes from trusted sources within the industry who are not speaking officially for their respective companies. It should not be considered official until an official press release confirms the information.



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> {quote:title=Marysara wrote:}{quote}

> In Australia they're introducing Blu-Ray Recorders with a hard drive.http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/index.php/taxid;2136213042;pid;5690;pt;2#cb.


Does Panasonic only intend to sell this in Australia, or is it simply that this is where the first ads are turning up? At any rate, with that kind of price-tag, I don't expect this to become widely used any time soon ;)

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I'm not sure about harddrives but Blu-ray recorders for home use are available in Japan but nothing for North America yet (damn!). Probably because of rights issues, but I do expect to see them eventually just as it took us awhile to get DVD recorders for home use.

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> {quote:title=filmlover wrote:}{quote}

> I'm not sure about harddrives but Blu-ray recorders for home use are available in Japan but nothing for North America yet (damn!). Probably because of rights issues, but I do expect to see them eventually just as it took us awhile to get DVD recorders for home use.


What would happen, for instance, if someone in the U.S. buys a Blu0Ray recorder through amazon.jp?

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And speaking of hardware....


*LG Details BD300 Blu-ray/Netflix Player*

Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 03:00 PM ET


LG Electronics has released more information on its upcoming BD300 Blu-ray Player, which will be capable of streaming TV and movie programming to owners with Netflix subscriptions.


In an announcement made yesterday, the company said the players will be available next month at retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City. The suggested retail price has been set at $399.95


Allan Jason, vice president of sales and marketing for Digital Media/New Products at LG called the new player "The ultimate convergence of home theater entertainment and functionality" Jason dubbed the BD300 "the next step in a truly personalized entertainment experience."


As reported by The New York Times "Bits" Technology Blog the movies streamed via Netflix will not be available in High-Def, but this is one of the first players to allow instant streaming, providing the combination of top of the line picture quality, and the added convenience of Netflix's on demand video offerings.


LG representatives have also pointed out the ability to update the player's operating system to add future features through software updates. We'll provide more information on this player as details come to us.


See what people are saying about this story in our forums area, or check out other recent discussions.



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Special screening of 2001 tonight (9/5) at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. And the first 100 people in line will get a free Blu-ray of the movie.


And don't forget that on Sunday, the first 100 people in line for the special screening of How the West Was Won will also get a free Blu-ray of HTWWW (prior to its release date on Tuesday).

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*How the West Was Won (Blu-ray edition)*


I was going to post this review in the Westerns section, but decided to place it here since it is such a distinctly Blu-ray edition because of the SmileBox version of the movie on the second disc that is not in the standard DVD set.


"How the West Was Won" is, simply put, possibly the BEST restoration of a classic I have seen on Blu-ray and one of the best Blu-rays I have seen, period! Starting with disc 1, the flat screen version of the film, the disc goes straight to the movie and you are treated to the overture. When that ends and you go into the opening narrative spoken by Spencer Tracy over a traveling shot of a snowy mountain view and then of James Stewart riding down from the mountains, you are stunned by the crystal clarity of the restoration. I mean, this is GORGEOUS! The colors are rich, the picture quality extraordinary, and the sound lush. Truly, one cannot tell this was shot almost 50 years.


And the incredible clarity continues throughout the entire movie. This is one magnificent looking Blu-ray disc.


It should also be pointed out the screen ratio is 2.89:1. We are talking very wide. (The image is wider on the left and right on this new version than the previous DVD issue, showing more details.)


The join lines of the three screens don't show like they did in the past. They are meticulously joined so that much of the time you can't tell it isn't one picture. However, the difference in film brightness does change slightly over the three sections, so in bright sunlight scenes, for example, you can tell there were three sections. Still, they have done an incredible job of combining the join lines. You will notice, but not care, because of how beautiful this film looks.


The film has an exceptional commentary by filmmaker David Strohmaier, director of Cinerama, Inc. John Sittig, film historian Rudy Behlmer, music historian Jon Burlingame, and stuntman Loren James. (I have not had a chance to listen to all of it, but it is decidely informative and entertaining.)


I cannot stress too much what an incredible job Warner Bros. has done in restoring this movie for home video. I am certain the standard DVD will look great, buit the Blu is beyond that with its high definition.


Also on disc 1 is the documentary, in standard definition, of "Cinerama Adventure," a 90+ minute look at the history of Cinerama. This is a fascinating view by people who were there. There are also many clips, shown in the CInerama style, of This is CInerama, South Sea Adventure, and others. Defnitely worth watching.


