Tag Archives: blu-ray

Where to Get Blu-ray DVD Movies for Cheap

The Amazon Movies & TV Team is offering several special sales in the month of March. First is a Blu-ray sale with over 300 Blu-ray as Low as $13.99 while supplies last. This is a great opportunity for you to build your Blu-ray library from their selection of titles – including Iron Man, Transformers and Wall-E.

Next is a chance for you to save up to $60 off James Bond on Blu-ray while supplies last.
Finally, they have their Big DVD Sale with hundreds of DVDs as Low as $6.49 while supplies last.

There are further pre-order bargains on Quantum of Solace [Blu-ray], Slumdog Millionaire [Blu-ray] and Bolt [Blu-ray]. Also explore Amazon’s huge selection of over 1,500 Blu-ray titles, with everyday savings up to 40%.

Now all I need is a Blu-ray player!

What’s the Best Blu-ray DVD Player and Burner to Buy?

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Most of you probably have an optical drive in your computer, or even externally. But do you have a Blu-ray drive? If not, you should look into picking up a Mercury Pro!

OWC has rolled out the first external Blu-ray drive in the world that features Quad Interface, enabling it to hook up to your computer via four different methods – FireWire 400/800, USB 2.0 and eSATA, making it compatible with both Mac and PC platforms. There will be two models available – the Mercury Pro SW-5583 that reads/writes Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-RAM and CD-R/RW while the Mercury Pro SW-5583T does all the mentioned and comes with a full retail version of Roxio Toast 9 Titanium (Mac OS X).

The Mercury Pro is plug-and-play, and connects via FireWire… which is what interested me to begin with! I have an option to buy this at the end of my 30-day review, and I’m thinking of doing so. I’ve been wanting an external DVD drive, and this one really fits the bill.

It comes with everything you need, as far as software. It also comes with a couple of 25GB Blu-ray discs. This machine will allow me to make good backups, as well as saving videos too. There are a variety of connectivity options, so it’s very flexible! It’s definitely a quad-inteface!

No matter what type of computer you have, nor what you need to use Blu-ray for… this is the perfect solution for you!

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Are You Ready for Blu-Ray DVD?

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Now that the Format War is over (for now at least), I realize I will have to buy myself a Blu-Ray drive one of these days. When I do buy one, it will be an external USB drive, so I can take it with me from one machine to another in my house. I’m not in a rush, however. One of our Community members sent in the following top five list, of reasons to not rush out to buy a Blu-Ray drive.

  • The best Blu-Ray player currently on the market is a game console. I am not criticizing the PS3s video capabilities. It has been said by many that it’s one of the best Blu-Ray players out there. I just feel like there is something wrong with this picture. I mean, you are going to create a new video format and the best player for that format is a device that was not even designed with video playback as its primary function? Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea that consoles are more than just gaming machines. Something just feels wrong about it being the BEST Blu-Ray player. I don’t know why I feel that way, I just do. Plus… I would rather have a dedicated player.
  • Video availability. This will probably become less of an issue in the coming months now that HD-DVD is dead. I understand that there are great movies out there for the Blu-Ray… however they are not numerous enough yet to warrant the investment.
  • Evolving standard. This is where I will contradict myself a little. If you must purchase a Blu-Ray player today, PLEASE get the PS3. I say this because almost all the current Blu-R,ay players are somewhat obsolete. The great majority of players out there are v.1.0, while the newer players are v. 1.1. Later this year Sony will introduce v. 2.0 for their Blu-Ray players. I may be wrong about this, but while most players will allow you to upgrade the firmware… none are wi-fi capable. The ps3 is already wi-fi capable (so there is no need to route a broadband wire) and Sony has been excellent when it comes to expanding the capabilities of the PS3.
  • Price. I am not willing to pay the current prices for a Blu-Ray player. When it comes down to about $200 or so, I will entertain the thought. For now, I will assume a wait and see position.
  • DVD. I just can’t find a compelling reason to let go of my dvd player. Yes, I know Blu-Ray looks better, but is it honestly that much better? DVD had a clear advantage over VHS, but can the same be said for Blu-Ray over DVD? I also don’t feel like it has a “killer app” or a must-have feature. Some people used the lack of WOW feature as their main reason not to move to Vista… and I honestly believe the same could be said about the Blu-Ray format.

After this was posted, I received the following email and wanted to share it in this post.

