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Do we need Blu-ray drives?

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supermonkey 28th February 2012, 22:53 Quote
That's the funny thing about the tech world - Mention a particular fruit-themed computer company and the whole place jumps up and down about toys for muggles. "I require all of my computers to be ridiculously complex machines capable of meticulous programming and configuration," they say. Mention Blu-ray drives, and all of a sudden we get a number of comments from people who don't really care about hardware. "Why get a BR drive, or a BR player at all? Simple DVD upscaling works just fine on my monitor."

I recall when the Macbook Air first came out, and one of the biggest complaints was the lack of an optical drive. Now that a lot of people are promoting digital downloads and external storage, perhaps those complaints were just a lack of foresight.

As to the central question of the article, I guess the answer ultimately depends on the users. I have a BR drive for ripping movies to portable formats. I also have a PS3, HDTV, and a good receiver capable of managing my 5.1 surround sound. Of course, I don't like going to the theater anymore (cost and clientele are factors), so my mileage varies.

I don't think Blu-ray is going to replace DVD in the same sense that DVD replaced VHS (for video) and floppies (for data). I see BR as an intermediary format as the tech industry continues to make advancements in digital downloads and cloud storage.
SMIFFYDUDE 28th February 2012, 22:59 Quote
I don't own a Blu-Ray drive or player and the DVD drive probably gets used less than ten times a year, for intalling Windows, motherboard drivers and the odd game which I then download a no cd crack for.
jimmyjj 28th February 2012, 23:07 Quote
As a storage medium Blu Ray may be a bust, but movies on Blu Ray can be amazing.

No one with the slightest interest in, or knowledge of high definition films would ever put forward a digital download as an alternative in terms of picture quality.

All of the software providers for Blu Ray software have regular sales and promotions and you can normally pick up something like Power DVD far below RRP.
ArthurB 29th February 2012, 00:57 Quote
Without large capacity optical discs like Blu-ray, how exactly do people send large amounts of data (25GB-50GB+) to other people?

* Broadband is out of the question because upload speeds are generally too slow in the UK.
* You can't put a 32GB or 64GB USB flash drive in the post because they are still too expensive to give away to people. I don't know anyone who would send me a £20-£60 flash drive and not expect it back.
* You can't use USB HDDs because they are even more expensive than UFDs and might get dropped/damaged in transit.
dark_avenger 29th February 2012, 00:59 Quote
I have a Blu-ray drive in my main PC just for ripping disks I have bought.

All saved onto my NAS and then the disks get stored away.
Just so much easier having all the content saved on the NAS, no looking for disks, no skipping because of scratches and it's available on all my PC's/XBMC machines.
javaman 29th February 2012, 00:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
That's the funny thing about the tech world - Mention a particular fruit-themed computer company and the whole place jumps up and down about toys for muggles. "I require all of my computers to be ridiculously complex machines capable of meticulous programming and configuration," they say. Mention Blu-ray drives, and all of a sudden we get a number of comments from people who don't really care about hardware. "Why get a BR drive, or a BR player at all? Simple DVD upscaling works just fine on my monitor."

I recall when the Macbook Air first came out, and one of the biggest complaints was the lack of an optical drive. Now that a lot of people are promoting digital downloads and external storage, perhaps those complaints were just a lack of foresight.

As to the central question of the article, I guess the answer ultimately depends on the users. I have a BR drive for ripping movies to portable formats. I also have a PS3, HDTV, and a good receiver capable of managing my 5.1 surround sound. Of course, I don't like going to the theater anymore (cost and clientele are factors), so my mileage varies.

I don't think Blu-ray is going to replace DVD in the same sense that DVD replaced VHS (for video) and floppies (for data). I see BR as an intermediary format as the tech industry continues to make advancements in digital downloads and cloud storage.