Disc 2 hold a high-definition version of HTWWW in a simulated CInerama production, dubbed "SmileBox." Though it is impossible to truly capture the feeling of looking at the curved screen in the theater, they do an admirable job of recreating that feeling. While you are going forward in a shot, you get the impression of things passing by on the left and right of your sight. I saw the presentation of the movie in the CInerama Dome over the weekend and I had a good center seat, and I remember distincly one scene where some people on the left were slightly distorted on the left and right because of their placements away on the left and right screens...and that's exactly the way it appears on the SmileBox version. However, much as I think they have done an excellent job of this, I must point out that I thnk it is not something I want them to do with other titles at present.


Here are some sample shots (sorry, they were taken by my cellphone, thus lack of clarity):


flat screen version from disc 1:





SmileBox simulated Cinerama version on disc 2:





flat screen version from disc 1:





SmileBox simulated Cinerama version:





Also accompanying this Blu-ray release is a "digibook," a 40-page hardcover book, with plenty of photos and trivia on the making of the movie. The discs sit in the inside covers of the book. (Note: the digibook is unique to the Blu-ray edition. However, the standard DVD collecor's edition box set contains photo repros and other material not packaged witrh the Blu edition.)


All in all, an incredible Blu-ray high definition release to use as "demo quality" for when people come over. Highest recommendations!!!

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Nice review, filmlover. I think it's awesome they included a "smilebox" transfer for this particular movie, it really helps to get a sense of what it looks like when projected in a proper Cinerama theater (for all the people who don't get a chance to watch it that way by themselves).


And I'm sure they wouldn't use it for any other movie, except perhaps *The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm*, if and when they ever got around to putting that on Blu-Ray.

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  • 2 weeks later...

While Blu will take a little while to gain a massive audiences (this Christmas should be very good), I noticed that in the current issue of Home Media Magazine that the sales for the first week of the new edition of "How the West Was Won" on DVD and Blu-ray, 34.76% of the total sales (over a third) of the title went to Blu-ray. That's encouraging. : )

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*Memorex Announces Blu-ray Player For Less than $300*

Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:00 PM ET


Memorex has announced a new entry-level Blu-ray player at an affordable price.


In a press release yesterday, Memorex announced a new Blu-ray player which the company says offers a broad range of format features for the suggested price of $269. The player is expected to arrive in retail locations by November.


"Our customers want products that bring entertainment into their homes, but at a family-friendly price," Carla Pihowich, Memorex brand director said. "With this in mind, we have introduced a Blu-ray Disc player that offers consumers the full High-Definition viewing experience, but at a price that almost anyone can afford."


According to the press release, the new player will feature 1080p video resolution, 24p and 60p frame rates, and Bonus View 1.1. Audio features include Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio decoding and bit stream output, and Master Audio bit stream output. Outputs include 7.1 HDMI digital audio output and 5.1 analog audio output. Compatible video formats include BD-ROM, DVDROM, DVD-R/DVD-RW, DVDR/DVD+RW, CD-ROM, CD-R/CD-RW and JPEG on DVD/CD recordable media.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I mentioned about a month ago that Sony would drop their prices by $100 on their Blu-ray players at the end of September, which they did (the Sony S300 and S3350 are now $299, down from $399, and the new S550 that is coming out in a few weeks is now $399, down from original price of $499.


But that is not why I am posting now. The above is good news, to be sure, but even better is that I noticed on the sonystyle.com site that you can end up getting $100 of the purchase price back on whichever model you choose by getting their Sony Visa card.and purchasing it with that. So that would bring the Sony S300 and S350 down to $199 and the S550 to $299. Plus they have free shipping and no interest for about a year.


My advice would be that of the three models, the S550 would be the one to get.


Message was edited by: filmlover

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Sony just made the below deal better (be sure to read it first). The sonystyle.com site now says it will offer $150 credit back. That would bring the S550 down from $399 to $249, an incredible deal for a full profile Blu-ray player. If you have been looking for a Blu play to get, this would be it and the time would be now. I highly doubt you would find a full profile player this cheap even in Black Friday sales.

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Blu-ray had a good week (thanks to the Iron Man release). Normally, Blu has a 10% increase or decrease over a previous week's reported sales, depending on the titles released that week. This week, however, Blu-ray had a 145.68% increase in sales this week over the previous week. Quite amazing! And The Dark Knight, the James Bond movies, etc. are still to come before Christmas.

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Amazon has a great deal on the Samsung BD-P1500 1080p Blu-ray player for $214.99, which includes the The Ultimate Matrix Blu-ray Collection for free (reg. price $74.99). Just add them both to your cart and the discount is automatic. This player has gotten good reviews. I'm in for one.

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