Apple's time is now to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Michael CM1, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    #1
    Maybe this is better for one of the computer forums, but I think this is very home theater specific.

    I just read on Macworld.com (see bottom) about Blu-ray player sales jumping last year. I had read earlier in the weekend about Blu-ray being at a faster adoption rate than DVD, which obviously is a VERY successful format.

    In a video I saw on USA Today, one of the memers of the Blu-ray Disc Association had a good point about downloads vs. discs. Downloads are great for one-time views, especially rentals, but most people (including myself) want a hard copy of a movie we own. The quality of downloads is nowhere near Blu-ray and isn't even as good as DVD (albeit very close), so he (and I) predict a need for discs for years to come.

    Apple obviously has issues with Blu-ray, which I believe are mainly due to Sony and something with the HDCP and/or licensing fees. However, if PC makers can put a BD-ROM drive in computers that cost less than $1,000 (I've seen Dells like this), there's no reason this option can't be given on Mac Pros, iMacs, MacBook Pros, and potentially a new AppleTV device.

    I mention AppleTV because I think Apple could make a huge inroad with the device if Blu-ray playback was added. Most people aren't really in the market for a new DVD player unless one they have breaks. But people will keep being in the market for a Blu-ray player. LG and Samsung have added Netflix (I think LG added YouTube) to their players to separate them from the pack. If Apple were to pop a BD player into the Apple TV unit, that could really distinguish it from other devices and make it a sweeeeet addition.

    Whatever happens, Apple needs to get aboard. I think the format is mature enough that we know it's not going to die out soon.


    http://www.macworld.com/article/138156/2009/01/bluray.html?lsrc=rss_main
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    2015.

    Many people know what I'm talking about.

    And you're very right about it not dying anytime soon.
     
  3. NightStorm macrumors 68000

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    #3
    TBH, I think you're wrong. I glanced over your "reasoning" in another thread and I don't buy it. The fact of the matter is, you may think you have a lot of "facts" and "information", but you're just like the rest of us and have absolutely no idea what Apple will do on any given day.
     
  4. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    #4
    I think Apple is waiting to see if bluray is gonna catch on
     
  5. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #5
    That was part of the point of my post. It IS catching on, even faster than DVD did. It has the added bonus of not rendering millions of movies obsolete -- you can play DVDs in a BD player, and they even look better -- while making an improved product.

    As more people buy HD cameras to use at home, I don't know how Apple thinks these people are going to share movies around. Using ATV is nice for a home viewing, but what if you want to make a snazzy video to show at a retirement reception? If you own a Mac Pro, are you going to lug it? Nope.

    I really get Apple's reasoning behind staying out of the game last year. But from all indicators I have seen, Blu-ray took another step in the holiday season toward the mainstream. Players were available below $200, movie deals were out the wazzo (I got Smallville Season 7 for $40 yo). Oh yeah, the fact that awesome movies like Iron Man and The Dark Knight came out didn't hurt.

    As an BD player owner, there is one phrase I keep hoping to hear soon: "Lord of the Rings trilogy available on Blu-ray." I just hope Apple is actually working toward solving this and not going toward a stalemate like HD DVD and Blu-ray did in 2007.

    I'm still all for digital downloads of movies and TV being available, but when the portability isn't all that great unless you have an iPod (with plenty of storage) and a cable or two, it won't totally jive. Build an ATV with Blu-ray and embrace the horror.
     
  6. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

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    #6
    Do you have any reasons that I might be wrong? I agree that it could be earlier than that, but that date made sense to me in light of the information I presented.
     
  7. Rich1963 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    If Apple wants the AppleTV to take off the way the iPod did, they need to do one thing and one thing only. Bear with me for a sec...

    What made the iPod, and by extension, iTunes so successful, was the fact that while you did have your CD to fall back on, you could rip all of your CDs to the iTunes, and by then move them to your iPod as you saw fit. Remember the slogan "Rip. Mix. Burn."? Augmenting your collection with purchased music of your choice at a fair price was just icing on the cake. Remember, the average iTunes user's catalog contains 97% music from his own collection.

    What needs to happen is simple. A user needs to be able to do the exact same thing with their DVD movies, and also, but not necessarily mandatory at the start, Blu-ray discs.