You said to chime in as to why we chose one format over the other, and here is my 2 cents. I myself chose Blu-Ray because I am a big fan of Sonys game consoles (yes, a playstation man thru and thru). From a gamers stand point, being able to put much more information per disc, was going to allow Sony (at least in my mind) to smoke the competition with the potential of their gaming consoles graphics and gameplay. I don’t have an HDTV (trust me, i’m workin on it) so HD movies didn’t tickle my fancy. I stayed away from the movie player scene. This is probably the most basic answer you’d hear for people who are pro Blu-Ray, but I figured I might as well tune in. Oh, and as a side note, the potential for Blu-Ray far exceeds the gaming and movie scene. The potential for just storage or large amounts of information as a hard copy backup for corporations or just the general users… Blu-Ray can be written in quad layers for 100gigs of information.


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Blu-ray Wins: HD DVD is Dead

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Up until recently, there was a huge high-definition format war in relation to DVDs. We had HD DVD vs. Blu-ray. Now… HD DVD has gone the way of the Dodo Bird. Nick is a community member who wrote in:

Yeah I know… the stupid debate about HD (physical formats)… but since it’s in the news, I’d like to get your comments about Blu-ray declared winner of this stupid battle against HD DVD (Samsung will focus on Blu-ray hardware, Panasonic will release Blu-ray reader/writer in Japan in February, Blockbuster and Wal-mart will go exclusive BD, etc). Who’s the real winner? How will Microsoft react?

I know online HD content is an option for those who want to avoid that conflict of physical formats (BD/HD DVD), but I still believe that the majority of average users will go for the physical format (discs). Companies like Seagate must be really happy to see the increase of downloadable HD content everywhere because users have to store content somewhere (HDD). But I still think that people will prefer having a physical disc instead of having something stored on their HDD (not to mention going online, downloading the contents, and waiting hours to get it). I think the real winner is probably the consumer with less confusion and more products (players / writers) available. But still, I guess we’ll have to wait 4-5 years before we see HD players/writers in most average users’ homes. Why? HD is really expensive and DVD is still doing pretty well (you can buy a DVD player for $99 and the quality of image and sound is still pretty good).

Well, it’s not a format war anymore. HD DVD is dead, and Blu-ray is the winner. I thought HD DVD was going to have it with the Xbox 360 external drive. I thought Sony was shooting itself in the foot by incorporating the Blu-ray player inside the PS3. I was wrong! Thank goodness I only have a couple of HD DVDs. Now we have to wait for Blu-rays to be everywhere on the market now.

The bottom line is that I was rooting for HD DVD. However, I’m glad the format war is over. Now there’s no confusion, and consumers won’t be hurt any further in trying to choose… and possibly choosing a loser. It’s now Blu-ray all the way… at least until the next format war arrives.

I do believe, however, that physical media isn’t going to be around for too much longer. I’ve already taken to storing my music in the Cloud… online. I’ve got a subscription to Rhapsody to download my music from online. I don’t have any mp3s stored on my hard drive. I have so many computers these days, I can’t keep up with all the content I have as it is. My music is there online if I need it. Why would I download all of that and put it onto a computer, only to move it to another when needed? It’s much easier for me to just have access to it online, no matter where I am or what machine I use.

Streaming media is coming. Downloadable media is coming. I guess I’m now going to be looking for an external USB or FireWire drive that is Blu-ray and DVD-X compatible. What’s the point in waiting? Format wars are over, in case you didn’t know. If you do happen to have HD DVD stuff, keep it. The drives will still work… there just won’t be anything new manufactured with that format.


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Xbox DVD

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I have 4 Xbox 360s, for the simple reason that I can share media throughout the house, or be able to play games wherever I am. I was lucky to win these a few years ago. I received an email from someone saying that they are considering selling their Xbox 360 to buy a PS3. What?!

The email was very thought-provoking. The writer states that he is thinking of switching because Blu-Ray is the winner in the format war. He has a feeling that a larger effort will go into raising PS3s power in the console world. Also, of course, we have the Virtual World coming this Spring. PlayStation Home is a virtual community of PS3 owners living together in both public and private environments. Users will be able to login, chat with both text and speech and play casual games together such as pool, bowling and even embedded arcade machines. And when the old stand-bys grow stale, users can invite one another into other PlayStation Network titles outside of PlayStation Home. Every user will have their own virtual apartment to decorate with furniture, their trophies from various games and content from their own PS3s.

The writer ends the email by asking me which console has the brighter future.

