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back to article Blu Christmas coming, format fans forecast

Christmas is going to be a truly festive season for Blu-ray Disc, the organisation behind the optical disc standard forecast today. But it's going to be some time before the format ousts DVD in European consumers' affections. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) based its rosy prediction on numbers put out by local market watcher …

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Alert

Boycott Blu-Ray over HD-DVD

The consumers chose HD-DVD.

Boycott Blu-Ray.

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Alert

How long before...

...the movie companies start publishing movies *only* on BluRay, in an effort to spur the transition?

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Ke

Drop prices - then expect sales

Title says it all...

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Easy sales

If you remove everything that is illegal inside a Bluray disk (such as HDCP and other kind of malicious and harmfull compoments) the format will quickly take off

imagine playing a BD movie on ANY TV whiitout restriction... but since the format is controlled by know criminal interest (such a Sony) it will never happen.

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@Jodo Kast: Are you a Microsoft or Toshiba employee, I wonder...?

No, really... do you really believe that consumers ever chose HD-DVD that was just selling a bunch of disc copies and hardware devices worldwide?

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Happy

Hurray!

Cheaper DVDs! As long as the studios don't discontinue DVDs in favour of solely Blu-Ray, I'm all in favour of this attitude.

Let them plow the remains of their finances into hyping up a dead duck that nobody wants, while we quite happily continue buying DVDs until the real future gets off the ground - online video.

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Blu-Ray still too expensive!!

Yes, I can see myself picking up a decent £200 BR player by Xmas, but not if the BR-DVD's are still £15-20! Upscaling DVD's is more than satisfactory. When the price point hits an average of £10-12, then I'll be swapping to BR full time. Until then .....

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Statistics v/s invention

You are showing that standard definition DVDs should last at least another five years with Blu-rays coming up the chart. If you're right, I'd say it'll be even worse for Blu-ray. Your piece does not allow for other formats appearing from left field, whether Japanese super high-def, inexpensive downloading or some sort of Star Trek memory crystal thing. If something good and cheap comes along then Blu-ray will be more likely to suffer before the long-established DVD does. Even though the DVD will itself eventually follow eight-track cartridges and punched tape into limbo and I'll have to buy my favorite films all over again.

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Go

@Jodo Kast

Did we really choose HD-DVD over Blu-Ray? I personally decided not to bother, but have you got any links to this great lack of apathy?

I'm happy to bash Sony<spit> with the rest of them, so if you've got some great gossip, then 'fess up.

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It's good - but is it *THAT* good?

In my experience, a Blu-ray played from a PS3 over HDMI to 1080p screen has lots of 'fizzing' in the picture like the grain in a poor photo - Sony's 'Casino Royale' is particularly ugly. The companies claim the transfers are good, the whole process is digital, so why are there artefacts that weren't present in the cinema and are missing from the DVD?

Throw in ridiculous prices - £30 in HMV and Zavvi and the region-coding from hell and THAT's why I'm not buying a whole lotta Blu-rays.

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Linux

I simply can't be arsed

So I need to go out and buy a new player .. and buy all my movies all over again so I can enjoy the benefit of high definition? The prospect excites me about as much as flushing wads of my own cash down the crapper. Upgrading to the next level was yesterdays fun ... todays fun involves a nun, a rubber chicken and a copy of Sun Tzus 'Art of War'.

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an upgrade the masses don't feel they need.

we don't, sorry, not massively interested. Most of my friends with HDTV are still watching in stereo - even ones that came with 6 speakers, they're shoved in a corner.

Even me, I used to think I was a graphics whore, and yea, Serenity is sweet in Hi Def, not gonna buy my entire library of DVDs again in a higher definition format tho' - I'm waiting for proper 3D not HD.

Video was a massive jump because finally you could watch films when you wanted to, DVD was a massive jump thanks to quality, extras and longevity (tapes started stretching or decaying).

Actually, blue ray might become mainstream when we have wall tvs, but I'm guessing something even better will have come along by then, like 3DTV - imagine, all four walls become the TV and project the image all around you... sweet!

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Paris Hilton

@mike Better than film means you see the film grain.