    Right now, Apple is fighting in the set top market with other manufacturers because they are playing the same game as everyone else. "Buy and rent movies from us and watch them on this device". It's not what Apple normally does. They usually set the standard for the segment, i.e. the iPod and iTunes.

    Apple already has an encoder built into quicktime. It's not the greatest, but it works. They could easily (well, depending on dynaflash and others) incorporate an excellent encoder that is both windows and mac compatible into iTunes, and thereby allow an individual to just insert the DVD into the drive, click on the pop-up box that says "import to iTunes", and 2 hours later, presto.

    Do this with Blu-ray as well, even with a downsampling to 720p, and people would snap AppleTVs up by the millions. It would bring the same ease of use and simplicity Apple brought to a person's music library.

    And we already know it's legal. Kaleidescape was sued by the MPAA and the MPAA ended up having it's anti-fair use butt handed to it. Although encoding a movie would present a new legal challenge as you would be removing the CSS from the source, Apple could always get an exemption from the studios.
     
  8. JonHimself macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Absolutely. Have options for your import settings (ie Apple TV High, Apple TV Low, iPhone, iPod, etc etc) and you'd be set. Of course you still run into the problem of people who are using videos that are not coming from DVD sources, but I think a good number of people would be more willing to get an Apple TV if they could import than own DVD collection with relative ease (aside from the time requirement).
    A hurdle that I can think of is there an equivalent to Gracenote CDDB function with CDs that basically tag your CD for you for DVDs? Half of the inconvenience (for me) is adding in Producers, Actors, Ratings etc after I have ripped my movies.
     
  9. VTMac macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Given Apple recent endorsement of DisplayPort and the fact that DisplayPort equipped computers are now enabling HDCP, it seem clear to me that BluRay is not too far off. HDCP support is a prereq for BluRay.

    The only question now is when. I would guess in the next 12-18 months at the latest.
     
  10. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

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    #10
    DVI carries HDCP, too, you know. The only thing keeping us from watching Blu-ray movies in OS X is OS X itself.
     
  11. janstett macrumors 65816

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    #11
    It has caught on. I can rent Blu-Ray discs from my local Blockbuster, have been for about a year.

    Bill Hunt at the Digital Bits (http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents) did a good analysis of the numbers coming out of CES. At the three year mark, Blu-Ray adoption is ahead of DVD at the same age (DVD was in 4.5% of US households at 3 years old, Blu-Ray is at 7.75% of US households at 3 years old). 8 million discs were sold in December alone. The projections are that 2009 will see the massive bell-curve explosion that most squeamish observers have held off for. 50% of US households have an HDTV, and 30% of those HDTV households have Blu-Ray players.

    Disc is not dying. Blu Ray is here to stay. Downloads are not killing the disc.

    I strongly recommend people on either side of the fence read the digital bits article.

    Now as for Apple, I am highly disappointed that they've been such liddites on the issue. When I did my next-gen HTPC, I had to go PC with an HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combo drive and multichannel 192khz/24-bit sound card. Almost every other useful machine in my house is a Mac, but I had to go PC for home theater. Very frustrated that Apple is behind the times on this.
     
  12. ayale99 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thats not really a fair comparison. Going to Blu-ray from DVD is a lot different than going from VHS to DVD. Blu-ray may be catching on faster, but thats because people are already comfortable with the medium. It's still a disc, like a DVD. You know the old folks weren't near as comfortable back in the day, going from their old VHS tapes to a Star Trek looking shiny disc.
    Apples to Oranges.

    Personally, I'd like to see an end to physical media, but that won't happen until we all get better bandwidth. Do you really need a hard copy? All of mine are collecting dust. Plus, we in America are up to our eyeballs in clutter and crap from being "consumers." It's funny that the word 'consumer' used to have negative connotations back in the day.

    If you think you still need physical media, you haven't had the joy your entire movie and music collection at your fingertips with an AppleTV.

    Give me better bandwidth for 1080p downloads. Until then, well, I guess I'll keep eyeing that Playstation3.
     
  13. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    #13
    Sorry, I was being sarcastic.
    When I am getting emails and calls from 60+ yo relatives askingme what player to buy, to me bluray has caught on. No idea why Apple would delay offering the format.

    Maybe they would have to charge too much.
     
