Friday, November 4, 2011

Why I Haven't Gone Blu

I had a friend tell me a few months ago that "You just have to get a Blu-ray player!"  Said person was shocked when I told him that A) I don't see the point, and B) Have no plans to get one unless it happens to be built into another product that I buy like a PS3 or a new computer.  "But they're awesome..."

Not really.

"You just like watching movies in the theater instead."  This is true, but that is irrelevant and besides my point.  First let me point out the fact that this person didn't get a DVD player until 2006 or 2007.  I'm not saying that is a good or a bad thing, but I find it hard to believe that someone who all of a sudden thinks himself as a home theater after being anything but for the past 30+ years.

My main problem with Blu-ray is that they are marketing same features that they used to market DVD back in 1997.  Nowadays, Blu-ray editions come with all the cool features...extended editions, uncensored versions, delete scenes, making of documentaries, director commentaries, behind the scenes info, special web links, etc... which is all fine but none of which is requires Blu-ray over DVD.  In fact, when it first debuted DVD had all these features...but now the entertainment industry wants you to buy all the movies you already own on DVD in the newer Blu-ray, DVDs are coming with less and are lucky to get the theatrical trailer.  Heck, remember when DVD used to promote the fact that you could switch angles and stuff due to the dynamic branching technology?  When was the last time a DVD actually came with this option?  I haven't seen one in years and years...not because they can't do it, they just don't want to promote DVDs.  I don't really feel like supporting a product because of all these bonus features that the studios won't even support in a couple all this stuff is just extras anyways.  They are nice to have, but not necessary.  I might watch the extras once but probably never again.  I don't watch most of the stuff on my DVDs, so why would I think that I would actually watch it on Blu-ray?  For me, it was just sad to see an industry drop support for something that my promoted so hard just a short while ago (I know they didn't drop all support, they are obviously still making DVDs) just hammered it home that it really is all about money and forcing new formats on customers just to make them buy the same movie again.

But it isn't just that...I don't feel that the upgrade is worth it.  I guess that DVD resolution and graphics seem good enough for me at the moment.  I don't really need a film that was made 25+ years ago to be in 1080p.  It doesn't add that much to 99% of films.  There are some films that better, crisper graphics might add a little bit to the experience...but I think it is unnecessary for most.  Even more than that...I think a lot of movies that weren't originally shot in HD but have been cleaned up for the higher resolution look creepy.  Not just really old movies either.  I saw someone watching an HD version of Pineapple Express a few months ago and it just looked wrong.  For a film like that, I expect the kind of hazy, not totally clear background that the movie had in the theater.  Watching it this time everything was way too crisp.  It left me with a very different experience...and not for the better.  Better graphics just for the sake of (supposedly) better graphics doesn't interest me that much.  If it adds up to a richer, fuller experience I am all for it...but so far, I just don't see that with many movies.  Maybe if some more talented filmmakers were using deep focus techniques for good use more often, I could see more benefit of the highest definition...but usually graphics are just used in place of a story (*cough* Transformers *cough*).

DVD had better graphics than previous formats (although I still think some of my laserdiscs had a lot better graphics than some early release DVDs)...but the jump in the graphics between VHS was much, much larger than the graphics jump from DVD to Blu-ray.  Although better graphics were a top selling point, the convenience factors were a bigger one for me...sturdy, easily portable and easy, quick navigation while watching were bigger factors for me than just graphics.  Maybe not initially as I was young and dumb, but these are the factors that I quickly came to appreciate...Blu-ray does not have any upgraded convenience features.  In fact it is even more inconvenient due to lack of Blu-ray players.  For example, they don't make a Blu-ray car player yet and your friend down the street might not have a Blu-ray player so you can't share as easy.  So really all I see as a benefit is the upgraded graphics...hey Hollywood, how about better stories?

Right now for me the benefits do not outweigh the cost...especially when the end of physical formats is probably not too many years away and everything will soon be streamed on demand.  It seems more effort than it is worth.  Do I need to buy a bunch of movies that I have already bought on VHS, laserdisc, and DVD again just to have slightly better definition?  No I don't think so.  However, if I do end up getting a Blu-ray for some reason, I would probably buy newer movies in Blu-ray...but would probably save a little money on older releases and just get the DVD version (you can only make Evil Dead look so good).

1 comment:

Lax Guy said...

I agree. I have yet to buy a stand alone Blu-ray player, but I have a PS3.
I have bought a select few Blu-ray movies, mostly comic book & scifi stuff as it comes out. Since I have not seen Green Lantern and the reviews were not great, I wasn't willing to fork out the extra cash for the blu-ray (but I have to have it as a lifelong GL fan). Chick flicks, general comedies, etc are not blu ray worthy either. It pretty much as to be a visual spectacle or a kick ass deal to buy it on blu-ray(X-men FC, Transformers 3). But I'm not planning to replace anything; I have iron man on DVD and Iron Man 2 on blu, for example.
I guess the only real positive about buying blu-ray movies at the moment is that most come with a free DVD copy. Still have not figured out the exact reason, but maybe it relates to the car issue you mention.