When the original HD standards were being written, the SMPTE had a committee measure 35MM motion picture sharpness in order to determine the resolution required.

Television resolution test charts were captured on kodak film stock, then processed and printed using the Hollywood technology of the day.

What they found was that 35MM film, as projected in a well maintained cinema, has 800 lines of horizontal resolution. Since it takes two pixels (roughly) to make a line, this translated to 1600 pixels for a 4:3 aspect ratio, the additional pixels were added to produce a 16:9 (4^2 by 3^2) picture.

The artifacts you are seeing were in the film all along, but below the threshold of visibility.

As hollywood moved to digital intermediates, theatre quality jumped sharply.

Today, a large number of movies are shot digitally, using the RED CAMERA. (www.RED.com) which is native 4K, 4000 pixels H, and there is a 5 K model coming along soon.

My first HD-DVD was the BLADE RUNNER ULTIMATE collection, and the gritty look actually adds to the experience of that particular picture.

Paris because she is NOT gritty.

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DRM kills it for me.

I'm not in any hurry to get a system that restricts what equipment I display it on.

Especially since it is highly unlikely to work on my existing screens.

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Another

attempt to get us all to re-buy our collections. I think NOT.

Credit crunch.. but buying the Rambo box set in BluRay is more important than feeding my proverbial kids.

Stupid greed, pure and simple. Only real market it has is people who own a PS3 and no dvd player (buying a £15 DVD player would still be more cost effective on the initial purchase compared to just getting BR films)

Or am I missing something? Does Blue-Ray make you feel like you can actually lick the sweat from the make-up-filled pores of the actors? Is that worth money?

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A forgotten technological advancement

Blu-Ray is barely more than a refresh of DRM crippling. I buy movie to watch a movie, not to see a brilliant application of DRM tell me that my HDTV or player is not authorized. This format could easily end up in the bit bucket with Circuit City's, Microsoft's, Apple's, and a dozen companies' media that's so tightly protected by DRM that it doesn't work anywhere.

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Bonus Feature

When I got my Ps3, I switched my lovefilm account over to blu, but I'm far too used to picking up DVD movies for a fiver (or less!) to start buying them and the PS3 is pretty sweet at upscaling anyway!

There was no going back from DVD. It's not so hard with bluray.

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Flame

Blu-Ray is not my choice. My next new format is solid-state

At the risk of being a broken record, I'll repeat again I'd much rather have solid-state drives - and with capacity increasing and pirces dropping, Blu-Ray may end up a dead duck if, in five years, a terabyte of memory costs £50 or 30GB costs £3.

I didn't need a new generation of opticals, and I certainly didn't want Blu-Ray. The war was fought between cmpanies and in my mind the wrong one - the propriety, kneecapped, expensive one - won the war.

/goes back and sits in front of Media Centre with terabyte drive attached. Waits for networks to finally produce a legal, high-quality download store. Until then, sits on his torrents.

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And will the movies be worth watching

How many of the great movies of the last century will be improved by watching them in HD Blu-Ray?

I bought my first DVD player for The Lord of the Rings.

Right now, Hollywood seems to be remaking everything that ever showed a profit. with the latest generation of actors and the latest cinematic tricks and methods. And they're not getting the same talents applied.

And DVD jumped you from the rather low quality of VHS, without having to change the TV. The one I first had hooked up to the DVD player was over a decade old. I look at what Blu-Ray needs to show the benefits, and I can't see it making Bogart and Bacall looking any better than they are.

Will more pixels improve Citizen Kane? Will they improve Laurence Olivier's little bit of Harry in the night?

We have a world of old material, currently still valuable, and Blu-Ray might make it almost worthless because the image quality isn't there for HD.

And Sony and their ilk will be in another frenzy of copyright extension and download hunting.

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Two things

First of all HDTV is not better than film, it's just about as good a a copy arriving in a cinema. If you look at the picture quality of todays DVDs you won't expect them to scan anything better than a copy which toured through a few dozends of cinemas already.

