back to article No one needs Blu-ray, says Microsoft exec

"Who needs Blu-ray?" asks Stephen McGill, the head of Microsoft UK's Xbox operation. No one, is his implicit answer. Interviewed recently by website Xbox 360 Achievements, McGill said in response to a question centred on the console's use of DVD storage: "Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through …

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  1. Scott 16
    Alien

    But didn't...

    Didn't Microsoft try to push the now defunct HD-DVD format??

    However, I'm somewhat in agreement - I have a PS3, which has Bluray, but I own a total of 0 Bluray movie discs. Everything I have is on DVD, or I stream. I haven't found the need or want as of yet for watching my movies on Bluray. When they become as cheap as DVDs, yeah - or when the Star Wars film set hits it the format - whichever comes first. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I watched my first bluray last night.

      Blade Runner. The city views when you can make out every window in the pyramid buildings and the reflection in the eye justified the tenner it cost me. Bluray is worth it if you have a good telly, it's astounding.

      1. MJI Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Great film

        Looks VERY good on a 1080P TV.

        It was my first BluRay as well.

        And I got a decent price for the poorly mastered original DVD in a car boot sale as well.

      2. Giles Jones Gold badge

        There's the problem

        I tend to find all the films I want to watch on Blu-ray are films I know all too well having watched them about 30 times.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Me too--sorta

      I own a PS3 and don't own any BluRay movies either. However I'm a member of Lovefilm and nearly every disc that pops through the post is BluRay. That's two every week.

      As it happens I /could/ watch HD online (albeit at broadcast rates not disc rates) but I don't think any such service is available to me. For sure LoveFilm's service is not HD quality :(

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Me too--sorta

        Interesting split in this debate between those who think M$ might have a point and everyone else, who own Blu-ray players.

        Just an observation.

        1. Monty Burns

          @Tony Smith

          Not really. I own an LG Combo drive and have many HD and BD films. How many of either do you think I watch?

          None. Can't be bothered. Instead I use ripped versions (I didn't rip them) direct from my hard drive.

          Microsoft are right in my opinion. BD/HD ... both doomed formats.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Yeah they did and it's not hard to see why

      Microsoft never liked either format. They may have propped up HD DVD but they hardly committed to it in a meaningful way, for instance by embedding HD DVD drives in the XBox 360. Instead they paid lip service but let Toshiba carry most of the burden. When the format died they walked away relatively unscathed.

      I expect they just wanted to prolong a format war for as long as possible in the hope that both formats would ultimately fail or come to an impasse so Microsoft could ride in with some magic delivery platform and win the day.

    4. Mike Richards

      Yep

      Microsoft was part of the HD-DVD consortium and even released an add-on HD-DVD player for the 360

      1. Arctic fox

        @Mike Richards

        To be honest it would have been a lot more convincing (and might have helped HDVD a lot) had MS committed to X-box with built in HDVD _and_ made it very clear that they would be providing the necessary support in Windows Media Player for pc-based systems. They never did either. They could have made a _very_ big difference, they _chose_ not to. The reason is (IMHO) very simple, MS is obsessed with streaming technology which permits a business model with ALL sorts of advantages - from their point of view.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Aye

          I snapped up a few XBox HD-DVD drives when they went on stupid sale. Cheapest USB DVD drivers I ever bought. Good gear, too. I have servers and the odd system with BD-ROMs only because they were a few pennies more than the regular DVD-Roms. I think (?) that the Alienware lappy I am tapping this out on might have a BD-ROM/DVD-RW combo player in it.

          I don't use them much. Application CDs/DVDs, Movies in any format...it doesn't matter. It gets ISOed and shoved on my home server. Having to hunt physical media is just bloody pointless. I have a big box of media in the basement (documented for insurance purposes) should the fuzz or an auditor raise a stink about my giant multi-Ter server chalk full of ISOs.

          Oh, it also houses media downloads from services I find that don't sell me DRMed media. Amazon.com's MP3s are my only source for music. I have bought a few movies this way, but the services always end up getting nuked by the pigopolists eventually. That’s an interesting grey zone: I know I can’t claim downloaded media on insurance if my house burns down. (I checked the last time I re-did my house insurance.) Do you lose the personal playback rights to non-DRMed media you purchased if you have no proof of purchase and the company you bought them from goes out of business?

          Either way, the only use for physical media is to keep the pigopolists at bay. I seriously prefer the ability to just mount an ISO (VLC will play them without mounting!) and watch whatever media I desire on any system I happen to be using. Streaming? Hell no. That relies on my transport being 100% reliable (it isn’t) and said transport not being so overloaded by other local traffic that it is capable of passing an HD stream. (HA!)

          Downloads or Physical media rips on the other hand…

          …bring ‘em on! Who the hell needs blu-ray/hd-dvd/dvds/cds/whatever. Give me my licences on a piece of paper that I can file away somewhere and provide the media as a (NON-DRMED) download. Then I can take that media with me wherever I choose, on any device I choose, watch it from any device I own and generally use the media or applications I have purchased rights for as I choose.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Whatever you say Microsoft...

    Seems clear they would rather gimp their consoles and screw over gamers before paying Blu-Ray royalties to Sony...

    Nice priorities....

    My broadband has trouble with iPlayer at busy times of day, a 720p HD picture that's reliable and not compressed to hell is still a VERY long way away, let alone a 1080P one. I am not out in the stick, I live in a large UK city, half a mile from my exchange.

    Microsoft are in cuckoo land if the really think Blu-Ray quality HD content can be delivered to everyone in the next 10 years. Clearly they only started thinking this way after the failure of HD-DVD...

    Any small price premium the PS3 had over the Xbox in the early days has long since been equalled, simply because you have wasted over £200 in Xbox live fees, and likely Wifi adapters, Microsoft branded memory cards, play and charge kits and other price gouging.

    1. Phil Rigby
      Megaphone

      @AC is right

      Streaming is just too unreliable right now. Plus not everyone wants every appliance in the house hooked up to the internet at all times. When you take into account the cost of XBox Live Gold, a Netflix subscription, the cost of your internet service plus time wasted if the download stream is interrupted, it's easier and cheaper to buy a basic player and some movies occasionally. In my opinion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      The other point of course

      Is that unless Microsoft are proposing 40GB downloads/streams, they will be inferior in picture quality and audio quality to Blu-Ray discs. Plus they don't come with the interactive menus and bonus content.

      Anyone that's actually watched a 1080P streamed movie will know what a con-job (as opposed to a cron-job) it is, it's compressed to hell, with rubbish audio, it's marginally better than heavilly compressed SD stream, and worlds apart from a 1080P Blu-Ray with 7.1 uncompressed audio soundtrack(s) with directors commentry and stuff.

      Microsoft yet again show how dumb they really are (or show how dumb they think WE are, if they think we will actually believe their FUD). I'm not sure which...

      As for Blu-Ray on gaming, we have already seen gimped Xbox games like Final Fantasy that come on 3x DVD or more and suffer reduced visuals and huge compression artifacts.

      Worst than that, ID software's upcoming Rage is being gimped across ALL platforms (including PS3 and PC) just to cater for the lame Xbox360 with it's DVD drive tech from 2000. It's holding other platforms back, and for that, it needs putting out of it's misery.

      http://www.1up.com/news/rage-held-xbox-360-limits

      1. alphaxion

        optical disc? heh

        Of course, in the next 5 years we might not even need to download any data what-so-ever if the likes of OnLive and GaiKai really take off and we simply stream the video and controller data, rendering large storage formats entirely pointless for the purpose of gaming.

        I'm one of those who really didn't see the point on shelling out for yet another storage format when all I'm interested in is the digital file. Besides, how long before USB flash drives become bigger and more economical than blu-ray?

        Go into your store of choice, plug in a pen drive to a machine and transfer the movies and game ISO's, pay your money then plug that into the USB port on your console/PC... Would more than sort out the issue of a need for physical storage without the hideous limitation of a dedicated optical drive. Hell, it's also greener because you're no longer punting out loads of one-time writable discs and their packaging!

