Blu-ray: Not just a name but a beautiful future

We are living history and history is leaving us behind.  In the last decade there has been a complete paradigm shift in the way we experience movies and entertainment, yet we are no better prepared than we were back in 1996 when the first DVD was introduced in Japan.  Once the format had found its way around the world, a whole new approach to content creation, packaging and distribution made it easier than ever to experience media at home, at work and on the go.  What took place in those first three years for the transition from VHS to DVD media in 2000, was the focus on the technology as a medium of transport and delivery rather than static physical media that required a new way of thinking about it.  Video Home System (VHS) was designed as a system from the very beginning, and the architects of DVD did as well.  DVD was often described as digital versatile disc, sometimes as digital videodisc.  At any rate, the key here is that VHS, DVD and Blu-ray discs are only one part of the equation with the players involved creating a much broader and more sophisticated core.  Components of a whole system – or gateway – provide a link between the consumer and his/her media of choosing; when, where and how they please.

Blu-ray as a gateway is an astonishing accomplishment that can only fully be appreciated by engaging it and drawing real world experiences from it.  The core improvements are readily enhanced picture clarity, audio mastery and advanced functionality that allows further refinements from the remote control and system menu.  As a content hub, the Blu-ray player links the viewer with his/her equipment and the equipment with their home network via wired and wireless connections as well as the Internet.  Unlike the VHS player and subsequent recorder, the DVD player and other home entertainment equipment, the most recent Blu-ray players extend the functionality of the unit to include interacting with online sources for content, forums, shopping, upgrades and memberships.  In addition to opportunities directly linked to an individual movie title, players can also connect with key social media networks like Netflix, Vudu, Vimeo, Youtube and a dozens of others.  You can operate USB flash drives and memory, connect with your home network, view picture slideshows, music jukebox and Cable networks.

The fact that Blu-ray is often compared to and criticized as inferior with online streaming and digital downloading only goes to show how much confusion there is with technology.  For some the confusion becomes resistance, reluctance and fear.  The simple solution is to embrace what Blu-ray players are intended to do, add functionality not compete with standard DVD players or streaming content providers.  And on top of everything else, most Blu-ray players can play all your other media as well, from DVDs to CDs and USB flash drives and hard drives.  Again the point of Blu-ray as a gateway is reinforced here, a multi-format, interactive component that expands your whole movie universe.

There is a lot of chatter about the death of Blu-ray these days without any real examination of the merits of the technology as an addition to your equipment instead of an out right replacement.  Many believe the technology was mistakenly rushed to market and then once there the war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD distanced consumers rather than prepared them, and there’s some truth in that argument.  After Blu-ray won out in the end, the next effort by studio’s and the The Bluray Disc Association (BDA) the idea that Blu-ray would eventually replace DVD rather than augment your home movie collection, further distancing consumers who felt threatened and pressured after years of investment in equipment and titles.  The last thing anyone wants is to find themselves forced into buying a digital television only to find themselves paying more for less.  The real value in Blu-ray media is not so much the physical disc itself but the gateway afforded by the whole system, including the player and the interoperability that connects your home system with the Internet.

A standard Blu-ray equipped home entertainment system might look like this:  Your HD television connected to your Blu-ray player, audio components and the Internet.  There can be other components like a DVR, VHS/DVD Burner, game consoles, Cable box and other devices but the core units provide you with a Blu-ray capable experience incorporating features like BD-Live, Picture-in-Picture, Maximum Movie Mode, Internet and a remote control that allows you to engage these features while you’re watching your movie.  Another added benefit of Blu-ray discs is the vast storage space available, space that allows room for considerable bonus content, various releases of the film such as extended and director’s cut, featurettes, slideshows and the like.

Blu-ray: Expand your whole movie universe!


About rorydean

Rory Dean is a multi-medium artist, writer and new media strategist with a background as a creative consultant and technology liaison in the San Francisco Bay Area. His broad experiences and specialties include print-to-web publicity, promotions and design marketing using traditional and social media networks. As a motion pictures and television professional, his short films, productions and commercials have screened to domestic and international audiences. His connections to a diverse client base include artists, entertainers, corporations, non-profits and everyday people.. Dean is co-owner and founder of Dissave Pictures, a boutique production company focusing on audio, video, photography and multi-media designs. Dean's personal and professional background includes dreaming and avid notebook journaling, creative and copy writing, promotions and marketing, audio/video production, photography, videography, editing, web design and new media. He’s also a fan of collaboration and knows when to turn the reigns over, offer feedback, lead the team and step aside. His portfolio includes print, online, film, video, photography, graphic design and promotions. He’ll show you. He has a book and everything. "When not juggling various online worlds, I do a pretty good mime – but that’s another story."
This entry was posted in Blu-ray, Blu-ray Elite for Warner Home Video, Essays on Film, On DVD and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Blu-ray: Not just a name but a beautiful future

  1. My only real complaint about blu-ray is that I don’t have a drive in my Macbook.

    In so many cases the blu-ray version of films are cheaper than their DVD counterpart AND come with the DVD. It has become a format not only for CGI-fests but many older, newly restored films have been given new life and look better than ever.

    Great write-up!

    • rorydean says:

      Yeah, that’s a problem in general with the format. I know of many drive options for PC, I’m sure there are some for Mac, not sure if there are any even made for Macbook – probably external options, though I’ve not had a lot of success with external drives in the past.

      Absolutely, I think the Combo-Pack is a great idea, offering a variety of formats for just about all your needs. I remember buying 2 or 3 movies before I ever owned a Blu-ray player. Digital Downloads, Ultraviolet and others are problematic and not popular. I’ve read a lot of forums and people are very hostile towards the format wars. Personally I’m not a fan of watching movies on your phone, probably better on an Ipad or laptop. I do like the idea of a digital proof of purchase that connects you with your content “in the cloud”, meaning you can watch movies away from home theoretically. Lots of technical problems.

      Yes, I was blown away with Wizard of Oz as a restoration project.

      Thanks for the visit. What will we do now that WB is over?

  2. It really is a beautiful and bright future! Blu-Rays are definitely the way to go (at least for now). I don’t know what to say about the death of blu-rays. Surely they are the best at the moment, but something new is definitely gonna come up in the next 10 or 20 years… maybe even sooner. The image quality is just fenomenal… not to mention the incredible sound quality! Well, I guess the best thing to do is to invest in a 3D Full HD 100 inch TV, a 5.1 or 7.1 sound system and a nice lether couch :). Even if you can enjoy blu-rays even with normal equipment… I believe the experience could be dramaticaly altered by these previous mentioned gadgets… Good luck with everything!

    • rorydean says:

      I got picked up by Warner Bros. along with a select group of bloggers, movie reviewers and entertainment writers for a Beta program to review Blu-rays. It’s been a blast and we get to keep the movies! This was an article I wrote for the program, delving beyond movies and news into technology, format wars, and home movie media delivery systems. I wasn’t able to get to all the articles I planned, perhaps soon. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Pingback: Warner Bros. Blu-ray Elite Team Member Wrap Up | Above the Line

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s