Second, just like the DVD, the biggest problem is DRM. DVD-sales sky-rocketed when the copy protection was broken and when cheap chinese models playing essentially everything became available. When there is a player for $100 which can play any kind of file up to HDTV resolutions, that player will be sold, and maybe those people will then also buy BlueRay disks. I mean look at the DVD market. All you can reasonably get are Video CDs and SuperVCDs today. In east european countries you can even get MPEG4 CDs. The DVD has failed. Even when you get a DVD the quality typically isn't much better than with a VCD as the copy they took was just to bad.

And just look at the legal competition. You already get half a dozen free to air HDTV satellite channels. That number will greatly increase in the next years. With harddisk recording this becomes even more comportable than DVDs. It's just a matter of time until distributing podcasts in HD becomes feasible. So there's plenty of material in HDTV availiable without having to resort to DRM.

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@Mike Richards - "region-coding from hell"?

Could you please explain why Blu-ray's region-coding is "from hell" or worse than DVD? First of all there are only three regions for Blu-ray as opposed to the seven there are for DVD. Second, and most importantly - region coding on BD movies is optional and in fact the majority of discs are region free.

As a more general comment: I have a small but growing collection of Blu-ray (mostly sourced in UK but a few imports) that I play on my PS3 and I absolutely love the visual quality (on a 1080p 42" Panny plasma) and audio too (HD audio surround sound). However I doubt that BD will ever truly surpass DVD as I recognise that not everyone is actually interested in the extra visual and audio quality that BD offers. Plenty of people are happy watching DVDs on a relatively small screen and may not even bother with surround sound, let alone an hd audio-capable setup. Unless BD hardware/software reaches the same level as DVD then there will be little reason for "everyone else" to feel the need to switch.

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PIB

I see you've been let loose again

What a lot of hot air and no substance some of you BR haters are:

The myth of the 'just round the corner' HD movies on demand for example. You lot make me laugh some times. Do you all get together and hold 'conspiracy meetings' about the evil empire of Sony? Or that HD DVD *really* won the format wars? It's also amazing how virginal white some of you view Microsoft. To the bloke who uses Media Centre with a 1 TB drive; are you aware that MS is about to shit on you? Try a search for "Mary-Jo Foley + Microsoft Fiji beta backlash"

As for:

"Or am I missing something? Does Blue-Ray make you feel like you can actually lick the sweat from the make-up-filled pores of the actors? Is that worth money?"

In my opinion... yes!

I remember when I first got HD on Sky, being shocked at how much detail you can see on an actors face. wrinkles, pores, sweat... the works. Especially on those BBC costume drama thingys that we get now and again. Make-up stands out a mile and you can tell who has had 'extra fillings' on certain actors.

'Cranford' was very disturbing, in this respect.

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Yep, solid state IMO too

The idea of streaming HD content over the net as a cost effective solution is IMO nonsense - the infrastructure in the UK simply isn't up to it, and I honestly doubt that anyone wants to go down that road.

Even the more enlightened countries with large bandwidth options already in place aren't that likely to want millions of people getting online HD footage as their main source of entertainment - e.g. England - say 20 million TV's on the go, for 4hrs a day, that's 80 million hours @ say 5GB an hour if decent compression was used, that's 400 million GB (erm, 40 yottabytes?!?) getting shunted around daily... Satellite networks are the only sane way to go in that direction, as many people pick up the same signal.

Memory is costing less by the day, I remember when I shelled out £30 for 4MB of RAM and thought I was getting a bargain... how times have changed.

Protected USB flash movies are a content providers dream - hard to damage, easy to transport, easy to protect, and in the near future, cheap enough to use as a throw away format.

The main problem that is flagging in my head is the reproduction side of things. With optical discs a master disc is made that is then pressed at high speed to churn out the copies, with solid state, things would have to slow down, wouldn't they???

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Re:Another

"Credit crunch.. but buying the Rambo box set in BluRay is more important than feeding my proverbial kids."

Sadly, there are people around who could actually say that without any hint of sarcasm.

As for me, well I have a PS3 and I do buy some BR films, but as others have mentioned, they are still too expensive to take over as my main medium. At the moment I only buy BR's for films which I think will benefit most from the extra res, and I still buy more DVD's than BR's.