        Back in the middle of the HD DVD and Blu-Ray format war, I said *both* formats were dead ends and went for HDD's, pen drives and TCP/IP.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      The future is a bitch

      "Microsoft are in cuckoo land if the really think Blu-Ray quality HD content can be delivered to everyone in the next 10 years."

      Ten years ago getting a 36kbps connection to stay up was a challenge. Now I have two megabits. Until the economic crash, plans were afoot to *attempt* (I have my doubts!) to roll out 100mbit to every last home in Brittany by the end of 2012. Yes, even that lighthouse on all the calendars. Postponed, until...?

      Maybe full streaming HD content will be possible in ten years? Maybe in 10 years all this whoo-hoo 1080p HD kit will be passé as something even more whoo-hoo comes along. Who's to say?

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      @Whatever you say Microsoft.

      They didn't say that they could stream Blu-Ray, they said that the users didn't want it. The customers would rather pay for a SD or 720 download of a TV episode/movie today than wait 12months and buy a $50 blu-ray disk.

      And remember that the PS3 and XBOX sell for the same amount but Sony have to fit a $50 Blu-Ray player while MS only pay for a $5 DVD drive.

      1. MarkOne
        FAIL

        $50 for Blu-Ray movies EPIC FAIL

        You need to shop elsewhere. Brand new Blu-Ray releases are £15 or so ($20)

        Inception Tripleplay, on Blu-Ray with a DVD and a digital copy, £15.

        http://www.play.com/DVD/Blu-ray/4-/12455278/Inception-Triple-Play/Product.html

        Don't you American Xbox fanboys feel embarrassed posting your tripe?

    5. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      What?

      Ten years ago, a connection that could stream iPlayer reliably didn't really exist in the home market. Ten years in the future is a big prediction. Australia are planning to have 100Mb fibre by then, and the EU are pitching towards universal 30MBps within a few years (my home is already capable of 50Mbps even if I wasn't a techie). If either of those is even half-true, then they'll be a market for such streaming.

      But, also, that's not what he meant. He messed up on the word "streaming" when he really means "downloading from a remote server to play from local storage". To the average user, there's little difference.

      But then, I own neither console, no Blu-Ray and don't really care. Gimme unrestricted 30Mbps and I'll be happy. And the more consumer devices that expect and demand such things, the quicker download caps and "fair use" will disappear. Yay!

      1. Peter H. Coffin
        WTF?

        in 10 years

        Australia will have 100Mbs fiber to every home, but still have a 5GB monthly download cap....

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iPlayer

      Just click the "download" option - no need to stream at all with iplayer (I can never see why people want to do that anyway - the internets are just too unreliable.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      10 years is a long time

      10 years ago, most of us were downloading over a 56k modem which gave you 30 something kbits at best. These days broadband has got to the point where many people have well over 1Mbit, and the reality is that most people have download speeds about 100x where they were 10 years ago. You need about 40Mbit for HD movies, and that could be here within 5 years. In 10 years we will probably have enough bandwidth for reliable HD movies.

      Blu-Ray will fail for other reasons though.

      1) Too expensive - both for players and disks.

      2) Most people (tech geeks excepted) don't really feel the need for HD. I know a lot of people who have a full HD rig whose non-tech wife/husband accidentally watch and record shows in non-HD because they don't care about the difference. Most people moved from VHS to DVD for convenience not quality - rewinding the tapes, and jammed tapes etc. were a real issue.

      3) Too expensive - so important it makes it in the list in multiple places

      4) Region encoding embuggerance - worse than DVD.

      5) Too expensive.

      6) Takes over a minute to load a disk in most drives.

      7) Too expensive.

      8) Lack of forward and backward compatibility. An over the air update to your BD drive can make old disks unusable; not updating your BD drive by leaving it disconnected from the Internet can make new disks unusable. Most people aren't aware that the standard allows this, but it does, and it almost certainly will happen.

      9) Too expensive.

      You may not agree with all of these points, but they will all conspire to make DVDs outlast BDs in my opinion.

      Personally, I moved from the UK to the US a few years ago, and I brought my significant DVD collection with me. When I walked into the biggest electronics store in Manhattan with a budget of up to $1k to buy a DVD or BD player, I said to the assistant my requirements. These were HDMI output and no region encoding. The only DVD player in the store that met those requirements was a Philips one for $40. It actually has pretty nice upscaling, and whilst I can see the difference when I watch something with an exceptionally high production standard in HD (like BBC Earth) - in general, I am totally happy with the quality of DVD on my big-ass TV. I'm certainly not going to replace my DVD collection with BDs like I did when I replaced my video collection. I'll buy the odd BD - like BBC Earth - but that will get immediately ripped on to my NAS so I don't get caught out with the forward/backward compatibility issues of the format.

      1. Arctic fox
        Grenade

        @Ten years is a long time.

        I think that you are utterly failing to take into account that the prices for blu-ray players and blu-ray films are dropping WAY faster than either VHS machines and film tapes did or DVD players and films on disc did. Ten years ago when DVD players had been out quite a while it was still common to have to shell out 30 pounds sterling for a main feature! Twenty years you were payng that kind of money for a main feature on VHS tapes. If we take inflation/purchasing power into acount at the equivalent stage in blu-ray's introduction cycle the fifteen pounds that you will typically pay for a main feature on blu-ray today and that you can get a perfectly usable machine for under 100 pounds we can see that all this howling about how its too expensive is total and utter bollocks. Blu-ray at the same stage in the introduction/production/marketing cycle is WAY cheaper than either of its two ancestor technologies. Christ, a _"cheap"_ vhs player twenfyfive years ago cost all of two hundred smackers! Twentyfive frakking years ago. The fact of the matter is blu-ray represents a much lower proportion of the average punter's purchasing power than either of the above mentioned. I just wish people did a little research before they repeat saloon bar cliches.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Same pipes, controlled by the same people.

        Were people really that far behind 10 years ago? There's all of this talk about how backwards the US is supposed to be in terms of broadband price and speed. Did the rest of the world just leapfrog us or somesuch? I am using the same broadband technology I was 10 years ago.

        Most important of all is the fact that the same players are dominating the scene. For many people, their cable company is their ISP. That doesn't bode well for trying to replace them with various forms of downloads.

        I have a very respectable download speed and I still see Netflix stumble. I also have occasional outtages. I might have satellite outtages too but I wouldn't notice as much as I've got a fat PVR sitting in front of it. The sat could be offline for a month and I might not notice. (big drives)

      3. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Too expensive?

        Players are now available at less than $100, and discs can be had for as little as $10...NEW. I wouldn't be too surprised in the near future (say within two years) for a movie company to release a movie ONLY in BluRay. That'll be the first sign of the inevitable transition. Then it'll either be go BluRay or go Without.

      4. MJI Silver badge
        Go

        Some points

        1 - Price shop around for them - plenty are discounted, players are getting cheaper.

        2 - Differences, a lot of people CAN tell the difference.

        3 - Players are getting cheaper.

        4 - I haven't noticed TBH

        5 - The players are also very usefull for other media uses.

        6 - They load quick I find, from loading in the slot to sitting down - it is loaded

        7 - The players are good for games

        8 - Never come across this

        As to quality a good BD is astonishingly good.

        1. Arctic fox

          @MJI

          "8 - Never come across this"

          I assume that you meant that you had never come across lack of _backwards_ compatibility with ones older blu-ray films after a firmware update (given that one frequently of course needs to check update to ensure forward compatibility). I have to say that I agree (we have had a blu-ray player for about two years now), I have never even heard of a lack of backwards compatibility with older blu-ray discs let alone experienced it myself.

          1. MJI Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            All my BDs play fine

            Never had any issues with my oldest BD or any others - they all work fine no matter what firmware is in use.

            Our BD player is a games console.

    8. Robredz

      It would take around 2 days to download a HD movie here

      You are relatively fortunate, our connection speeds went down when BT enabled ADSL+ at our exchange, from 5 mb to around 1.8 on a good day, to around 100k at peak times, so streaming is a zero option here, and there is more chance of Bob Crow giving up strikes, than the fibre optic cable coming to our area.

