Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life in Blu

I will stay away from technical details as much as possible and stay within the subjective experiences of multimedia quality.

Recently I picked up a blu ray player. This choice went against that which I had been a stalwart- the move to digital downloads/streams, Netflix only, and avoidance of the format war. So what made me crack? The realization that: not everything is available on digital stream and it will be awhile before that is even close, the need for Netflix purely for the physical format is overwhelming, streaming digital TrueHD movies won't be available for another 5-10 years (even then, new movies won't be available because of licensing and rights), and the reign of blu ray over HDdvd. While, HD streams are available (via my xbox 360 netflix) and look great- they are lacking; I notice the loss of data and notice slight pixelation. Also, many movies aren't available in HD. They are in lower quality streams, not unwatchable but there are some films that deserve a greater justice for viewing pleasure.

The REAL reason though is the Dark Knight. This movie is filmed and directed in an amazing way (see Wired article). I watched it last night and the viewing experience is hands down better than any movie I have seen on a television screen EVER. So I bought this for one movie? Not entirely, I bought Iron Man too and have Netflix. I probably won't buy other movies and will rely on Netflix. I already need it for digital streams so why not blu ray for the highest quality too?

The blu ray player also upgraded my DVDs. Unfortunately, the quality of DVDs on a digital LCD TV suffers under regular DVD players and xbox dvd player conversion rates. In short, a DVD can look better on an old analog television than a $1,000+ HDTV; unless you have an upconverting DVD player- as my blu ray player does. Tonight I watched Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and compared the upconverted quality to the regular. On my LCD TV the difference was dramatic. Without upconversion: darker colors, quick movements, and color differences are pixelated, overall the resolution and quality is obviously lower. With upconversion images are clear and colors more vibrant. It isn't comparable to TrueHD but I'd say it is better than streaming HD on netflix. I've watched the Iron Man DVD and Lord of the Rings on different HDTVs and the drop in quality is loudly noticeable, hindering my enjoyment of the film. Luckily, upconversion has resolved that problem. I'm serious the unconverted difference makes me think of VHS quality.

As it stands, the Dark Knight is the one film I may only be able to watch on bluray/TrueHD or in the Imax theater - other formats would leave me gasping for air.

3 comments:

blu ray movies said...
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pml said...

Man, you are really starting to sell me on this whole Blu-Ray thing. Looks like I am going to have to start saving up for one, plus the upconversion is mandatory now that I have a real TV.

Mr. Philippe said...

@pml: You could stick with buying a new DVD player that does upconverting, but that seems like a waste and takes up more space to do the same thing - watch DVDs. Bluray is really the toppermost for movies in HD.

We've spent so much on HDTVs why are we stopping short of utilizing it's full quality? I thought about getting a PS3 for the bluray with this deal:

http://blog.us.playstation.com/2008/11/24/get-your-own-playstation-credit-card/

However, a good deal on a bluray player will save you the trouble of wanting more video games.