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$ony BD, meh!

Looking at Play.com, taking the first title that come into my head:

Hellboy (2 Discs) DVD £2.99

Hellboy (Blu-ray) £13.99

Verbatim DVD-R 16x 50pk Spindle £11.47 (for 250Gb backup)

Verbatim 10 Pack 4X Blu-Ray-R 25GB £69.31 (for 100Gb backup)

You can allow for early adaptors, cost of ramping up production and so forth all you want, but at the end of the day, the average shopper, looking at the price difference in Asda will take one look and think:

"How much? But it's the same film!? You're taking the piss mate!

Besides, I personally don't believe Blu-ray should have won out. Notwithstanding all the testosterone based arguments between the CEO's during the 'format wars' HD-DVD lost for one stupid reason - it didn't get put in to XBox at the start.

I know for a fact that companies like NEC were in negotiatiins with MS, so I assume the reason came down to cost, the manufacturer(s) and Microsoft arguing over pennies in a £300 unit. Bloody daft if you ask me. If a punter is going to buy it, £299 vs £349 for a much better, more functional unit is not going to be a massive issue.

At the end of the day, as we all know, without PS3, there is no Blu-ray market, hmmm.

Ah well.

Stick me in the NOT using Blu-ray column.

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Bugger all this

I'm going back to VHS tapes.

It's better quality, and you can record your own.

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Im not impressed

I can notice a quality difference between a DVD and a BluRay Disc when watched on my HDTV at 1080p. However im not suitably impressed to warrant forking out hundres of pounds on new kit to playback video thats 20 - 30% better quality then my upscaled DVD. As other people have mentioned Bluray isnt the leap in technology that DVD was to VHS. So apart from PS3 owners or must have the latest gadget freaks everyone else wont adopt till DVD stops being sold in shops or Bluray players are cheap as chips. For the moment ill stick with my high resolution MPEG4 videos and DVD's.

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why not include a DVD disc as well?

If only they had the sense to include a DVD copy of the film with the BR Disc then they would sell heaps more........I have a BR disc player - but only in one room - (until wireless HDMI becomes realistically priced!) so still buy DVD versions over BR.......

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Anonymous Coward

@Simon Says

>Could you please explain why Blu-ray's region-coding is "from hell" or worse than DVD?

Because it hasn't been comprehensively defeated yet. Region coding is a form of DRM that users simply do not want.

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I'll buy one when...

it works in my MythTV media centre. Guess that means never given the DRM means it comes pre-broken.

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Do people really not appreciate the difference??

Saying that there isn't a great deal of difference between DVD and HD is something I just don't get. I've watched scarce little proper HD content, I've only got a limited amount of 720p stuff myself as I haven't got round to getting a BR/HDDVD player yet, but even that is a great leap up from SD. The 1080p stuff I've seen knocking about is quite simply superb.

I suppose I might fall into the category of people who actually have acute enough vision to appreciate the difference, as from where I'm sitting, it's staggering!

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Include both formats and everyone's a winner....

I have a BR (PS3) but as this is only in one room in the house and I have other DVD players in the house I still buy DVD over BR...until wireless HDMi is here at a sensible cost I will continue to do this and I suspect so do most BR owners....if (and I can't see why they don't...anyone?) included a DVD version in with the BR disc then I would buy that....sounds simple enough to me or am I missing something.....?

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Cinema Quality??

Blimey you guys must be lucky if you get cinema quality films at a cinema.. when I go to my local megaplex the film is always blurry with what looks like pubes bouncing around in the lens regardless of which screen its on.

I consider going to the cinema the equivalent of watching a knackered VHS tape out...no wonder the cinema is barely a quarter full each time

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Nothing wrong with Blu-ray ?!?!!

What are you smoking ? How about remote shutdown ability ? How about intrusive and unwanted DRM from the company that has a documented history of totally crap DRM implementations ? How about the need to replace all of my video elements for this crap to work because of HDMI restrictions ? How about simply too expensive for what it's worth ?

I have a video library of over 400 DVD titles, all legit. I will go for upscaling before I start forking over the cash to replace all that.