Tbh that was the same gripe i had for my netbook. HDD prices back then meant 500GB 2.5" disks had became affordable and the want to put my dvd's on my computer. It meant sitting at a desktop ripping everything to then pass over to my netbook. Ripping straight would of been so much easier.
I agree that blue ray wont replace dvd the way dvd replaced tape. My parents sum it up really with "whats the difference". A tv thats set up properly makes a bigger difference than sharper images, or multichannel audio when all they use is inbuilt speakers. Look how long it took to get full HD tvs in peoples houses and broadcasters make little use of them. In fact early adopters got screwed as HD tuner spec changed. 3D is the same, why pay more for limited content when the technology will probably change.
The_Beast 29th February 2012, 02:12 Quote
Nope, I stopped using DVDs a long time ago. I had the drive in my old case, but it wasn't hooked up with power or sata. When I built this new case, I didn't even bother to put it in the case
rogerrabbits 29th February 2012, 03:13 Quote
I'm guessing that the problem is that consoles can't cope with the huge textures that would be on a blue ray game.
ssj12 29th February 2012, 03:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dark_avenger
I have a Blu-ray drive in my main PC just for ripping disks I have bought.

All saved onto my NAS and then the disks get stored away.
Just so much easier having all the content saved on the NAS, no looking for disks, no skipping because of scratches and it's available on all my PC's/XBMC machines.

bluray... scratches? do you run sandpaper over your disks when your done? bluray is hard to damage and even with some serious scratching with play perfectly.
GiantKiwi 29th February 2012, 03:40 Quote
My view is that until USB sticks can be equal in price, BluRays are a necessity as a large file removable media option. If you know where to look, its about £1 to a 25GB writable disc, making it currently the cheapest storage option available with a reasonable capacity (sorry DVD 4GB give or take just isn't big enough anymore), I spent £120 a few weeks back and got 100 TDK 25GB discs, good luck getting that amount of storage cheap in other options ;)
xaser04 29th February 2012, 09:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi
I spent £120 a few weeks back and got 100 TDK 25GB discs, good luck getting that amount of storage cheap in other options ;)

Erm before the TN/TH issues 2-2.5TB hardrives were available for a little over £100. 3TB drives were just over £140.
Lord Badger 29th February 2012, 11:57 Quote
I have an external blu-ray drive which I use almost exclusively with my Mac (which can't them :() I use it purely for ripping blu-rays and adding them to my media server.

Do I need blu-ray quality? probably not, but I'd still rather get films/TV on blu-ray where there is the option.
wafflesomd 29th February 2012, 11:59 Quote
I'd rather just use solid state storage. Can't scratch my flash drive.
tonyd223 29th February 2012, 14:05 Quote
Blu-Ray? Man, this weekend I threw away a 3.5" floppy drive and all the floppies! 1.44Mb of transferable data gone...
Jipa 29th February 2012, 16:13 Quote
Optical media is obsolete crap. I don't have and will not have a Bluray drive, and I sincerely hope I'll never need to install a DVD-drive to my computer, either. I hate the noise, the hassle, the rubbish read speed, the bad reliability and everything else optical storage-related.
Sloth 29th February 2012, 22:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurB
Without large capacity optical discs like Blu-ray, how exactly do people send large amounts of data (25GB-50GB+) to other people?

* Broadband is out of the question because upload speeds are generally too slow in the UK.
* You can't put a 32GB or 64GB USB flash drive in the post because they are still too expensive to give away to people. I don't know anyone who would send me a £20-£60 flash drive and not expect it back.
* You can't use USB HDDs because they are even more expensive than UFDs and might get dropped/damaged in transit.
A good question. But I have to ask: who actually sends such large amounts of data to others? And furthermore, who sends such large amounts of data so often that buying a Blu-ray burner is more effective than simply using multiple DVDs? Someone out there, surely, but the average user? It's like many of Blu-rays advantages: they're great when they're applicable, yet they're unnoticable in a great many other applications.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
I'm guessing that the problem is that consoles can't cope with the huge textures that would be on a blue ray game.
That's an interesting statement, particularly because the PS3, a console, is the only gaming platform to have adopted Blu-rays.

As a side note, this is a case of Blu-ray's advantages being unnoticable. A cross platform game that ships on both PS3's Blu-ray and 360's DVD obviously isn't using the extra capacity.
law99 29th February 2012, 23:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
A good question. But I have to ask: who actually sends such large amounts of data to others? And furthermore, who sends such large amounts of data so often that buying a Blu-ray burner is more effective than simply using multiple DVDs? Someone out there, surely, but the average user? It's like many of Blu-rays advantages: they're great when they're applicable, yet they're unnoticable in a great many other applications.

That's an interesting statement, particularly because the PS3, a console, is the only gaming platform to have adopted Blu-rays.

As a side note, this is a case of Blu-ray's advantages being unnoticable. A cross platform game that ships on both PS3's Blu-ray and 360's DVD obviously isn't using the extra capacity.