  3. Chad H.
    Flame

    ISPs need blue ray

    With numerous ISPs convinced that 20GB is more than enough for users, its clear that ISPs are the ones that need blu ray.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still be a Blu Ray/DVD market.....

    For the forseeable future. People still want to own certain films. Untill broadband is universally fast enough and cheap enough that an 8gb hd quality file can be downloaded conveniently, it's only going to be a niche.

  5. Ralph B
    Thumb Down

    "Who needs Microsoft?" asks World

    Good luck holding on to that No.2* consoles sales spot, MS.

    * In US and Australia. Already No.3 elsewhere.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Flame

      always 1 fanboi

      Yep because after the smashing success the PS2 was, the PS3 finally catching M$ for third place after 5 years was Sony's goal after all. As a PS3 owner who loathes M$ you can say a lot of things but saying the PS3 and BluRay has been a big success is a big stretch. Its almost guaranteed the PS3 will never pay for itself or ever even come close to passing the PS2 in sales. IMHO it has as much to do with the worthless Cell BE as it does with the initial pricey BR. The CELL is such a joke to code for that even IBM quit making the architecture for anybody but Sony. The market (such as even PowerPC fanboi Apple) massively rejected this architecture for many valid reasons. The performance sucks for most things, the architecture is buggy (PS3 games tends to be more glitchy and freeze more often Xbox), and most of all its expensive to code for properly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        LOL

        YOu actually believe all that... You should using the internet, as you clearly believe any old crap.

        IBM are still making the Cell.... Not just for Sony... The other points are so embarrassingly bad, they aren't even worth wasting my fingers on.

        http://www.hardwareheaven.com/news.php?newsid=344#ixzz0Xhq6YCSF

        Anyone else notice, is always then evenings when the Xbots wake up in the US and come here with their Americanisms? "Quick, someone is talking bad about the Xbox...."

        1. GeorgeTuk
          FAIL

          Please, no.

          This is not a forum for this argument rubbish.

          Please do not start those boring arguments here. This is about Blu-Ray, the fact PS3 has Blu-Ray is a side note.

          OK I don't own the forum but I think I can speak for many when I say we don't flame arguments about consoles on here.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    "Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay."

    Right, if you have a 20+megabit connection. Streaming 30gb in 1:45? Not on my connection, and not on anyone's I know. I'd hit my monthly bandwidth cap after one movie.

    And if he's saying you can get bluray quality out of less bandwidth than that - hah, it is to laugh. You can get NTSC quality with higher spatial resolution for static images, and massive, horrifying macroblocking for anything else.

    If everyone had uncapped 30mbit connections, you could manage this. In the real world, it will either be a non-starter due to the lack of high speed connections in the US, or there will either be massive quality compromises - and people, just because the spatial resolution is 1920x1080 does NOT mean it's bluray quality; think about YouTube HD or crappy digital cable that's so bad that channel logos disappear into a hash of huge blocks during fast motion.

    The irony is that people (probably here, too) will say that BluRay offers no quality increase over DVDs. First, that's completely untrue, and as displays improve and get bigger, the difference will be more and more obvious. Second, the compression required for HD streaming retains spatial resolution during static scenes - which is what people say they don't care about vs. DVD - and ruins color quality and temporal resolution! So if you don't care about the resolution increase over DVD, you're going to end up with a much worse experience...

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @David W.

      "The irony is that people (probably here, too) will say that BluRay offers no quality increase over DVDs"

      Dead right. The same ignorati who are probably playing their blu-ray film over a 32 inch 720p craptek TV from Walmart and howl that they can't see any difference.

  7. hplasm Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    He could be right-

    All MS games only need 640Kb...

  8. Cameron Colley

    I'd probably buy a Blu Ray drive and some movies tomorrow.

    Unfortunately the MP Ass of America doesn't want me to watch Blu Ray -- so I'll stick with cheap DVDs (thanks to DeCSS) and illegal downloads.

    1. Cameron Colley

      OK, I'm interested...

      I wouldn't usually care, but I'm intrigued -- is the vote down because I would like to buy Blu Ray, because I buy DVDs or because I'm not allowed to watch movies on my OS of choice?

      1. dogged

        My guess

        I suspect it's because you failed to extoll the virtues of the Holy PS3.

        :/

  9. Roger Stenning
    IT Angle

    Blu-ray'll be obsolete soon anyhow...

    I don't particularly want Blu-ray (why can't they learn to bloody spell things correctly?!) either, and the rate at which USB ram sticks are increasing in capacity, and coming down in cost, discs'll be obsolete. You go to your favourite game shop, and swap a stick for a stick, or provide/buy a blank - hell, maybe they'll even come on read-only high-capacity sticks instead sooner than later?

    Maybe, some day, movies'll be offered in the shops that way too?

    Who knows?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      You have a good point.

      The rate at which the cost of flash is crashing, I see no advantage to optical disks anymore.

      Given that once you have a movie, you would probably want to keep it, why on earth has no one come up with a ROM equivalent onto which a move could be burned?

      Like calculators and digital watches before, something that was once expensive is practically given away now.

      Surely the fact that it is only write-once should give enormous advantages in terms of production cost and capacity for a ROM implementation of media distribution with added advantages of not having to put up with scratch issues and the bulk/mechanics of the disk reader.

  10. johnnytruant

    Didn't Sony recently say...

    ...that they reckoned we were at least ten years away from (removable) diskless home entertainment systems?

    Yeah, it's here: http://www.reghardware.com/2010/08/27/sony_forecasts_physical_media_future/

    I'm siding with Sony on this one. My internet connection can barely handle a compressed SD video stream, let alone a high-quality 1080p one. Much as I hope otherwise, I don't envisage BT laying fibre to my house anytime soon.

    On the other hand, my house has quite a lot of blu-rays in. I wonder where, if I wanted to, I could stream old episodes of The Prisoner in HD from? Or vintage films from the cash-strapped BFI, lovingly transferred to HD media..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instant 1080p?

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"

    A 720p movie will stream with only a small delay on my 8 Mb inner city connection, but 1080p instantly? I generally find something to do for a few minutes while it buffers. Perhaps I'm the only one?

    Still quicker than walking to the shops to buy a Blu-ray tho ;)

  12. Bracken Dawson
    Thumb Up

    Good.

    I've always hated optical storage. Any form of storage where you can get a miscompare as easy as a CD you've burned needs to be ousted.

  13. Captain Black

    Not for a while

    I too can't see how this can be realistic in the near future. I live in an area with reasonable broadband, getting on for 8mb, and I can't stream bluray quality movies over XBL at all, and even when one day I get 20mb broadband, when kids are in th bedroom playing online games, and missus in the kitchen doing her online shopping, i'll still not be able to stream my movie.

    I only own a couple of blurays, but I rent them all the time from Lovefilm, and any movies I feel good enough to want to keep I do buy on Bluray, and for something to 'keep' I think people will always want to go to the shop and get something tangible.

    I guess it's compared to how music has gone, but I think that has been pushed more by the portability of it, and also music is a far lighter bandwidth requirement.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with Microsoft

    The cost of flash memory coming down, I think we'll get stuff on solid state at reasonable prices before too long.

    It didn't take off with music because I don't think the players were there. Now we've got phones, etc. with Micro SD slots on them, car radios with USB slots, it is a different market and I think the Blu-Ray will eventually slide in to obscurity.

    DVD gives me a quality that I like at a price I love. Blu-Ray, not so. Games ... my lifestyle means I'm now using my high res gaming mouse, high spec mouse mat and gamers keyboard to play ... um ... farmville.

    Some games came on multiple CD's rather than single DVDs, presumably because in the day, there weren't many DVD players around. For that reason, I think that games will come on multiple DVDs ... becuase there don't seem to be that many Blu-Ray players around ... and I think we'll go solid state before we reach Blu-Ray saturation point.

  15. Craig 12

    Passed by?