Hell, I don't even have Dolby at home, I'm on stereo Bose speakers.

I'll upgrade that before I buy an entirely new video room.

Blu-Ray is certainly great for the young whippersnappers that don't even have their own appartment, or barely just left their mothers' house, but for anyone over 35 that is not subject to the Gotta-Have-The-Latest-Shiny-Toy syndrome, it's not worth it - yet.

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Pirate

So I need a new TV with a new Player forget it

I bought a new TV couple of years ago that was HD, I can't get any HD source to play on it due to the fact that all content is blocked and has to go through specific decoding technology which isn't on my TV. So until they get it through thier thick skulls that DRM and screwing the consumers are not good business models then they can stick thier Blu-Ray wher the sun don't shine.

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MKV

Just wait until there's something chinese that will play an .mkv file. It'll all be over and everyone will feel better about themselves. And then maybe some of the big brands will have to implement the file format like they've conceded to with divx.

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@Simon Says

Missing the point entirely. I'd quite like the extra resolution and audio quality, provided I could return the DVD of the movie with the license I bought with it and say £1 to cover the cost of the replacement Blu-Ray disc.

Of course, that'll never happen, so I won't be refreshing my movie collection anytime soon!

How long are people going to carry on being OK with being charged an extortionate amount for a new format of something they're already licensed to use?

Presumably it would be 'illegal' for me to download a HD copy of the DVD I already own? Am I licensed only to watch the SD version?

New formats = rinse and repeat.

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Unhappy

Blu-ray for the rich

Until the price of Blu-ray comes down the fat cats can go take a running jump.

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Oh get off the topics of...

DRM and solid state. DVD had DRM but we were spoiled by the fact that it was weak enough to be broken so quickly. I have no desire to pay for anything I don't have to, don't get me wrong, but it is only sensible to expect any company to want to protect their content. It is a fact of life and people should stop moaning about it and just invest the time in circumventing it. As happened with DVD and music CD's.

Solid state... yeah lovely and convenient but Joe Public who buys his disks from Asda on a weekend doesn't care about solid state, probably doesn't even know. Joe Public is the person who pushes formats into the mainstream. Not IT geeks and techno whores like most of us are in here.

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@Andy Barratt (re: MKV)

Seconded.

That is all.

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@Disco-Legend-Zeke and @Mike: Better than film means you see the film grain.

Another issue with determining the supposed resolution of film stock; film grains are solid lumps that are either "there" (developed) or not. Greys and intermediate colours are an illusion produced by "dithering".

With digital, individual pixels can hold a range of values, not just "on" or "off".

High contrast black and white charts obscure this issue because these just need the pixels/grains to be "on" or "off" (i.e. you get the full grain resolution with film). But because dithering is needed for the illusion of other colours and shades- as found in real-life photos- this reduces the effective resolution of film outside of high-contrast test charts.

Of course, it's more complicated than that; colour film has independent magenta, cyan and yellow layers on top of each other and the reduction of colour resolution caused by digital sensors' RGB pattern filters evens things out.

But it shows that you can't simply say that film is "better" than digital simply because it can resolve X lines on a high-contrast chart.

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Paris Hilton

DVDs now look blurry...

It's funny that moving up to HD/Blu ray only looks slightly better (but is occassionally stunning).

However, when I now go back to an old-fashioned DVD it now looks like my eyes have been rubbed with vaseline.

Paris, 'cos she looks like she's trying to get the vaseline out of her eye...

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For crying out loud

I have all the kit, a Samsung 1080p screen, a Samsung BD player, Denon amp and Mission 6.1 speaker set-up. Yes, it cost a fortune (well, around £3,000), but then the previousn set-up of imported Pioneer DVD, Sony amp and Sony speakers equally cost a fortune (around £2,000) and that was some 10 years ago.

The cost of the equipment today, to a comparable time in the previous generations life-span, is lower in real terms. DVD players were still costing close to £500 for a decent one a couple of years after release, BD players can now be had for around £200 (and yes, they are profile 2 compliant, with a firm-ware upgrade).

