Blu-ray conquers all. Also, sound questions

The Blu-ray Disc Association claims that one million BDs have been sold since the introduction of the format, and that 70% of all high-definition disks sold in Q1 2007 were BDs (source).

Meanwhile I got a couple of BDs to play on my PS3. The video quality is generally very good, even with MPEG-2 content – the only significant difference is a relative lack of extras on single-layer MPEG-2 disks. Not an issue for dual-layer disks, though. I never noticed a layer transition pause as on regular DVDs, by the way – is this a Blu-ray feature, or is it just because the feature film always fit on the first layer?

I did notice a couple of odd things about the soundtracks. First, lossless audio isn’t guaranteed as I once assumed – any BD may have any combination of Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 HD (apparently identical to regular DTS 5.1), and lossless PCM 5.1.

Second, I discovered that having the old sound formats is actually a good thing since PCM 5.1 is only output over HDMI – I’m using the optical toslink for sound output, and PCM 5.1 is converted to a simple stereo signal on that output. Shouldn’t it be possible to at least get a DTS 5.1 signal out of PCM 5.1?

Third, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the BDs I’ve watched is surprisingly good – about the same quality as DTS and much better than the DD 5.1 that I know from regular DVDs. Did they turn down the compression for BDs?

Wal-Mart is going to have HD-DVD players under $300 available this year.

And the pr0n will all be HD-DVD, not on Blu-Ray.

The war is not yet over.

Eh, Sony has said they won’t stand in the way of pr0n. Also, HD movies really let you see any minor skin defect of the actors, even with their professional movie make-up… can’t imagine that HD porn will be all that popular!

Yeah but they already have, and there’s the Wal-Mart factor to consider.

Also, all of those Q1 2007 Blu-Ray discs were copies of “Casino Royale.” :)

I’ve noticed layer transitions on a few of my regular old DVDs.

So did I, but not on any BD-50s so far… which had me wondering if they eliminated that slight pause completely?

Layer transitions, on DVDs at least, vary hugely from one player to another. My Pioneer recorder pauses for so long I can go and make coffee while I wait (ok, slight exaggeration) while my LG recorder’s pause is barely noticeable.

Toslink was created before PCM 5.1 so it’s not included in the spec. The only PCM that goes over Toslink is 2.0.

It’s possible to convert PCM 5.1 into DD Live or DTS Connect in realtime, but you’d be losing out on the quality. I’m not sure how that’s work though, because the device you’d need in order to do such a conversion would need to have the HDMI connected to it. By the time you’re at the point of doing that, you might as well just have a receiver that takes HDMI in and processes the PCM 5.1 itself.

Yeah, I was thinking that the PS3 might use one of its copious Cell processor to do that conversion, assuming they’re not all busy with the video signal.

It is over. The only undecided part is how many people choose to continue to be used as tools in the spoiler plan to drag out the process as long as possible. Microsoft won’t cede the living-room to a non-Microsoft runtime without a big messy fight. This is about BD-J, not any given console or company. But yeah… it’s decided. Luckily the publishers and retailers – not Microsoft – will decide when to stick a fork in it.

It’s not over.

Basically, Borat sold more DVDs in a week than all of HD DVD and Blu-ray combined since the launch of the two formats last year. The ars technica article above should be sobering for anyone claiming victory in this “war”.

The contest in question is not DVD vs HD. In fact, that’s a relevant observation about why they will force consolidation. Consolidation is a requirement for widespread adoption, which is a requirement for even beginning to compete with DVD.

The Walmart and cheap player factor are not to be underestimated. Right now it’s still too early to call. Sony was counting on PS3 to carry them it seems, and though it is doing ok it is not enough of the inroads that they needed to cement victory imo. Right now the market is still very much up for grabs, if HD-DVD gets a sub $200 player in the not too distant future they very well could win out.

Gist for the rumor mill, anyone?

Is it a more likely situation that one of the two sides will concede, or that players that can handle both discs will become so prevalent that it won’t matter?

A lot of the cheap $100 DVD players handle DivX as well as MPEG, so it’s probably not unreasonable to think we’ll see $200 players that can handle BR as well as HD-DVD shortly after Toshiba’s efforts in China start to bear fruit.


Isn’t there a good chance that Blu-ray disc sales have gotten a temporary boost from a legion of new PS-Triple owners that are scratching their asses as to what the hell to do with their consoles now that they’re done with Resistance and Motorstorm? “Hrm… no games. Maybe I’ll buy a Blu-ray movie.”

I think they got a massive boost in that quarter from Casino Royale.

Fie on you Englishmen and your tricksy language skills!

Purely anecdotal but almost all the HD movies on my Netflix Q are Blu-ray not HD-DVD.