Is Blu Cheap Enough for You?

Month in and month out I receive letters from readers about pricing on Blu-ray, and noting that the public won’t buy in until Blu-ray is cheaper. What the public at large will or won’t buy into isn’t quite the same thing as what Home Theater readers will buy and for how much. For you, as a Home Theater reader, how cheap is cheap enough? Cheaper than an iPhone or an iPod? Walking through Costco the other day I saw every day pricing on players that was well below $299, and I’m sure we’ll see cheaper prices around the holidays. But realistically, is Blu-ray cheap enough to make it down your chimney this year? Was there ever a case to make that Blu-ray was genuinely “expensive” to begin with?

Before I get into the 21st century I want you to travel with me. Back in time. In the early 1980’s the first stereo VCR my family bought was $800. More than a decade later, the first DVD players started at $799. Although the first Samsung BD player was priced at $999 (if memory serves) the PlayStation 3 came out within months with a model at $499, and in addition to newer PS3s as low as $399, standalone players below $399 have been readily available for some time now and fully featured players with outstanding performance are now available for $299 and even below.

When I look around and see the proliferation of electronics gadgets that sell in the millions, there are many in the same price category Blu-ray occupies. The iPhone now starts at $199, with a $299 model. The iPod Touch has models selling for $229, $299 and $399. The iPod Classic sells for $249. Can people really not afford Blu-ray, or have they been taught that optical disc players are a ridiculously cheap commodity by the absurd pricing of current DVD players?

Fully featured BD players like the Panasonic DMP-BD35 are now at $299 and falling. I can’t adequately convey the sea change in picture and sound quality one can expect from this relatively modest purchase. We have readers who spend more on exotic cables, power conditioners, and other silver bullets that will never do so much for their systems as one of these players and Blu-rays from Netflix if you don’t feel like buying. Not even close.

So, is this enough in this economy? Is Blu-ray coming to your home theater soon?

John in Missouri's picture

I have 3 big screens in my house. I purchased 3 HD DVD players when the bottom fell out because the free movies virtually paid for the players. Blu-ray was different. The prices of players has fallen and keeps falling. I am now looking at getting my third Blu-ray player. The problem is the cost of BD disc. I don't believe these disc should cost any more than regular DVDs. Neither me nor my friends give a hoot about the extras, but even with them I believe the studios are ripping us off. Until the price of disc comes down I will not be buying many BD disc. In fact I have not been buying many regular DVDs hoping Blu-ray disc will drop. Renting is not much of an option around here, as the rental places have only 1 or 2 of each BD title, so they are usually out when I want to rent.

Bruce in CO's picture

Shane, the picture you show with the $280 Sony was my tipping point, and more importantly, crossed the spousal acceptance factor. We own a few BD discs, and have rented a couple, but ran into the same problem as John in MO about the rental stores having only 1 or 2 discs per title. That issue will fix itself over time. Even with our relatively small HD screen (soon to be upgraded) the improvement in picture quality is well worth the investment.

Richard's picture

Same here on the sub $299 Sony. Picked it up off Amazon a couple of months ago. I was upgrading from a late 90's Denon DVD player. What amazed me more than the HD (since I've seen plenty of that over the air on my 60" Sony SXRD) was the significant improvement in standard DVD's. They look so much better than the old Denon that I'm thinking I may not replace certain DVD titles in my movie library. Do I need 40 Year Old Virgin in HD when the DVD looks pretty darn good? Call me crazy, but I don't really want to see anymore detail in Steve Carrell's face. Now...Underworld Evolution (which I have on Bluray) is a different story. Kate in tight black latex...yeah, give me all the detail I can handle. ;-)

Shane's picture

John and Bruce- If you haven't looked into it yet, I strongly recommend Netflix for BD rentals. Great selection, and I've always found Netlfix' service superlative in every way.On the software side, it's a classic chicken and egg. DVD was also at a premium when it first came out with discs at $25-$30 while VHS was entrenched at $15 and below until DVD hit critical mass. That tide will turn for Blu-ray only when enough people have Blu-ray players and buy new releases in great enough quantity to turn the economy of scale in consumers favor. Iron Man sold over 500k copies, and reports are that over one million units are being prepped for Dark Knight's December release. Hopefully this is a sign we're moving the right direction.