  14. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

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    #14
    According to Jobs, it all has to do with licensing being a "bag of hurt." Apparently, as the OP stated, Apple just can't come to an agreement. We all know they like to control everything so this really doesn't surprise me.
     
  15. dmm219 macrumors 6502

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    #15
    It has not. Look, this argument is getting really old. And the bias with which people pick their "stories" is interesting. From the horse's mouth: Sony: http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/News/Details.aspx?NewsId=24400

    Reading these stories is like Reading NAR estimates of high prices during the Housing Bubble.

    BR sales have been slower than anyone had predicted so far. DVD is dying a hard death.

    People love to make numbers support their agendas (just look at politicians)...BR lovers have been notorious for this.

    I DO believe that EVENTUALLY BR will become the standard. I agree less that most consumers will demand physical media when they buy a movie. This argument was made before, and was totally discredited: Music Downloads. The same argument was made. People would demand owning the actual CD to sit on their shelf...to have the artwork and liners...etc etc...all discredited. You're gonna need some heavy evidence to prove movies are any different (and none is ever given, conveniently).

    Apple has absolutely NO reason to rush on the BR bandwagon at this point. In fact, they are still smarting from jumping the gun on HDTV with ATV. It took far longer for HDTVs to take off than "industry insiders" ever predicted. They don't want to make that mistake again.

    Sony and MS made the same mistake with their consoles...funny how the only SD console on market easily destroyed the competition.

    BR is at least 5 years off yet.
     
  16. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #16
    An end to physical media? So you're willing to bank data storage on magnetic disks like HDDs and SSDs? Nooooo thanks. I understand your objection to clutter, but that's what bookshelves and boxes were made for. Also, Blu-ray packages are considerably smaller than DVDs. I have two TV seasons on BD that take up less space than a normal DVD because they figured out that we don't need 18-inch plastic backing behind every disc.

    As far as the joy of all that stuff on an AppleTV, I have a terabyte of digital video ripped from DVDs I own. Believe me, I get it. I love playing TV shows like Family Guy and How I Met Your Mother in random order at night just to kinda listen to. I do NOT miss hunting discs. This is why I agree with you and the poster who mentioned Apple needs to create some ripping method. But the reason they can't is pissing off the MPAA. Just like NBC pulled content, the MPAA could take all those movies away if Apple made them made with some recording solution like Real Networks had. Alas, it's the stupid MPAA all over again.
     
  17. janstett macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Does Blu-Ray have a faster adoption rate thanks to being basically a "better DVD"? Of course. But the fact remains that it is being adopted so quickly.

    Actually, the article I referenced in the Digital Bits article brings up this point, which I agree with. The quality of Blu-Ray movies is far, far better than typical downloaded fare. Things downloaded on XBox Live or iTunes are going to be tuned for bandwidth not for quality, whereas a Blu-Ray is going to be tuned for maximum quality (bitrate).

    Further, I am simultaneously a proponent of "downloaded" or "streamed" digital content, and a major detractor of it. I've been streaming music in my home on a computer network since the late 1990s (Rio Receiver) long before iTunes even existed. And I've got about 2 terabytes of music, pictures, and videos on my home network NAS. So I've long known the "joy" of having everything at my fingertips, long before AppleTV existed. I worked for a startup company making that very thing happen from 2002-2006 in an industry standard DLNA/UPnP environment.

    I also have racks and racks of DVDs and now Blu-Rays.

    So here's why I still have physical media and why it can't be banished just yet

    - DRM. If I buy a CD, I can do whatever I want with it, using it as a master copy. Same goes for DVDs (CSS and DMCA aside). With downloaded content, especially movies, they're laden with DRM that won't allow me to take it with me and play it anywhere. That's why even though CDs have fallen out of favor, I still prefer to buy them over downloads -- this way I have a full lossless master that I can play anywhere and do whatever I want with it.

    - On iTunes and XBox Live, "HD" content is often 720p and relatively low quality since they're optimized for bandwidth not quality.

    - Highest resolution (1080p) is not the end of the story. Not all 1080p content is equal. The quality of the encode is even more important. Codec and bitrate.