    It's already over 4 years old!

    The biggest problem is the price of the discs. I needed a quick present on Tuesday, and was shocked to see places like HMV still had movies over £20 on BR. Online prices are so much more reasonable.

    The quality is there though, and much appreciated. We rewatched The Dark Knight BR recently, and it's obviously so much better looking than any HD downloads and Sky HD.

    I think BR will still be around in 5-10 years time tbh. It doesn't need to replace DVD quickly to be successful, and there's no reason it can't co-exist with lower bit-rate downloads. Even in 10 years, I can't see streaming 50gb in 90 mins being a viable option. It would be nice tho...

  16. Dirk Vandenheuvel
    Gates Halo

    MS is right

    For once they are hitting the nail on the head.

    A format nobody really needed, overpriced and shoved down the throat of us consumers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh dear

      Get burned buying into HD-DVD did you?

  17. alviator
    FAIL

    Haven't they been wrong before?

    I can't see streaming being the main delivery vehicle for the mass market. Putting a movie in is very much ingrained for the average consumer and far simpler than setting up all the hardware and connections for streaming.

    Beside, streaming HD content is like listening to music with those cheap Apple headphones. Stream HD audio in more than 2 channels? Unpossible!

  18. Craig Chambers
    WTF?

    And what is fair usage?

    My ISP gives me a reasonable 50 GB per month allowance for data download.

    Last I checked, a 'Blu-ray quality' film, i.e. an actual Blu-ray rather than some heavily compressed stream version, can be anything up to 40 GB or so. With my 6.5 Mbps download speed this would take approximately 14 hours to 'stream' with my download maxed out for the entire period if my calculation is correct.

    1 GB = 1024 MB = 8192 Mb

    8192 / 6.5 = 1260.31 seconds to download 1 MB

    1260.31 / 3600 = 0.35 hours to download 1MB

    40 * 0.35 = 14.0034 hours to download their 'Blu-ray quality' stream

    1. Shades

      As far as I can tell...

      ...your calculations are off (and a little convoluted) and you may be wildly exaggerating the file size of a film. After a little bit of research it appears most Blu-Ray films (stripped of everything except 1 video stream and a 5.1 audio stream) at their original bit-rate weigh in between 16GB and 24GB. Furthermore I also think you are getting your megabytes (MB) and megabits (Mb) confused or have fallen for the ISP trick of confusing megabytes and megabits by using "Meg". But, for the sake of clarity, we'll use your 40GB file size:

      // 1GB = 1,024MB

      1,024MB * 40 = 40,960MB

      // 6.5Mbps (MegaBITS) = .65MBps (MegaBYTES) (= 650KBps) [1]

      40,960MB / .65MBps = 63015.38 seconds

      63015.38 / 3600 = 17.50 hours

      [1] if your line really was 6.5 megaBYTES per second (6,500kbps) it would be advertised, by ISPs, as 65 Meg broadband. Currently Virgin Media's top-of-the-range offering is 50Meg (or 5 Megabytes per second, or 5000kbps).

      1. Craig Chambers
        FAIL

        So, what you got is the same answer?

        Not sure what your point was. other than a rather excellent strawman with regards to 'megs'. My download speed is 6.5 Mbps = mega bits per second (as I stated)

        You seem to have got the same answer as me, only I never converted at 10 bits to the byte favouring the more usual 8 bits to the byte. Hence the time you got was 25% longer (or 3.5 hours on top of 14 = 17.5... Hooray for maths!).

        I do appreciate that when you factor in packet overheads you lose a few bits to the byte.

        Also, I stated "up to" around 40 GB for film size. This was based on my rip of Watchmen with as you state only one audio track, and it came in at 37 GB.

    2. Hyphen
      Stop

      (untitled)

      I have a 50mbit VM connection - I've maxed it out at about 47mbps, and averages about 42 in real use.

      8192 / 42 == 195.05 seconds to download 1GB

      195.05 / 60 == 3.25 minutes to download 1GB

      40 * 3.25 == 130 minutes to stream a 90-minute movie.

      I think all of the above commentards suggesting 30mbps will see a VERY juddery stream!

      Still, I think if you were considering watching a movie, and you knew what you want, the 40-60 minutes of pre-buffering needed to make it play without stopping would be akin to the time taken to go to Blockbuster or something like that.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Uh?

    What, seriously!?!

    So anyone can get 1080p quality video streamed can they?

    No, they can't. Not yet anyway and not for a while. Plus, the massively over subscribed ISPs will quickly dispel any notion that such a service is reliable as their fair use policy and trafic shaping rules will no doubt render this stuff next to useless if it all went mainstream.

    Plenty of life in optical storage yet.

  20. Filippo

    yeah, right

    At the moment, my DSL can't even stream a true DVD-quality source without doing a whole bunch of buffering in advance. I don't know of anyone who can even remotely stream a BR - that would require the ability to download, say, 25 gig in two hours? As of now, I might be able to download a BR in a day or so. If I'm lucky, and if I don't mind my bandwidth being saturated (making browsing painful, preventing any online gaming, etc etc) for the duration.

    The speed of internet connections, especially for those who don't live in the middle of a large city, has not been increasing so fast that we can reasonably predict most people will be able to stream 1080p content any time soon.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    as a consumer

    I have to disagree, 1st I don't have the bandwidth to stream or download large files, I even let youtube download load in the background if I *REALLY* wanted to watch the clip. I am sure that I am not the only one and their are many in the world like me. 2nd many of those *digital* stores refuse to sale to me because I don't live in the country that they sale in (zune just came to selected countries other then the USofA), so even if I do get the bandwidth to download or stream... you guys won't sale to me.

    Statement like "no one wants Blu-ray" coming from someone who is a decision maker in the market is really worrying. This statement does ignore a large percentage of the world just because they live in another country or can't afford the bandwidth. it also ignoring people who love to have the physical media.

  22. DrXym Silver badge

    Liar liar

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"

    Unless they are delivering 20-40Mbps then claiming instant blu ray quality is an utter lie. Even if they were delivering that, which I doubt, people would have to be subscribed to a FIOS with unlimited bandwidth to benefit. I would be surprised if their content was running higher than 10Mbps and probably its far less.

    Perhaps the service is okay for video on demand or streaming but you'd have to be stupid to purchase anything from it to keep. Microsoft have already killed PlaysForSure key servers (thus locking purchased content to one device forever) so who's to say they won't do it again.

  23. John Gamble

    Skipped a Few Steps There

    No, I don't need a Blu-Ray disc drive on my computer.

    Which is beside the point. Contrary to what a Microsoft millionaire believes, I don't run everything through my computer. My Blu-Ray player is attached to my television, thank you very much.

    Yeah, eventually content that people don't want to physically own will come through the intertubes. But according to real economists (not some executive with an axe to grind), that will probably be in eight to ten years. My television and DVD player are fine with that.

    (Note also the assumption that everyone upgrades at the same rate and at the same time, but that could be an article all in itself.)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Won't games eventually be constrained by DVD?

    I thought I had heard of PS3 games going beyond the (what is it 9GB?) limitation of Dual Layer DVDs. Seems like at some point this would start limiting the Game Developers and they might have to start making neutered-content versions of their games for XBox.

    Am I wrong?

    1. Monty Burns

      or....

      maybe just distribute on more than one disk..... oh wait, they already do!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        I don't own an XBox

        ...so thanks for clearing that up.

        Seems like it would be a pain in the butt to need to juggle multiple disks just to play one game... maybe not(?)

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Already are

      PS3 exclusives do not care, Uncharted 2 is about 25GB and God Of War is supposed to be about 50GB.

      A few cross platform games are limited on the XBox version eg the last Final Fantasy

  25. SteveK

    Metered broadband?

    I think all the while the average home user is fleeced by ISPs telling them that a quota of 5gb or less per month is normal usage, downloading or streaming content will not be taken up by the masses.

    To be honest, I have unmetered broadband and I still only stream the odd content from iPlayer, I still buy films on DVD and the occasional bluray. At least then I can watch it repeatedly without paying over and over, can buy it cheap in the sales and lend/give it to others when I'm done with it.