David Vaughn's picture

John and Bruce- I concur with Shane and I highly recommend you checking out Netflix for Blu-ray rentals. They have phenomenal service and you can rent every Blu-ray available. The only downside is recent day-and-date titles may be difficult to rent the first few weeks they're available, but if you can tolerate a little time lag, it's well worth the $19 a month for the 3 at a time plan.Best Regards,David Vaughn
Technical Writer / Blu-ray Reviewer

Kris Deering's picture

The price of Blu-ray titles is a sour point, I will give you that. I have a hard time with the catalog titles more than the new releases but things have been getting slightly better. I highly recommend looking at pre-order pricing on titles you know you'll want as they tend to be pretty good at places like Amazon. Also, for those that don't know it, Home Theater is now selling titles as well. Surprising to me was the prices that we're charging for Blu-ray titles. Most are better than other retailers. (And no I don't get a red cent of that money, I just noticed it when I started linking to our online store in the reviews).

John in Missouri's picture

I have looked into to both Net Flix and Blockbuster rentals by mail. Even though there are no late fees, when it comes to renting I want the movie right away, when I am in the mood to watch, and my taste in movies can change on an hourly basis. This is a character flaw, I know. I forgot to mention that I, also, have a collection of over 900 DVD titles. I like to have movies handy when I do decide to watch a particular genre or a selection when friends stop by. Also, I do watch favorite movies over and over. Usually, movies I rent are movies I am not sure whether or not I want to watch more than once. Having said that, we all realize most Blu-ray movies are movies released previously and they would have to be very, very good for me to buy it again at a much higher price.

Claude's picture

I already have the original PS3 at $600 that I love. I'm at Costco three times a week (milk for the kids) and do see people lingering over the BD players as the price goes down. I agree with Shane on pricing. My first VCR was an RCA that I purchased on credit at $999! No even hi-fi! My first DVD player, a Sony was $450 at discount. Prices are cheap, but I still think the "magic" number is $200. The real issue is software pricing. Prices are going down and deals can be had, but I think all titles should be below $20 to generate much higher sales. It's no longer an impulse buy when over $20, at least for me.

Jon's picture

Just what is the Sony BDP-BX1? A rebadged first generation model? Have only seen it at Costco. Same goes for the Panasonic Plasmas that Costco sells.Blu-ray titles about the same price now as DVDs were at the same technological age and a lot cheaper than Laserdiscs were. If you look around you can find good prices. Went to a store called Fry's in Atlanta. Pirates of the Carribean 2 & 3 just $17.99. Also, still had 100's of HD DVDs for under $10. Also, picked up a Sony BDP-350 at a Tweeter store that was closing ($215). The wife was okay with that price.

David Vaughn's picture

Jon,That Sony player at Costco is a re badged S-350.David

PhilS63's picture

When VHS came out I was in the military and picked up the Hitachi VT-88A for around $500, that was in 83 or 84. It just passed away a few years ago and I really miss it! I also remember my first Discman, my first distaste of Sony products. For some reason I kept giving them a chance. No longer. When the prices of the Blu's go under $200 signifacantly, then I'll jump on board. As for now I'm happy with my 65" Tosh and HD-3A player.

Don Grabski's picture

I am undecided between the Sony BDP-S550, ($399.00) and the Panasonic DMP-BD55K, ($399.00).Both can be had for less than $350.99 via the internet w/no shipping.Specs look very similar.Need to see a comparison review!!!

John's picture

I have two PS3's and only own about 6 bluray titles. I agree that pricing of the titles is still too high for most consumers. I really can't see spending more than $12.99 on a catalog title and $17.99 on a new release. I have a very large collection of DVDs that look just fine so why spend the extra money. There are many people out there like myself who love the latest and greatest tech but aren't ready to spend an arm and a leg on it.

The Flap's picture

Nope a flawed format will not make its way into my system, ever. I am content to wait for streaming. Blu-Ray had a chance but wanted to coner the market and they did a fractional segment that is not growing at all

Shane's picture

Flap- what data do you have to support your "not growing" prognosticating?According to new info I saw last Friday, as of a few months ago 28% of the HDTV install base in the US owns a Blu-ray player already, and large amounts of consumers are going to jump in between now and Xmas with player prices now dropping fast. Dark Knight is going to be the first title to ship one million BD copies on street date and preorders suggest huge sales. Out of curiosity, at what point did you jump into DVD?

The Flap's picture

The fact that Sony and others must eat the development cost and sell units so cheap just to get people to buy them. Based on the capital invested Sony has not broken even as of yet. Every PS 3 player that goes out the door costs Sony $150 bucks. Sony thought that they could make up some revenue with games sales, but the Wii has made that all but impossible. I realize that Blu-ray is gaining market share, but it is at a huge price. Until the format shows a profit its future is still shaky. To further answer your question I never really had a choice but DVD as my first system was only 10 years ago. However DVD media was about equal to VHS actually made me go get a system. My next system upgrade will have to wait a while until a proven concept is launched. I think streaming is the future.

