The State of Blu-Ray is NOT GOOD

Let me start by saying that I’m choosing HD-DVD in the format wars. I want to be clear about that upfront, because I have mentioned it in previous posts. HD-DVD has the content that I want to see in Hi-Def on my TV – so that’s what I’m choosing.

Having said that – I don’t hate Blu-Ray, or want it to “lose” for any particular reason. I know there are some Sony/Blu-Ray fanboys out there that are never going to except that, since I’m about to say some negative things about Blu-Ray, but I honestly have no bias towards either format. If HD-DVD loses, I’ll get over it. My Xbox360 add-on drive will still work, it wasn’t that expensive, and the disks I bought will still play. No big deal.

However, if the state of Blu-Ray doesn’t improve – HD-DVD isn’t going anywhere.

Let’s look at some of the problems…

1 – Software problems with Blu-Ray 1.1 Players – Currently, Blu-Ray disk lack the interactivity features that HD-DVD already has. The development of BD-Java, the technology that will give this interactivity to Blu-Ray disks, is apparently having problems. There was a deadline set by the Blu-Ray Disk Association that said all Blu-Ray players manufactured after October 31st, 2007 must have BD-Java on board. Currently, only one BR 1.1 player has been announced, and it was set to come out in November – but now it has been delayed until 2008.

This is a serious problem for studios like Warner Bros, who have invested heavily in developing Blu-Ray versions of titles like The Matrix Trilogy that have the same features as their HD-DVD disk counterparts. Without this software upgrade, Warners can’t release these disks.

2 – player incompatibility issues – Another problem with this BD-J issue is compatibility with older players. The new features set on BD-J is NOT the current features set on the market. That means old discs may not work in the new players, and new discs may not work in old players.

Players that can be upgraded are going to need a software upgrade to work with BD-J – and an Ethernet port was not one of the requirements for Blu-Ray disk players – and most older players DON’T have them. That means disks will eitehr have to be downloaded and burned, mailed, or in some cases – the system might have to be returned to the manufacturer – just to upgrade the software to make new disks play.

Your average consumer isn’t going to like that at all. After all – this is supposed to be a movie player – not a computer.

3 – There are serious manufacturing problems with BD50 disks – Sony is apparently the only one capable of producing the larger capacity Blu-Ray disks with any kind of efficiency. It appears that non-Sony manufacturers are having such a problem with this that as much as 90% of a run of disks has to be discarded due to non-working disks.

So right now, many production houses that have been built to produce Blu-Ray disks are forced to only produce BR25 disks.

There is a lot more information you can read about here about the state of Blu-Ray. It’s not looking good. Admittedly, the site linked there is an obviously biased HD-DVD site – but their facts link to unbiased, non affiliated sites, so there is some validity to what is being said.

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