If you already have a handful of Xbox 360 games, why would you sell the console because another player already has a Blu-Ray drive? What’s going to stop Microsoft from developing a Blu-Ray USB drive? Nothing… that’s what. Just because there will be no new content on HD-DVD… doesn’t mean it’s completely dead and unusable. My prediction is that Microsoft will indeed come out with a Blu-Ray USB drive very soon, to bring the Xbox up to speed with the PS3 in that regard. Don’t sell your console just because of this. This has literally only come down the past few weeks. Give Microsoft a chance to develop something for the Xbox.

If you LIKE the PS3, and its options, better than the Xbox… then good on you. Buy the PS3 console. But why would you go to all that trouble just for new physical media? Trust me when I say Microsoft and other companies WILL catch up to the Blu-Ray craze. Don’t count them out yet.


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Warner Chooses Blu-ray Over HD-DVD

Warner Bros. Entertainment has just announced that it will be going Blu-ray exclusive for all of its movies starting in May. Currently Warner releases on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD and it should be interesting to see how the market adapts. Now most people (by people, I mean geeks) don’t care too much and will continue on torrenting each movie, but there are some who find this news upsetting. One group who has already shown this may effect them is HD-DVD themselves.

You’d figure HD-DVD would just shrug it off and move on, but because of this news HD-DVD has cancelled its appearance at CES this year. Now if this isn’t a move to show they’re scared, I don’t know what is. Of course, HD-DVD is still sponsoring the CES bags!

According to the new couple, there was no money exchanged and no payoff – but I say it’s safe to assume that some money did switch hands, at some point (or will at some point in the future). Why would a studio limit itself on the number of movies it can sell?

At the end of the day I still see HD-DVD as the winner, I mean… they do have the pr0n industry on their side after all.</sarcasm>

HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray vs. Downloading

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Bwana in the chatroom asks which format is going to win: HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, or Downloading?

The chatroom widely agrees that downloading content is the way of the future, but there’s no doubt that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will be fighting it out int he format war for some time to come.

According to Wikipedia, HD-DVD is an advanced format:

The HD DVD disc is designed to be the successor to the standard DVD format. It can store about three times as much data as its predecessor (15 GB per layer instead of 4.7 GB).

The HD DVD standard was jointly developed by Toshiba and NEC. On 19 November 2003, the DVD Forum voted to support HD DVD as the high definition successor of the standard DVD. At this meeting, they also renamed it HD DVD.

HD DVD stands for “High Definition Digital Versatile Disc.” The format had previously been called the “Advanced Optical Disc” (AOD).

Blu-Ray has a different history:

The name Blu-ray Disc is derived from the blue-violet laser used to read and write this type of disc. Because of its shorter wavelength (405 nm), substantially more data can be stored on a Blu-ray Disc than on the DVD format, which uses a red, 650 nm laser. A single layer Blu-ray Disc can store 25 GB, over 5 times the size of a single layer DVD at 4.7 GB. A dual layer Blu-ray Disc can store 50 GB, almost 6 times the size of a dual layer DVD at 8.5 GB.

Blu-ray Disc is similar to PDD, another optical disc format developed by Sony (which has been available since 2004) but offering higher data transfer speeds. PDD was not intended for home video use and was aimed at business data archiving and backup.

High Definition DVD Wars

I’m trying to stay out of this argument. I’ve only seen a few HD-DVDs in person, and… the differences between a high definition DVD and a “regular” DVD are largely imperceptible. At least, according to my eyes. Well, until a single playback option is ubiquitous, it simply doesn’t matter. Consider these two recent news articles from PC World. One is a hardware-centric solution:

LG stated it was considering a dual-format player at the CeBIT show last March, but the company has been quiet about its progress until now. The company is the first to formally announce a dual-format player; prior to this, Ricoh and NEC had both announced they had developed components that could read both Blu-ray and HD DVD media, but neither had announced actual products. Samsung had also made rumblings about coming out with a dual-format player, but the company backtracked on those reports early last year.

The second is a media-centric solution called Total HD:

The disc includes the same specs offered by each format separately–for example, either a 25GB or 50GB Blu-ray movie on one side, and a 15GB or 30GB HD DVD movie on the other. The intention, according to Warner, is to keep the feature sets of both versions intact so that the viewer will get the same experience whether they watch the Blu-ray version or the HD DVD version. But this means that content creators must design content that doesn’t exceed the capabilities of either format.

Both of these options sound great to me – and I applaud both LG and Warner for respectively stepping up to the plate.