Dwayne in Saskatoon's picture

What I find really interesting is that most of the people commenting here remember the cost of their first VCR or DVD player, not to mention the costs of the original "software' to go along with those formats. (Which gives away our chronological ages.)My first DVD player was a Panasonic on SALE for $800 (still running). But more importantly was the lack of DVD rentals or titles available for purchase. Even more important to remember which has not been mentioned is the rate of inflation. The $300 that you bought your first VCR in the 1980s is not the same purchasing power of $300 dollars today. The same $25 you spent on early CD or DVD titles is not the same $25 today. I'm not defending the movie studios' pricing but we consumers of new technologies quickly forget what we were willing to pay for older technologies more than a decade ago. And also that those same earlier formats such as CD or DVD eventually came down in price, but not for a LONG TIME into the formats' lives.

Shane's picture

Flap- Market share and corporate P&Ls are quite different. Obviously corporate business isn't the beat around here. But FWIW, Sony reported that its gaming division was already breaking even earlier this year. And aside from the hardware manufacturers, as market share ramps up BD will become a money make for the studios. Last week the home video chiefs at the studios reported that BD is already making up as much as 14% of their disc sales revenues on large titles and expect that to accelerate to 20% in 2009. One major studio exec speculated that BD will offset the downturn in the DVD market by 2010 and grow substantially from there.I know these guys aren't paid to be pessimistic in public, but all sources indicate BD is in line with where DVD was the same time period in its development. The question is whether we'll see anything resembling DVD's explosive growth from year 3 and onward.

Parag's picture

The comparison in pricing of BD to DVD and especially VHS tape is a poor one. The arrival of VHS allowed people to do someting they could not do before, namely watch movies at home on their own schedule. That is worth something. DVD brough a great leap in picture quality and simplicity of use...that is why it was quickly adopted. Blueray does not bring much to the table. It does not allow people to do sometheing that they cannot already do. The improvement in picture quality is worth something to the small percentage of people with large screens who are videophiles. Video on demand is truly the next step and when it is simple, high quality and comprehensive, it will be adopted rapidly. Samsung and LG putting Netflix streaming into Blueray players is evidence that even the manufacturers know this is the case.

walt 's picture

i have the anthem d2 unit. what blu ray unit choices do i have to feed it all of the codecs. the d2 will not decode on its own - the b/r unit must do the heavy lifting.and- is there a "quality" difference between bitstream and pcmthank you walt

John in Missouri's picture

We learn from our mistakes. We have bought high priced VCRs, Laser Disc Players and DVD players and their related software, only to see prices drop within two years. They gradually fell more over the next few years. Its like the old saying "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Video tapes were so expensive that it was several years before I bought any. I didn't buy a laser disc player until a local grocery chain started renting the disc. DVDs were a bit different. Though I used to rent them initially, even the first few I bought were only about $18. With Blu-ray you see disc for $30, $35, even $40 for regular movies. The usual price for new ones is about $27. Most of the DVDs in my collection only cost me about an average of $10 and were bought about two years after their initial release. We've learned from the past Blu-ray will drop in price. Until they do, I am going to wait. If they don't I may start renting again.

David Vaughn's picture

Walt,I would look at the Panasonic BD35 and have it output the PCM signal to your Anthem. A review of the BD55 will show up soon over at UAV and it's the best stand alone player I've used (the BD35 is essentially the same but adds analog outputs). Kris also reviewed both units in this months Home Theater. If you want a player this Christmas, that's the horse I would make a bet on.
David Vaughn

Brian Tarling's picture

I have a Runco projector (720p) projecting on an 8 foot wide screen. My DvD player is an old pioneer, DV-09. If feeds the Runco scaler at 480i and the scaler produces an excellent picture-but not as good as Hi-def TV which feeds the Runco at 1080i. I own about 700 DVDS. In the family room I have a 42 inch Sharp 1080p LCD.Would I buy a Blu-Ray player? Well first off not for the family room-we only watch DVDs in the Theater room. The Runco wasn't cheap and is a great projector. However it was manufactured before HDMI came out so it only has a DVI input along with Comp., etc. Would a blu-ray player outputting 1080i into the Runco either via HDMi to DVI or via comp. produce a better picture that what I'm getting now? Probably, but how much better? Would it be as good as hi-def TV? I can't seem to get an answer. Also load times and other issues come to mind. Still I'm waiting for The Oppo or possibly the new Pioneer player due out shortly if I can be assured of a picture equal or better than