  26. Tom_

    Doesn't add up

    I already have multiple xbox 360 games that come on more than one DVD.

    eg Forze 3 comes on 2 DVDs and Final Fantasy 13 comes on 3 DVDs.

    On films, Blurays cost the same to rent from Lovefilm as DVDs, so I always go for the Bluray option if it's available (and watch it on the PS3.)

  27. Tom 35 Silver badge

    meaningless quality statment

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly" BS!

    Sure you could put a compressed all to hell video on a Blu-ray disc and that would be "blu-ray quality". He is not really saying that the quality is anything like what you typically get on a blu-ray disc, forget the maximum quality.

    Remember MS are the ones that thought a dual layer DVD + WMV was the way to go for HD.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hmmm...

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"

    Having viewed a number of these "Full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality" streams on XBox live, I'd can only conclude that no-one at Microsoft has ever seen a Blu-ray disc.

    The difference is plain to see.

    I'll stick with Blu-ray thanks.

  29. Peter Galbavy
    WTF?

    emps new clothes

    This is just a tactic by the media corporate interests to distract people from the underlying problems of surrendering all control of your purchases to their whim. When I buy a CD/DVD/Bluray I get some media and it last for a long time. I have some CDs that have succumbed to bit rot, but hey. If I surrender my media interests to Microsoft/Apple/Sony/whoever then they get to choose when and if I am allowed to access it.

    What happens when a company dies ? When they decide you are a security risk (see Microsoft blocking XBox360 owners they meely suspect of hacking their consoles) without legal recourse ?

    Without adequate legal safeguards in place, this is a dangerous path of conflict of interest to allow these global monopolies to walk down...

  30. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    HD Video

    It seems that all the camcorders are HD nowadays, and every week new still cameras are replaceing old models and have HD video included.

    So if I video my nephew's school play, I have to buy server space so that his parents can watch the video streaming over the internet?

    I'm sorry but I think that the gentleman from Microsoft is off. I think that bluray writers will become common long before people are able to stream their HD content. When bluray writers are common, readers will be essential. I was looking at bluray writers last night to back-up some photos (they're a lot easier to browse than DAT tapes!) Not much more than £100. I think I paid almost that for my first DVD-Rom drive, and certainly more than that for my first DVD writer.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    strange

    Its so very strange, therefore, that microsoft actually bothered supporting blu-ray on that minority operating system they sell, whats its name? Oh yes, Windows.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the company that (supposedly) said...

    No one will need filenames longer than 8.3.

    No one will need more than 640k memory.

    The Internet is just a fad.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Discs were broken by the designers!

    The companies designing DVD and then HD-DVD and Bluray all made the same mistake - that hardware and discs should be tied to a region. This massively put me off buying DVDs, to the extent that I don't really watch movies at all now. The other formats followed this up.

    So what's the problem? Well, if you travel, you can't help but notice that when you get to the USA and want to go to the shops and buy a DVD, it won't play. Move to Hong Kong, same thing happens. You are completely put off the digital-disc experience by the restrictions in place which stop you legally buying movies/TV shows/etc and watching them.

    The only solution I came up with was to buy a few films/TV shows/whatever that I like and rip them to my computer, then I can carry them round and watch them. I'm limited to what I can watch, but I've got used to that. It's better than spending money on a coffee mat and watching repeats whilst abroad accurately mirrors the UK telly-watching experience.

    With this in mind, the Apple play is obvious - tie the hardware limitations to the person and the account - the person can travel and still access things in iTunes (I believe, but then I've never seen any reason to use that either) and control the access. That's what Microsoft wants to do too - control the access, capture the dollars. That's what Windows Vista was all about - engineering in the technology to lock down content and make it easier for them to make money. It's also why it sucked - there was nothing in it for the people they wanted to buy it.

    Basically, it's all bollocks. They want to lock you in, make you pay for things repeatedly and cripple your computers and gaming devices so you can't do a damn thing about it. Same thing appears to be being played out with eBook readers.

    For me, the only solution is not to play,

  34. Brian
    Thumb Up

    Agrred, Blu-ray spec is too restrictive

    HD DVD also required the ability for a managed copy. This fit well in the media center/xbox space to create a media library within media center without have a DVD Changer. Blu-ray allows for managed copy, but doesn't require it. Based on that alone, I don't blaim them for not wanting to support it.

    Since Apple refuses to do any DRM, you won't see Apple supporting blu-ray either.

    I enjoy my 1080p streaming from xbox live.. personally, I think $4.50/month is cheap for the services they provide.

    You don't need MS' wireless card. You can use power over ethernet. Next, you don't have to use MS branded memory cards. Finally, you can use AA's if you don't want the rechargable kits. If you feel it is price gouging (PS3 accessories aren't any cheaper), then simply don't buy them. There are alternatives.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Since Apple refuses to do any DRM,...

      Since Apple refuses to do any DRM, you won't see Apple supporting blu-ray either.

      I think you need to go check the videos on iTunes... :P

      Or did you mean to say they don't do any DRM but their own?

  35. killzone

    hmm

    I've got to be honest, if the iTunes store had HD movie downloads (to own, not rent) I'd not be buying blu-rays at all. as it is, I have about 60 of them. I've stopped buying dvd's altogether.

    About 75% of my media purchases now are TV series'. All from iTunes and in HD if available. The other 25% are movies, mostly on blu-ray, but the rest again from iTunes.

    TBH i'm not amused with everyone pushing video streaming as the way to go. I'd rather pay for something and own it. I tend to watch stuff over and over, might be years apart, but nevertheless, I still watch it again.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Nonesense!

    "People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming"

    This is only true if you look at stuff like Bit Torrent.

    But assuming that the MS guy wasn't refrering to BT, who can name a legit video streaming service (ie, probably one that screws you down to the ground with DRM and charges a fortune) that they use more than a pirate one?

    Nope? Didn't think so.

    You Tube? Hardly DVD quality, never mind HD!

  37. Guido Esperanto

    I'd concur....

    the market for pc's & macs. I just do not think the demand is there for BR devices in that kit.

    But I think for consoles, especially as games get bigger, the BR is going to be a great advantage.

    To be honest, part of my problem is a generational one. I prefer tangible objects when purchasing something, paying for something you can neither see or touch (in a physical sense) i find a tad bizarre (and I'm not that old -early 30's)

    I wonder if Broadband Britain is capable of streaming 1080p movies to thousands of users?

    I'm cynical at best and I still believe there is some value for physical media yet.

    and no, I dont carry a floppy round - just in case :D

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multi disk games

    Mass Effect 2 already comes on 2 disks, and did PGR4 get limited to fit it on to one disk?

  39. John Ridley 1

    I'm skipping BR

    I do buy BR discs for franchises that I want to support financially. But I don't own a BR player. I just download the MKV off usenet and watch that through my set-top media player. The BR disc never leaves the package, it just goes into a box in the basement.

    I don't see any reason to buy a BR player. It's much more convenient to have all the stuff I own on a RAID NAS box, instantly accessible via remote.

  40. Steve Todd
    Stop

    @AC

    Current broadcast 1080P video in the UK runs at 8Mbits/sec. Clearly you're in cloud cuckoo land yourself if you don't think that average broadband speeds will be beyond that in 10 years. We've already got 50Mbit cable and 40Mbit FTTC is being rolled out over the next couple of years. Even current ADSL2+ systems can manage 8Mbits/sec out to 3KM from the exchange.

    1. riggsuk

      @Steve Todd

      Sorry to burst your bubble but the UK doesn't do broadcast 1080p only 1080i.

    2. johnnytruant

      8Mbit/s eh?

      Could you come and tell my internet connection that, please?

      I'm on ADSL2+, 2.2KM from the exchange and on a very, very good day, I can just about squeeze 4Mbit/s out of it.