    - You will notice that even broadcast/satellite/cable HD is inferior in quality compared to Blu-Ray. Again the service providers often re-encode the signal to maximize bandwidth efficiency and quality suffers as a result. As opposed to a Blu-Ray disc, where it is optimized for quality and high bitrate. Blu-Ray movies are unquestionably superior to broadcast HD. Also forgot that as far as I know broadcast HD is only MPEG2 where Blu-Ray can use more sophisticated MPEG-2, VC-1, and H.264/AVC codecs, in addition to all the new lossless audio formats.

    - Digital is only good enough when it is lossless. I used to have my 300+ CDs ripped in MP3 and WMA and it is just never as good as the original CD. Only when I decided to go ALAC with all CDs and rip them, can I truly banish my CDs to the basement.

    - For rips to be lossless (or good enough quality) space has to be incredibly abundant. A lossless ALAC file takes up 5X the space of a quality MP3.

    - For DVDs, you can either rip to an inferior quality AVI/MP4/MKV and lose the special features and commentary tracks, or rip the entire DVD as is to the hard disk (now 4-8 gb per movie, which requires TONS of space for a huge collection). Multiply this a few times for Blu-Ray rips (20-30 GB each).

    - Portability -- throwing a DVD in a portable player or giving it to a friend or bringing it to another room or another house is easy. Not so easy with files.

    - Archival. Hard disks crash. If you don't have multiple copies of your media backed up, prepare for a crushing blow, it will happen, just a matter of when. At least with my discs, even if they are ripped losslessly I still have them as a physical backup if/when my hard disks fail.
     
  18. janstett macrumors 65816

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    #18
    I would like to point out that your article is BEFORE xmas (Nov 28) while mine is AFTER CES. One is a hand-wringing speculation of a dire future, the other discusses the actual results of the selling season.

    I'd also like to point out your article also doesn't get to specifics -- not percentage of household pentration, actual sales in units of players or software, etc., nor a definition as to what exactly "disappointing" is.

    The Digital Bits article gives actual numbers -- player sales increasing 3X in 2008, installed base of 10 million players (including PS3),

    They have already had a title (Dark Knight) sell 1 million copies -- that's a milestone for any format. DVD's first million seller was The Matrix, 3 years into its lifespan.

    They reached a cumulative total of 2 million discs sold in October. (Meaning from launch until October 2008). 3 million additional discs were sold in November. 8 million additional discs were sold in December. To go from 2 million discs sold to 13 million sold in 3 months. No smoke and mirrors here. Retailers were calling manufacturers for more supply.

    Having the format war with HD-DVD come to an end also helped -- and this format war stalled adoption tremendously going into last Xmas.

    Some cold, hard numbers illustrating the trend. Blu-Ray is doing pretty darned well and it's impressively healthy.

    Well, the fact that downloaded movies are noticeably inferior in quality, not portable at all, and soaking with DRM restrictions are a good place to start. Not to mention bandwidth restrictions and service provider throttling/net neutrality issues.

    Is it arguable that downloads are the future? Sure. But there are a lot of reasons I think it won't happen for quite some time, if ever.

    I think the thing you are missing, the thing that differentiates music and movies, is the emergence of home theater systems.

    With music, an iPod that holds all your CDs is a godsend, and the convenience of downloading a song for $.99 is irresistible.

    With video, portable media players (PMPs) haven't really caught on, at least not yet. The best Apple offers is the 32gb touch, and it isn't exactly easy to get movies on there. Some beefier examples would include the Archos units. Or, more importantly, to take that downloaded movie and enjoy it on a 65" television in any appreciable quality just doesn't work.

    Further, I am happy we are living to see the day when music stores including iTunes are DRM free. However, the MPAA is far, far more rigid and unforgiving than the RIAA. The record companies were concerned about piracy. The movie companies are 10x worse. I don't think we will ever see a days when movies are not protected by DRM.

    This is usually the defense of a person who doesn't have the technology in question -- I don't have it, so it isn't of any value. If you don't, that's fine, it doesn't make you less of a person, it just comes off like sour grapes or curmudgeoning. HDTV is at 50% household pentetration and it's really only been on the market for about 10 years. Not bad for replacing a 70 year old technology.