Bruce in CO's picture

Kris, I just read your review of the Sony BDP-S350, which was very well written. I have the sister model BX-1. There is one thing that every BD player review needs to cover and that is network connectivity. BD-Live needs connectivity and on this player there is only an ethernet port. Bad planning. Few houses are wired for ethernet, but I would imagine that most houses have wireless networks, or will have in the near future. Ethernet to wireless is possible, but a hassle for the added hardware. BD player manufacturers need to have wireless capability built-in or allow a USB port for a wireless connection. Also, how chintzy can they be to not include the necessary memory internal to the system?!? A flash chip for Sony or Samsung must be less than a dollar.

Shane's picture

Brian- Blu-ray at 1080i over HDMI-DVI breakout or component will look better than broadcast high-def and much better than DVDs look now. The high bitrates and lack of artifacts will look far superior, even on your 720p projector.Parag- it's funny, but back when DVD was first appearing, many pundits believed it wouldn't be rapidly adopted because it was not a recordable format, in spite of the obvious advantages you name. Waiting for download to become simple, high quality and comprehensive is exactly the issue with that. it's not like downloading songs.

ErikC's picture

Shane,I haven't seen a review of the Marantz BD8002 Bluray player yet. Any chance there will be one?

Shane's picture

No, I don't think we will. Looking at the user manual online, I don't see an Ethernet port which means no BD-Live compatibility. At this point we won't recommend any players that aren't Profile 2/BD-Live compatible and therefore there's no point in reviewing one. Whether one thinks these features are important or not, I just can't see why anyone should make such a sacrifice in a $2k player. If it turns out this player is BD-Live compatible we'd happily review it. I'd also add that an Ethernet port is the best and fastest way to implement firmware updates, which remain a way of life in the next-gen.While we like seeing the Silicon Optix Realta, Samsung has a player with the REON for $399 that also includes Netflix streaming, and Panasonic has fully featured players with processing that rivals SO's for under $300. The sub-$500 players are too good and too fully featured for manufacturers to be putting out $2k players that don't offer crucial features.

Steve in Manitoba's picture

Bravo, Shane. I was starting to tire of reviews of players that lack features that should be considered as minimum complements. I would extend this position to other components as well. Projectors - 1080p. Flat panels - 1080p. Receivers - HDMI 1.3, DTS MA, TrueHD, 125 WPC, auto-setup...etc etc.

Bryant TREW's picture

I've been around since VCR/Laserdisc too, and my DVD library is around 400-500. I love my library, and on my 60" Kuro a lot of old discs look really fantastic. I know how rare it is that I go back to certain DVDs in my large library. I've therefore slowed my disc collecting. Seeing Bluray discs priced so high is an added roadblock for me. I just can't justify the price of the disc. It's an insult in today's digital media world. When I divide the cost of the player by the number of blu discs I would buy, the cost per viewing is ridiculously high.

Shane's picture

DVD has been around for over ten years, so you're apparently at a clip of buying 40-50 movies per year. Kris Deering just saw the Panasonic DMP-BD35 at Costco for $229. I don't know what you paid for your current DVD player, but how many discs do you have to buy at that price to make the player worth it? Even if you bought just 20 BDs in a year, that's about $12 per "viewing," assuming you only watched once. And that doesn't included rentals. Given that On-Demand HD, Vudu and other forms of HD rentals run about $6 per rental window, I don't see how this is construed as a poor value. How much did you pay for the video cables that connect your disc player to you 60" KURO?

Kevin's picture

To answer the question: Is Blu-ray coming to your home theater soon? YES, on December 25. Amazon's price is $200 for the Sony S350 and Sears had it at a door bustin' $180 on Black Friday. The big reason I waited was that Blu-ray rolled out in 3 phases. Why buy phase 1 or 2 when you know the "ultimate" phase is coming? IMHO, now is the time to buy a solidly constructed unit, before the makers start shaving the weight and quality to hit the profit per unit goals. By the way, thank you all for 30 posts without slandering the previous writer! I really appreciate it.

Welton Corey Sr's picture

Which is better, the SONY S350 or the Panasonic BD 55/35? Both were your "Top-Picks" back to back in your November and December issues. I presently have a profile one SONY S 301 that can't play a lot of the newer titles so I'm back in the market for a Blu-Ray player.