    3. Richard 45

      No title

      "Current broadcast 1080P video in the UK runs at 8Mbits/sec"

      Yes, and it looks like shit. AVC and VC-1 on BR average around 30Mbit/s, perhaps a little less, and looks superb. With BR you also get uncompressed hi-res multi-channel audio at anything between 4Mbit/s and 8, sometimes more.

  41. Nigel Wright
    FAIL

    I think he's very wrong

    We are nowhere near having the necessary ISP performance to stream data in such quantities. Do that with Virgin in its current guise and you will end up capped with slow speeds by the time you have a DVD's worth of data downloaded. That's unlikely to improve any time soon - in fact it's likely to get much worse.

  42. SuperTim
    Gates Horns

    Yeah, right....

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"

    Erm, anyone who can't get 100Mbit broadband? I can't watch iplayer without it stuttering when the world is online at 9pm, so i can't get blu ray quality instantly (unless i put in a blu ray disc i just bought).

    I realise that compression has come on a long way, but the size of movies and games these days means you still have to have some practical medium for certain things. You can't buy your missus the box set of sex and the city and wrap it up all nice with a bow, if all the box contains is a piece of paper with a URL download link on it.

    I agree that Blu-ray is not necessary for some (and i myself don't tend to buy them), but i don't suggest that everyone is in the same position as me.

    I suspect it's more sour grapes than honest heartfelt sentiment from the nobend from M$.

  43. Erroneous Howard

    Streaming......not yet

    I, like a previous poster, struggle even with iplayer on my current broadband connection. In fact my area has JUST had fibre installed although I cannot yet get it through my provider (it's still undergoing the last few checks before going live). If that proves to provide a decent stable speed then I might begin using it more often, but I suspect that at peak times it will still be slow as unfortunately most of the country tend to settle down to watch films at around the same time of the day.

    While my own personal connection might be fine, I think the countries backbone infrastructure will still struggle for a good few years yet. And after all, who wants to be dictated to as to when they can view full HD content according to how busy the net is?

    They just need to reduce the price of Blu-Ray titles to be approximately the same as the DVD equivalent. After all, the same work went into making the film, it's just the marginally more expensive media which might add an extra pound or so onto the production cost.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "So, who needs Blu-ray?"

    Let's see ...

    1) People without broadband

    2) People with limited internet access speeds

    3) People with small bandwidth caps

    4) People who want to own products rather than having most of their ownership rights taken away

    5) People who share their broadband connection with other people

    6) People who enjoy the extras and packaging that comes with shiny discs

    7) People who don't want to use Microsoft's offerings

    8) People who want some assurance their movie will still be available to watch in ten year's time

    I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons why for some, 1080P streaming and digital "ownership" of movies aren't preferable to discs.

    On the other hand, who needs Kinect?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Of course they won't offer a "defunct" format

    They (MS & Apple) are banking heavily on *being* the next format.

  46. Llyander
    FAIL

    Nonsense.

    Rubbish. The UK simply hasn't the infrastructure to support this sort of content on a mass scale and likely won't for years.

    As it is, most ISPs seem to struggle to stream the sort of content people are watching now, I'm supposed to have a 10Mb connection but often I'm lucky if I get 1Mb at peak times, how on earth am I supposed to download and watch a high-def movie?

    And not only that, for all this talk about MP3s and streaming movies and blahblahblah, I would STILL much rather have a physical product in my hand as opposed to a file that can only be used when and where the download provider says.

  47. SynicNZ

    Another case of saying it will make it so

    Or so they hope

  48. Saganhill

    Oh really?

    They said the same thing about how much memory a PC would need.

  49. Citizen Kaned
    FAIL

    M$ Fail again....

    what bollocks.

    it takes me 2 hours to download a 4gb file on my 10Mb virgin line. even youtube can be flakey at peak times!!!!

    it will be another 5-6 years before we see lines capable of 25GB in 90 mins for all. give me a disk i own over a digital download that might crap out half way through. plus, every time i see a film i have to redownload it?!?!?! and i guess sony want to charge the same to stream (probably compressed without trueHD/master audio) as to own the film anyway - just like sony does with its download movies.

    im sure ISPs are happy that M$ will be making pots of cash out of their lines when they need to upgrade everyone to gigabit to the home.

    enough of this licensing shite. i want a physical copy i can own. especially if they want to charge the same price! physical copy = collateral. if you download you have something that is worthless.

    its M$ holding back games now with the silly little DVD games when ps3 owners have loads of space left on our disks for HD cutscenes and sound etc. i want proper HD gaming - thats why i have a nice big HD TV, HD AVR amp and B&W speakers.

    @"The question is, will there come a time when an Xbox game requires more capacity than a dual-layer DVD can provide but there isn't yet the bandwidth to pull down the excess over the net?" - been and gone. a lot of games are severely hampered by M$' disk restrictions.

  50. iRadiate

    People want choice

    People want choice. They don't want to be told how to view movies.

    There are times when I want to stream movies. There are other times when I may not have an internet connection where I would want to play a physical disk.

    Microsoft has always been a company that doesn't enjoy giving their customers a choice.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Physical media will always have a place

    For any film, album etc, I will always want to own a copy and be able to view it as I wish and whenever I wish. I've very little interest in merely being granted temporary access to it, and knowing that that access may be revoked at any time. I would imagine that most tech-savvy users would feel the same.

    This rules out any streaming service. Most users won't have the capacity to store large amounts of HD video electronically, let alone with any sort of backup (which a physical medium provides nicely for those who do store everything electronically), so downloads are also unsuitable.

    The only remaining option is distribution on physical media. Technically, Blu-ray is sufficient, although whether it survives in another matter. There's always an incentive for those who didn't back it to attempt to sideline it, then push something new in the future.

    1. MJI Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      And here

      There is something about owning the media rather downloading. The fun of picking up a disc and putting into the device you want.

      That is part of the experience. Along with looking at the cover notes ect

  52. Captain Underpants

    Is there demand for Blu-Ray?

    Yes there is.

    Is there enough demand to make it worth the hassle and licence fees of paying it when you can use an alternative distribution system instead?

    Probably not.

    Personally, I'm not fussed. I can actually see it more as a game issue than a film issue, but the rise of Steam suggests to me that buying games in hardcopy will only remain common while publishers can't switch to a full digital-distribution-only model. Cutting out the cost of getting games media pressed, then boxed, then distributed all over the place? Gee, I wonder why that would appear...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Microsoft

    ... said the internet was irrelevant. Hence, Netscape had early success.

    I can just get 2MBit/s. I live 3 km from my exchange.

    Yes, one day, when everyone has 50Mbit/s to their home, Blu Ray may be irrelevant. Not today.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Have to agree, hate to agree with MS over anything, mind

    Blu-ray is just a short-lived interstitial format between DVD and streaming (the Steam model). Whether you love or hate this prospect, it's true.

    I haven't bothered with bluray player for films, as nothing I care about has been made available in a print that would justify needing the extra res (on my nice 1080p telly). I can see that it's nice to have the extra space for a console game- though it's cripplingly slow for this, hence the compulsory installs on PS3.

    It makes sense for Sony to include it, of course, as they hold most of the cards, can't blame them. However, it's really only a pyrrhic victor of the most recent round of optical format wars, and not long for this world.

    1. Mike Brown
      FAIL

      no no no no

      thats an old xbox fanboy arguement: blu ray is slower than dvd. no it isnt. 2 x bluray is as fast as 16x dvd. if not faster.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want Blu-Ray because ...

    I have over 1000 Blu-Ray and DVD discs and I want the packaging and information that comes with them. I want to be able to pull a disc off the shelf at a moments notice and I don't want to be waiting 20 minutes for a download. Just like vinyl and CD are better than mp3 because they're physical objects that links the user to the originator directly then so is a Blu-Ray because it encapsulates the experience of the film or program. I like a physical library! Downloads will further dumb down the experience of cinema just as mp3 has destroyed the cohesive nature of popular music. Quantity is NOT quality.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I want Blu-Ray because ...

      To be fair, streaming usually starts rather more quickly than 20 minutes after clicking the 'View' button.

