It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got a Blu-ray DVD player. I was psyched when I first heard about the new high-definition DVD’s that were planned. But then Sony introduced one standard and a competing standard called HD DVD was being developed too. So there was a long format war with studios lining up on different (sometimes both) sides. Buy the wrong technology and you’d be stuck with a dinosaur. That’s ultimately what happened to those early adopters who bought the lower tech, more affordable HD DVD players.

But even after the format war ended early this year, Blu-ray players were expensive, about $400. You could just buy a Playstation 3 which could play Blu-ray discs for about the same price. I kept shopping and waiting for the prices to come down. I think the weak dollar over the summer kept that from happening as quickly, but now the recession and a stronger dollar have worked their magic. Fry’s had an ad the day before Thanksgiving for a Panasonic player for less than $200. That’s a pretty good price point, plus they had a great special on memory for my laptop so that I was able to upgrade from 2 GB to 4 GB for only $20. And since they were offering a 2 GB SD card for 99 cents after a $5 rebate, I got one of those too. I should have done more research on this particular player, but Fry’s doesn’t tell you in the ad what model it is. It turns out it is a DMP-BD30, a model introduced last year, but one that got good reviews on Amazon.

Last night I went to Hollywood Video and rented a Blu-ray disc to try out the new player. I rented No Country for Old Men which I had been putting off seeing due to the violence and murky ending (still a good movie). It was a good one to try out Blu-ray since the Coen brothers make such nice-looking movies. It was a very simple matter of disconnecting the old DVD player and connecting the new one. Since the old one was a Panasonic as well, I didn’t even have to change the settings on my universal remote control.

But Hollywood Video charges an arm and a leg for Blu-ray movies. This one was over six dollars I think. So I went ahead and signed up for Netflix who charge one dollar extra per month if you want Blu-ray movies. I’ll probably do Netflix for a couple of months, though I should have waited and signed up first thing Friday morning since they won’t be shipping today anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

4 thoughts on “Blu-ray

  1. I’d be interested to hear how you like renting the Blu-ray discs from Netflix. We have Netflix but not a Blu-ray player.

    The DVD player we have, though, is a dinosaur, and it’s only a matter of time …

  2. So far so good. They don’t have nearly everything on Blu-ray, but the newer blockbusters are usually available. I watched this year’s Indiana Jones movie tonight (really mediocre), Transsiberian Sunday, and Bee Movie Saturday. The other two were fine, this one had a little pixellation a couple of times, but nothing bad. The picture is definitely better, but still can’t make a bad movie good.

  3. Blu-ray is more intimidating than I thought. I think at first I wasn’t even really seeing true high definition because I couldn’t find where to tell the player that I wanted to see 1080i high def (the most my TV will support) and it was set to 480p by default.

    But then, until last night, I wasn’t getting all of the sound either. It didn’t seem like I was getting surround sound, but on a lot of movies surround sound isn’t that noticeable anyway. So I did some research online and found out that this model doesn’t actually deal with new advanced Blu-ray sound schemes (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD as opposed to Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS on regular DVD’s) and instead passes encoded audio to the receiver to deal with. Since my receiver is a couple of years old, it can’t deal with that. So instead the player was outputting stereo. Now I’ve got it where the Blu-ray player sends out older sound formats to the receiver which it can translate. And I think the player will translate the newer formats into the older formats which would be okay. The best thing would be for it to send out 6- or 8-channel sound to the receiver in analog so that the receiver would just send that to the 8 speakers (7 speakers and a subwoofer). Some players do that, but not this one. That’s what I get for not doing more research beforehand.

    Lastly, my research also told me I should download firmware upgrades. You download a big file on your computer, then extract it, then burn it to a CD-R. When you put the CD-R in the Blu-ray player it recognizes that it is a firmware upgrade and does the installation from there. So I had been on v2.1, but now I am up to v2.5. There are newer Blu-ray standards that I will never be able to implement, like BD Live where a DVD can get online content. Since my player doesn’t connect to the internet on its own, that just isn’t going to happen. That is part of Blu-ray Profile 2.0 and this player is 1.1 compliant.

  4. I was watching a newly released Blu-ray disk and the sound kept dropping out for about a second. I checked the sound settings, but didn’t see anything odd. I turned the player off and back on and it was still doing it. I thought maybe I needed to upgrade the firmware. The latest firmware was dated 2011, but that was still newer than what I had installed last time. So I downloaded it and copied it to a CD on my Windows 10 computer. It didn’t work. I looked and the instructions said to use Windows XP or third party CD burning software. So I used my old laptop to make a CD. Still didn’t work. Turns out the laptop is Vista. But it also has InfraRecorder on it, so I made a third CD using InfraRecorder and this time it worked. Sound still skipped. Hmmm . . . I checked the receiver and when I clicked digital input (optical cables) it said there wasn’t any. I checked the cable and it seemed loose, so I tightened it up (TOSLINK cables don’t snap in very well). Now it works!

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