Blu-Ray Kills HD-DVD: Time To Buy A Player?

February 18, 2008

The answer for me at least: not yet.

It’s is great news that HD-DVD is finally the “dead” format, now that WalMart has put support behind Blu-Ray, and Toshiba is rumored to drop HD-DVD as well. And just today, a rumor that Microsoft will soon release a stand alone Blu-Ray player for the XBox.

However, I’m holding off. The cheapest stand alone Blu-Ray players are still $350+. My price point for this sort of hardware is $200 or less. Second, current Blu-Ray players will soon be obsolete – they lack interactive features, and no player will have them until the Blu-Ray “profile 2.0″ spec is released in October. Pre 2.0 players may be unable to play future Blu-Ray discs.

Also disconcerting are problems with the early Blu-Ray player Samsung BDP 1200, namely long startup times and difficulty with firmware upgrades. The general feeling is the player was put on market before the technology was ready. There’s a class action lawsuit against Samsung as a result.

It seems the best option is just getting a PS3, as it comes straight from Sony, but with my current dearth of gaming ability this isn’t likely.

So while Blu-Ray is on my shopping list, I’m not climbing aboard just yet. The smart money says to wait until “Blu-Ray Live” or “2.0″ later this year. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy HD rentals on the Apple TV.

Additional Reading:


  1. suicidalsam says:

    what will the people do who have already got a HD-DVD drive or a stand alone player. will the HD-DVD company refund the money? don’t think so. man these companies should sort things out between themselves and come out with a single format.

  2. JC says:

    Once again I find myself agreeing with you. Yours and my hesitation bodes well for Apple and other download services. If your feelings on the matter are typical for most users (and I suspect they are) then Blu Ray will have another year of slow adoption despite having no real competition. That should give download companies more time to improve their libraries of both rentals and purchases.

    How many Blu Ray titles are currently available? Last I heard it was only 350 or so. Apple already has a hundred HD titles, and will probably have two hundred by year’s end. If we finally get some improved infrastructure with more bandwidth (FiOS, or whatever) downloads could really kill Blu Ray before it ever really gets off the ground.

  3. Dave says:

    I ended up jumping on the PS3 bandwagon once the outcome of the Blu-Ray war became clearer. It wasn’t the main reason for buying it, but it made me feel better to know that the movie player capabilities wouldn’t be obsolete out of the box (JC, I do agree with you that downloads will ultimately prevail, but I do think blu-ray will have some relevance during a protracted transition period)

    Btw – PS3 is the best option right now for Blu-Ray forward compatibility (it’s the only current player – afaik – that will be able to work with the 2.0 spec). MG Siegler has a write up on it here:

    I figure it’s a good deal to get the gaming + blu-ray capabilities for just a little more than the price of a standalone blu-ray. So far I’ve used it more for the gaming aspect than the movies though :-)

  4. webomatica says:

    Yeah the PS3 seems like the best bet currently. But in my case since I doubt I’ll be playing the games much (my PS2 gets like zero usage) that would be a very expensive Blu-Ray player :|

    The download vs. disc option will be interesting to watch. While it’s cool that Blu-Ray now seems like the disc of choice, it’s also in the hands of Sony what with their DRM stupidity and monopolistic tendencies – might very well screw this done deal up. The worst case scenario is they keep prices artificially high for the discs and players, and that would give an opening for downloads – be they from Apple or the cable companies or whomever.

  5. i dont think its time yet. i went to blockbuster and they still have pretty pathetic collection of blurays. if you buy all of your movies, then thats different