      Dunno about anyone else, but I usually chuck the packaging. It's only a box and some pictures, and an I can store discs more efficiently than boxes. I'd rather not have it cluttering up my living room, thanks.

      Some people used to piss and moan about the death of the LP because CDs didn't provide the same 'package', but seriously who really ever sat staring at a gatefold pondering the depths of [insert artist]'s lyrics? Or the meaning in the photos/bad artwork.

      Packaged media, by definition, has to have a package and packagers have to put something on it, usually to entice buyers. But really it's what's on the disc that matters.

      The sooner we all get over this packaging thing, the less s**t we'll be tossing onto landfill or uneconomically recycling.

      Server farm power requirements and Blighty's woeful broadband bandwidth aside - FWIW, my 20Mb/s Virgin line is just fine - non-physical media seems the way to go for all sorts of reasons.

      But if you need to hug the box of the movie you're watching, I won't stand in your way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: "Re: I want Blu-Ray because ... "

        Tony,

        In days of yore, I suspect that a good few teenage boys have wasted rather a lot of time "staring" at CD inlays, or album covers (even further back into the stone age).

        Still, the relentless march of technology brings us the Internet, and we all know what that's for, right?

        1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: re: "Re: I want Blu-Ray because ... "

          You said it. key phrase there is *teenage* boys.

  56. Greg J Preece

    *Sigh* This again?

    "People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming."

    No. They. Haven't.

    Sure, the iPlayer might be awesome for catching up on stuff, and people might spend all their time on YouTube, but for actually owning/watching something, huge swathes of the population quite plainly continue to buy optical media. Look at the size of the Blu-Ray section in HMV sometime.

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay."

    No. You. Don't.

    I have a 13Mbps connection, and that is waaaay above average in this country (and yours, I'd imagine). If you can stream Blade Runner to me at 1080p, without visible/audible compression or loss of features, on that connection, I will be impressed. I doubt it will happen.

    In the meantime those of us with a clue will buy optical media and wait for the infrastructure to improve. Which, naturally, means we'll be buying PS3s.

    IDIOT.

  57. Framitz
    FAIL

    BBBBBSSSSS

    Rationalizing and making excuses for an inferior platform...

    Yeah I think I got that.

  58. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    size and speed

    "The other point of course Is that unless Microsoft are proposing 40GB downloads/streams, they will be inferior in picture quality and audio quality to Blu-Ray discs."

    Well, not really... Blu-Ray supports both MPEG2 (which a lot of disks use) and MPEG4. MPEG4 doesn't need nearly the number of bits to get the same quality. The size is still going to be pretty ridiculous though.

    "Ten years ago getting a 36kbps connection to stay up was a challenge. Now I have two megabits." YOU might, but both in Britain, and in US, there's loads of locations that have not had any speed increase at all in the last 10 years, or they are capped to the point that streaming HD movies would be insane. (For instance here in the US, most people that CLAIM they can't get high speed Internet *could* get Verizon Wireless, but it has a 5GB cap. And that's not a "we'll throttle you at 5GB" soft cap it's "cough up $$$$" nasty cap. Plus that wouldn't be fast enough for HD by any stretch.) Also this sounds more like a replacement for video rental; loads of people like to own their movies.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      3.5G > 35G ???

      > Well, not really... Blu-Ray supports both MPEG2 (which a lot of disks use) and MPEG4.

      Yes. Really.

      You're trying to claim that a 35G BluRay in h264 or VC1 can be replaced by a dramatically smaller file with a considerably lower bitrate. The sums just don't add up.

  59. h 6
    Jobs Halo

    Say what?

    Isn't that was Steve Jobs said years ago right as Blue-ray was about to come out, and why Macs would have none of it?

  60. Al Taylor
    Big Brother

    Artwork

    "but seriously who really ever sat staring at a gatefold pondering the depths of [insert artist]'s lyrics?"

    I did!

    Still do in fact,

    And you can't beat a proper LP sized libretto if you are an opera fan. In the early days of CD some opera sets came in the same packaging as LP sets. Led to some confusion if you didn't read the box before purchase, but it had its advantages. Seem to recall that the Springsteen Live 75-85 box set did too.

    Agree that the same isn't really true of DVD/BR packaging though.

  61. Sarev
    Grenade

    Nobody wants me to _own_ anything.

    Of course MS are saying that you can download your movies. Then you can pay for your BB connection and the download every bloody time you want to watch it. Heaven forbid you actually _own_ something so that you can watch it as much as you like thereafter...

  62. ShellShockeD
    Pirate

    pfffff...

    im with Microsoft on this one sony can feck off and take there blue ray with em .

  63. A J Stiles

    Sounds like a bag of grapefruits to me

    Sounds like a bag of grapefruits to me .....

    </baldrick>

  64. PaulR79
    Thumb Down

    Another stupid Microsoft exec spouting rubbish!

    Earlier in the week it was some twonk saying hardly anyone plays FPS games on PC any more and now this one is saying no one needs Blu-ray. Technically no one needs it just like technically they don't need an HDTV or a mobile with more functions than computers from a decade ago. Realistically, as the article points out, games are frequently pushing beyond the 9GB a dual-layer DVD offers and they're not going to suddenly get smaller!

    Streaming media is a great idea but only applicable to those with great, reliable connections. Perhaps that will happen in the future but right now there are services advertised as "up to 20Mb" where you're lucky to get 1Mb. I'm somewhat lucky in that I live in a cabled area and get almost 20Mb the vast majority of the time but even with that I'd run into the Virgin Media download throttle caps very quickly.

    Unless Microsoft are going to wave their magic $$$ wand and give everyone permanent 50Mb connections guaranteed at that speed with no disconnection threats for using it and no throttling then it's fair to say that there is a market need for Blu-ray for the time being.

  65. Rob Beard
    WTF?

    I need Bluray

    As an owner of an XBOX 360 and a PS3 I'd say I certainly do need Bluray.

    For starters, I don't want to really be clogging up my broadband downloading streams (luckily I'm on Virgin 20 Meg and I tend to watch stuff in the evening so chances are I'd get near enough the full 20 Meg) but if I was on another broadband package with usage limits and I wanted to watch a film a couple of times (say I want to watch it to make sure it's okay for the kids and the next day the kids want to watch it) that possibly be a big chunk of allowance gone.

    There's also the fact that not everyone can get great broadband speeds. I doubt you'll get very good quality 720p or 1080p video at 2 to 4 Mbit.

    The other thing I like about Bluray is the extra features (same as I like things like this on DVD). Sure they could probably implement something like this via streaming too but again it's all using my bandwidth.

    I guess at least for the next few years I can see both Bluray and streaming sticking around, sometimes it might be nice to just pick a movie and watch it (rather than waiting for a film to turn up from Love Film or going to Blockbuster) but other times it's nice to have a physical item to look at, and not to mention the prices tend to get lower after a while, doesn't seem to happen with digital downloads.

    Rob

  66. Bugs R Us
    Gates Halo

    Yep, they're right.

    Blu-Ray is only good until the majority of the developed world has real high speed broadband. Consumers will pay for streaming content, consumers are lazy - go to the shops or use the remote? The remote wins. Pirates will love streaming movies :)

  67. Volker Hett

    Did Apple buy Microsoft?

    Sounds familiar!

  68. JaitcH
    WTF?

    "We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay."

    This navel gazing MS type obviously live in BT's rural areas.

    I like my movies to run in one continuous flow, not in short snatches interrupted by spinning thingies on my screen.

    If I have to download I use PirateBay.

  69. David Paul Morgan
    Go

    Still Need for Both

    We bought our Panasonic HD tv which was installed on a Saturday morning and re-used the old Sky/Astra dish for FreeSat. Lovely pictures from the BBC on V+ and FreeSat.

    I feel I waited 20 years for HD (remember we nearly had HD-Mac in 1990 from BSB)

    We bought the playsation 3 in the afternoon.

    We switched our Blockbuster rental list to BD and have loved the quality of each and every one of them.

