In a recent e-mail, an old friend and audio reviewer asked about Blu-ray players. I tried to steer him away (successfully, I hope) from what he thought was a good deal on an new, unused first generation Sony Blu-ray player. The seller had apparently almost convinced him that this was some sort of undiscovered gem, akin (though in a different application) to the early, tank-like SACD players held in high regard by some audiophiles.
Last week we had fireworks and speeches in Denver, as 84,000 screaming fans jammed Invesco Field to celebrate the upcoming CEDIA Expo. It was the biggest kickoff CEDIA has had since Bose sued them for use of the term "Lifestyle."
Living as I do in a suburb of LA, it's hard to avoid movie news. The local rag, the <I>Los Angeles Times</I>, is awash in it. Its theater listings take up an entire section of the paper, which on Friday and Sunday can feature huge, double-page ads for major releases. So if a movie opens to big notices and reviews, good or bad, it's hard to avoid hearing about it around here.
A recent article on the <I>Electronic House</I> website offered three reasons to avoid jumping onto the Blu-ray bandwagon—at least for now. One of the arguments—that Blu-ray quality is still inconsistent—read as follows:
I recently spent a weekend cleaning up my home office, the retreat where I write much of my deathless prose. I hadn't rummaged through some of my files for several years, but had to make room for the piles of new stuff that have managed to build up to the point where I couldn't find things. This sorting process invariably takes longer than you plan, as you find things that require instant action (as they did two years ago) and others that demand to be re-read and enjoyed again.
I can't say I'm as big a <I>Star Trek</I> fan as some. I love the stories and characters, but I'm not into the minutiae. I don't know which deck sickbay is on, couldn't tell you the date the first Enterprise was launched (actually it was Stardate 1814, if you can believe Wikipedia), and don't know a word of Klingon.
You're got two displays; perhaps a plasma on the wall for day-to-day viewing and a projection screen that drops down in front of it for serious movie watching. Or you want to feed HDMI video to a small screen on your equipment rack as a monitor. Or…whatever. Up to now, it's been difficult to find an affordable device that will split an HDMI source in two. There are a number of such products on the market from companies like Gefen, Key Digital, and PureLink, but they tend to be expensive solutions to a relatively basic problem, often providing more flexibility than you need.
So now we have a single HD disc format. Hallelujah. No more excuses for sitting on the fence. No more "my upconverted DVDs look almost like high definition" claptrap. The clouds will part, angelic choirs will sing, and…oops, wrong blog.
It's already a month into 2008, but never too late to make predictions for the coming year or so—predictions of things that probably won't happen in the way we expect. If anything is certain, it's the uncertainty of the future. The volatile world of consumer electronics is no exception.
The bombshell dropped yesterday, the day before I was to drive to CES. And I don't mean the deluge that hit LA and tested the leaks in my roof (they still work!). It was Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive starting this coming May. Why they aren't doing so immediately is a bit of a puzzle, but is likely due to contractual obligations and to keep from scrapping product already in the pipeline.