Anyone who cant see the difference between an SD signal, upscaled DVD, 720p and 1080p should either get their eyes examined or actually set the TV up correctly (this takes a calibration disk and about an hour of your time). There is a huge difference.

As for DRM, i'm assuming people actually mean HDCP. This and the regional coding can be blamed on the same group of people - the studios. Nobody actually wants this crap, not the users, as it's irritating; nor the manufacturers, as it puts up their costs; but the studios do and it's them you should be blaming.

Regional coding has only universally been embraced by Fox on BD, some studios don't use it at all and some use it sporadically. Your best bet is to check www.bluray.com which helpfully tells you whether the disk is region locked or not and you can therefore make a choice about which version to buy. For example, Blade Runner is more cost effective on the US version than the UK - US 5 disk version (only released on DVD in the UK) £21, UK 2 disk version £18.

Finally, I do agree that the prices (at least the RRP) of disks has been silly, but it is coming down and the more you keep buying from e-tailers (where the prices are more around the £15 or so that people can stomach), the more the high-street will drop theirs. The reason for bargains on DVD's is the same as the reason we got outrageous bargains in the dying days of VHS - shops make more money on "luxury" items. One BD will make as much for the shop as 5 or more DVD's, so financially it makes more sense for them to stock and sell them.

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All those going on about price...

It took over two years with DVD for the price of a mainstream, new release blockbuster film to drop below £20 on the high street. Even then you still had to shop about, and HMV and Zaavi (then virgin), where still charging £20 on the nose.

Bemoaning the high costs of BR in the CONTEXT that people are, as in slagging the format in itself and getting all holier than thou, is bollocks and just shows that people have really short memories, or are too young to have gone through the DVD transition from the start of the previous format.

@Paul Ackerley - Do you know how much a DVD-RW cost for the first two years of DVD? huh? £10+ at first. Then £8 in the third year and only at the end of the fourth year when DVD burners dropped below £100 and found their way into homes in large amounts did the blank media become cheap enough to be an option for everyday consumers to use. Ooooh and then whaddaya know... the prices of films dipped below £15 too as blank media production got cheaper too. I used to pay £20 for 20 blank DVD-R's in the middle of fourth year of the DVD life cycle, and that was reasonable at the time. If people are still mad enough to seriously consider HMV and Zaavi (Zaavi especially), to be real contenders for all your media purchases, then you have more money than sense to start with. Zaavi are merely trying to recoup all the money they paid Branson for the management buyout. If you don't know all of this you need to get educated as a consumer very quickly and stop being led around by the nose by the market place so much, instead of sitting there slagging a product completely out of context as you are.

BR films are falling in price at the same rate DVD's were at the end of the same two year time period of the product. And before anyone says anything, YES I REALLY do know what I'm talking about because of my job, and yes I AM quoting hard facts.

The issue is actually whether in the current climate, can anyone truly afford to invest in a new format in large enough quantities to accelerate the price drops as happened with DVD at the end of the third year of the product and make BR mainstream at the rate predicted? No probably not. Especially when the leap in quality seen from VHS to DVD is not so high with DVD to BR, (in spite of there being a very noticeable increase if you have had your eyes tested recently and have even a half decent TV),

So whilst I agree with the naysayers, I do so for a totally different, educated reason. Not the ‘knees jerking so hard they are smashing me in the face’ reasons some morons are coming up with in here.

And yes, I am well and truly on my high horse and feeling very superior and happy with myself now I made my points!

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Anonymous Coward

No difference?

"Saying that there isn't a great deal of difference between DVD and HD is something I just don't get. "

Me neither: I often wonder if these people have actually seen an HD movie, TV production etc. My 92 year old granny could see the difference.

They are so fervently anti-Sony, I think some just make it up. Strange also that some also think that HD DVD should have 'won'.

Perhaps it's really just an extension of the XBox versus PS3 pissing contest. They'll never get over the fact that BluRay won.

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Blu-ray

I won't use blu ray until I can get a blu ray recorder for the tv.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't care...

I don't care any more.

I used to buy films that I liked etc, but with all this arse crap going on, I just don't care. I won't buy anything any more and will just stick to downloading it.

There, said it.

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