    However, we did make a decisions NOT to repeat the mistake of DVD and fall for the 'buy one get one free' - as we were buying discs that we never even unwrapped and they went to charity or CeX.

    We have bought our Bond on BD, but also 2nd hand from Cex.

    Fortunately, because we're on Virgin, streaming works, but we have on-demand anyway. Also, the hd cam-corder SD card can be just plugged into the PS3.

    Media centre PC's don't really work for the general public and streaming is still flakey.

    A qualified GO

  70. OrsonX

    3D TV, saviour of BluRay?

    Sony just released 3.5 firmawre for PS3 which provides 3D playback....

    ...I've no interest in BluRay, and I thought I had no interest in 3D TV... but I watched an in-store 3DTV demo the other day.... & I can feel that little seed in my brain beginning to shoot....

  71. b166er

    Bandwidth aside

    We should kill off any medium that involves spinning mechanical components ASAP

    And Sony while we're at it

  72. John Savard Silver badge

    Time

    I would think that Blu-Ray will end up lasting longer than HD-DVD did, but I can see why Microsoft might not wish to repeat its mistakes. I would also think that obviously there will be a future for optical media for things like backing up one's hard drive.

  73. Lou 2
    FAIL

    World to America ...

    Dear Microsoft - do you really think the whole world has access to ultra fast broad band?

    PS: that is a rhetorical question.

  74. Tron

    DVD is fine.

    No interest in Blu-Ray or HD. DVDs are fine. Beyond a certain point, it's the movie that matters, not the pixel count. Streaming isn't an option with my broadband speed/cap. Not terribly bothered by that. I'd rather pay more and have something I can view again at a later date should I like it. If I don't, I can flog it to CEX and get half my money back.

    Why spend so much extra money on tech? So many new developments requiring new kit are killing the consumer tech golden goose. The TV section of the Argos catalogue reads like a GCSE revision guide. More and more folk simply won't bother. Unless you are rich and don't need to work, how much of your time can you devote to watching movies, most of which aren't that good anyway.

    And as analogue TV pictures were better defined and clearer than digital, watching the football, I'm no longer inclined to believe the industry about the new big thing. Analogue teletext is also better than its digital equivalent and I'll miss it. DAB radio is so bad that if they turn off FM I doubt I'll bother with radio again.

    This might not be the geek line, but this is mainstream consumer tech where the non-geek market share represents at least 90% of the market. Tech companies should be careful about believing their own PR and their own tech guys.

  75. Tim Walker
    WTF?

    Blu-ray no improvement over DVD?

    Frankly, if you can watch the Blu-ray version of (say) "Planet Earth" on a 42" (or larger) screen, and not see the quality difference between it and the DVD version, then I'd book an appointment at the opticians. Even with decent upscaling, an SD DVD picture (to my eyes at least) looks horribly blocky and blurry on a big TV, and I'd have to sit as far across the room as possible when watching a DVD, to minimise the effect.

    For me, it's like the difference between a FLAC audio file and a 128Kbps MP3. Once you know what the "artifacts" sound like (e.g. fluttering, "sparkling" effect on instruments like acoustic guitar), it's tough to put up with it.

    (And to keep on-topic: once our Internet connection, home network and bandwidth cap are up to the task of streaming 1080p video at the same quality as Blu-ray, then we'll talk again. Er... see you around 2020? ;-) )

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      It's the content, not the pixel size.

      There's a big difference between seeing the difference and caring enough to buy all new gear and media. Although there are plenty of people that can't notice the difference. It's just like how many people are perfectly content with medicore mp3s.

      Either way, what that other guy said is right: it's the content that matters.

      If you are in a position to obsess over pixel clarity, then clearly the movie has failed to properly grab you.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Choice

    Isn't the customer allowed to make their own choices? Everyone has their own preferences and who's to say which are right or wrong?

    I have avoided building a library of movie media since the days of chucking out all my old VHS tapes. I'm not one of those that constantly rewatch the same films anyway so renting makes sense for me. Those that I do buy are usually kids films since my son will rewatch things over and over. I was one of the early users of DVDOptions and now I use Lovefilm which lets me rent movies AND games.

    So I only buy things that I feel pretty sure that I will watch again and when it comes to games then those that have 50 hours+ playtime.

    But I have the choice. To watch a film I could

    a. go to the cinema

    b. buy the Blu-ray (the next closest thing to going to the cinema and costs typically less than the price of 2 tickets in this country)

    c. buy the dvd (but I just can't bring myself to watch dvds anymore. The picture quality just doesn't stack up against Blu-ray)

    d. rent a disc (Lovefilm sub costs £14/month for 2 discs including games)

    e. watch it streaming... IF I can find a service that has that film and I'm prepared to spend my ISPs bandwidth cap watching it

    f. watch it on a cable HD service...

    Take away Blu-ray and you take away the 2 simplest methods of watching HD at home.

    That said, this all sounds like someone making excuses for not putting a Blu-ray player in the XBox but who really cares about that? Players are cheap, so not having a player in the XBox is no real issue. Blu-ray discs are cheap these days also, some as little as £7.00. It took much longer for DVDs to fall to that price. Even new Blu-ray releases are typically £14.99 which was DVDs price point for new releases for many years.

    If you want the best home cinema experience at home right now, Blu-ray is it. Maybe not forever, _definitely_ not forever, but surely we must realise by now that technology isn't an investment, it's an expense. Something better always comes along...

  77. nemo20000
    FAIL

    We're a truly representative demographic do you think?

    Talk of bandwidth is literally only half the story of course – the other worrying detail is contention.

    I dare say that many tech-savvy Register denizens do manage to stream stuff nicely, while their neighbours watch X-Factor on terrestial TV. Now fast forward ten years to when everyone is supposed to be streaming something – everyone watching something different, on demand, from wherever – and assert that they will all get Blu-Ray 1080p quality simultaneously...

    “Don’t”, as my grandmother used to chide, “be such a fool.”

  78. James Hughes 1

    Definition of stop gap measure?

    I cannot see the net infrastructure being up to this until 2020 at least. So, BluRay's been about 3 years now, that that gives it at least a 13 year lifespan before any mass market alternative, plus the tail off period of probably 5 years at least.

    Getting on for 20 years lifetime. Not bad in the digital era.

    Meanwhile, between now at 2020, MS don't sell as many XBoxes. That's bad management that is.

  79. lyricalsatirist

    Who are they kidding?

    I have an 8 meg (Mb) connection on which in the real world runs at approx 4.5. I'd rather hire Blu-Rays from Lovefilm than saturate my connection with a lower quality 1080p image. I have over 100 blu's in my collection, financed by selling my DVD's. Some of them are pretty spectacular on a full 1080p display. I am not convinced that they can achieve this kind of quality over the slow connections the majority of people are stuck with at the moment. They'll be a lot more compression artifacts on the material and a trained eye will easily spot this.

    Hey does anybody at MS want to buy some of my HD-DVD's and a 360 HD-DVD drive? No, I thought so!!

  80. DEAD4EVER
    Thumb Down

    blu ray

    seriously what is it with microsoft blu ray is the best format today due to the sheer quality in movies and games sony is using blu ray and look at there games gran turismo 5 will look awsome in lbu ray and microsoft respond buy saying blu ray no no sorry microsoft no wonder your xbox is junk and people are moving back to sony due to the blu ray player and reliability

  81. Matt_payne666

    BD

    Digital downloads will become th norm, but for the near future, BD is THE way to get reliable HD content on your telly...

    My parents got a free BD player with their sony telly and I LENT them!! a bunch of my BD collection (try doing that with a download) - they are not internetted up and have no need or intention to be... even so, where the TV is, it is nowhere near the phone line which is on a different foor...

    Within seconds of the discs firing up, both mum and dad said 'look at the colour' 'isnt that clear'

    they now own some discs of their own... a BD to them is no less daunting than a DVD - which is a bit of a struggle!

    Im getting fed up of 'HD' content which is horrificly compressed - all these 'hd' cameras and camcorders with worse compression or crippled framerates than sub HD but with the magic pixel count....

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