David Vaughn's picture

Welton,I would go with the Panasonic BD35 if you have a HDMI receiver or BD55 if you need analog outs.David Vaughn

Charles Frierson's picture

My main concern is actually sound quality, as in which player makes the best CD player. There are Denon, Marantz, Yamaha and Sony models that I've noticed, and am waiting for reviews. The "ultimate" group includes the Denon 3800BD, Marantz BD7300 and Sony BDP-S2000ES; all retail for $1999. The second group are Denon's 1800BD, Marantz' BD7300 and Yamaha's latest (I forget the model no.).All are probably good on video, but the best two-channel music performer will win out. I'm not looking to buy until next year sometime, so there's time for everything to sort itself out. And for my wallet to recover from an expensive year.

Shane's picture

We reviewed the Denon 3800 but don't recommend it based on its high price and lack of BD-Live capability. Even if audio performance is paramount, I don't think people should have to make that choice.Welton- it was a tough decision o our part to make the Sony BDP-S350 a Top Pick one month and then replace it a month later with the Panasonic DMP-BD35. But the Panasonic is cheaper, has full audio decoding, is faster, and has superior video processing. Once we saw that player we couldn't honestly say we'd recommend the Sony over the Panasonic to friends or family, in spite of the Sony being a fine performer. Wen very much want our Top Picks to be the best, not just a list of stuff we've reviewed. The BD player market moves very fast.

Charles's picture

SB,I read that review and noted that the 3800 was very slow, but sound and video were both killer; I've seen similar comments elsewhere. Still, $1999 is a big chunk of change and I'm unlikely to spend that much, especially after all the stuff I bought this year (HDTV included).That second group of players I mentioned runs $800–$1000, and might be more my speed; I know I need not spend more. BD-Live isn't that important to me at this point, and truth be told, I'm not much into movies. Music is my thing, and most of my DVDs are the music/concert variety. When the release of music-based Blu-ray picks up more, I'll probably dive in. And, I will surely check into the DMP-BD35.

Matt's picture

Shane, any chance of a review of the Samsung BD-P2500 and 2550 models any time soon? I have read other reviews on them and people seem to think they offer really good upconversion of standard definition movies, and superb HD performance. I saw the 2500 on Black Friday for $269 on Amazon. What's not to love?

Shane's picture

Charles-the problem is that there aren't solid entries in between the sub-$400 players and the $2k and up players. And right now we're seeing a lack of innovation and ergonomics at the high price points. We just put a review of the 2500 to bed for the February issue. Don't want to spill the beans, but the only things not to love so far is that a future firmware update must come in for DTS-HD MA decoding, and speed that's good but middle of the road in the current market. But the processing is very good, and if you're interested in trying out the Netflix Streaming stuff, well, there you go. Maybe we'll have to post that review online a little early.

Pascal's picture

Blockbuster OnlineMy Wife and I love Blockbuster Online. We get 3 Blu Rays at a time, when we are done watching them, we return them to our local store and they give us 3 more for free. With the new extended return times, we are almost never late on a return and if we are it's only a $1.25 restocking fee. Also, you get one coupon for a free movie or game rental per month. I use that to try out games that I never seem to have time to play on my PS3.I too own many DVDs, but with my Wifes vision issues, she actually hates watching DVD compared to BD. I still run a Mits HC3000, 720P, but the diffrence is very noticeable from DVD to BD and the sound is a worthy diffrence too.

Michael's picture

Simple question: Panasonic's BD-55K is now selling for around $340. Do you think that it will fall below $300 after Christmas? Is that a critical price point for most potential buyers?I'm thinking YES!

Ken Hendy's picture

After looking through your reviews, I've put together the following combination that I might just be able to stretch my budget to - Pioneer Elite Kuro Pro-111FD display, Panasonic DMP-BD55 Blu-ray player, Sony STR-DA 4400ES AV receiver, JBL ES20 speaker system. This comes to a bit over $8,000. Do you see any problems with this combination, or do you have any other suggestions that would improve the system, but keep it in roughly the same budget range? Thanks for your help.

