Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam
magicmarmot

Broke down and ordered a blu-ray player, the Sony BDP-s350. It's the first of the generation 2 BD players, has flash-upgradable firmware and an ethernet connection for BD-Live content. Uprezzes DVD content. Can play BD-writable discs. Has a USB connection in the back for additional flash storage.

It was a real toss-up between a PS3 and the 350, but what pretty much cinched it was that the PS3 is first and foremost a gaming console that I don't particularly need, and the blu ray player is quieter and less heat-generating. It was also cheaper. And there is a strong likelihood that the remote will also work with the TV, since it's a rebranded Sony.

I looked at getting a different DVD player, one that would uprez to 1080P with an HDMI connection. I've just been pretty disappointed with the last couple of DVD players I've bought burning out on me, and I don't feel a particular need to spend more money on yet another piece of less-than-a-year-life technology. The Cyberhome cheapie DVD players that you occasionally find for $25-30 have been plenty good other than exploding power supplies, and really, at that price, more than a year is an acceptable life.

The odd thing is that I will likely have a blu-ray player before I have any blu-ray discs. When I dfinally was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of DVDs, I had a pretty reasonable DVD collection before then, most received as gifts. This time, though I'm not really an early adopter, I'm still a bit ahead of the consumer curve.

There are a few reasons. First is that I have a pretty extensive DVD collection, and I don't want to lose out on that. It's also really likely that I'll continue to get DVDs since a lot of the movies that I like are unlikely to come out on blu-ray; blu-ray is a pretty heavily studio-based content system, and when you're looking at authoring systems for Blu-Ray, they're hella expensive to go after anything but basic DVD type content.

One of the biggest selling points for me on DVDs is the extra content: bonus features, behind-the-scenes, making-of kind of stuff; those kinds of features are also available on blu-ray, all nicely packaged on a single disc similarly to DVD, but with higher resolution.

And since blu-ray writers have come down in price to a more managable level, and I have basic blu-ray authoring with Vegas Pro, and Darthcam can shoot blu-ray compatible files, it seems likely that I'll be burning to blu-ray before too absurdly long.

This is not a praetorian chant to go and buy blu-ray, it's particularly suited to mysituation. One of the things that I see myself as is a content producer, and being familiar with a content providing device and how the content is arranged on it makes a justifiable sense to me. It would be all the better if I can use it as a test bed for my own content, and it looks very much like that may be do-able.

In the meantime, I don't really lose anything. DVDs will still play uprezzed, and it fits in with my current system.

My TV is capable of 1080P playback; that is the current highest of high-def programming available, and is likely to be the standard for some time to come. There are some advances that put HD to shame, but I'm unlikely to be spending $30k on a projection system anytime soon, and a 1080P/24 display looks pretty damn nice at the movie theater; having it in my home is a serious barn-burner.

I currently have only one way of getting any 1080P content displayed on the big screen, and that's through the media PC. The media PC is an older Dell with a 2.8GHz single-core P4 and 2G of RAM and an NVIDIA card capable of HDCP compatibility with the TV so XP won't fudge the video. Now, for something that cool, you'd have thought I'd have tried it out by now, but the simple fact is that I don't have any ready content on that machine, and what HD content I *do* have is from Darthcam. That means I need to actually produce something and burn it to an HD format that I can play on the said target machine. And there are three potential formats that I have currently available: QuickTime H.264, WMV9-HD, and Divx-HD. I haven't done enough work with them to determine which is better, which I can actually play, and so on. As it turns out, getting 1080P HD through the computer isn't exactly loafing, and it's hard to play back that much information without skipping.

Where I really feel that the future of HD delivery won't necessarily be on disc (look at the success of Netflix for an example), nobody is really currently providing high-def content online, including the iTunes store. Ideally, I'd like to be able to hand someone a thumb drive with all of the content on it (Micro Center has 32G thumb drives in stock), they could load it to their system, and play it, along with all of the extras that go with it.

A blu-ray disc isn't that far removed from that, but it requires a blu-ray player, or the equivalent on a computer, where a standalone thumb drive can just have the movie and assorted content in files, possibly with a web page interface.

Another option would be a software blu-ray player that couple play files from a thumb drive if they were formatted as a blu-ray disc.

Blu-ray has copy management built in. That's why the studios are willing to let their stuff out on blu-ray, because it's difficult to make copies of and they see it as protecting their intellectual property. In my case, it's unlikely that I'm going to be at any level where I'm trying to keep people from seeing my movie, and copy protection (and DRM in general) get in the way. While I'll still work on that, I'll now have the ability to play blu-ray discs and get to understand the authoring behind them like I did with DVDs.

I don't know where it's all going in the end. For me, I think the standalone player was a good choice, narrowly edging out a PS3, and I do mean narrowly.

There is another question that is thusly begged, and that is where I should hang the TV? I currently have it on a stand in the living room where the old TVs were, but I have a wall-mount for it. My original plan was to mount it to the wall above the fireplace, which is still a decent plan, but a second option came to me that involves mounting it on the wall of the dining room. Where the living room is a more traditional place for a TV, the house was originally built before TV was really invented, and as such doesn't really have a good layout in the theatrical sense. The dining room OTOH isn't really a dining room and is not likely to become a dining room since my "dining" services are pretty stunted anymore. I could easily turn that into an exercise room and reinforce the no sitting-and rule while keeping the living room more for conversation and social stuff.

Of course, if I actually get the house to the point where having people over for movies becomes a thing, having it in the living room with actual furniture might be preferable.

There's still time to think about it. I'm not gonna be having a Marmot Movie Marathon anytime soon, though it's not really a laughably contemptible idea anymore, and is more of a when. I will say that it's not likely to be an issue until I can get a 500-lb. electric wheelchair in and out of the house comfortably, and that's not gonna be this year.
Tags: techgeek, toys
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