    Apple is supposed to be about innovation, isn't it? OMG an iPod that's also a phone and it has a touch screen! Firewire, bluetooth, backlit keyboards, slot-loading drives, eliminating the floppy drive, iLife, all are innovations. Especially in the media areas, aren't Macs supposed to be king? So why is it shying away from an already established format and ceding a big portion of the home entertainment and media presence to the PC? It's kind of hard to "rush" to a "bandwagon" that's 3 years old and already well established. Apple not only didn't rush to the BR bandwagon, they fell asleep at the station and the bandwagon is a few zip codes away. Don't you find it ironic that Final Cut Pro is used to author Blu-Ray discs but Apple machines cannot play them?
     
  19. VTMac macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Yes. You are correct, but missed my point. While HDCP could have been supported over DVI, apple had not implemented it. They HAVE implemented it over DisplayPort. This is the different between capability and reality. Hence it would appear that they have concluded one of the final prereqs to supporting BluRay. I will be very surprised if their Pro offering don't offer it BTO relatively soon.
     
  20. VTMac macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Actually Apple is less about innovations and more about refinement and usability. They make innovations accessible to the masses. I have no idea why people think Apple innovates so much. Ever single thing you listed as an "innovation" was done several times by other vendors before Apple ever attempted. They just got it "right". And the reason Apple often get's it right they combine tremendously talented designers with patience. They don't really care if they are first. They just want to be first to do it "right". By being patient they can learn from others mistakes. I believe Apple considers all the licensing / DRM stuff associated with BluRay to currently be what is "wrong" with it. And hence they foot dragging on adoption. I can't blame them. Many people have experience their TV refusing to play some legally purchased or rented BluRay disc because the HDCP handshake got screwed up somehow. Fortunately in most cases rebooting the TV or the player solves the problem. Early adopters of HDTVs haven't been so lucky. Many of these people are increasingly finding their TV obsoleted because they don't handle the latest implementations of HDCP as well. This is the sort of headache Apple avoids by waiting and is all part of their "it just works" strategy. Having said all that, it still appears to me that Apple is getting very close to rolling out BluRay support.
     
  21. JonHimself macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Is that an innovation of sorts? :)

    I agree with your points about the potential of problems with HDCP but I can't help but think that Apple (and Microsoft with the Xbox) are dragging their feet just to push their own download services but choose to use the restriction problems/licensing problems/etc as the public reason for not adopting it. I can't blame them, they just want to protect/push their own agenda. I don't want to get bluray because I don't want to use discs. If I knew that I could (easily) use a bluray player to rip copies and then play them on my Apple TV (or Plex, etc... even with a slightly reduced picture) then I would jump on board with bluray. It just doesn't make sense that I've spent over a year ripping my own dvd collection to get rid of discs to the buy bluray and just be stuck with discs again.
     
  22. alFR macrumors 68020

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    #22
    They aren't: they are, as is typical for them, ahead. They have a habit of spotting what people will be using about 5 years ahead and the lack of sentimentality about old ways of doing things to jump right to that now (even if it hurts them in the short term). Look at their past record: dropping floppies from the iMac in favour of CDs, the iPod vs the Walkman, music downloads from iTunes vs CDs. All choices that were criticised by pundits at the time, now accepted and mainstream. Mark my words, in 5 years or so most people will be downloading their content rather than buying discs, and the company I see making the most popular player for that content is Apple.
     
  23. bruinsrme macrumors 601

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    #23
    In 5 years this notebook will not be in my hands. So in the menwhile I will be using my Bluray player on this dell. If bluray is no longer necessary in 3 years i will have enjoyed having it while bluray was around.

    .
     
  24. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #24
    This thread was nice until this pipe dream appeared again.

    Take a look at how long it took Apple to reach the top of the music sales chart. It happened last year, which was about 7 years after the iTunes Music Store began. But that still doesn't mean most people buy music online. With three of the top 5 music sellers being stores (Walmart, Target, Best Buy), I'm pretty sure that most people still buy their music on a CD.

    With video content, you are talking about a massive increase in the download speed needed for the same type of services. We're also talking about formats that don't allow as much portability -- you can't burn a video DVD and play it on a DVD player like you can burn an audio CD for your car.

    Ergo, this pipe dream of downloading everything in a couple of years is just that -- a dream. Discs will be around for a VERY LONG TIME because of how much less prone to failure they are. Downloads will keep getting better and probably dominate the rental business, but they won't come close to dominating movie ownership.
     
  25. NT1440 macrumors G4

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    #25
    :confused:

    Download vs scratchable disk.......
     

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