Jeff Pizzi's picture

It's not the cost of the player that's stopping me from going Blu-ray, it's the cost of software. Don't get me wrong, I'm willing to buy movies. I have hundreds of DVDs, and laser disks, most purchased for less than $18/title. I am NOT going to pay $29.95 to $50/movie for a bunch of features I couldn't care less about (interactivity? Who's got time for that?). I want great picture, and great sound, period. Get the software price down to less than $20(sale price) and I'd gladly pay up to $1,500 for a good player. Without the software price coming down, I'm sticking to DVD.

shane's picture

Jeff- where are you seeing $50 Blu-ray titles?! I just bought the entire Band of Brothers Blu-ray box set for $37.50 and all three Austin Powers movies for $45 at Amazon. where are you coming up with this?You want great picture and sound? that's synonymous with high-def not DVD. Here's an idea. Instead of spending $1,500 on a Blu-ray player, spend $250. Players we've recommended are out there at this price. Think of the extra $1250 as subsidizing the current $8-$10 premium on the titles you feel compelled to buy for the next several months. By the time this period is over software prices will be down.

David Vaughn's picture

Ken,You only need the BD35, not the BD55. Save yourself the $100 since the AVR you are buying has HDMI inputs, correct? DavidPS Shane, I bought "Band of Brothers" as well from at that price. I'm also a Prime member, so there was no shipping either! What a steal!!!!

Ted's picture

I thought I was ready for the BD investment, but discovered I was not; I returned my PS3 because $400 was too much for just a movie player, and I sold my Samsung BD-P2500 because it supposedly would support DTS-MA decoding internally, then Samsung said, "Actually, nevermind, sorry."My main concern now is whether BD will survive at all and be replaced with Vudu HDX and other streamed content.

David Vaughn's picture

Shane,I just sold my old DVD copy of Band of Brothers on eBay for $8 MORE, that what I bought the Blu-ray set for off of! So I actually saved money upgrading.David

Shane's picture

Ted- how on earth could the PS3 be construed as just a movie player?And if you want just a movie player why aren't you looking at the Panasonic players we have designated as Top Picks that include DTS-HD MA decoding and are available for well under $250?? Vudu HDX has outstanding video quality, no question. On my 50" KURO plasma I wouldn't be able to make a living picking between Vudu and Blu-ray in the direct comparisons I've done and it crushes Comcast On-Demand and AppleTV HD downloads. I moved the Vudu downstairs to my front projection system and while it's not quite Blu-ray image quality it's nothing to sneeze at. However, the sound is lossy Dolby Digital at best. Even at 640kbps that's nothing like lossless audio from Blu-ray. And, some recent really cool movies on Vudu only download with stereo soundtracks even though 5.1-mixes are available on DVD. This was the case with THX 1138 and Fight Club. For the utmost in picture and sound Blu-ray is still way

mike l's picture

i completely agree with previous comments. the cost of discs and the lack of them is the acceptance problem. the companies will lose this format if they don't respond. people will wait to download direct from their cable providers or netflix.

Ted Shelton's picture

Shane:Just heard you interview for "on the media" on the same topic and came away with the feeling that you are really on the wrong side of history here. You correctly point out that new entries in a technology segment that offer only incremental advantages face a long adoption curve. You also imply without comment that every format eventually is replaced by something of greater merit. And finally you acknowledge that the challenge facing streaming is bandwidth to the home.But you fail to do one simple thing -- draw the line projecting Bly-ray adoption on a timescale against the improving bandwidth into the average person's home. What you will find is that the average person will have streaming media before he or she has Blu-ray. Five years, tops, and home theater magazine will be telling us all about how great streaming is and about the amazing transformation that occurs when we plug our home thesters into the Internet.That is, of course, if there is a home theater MAGAZINE.

shane's picture

Ted- I'm well above average, and my bandwidth hasn't improved here in the two years I've been here in the house I'm in now. Nor did it improve in the house I was in the four years prior to that. How much investment in that infrastructure do you see happening in this economic climate over the next couple of years? Want fiber? I do. As son as they dig up the street to bring it into my house, I'm all over it.And, it's not either or anymore. I think that these players that offer streaming and other services will actually grow the Blu-ray format by not forcing people to choose one over the other. And, it will give people a direct comparison for how lousy streaming looks.

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Charles's picture

Shane, so much for my budget. I bought a Pioneer BDP-09FD in late March, and followed that up with an Oppo BDP-83 in May. They serve separate functions in my system: the 09 is the main player with audio going to my stereo system; both video and audio from the 83 go to the display (a Pioneer 111FD). the 83 is used for convenience or "quickie" viewing, such as when I want to watch something and don't have time or inclination to fire up the whole rig.And never mind about the need for a "best CD player" Blu-ray machine. CD duty is now in the very capable hands of a McIntosh MCD301. Brown-bag lunch for a while, but I'll have good sound and pictures while I make those lunches.

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