I can tell you who does hand out and lend/loan large files on a regular basis...

anyone who lends a movie. Fact is, Blu-ray discs are lent to people. I don't think to myself, oh yeah, I'll let my mates connect via vpn or ftp to watch movies... I don't go around and give them 6gb blu-ray rips either. I'll just give them the sodding blu-ray.

Blu-ray is better than the rips as well. It means I don't have to think about whether I'm bit streaming or pcm, or whether the gfx card supports it or even the need for a sound card. I have a av receiver thanks and my blu-ray player already knows the drill.

Also, cross platform games have been hampered by storage, because the 360 made it a case of bowing to the lowest common denominator when it came to harnessing said space. Even in the beginning, the ps3 got the delights of better sound and the ability to stream more textures than the 360. Whether or not you thought you saw or needed that is another question. But I do wonder whether a game like Skyrim would have been bigger if they weren't confining it to a single dvd.

But this isn't an argument about 360 vs PS3 - plus the PS3 had it's faults too which were mainly down to devs not accounting for it's memory architecture. UMA vs NUMA and all that. Or simply not wanting to learn a new platform. My pc is better anyway :D

There seems to be a suprising amount of people who seem to be happy with poor quality streaming, having multi terabyte storage arrays for holding their media - let alone apps and files - sub standard audio and basically a lot of waiting in some cases. Streaming an HD movie, let us face it, is ****. SO the option is to download it and play it later, but often you are still faced with the same amount of compression so you don't win anything. I find it quicker to go to the blockbusters that is literally 5minutes away from my flat and buy or rent a blu-ray.
GiantKiwi 29th February 2012, 23:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaser04
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi
I spent £120 a few weeks back and got 100 TDK 25GB discs, good luck getting that amount of storage cheap in other options ;)

Erm before the TN/TH issues

Case and point, I bought them a few weeks ago, comparing discs is only relevant to now, where a decent 3TB drive will set you back more than 180 quid. Analysts have already said the prices on HDD's arent going to go back to pre flood prices for a long while yet.
hennes 29th February 2012, 23:44 Quote
I think most people do not need BR in a computer.

If you have a media centre and like perusing a physical collection, then yes, go ahead and get a stand alone BR player. No software hassle and probably cheaper than a PC BR player and software.


For PC movie usage I say no, because a film stored on a HDD or NAS has the following advantages:
1) Easy access.
2) You can rip out the the annoying 'extra's.
No need to wait on the FBI warning, previews or other unskippable waste
3) You have no loud spinning drive during playback.
(This maybe due to cheap BD/DVD players. But all of mine have been audible during playback).
4) Backups are much easier to make.


For backups:

A pair of large HDD will be cheaper than hundreds of DVD-RW/BD discs.
I specifically write 'a pair'. Use one for regular backups. Use the other for yearly backups and store it at a remote location. I have more long term faith in a HDD that gets used yearly then in CD/DVD/BD discs. Access is also a lot faster, and restoring after a theft or HDD failure is much easier.


For games:

Almost all modern PC games can be downloaded. E.g. with steam.
The only reason to use a CD or DVD is when you have an old game, or when the boxed medium is much cheaper than the downloadable version. (E.g. with StarCraft II when it came out.)
Sloth 1st March 2012, 00:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by law99
I can tell you who does hand out and lend/loan large files on a regular basis...

anyone who lends a movie. Fact is, Blu-ray discs are lent to people. I don't think to myself, oh yeah, I'll let my mates connect via vpn or ftp to watch movies... I don't go around and give them 6gb blu-ray rips either. I'll just give them the sodding blu-ray.
Blu-rays which were purchased with the movie already on them, which you then ripped to your PC. ArthurB's purpose seems to be taking large files which are presently only in a digital format (home videos, perhaps) and burning them to Blu-rays for transfer via physical media. Such uses aren't exactly common.
Quote:

Also, cross platform games have been hampered by storage, because the 360 made it a case of bowing to the lowest common denominator when it came to harnessing said space. Even in the beginning, the ps3 got the delights of better sound and the ability to stream more textures than the 360. Whether or not you thought you saw or needed that is another question. But I do wonder whether a game like Skyrim would have been bigger if they weren't confining it to a single dvd.
Can't say I have noticed much difference. Certainly not enough to come anywhere near using the full capacity of a Blu-ray disc. As to whether cross platform games such as Skyrim would be bigger if Blu-ray was a standard media for games? That's certainly a good question. One which I don't have an answer to, but I'd suggest looking at the sizes of cross platform games, PC exclusives, and (if possible) PS3 exclusives. That'd give you a good idea of game sizes on single DVD, possible multiple DVD, and Blu-ray respectively.
McGlashan 1st March 2012, 06:36 Quote
Oh, right, I have a Blu-ray drive in my PC. I forgot.
Doctor Hades 1st March 2012, 09:33 Quote
There may be a shift to BD for PC games once the next-gen consoles are released as the broadband infrastructure isn't there to sustain 30-50 GB game downloads here in the UK and would you really want to be installing a game from 4 to 6 DVDs? It might be fine for a few games but eventually I'm sure I'll be screaming for games on a single disc (The Sims 2 and Doom 3's CD installs are proof of that!).

PC games came on CD for years but eventually they switched to DVD. I can see the same thing happening with PC games at some point. Laptops often ship with BD drives and a BD-ROM drive doesn't cost much to buy these days (I have two Samsung ones in my machine). There may come a point where you'll have to either buy a BD drive or suffer long and large downloads.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 2nd March 2012, 00:01 Quote
Do we need Blu-ray drives? HELL NO! We need better lossless compression! Stupid Disc and Blu-Ray players are a waste of cash.

I rather we had a better compression format to crunch a Blu-ray down to under a GB, download it, and blow it back up on my flash drive or a program that could just read the compressed file perfectly.

Then have TV's with built in USB ports and software to read the Flashdrive. Flashdrives are cheap, reusable, and easy to carry around.
flong 2nd March 2012, 09:23 Quote
I have Power DVD Ultra 11 (now one version behind the most current version 12) and I do NOT find it to be a pain to use or to be overly "bloated." It will play any blu-ray disk without a problem and the picture quality is noticeably superior to DVDs. I bought a legal new copy on Amazon (disk only, no box) for $65.00 and so it was not overly expensive. I simply cannot understand people who are so obsessed with finding "free" blu-ray playback that they dozens of hours learning "pirate" systems. Maybe its just the satisfaction of beating the system.

As far as streaming media, right now the very best you can hope for is 1080 and most services (like Netflix and Hulu) are something like 720 most of the time. I have not streamed Netflix to an HDTV but I have a 1920 x 1200 (very high) resolution monitor that I watch most of my media on in my home office. I can say that the difference in blu-ray video quality is night and day compared to streaming media of any kind. Even DVD video quality beats streaming media. You simply are not experiencing true HDTV without a blu-ray player as far as movie playback.

I think a lot people posting about blu-rays on this thread simply don't own a high quality monitor or HDTV and so they have never seen the actual difference between the real blu-ray quality and streaming media or DVD. Keep in mind that many of today's monitors are 1920 x 1080 and that is not a very high resolution anymore (in computer monitors). There is a noticeable difference in video quality between my monitor and a 1920 x 1080 monitor.

Further, OLED HDTVs are coming out and their resolution will dwarf today's current HDTV standards. Streaming media simply is not mature enough at this point to support the highest resolutions. And DVD format will not support 3D movies.

As one poster mentioned, if you have a blu-ray drive you can use it to backup your blu-ray movies onto HDDs and create a digital copy. You cannot do this without an optical drive. If all you do is game then this is not an issue as gaming does not depend on optical drives. If all you do is gaming, then you probably don't need a blu-ray player.

That being said, you cannot really own a computer and not have a DVD optical drive because you cannot download many program disks without one.

I think it is somewhat silly to get to wound up about owning a blu-ray or not. Blu ray players have dropped to to $45 (on Newegg) and burners have dropped to $70. As I mentioned, Power DVD can be purchased for $65. At those prices you won't have to sell your car in order to afford the blu-ray option and you will certainly at the very least have superior quality for movies.
flong 2nd March 2012, 09:29 Quote
Just a quick note to the poster that wants to use flash drives. If you own a blu-ray burner you can download your movies onto a flash drive (HDD) and make a digital copy. So you are already have the technology that you are asking for, but you do need a blu-ray optical drive and you will have to buy a program to transfer your blu-ray movie to your HDD. Cnet lists many software packages that will do this. Some of them cost as little as $30.
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