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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:41 pm 
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swo17 wrote:
I mean, a Blu-ray will always look better than a DVD...

I'm not sure. High definition is a double-edged sword. It's fabulous when the materials support it, but when little or no restoration is done (take a bow, Warner Archive and your upcoming BD-Rs) or the underlying materials are in too poor a condition, it's entirely possible that a SD DVD will be more watchable on higher resolution systems than a sub-optimal BD.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:55 pm 
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Another factor (which certainly doesn't apply in MoC's case) is that a screwed-up HD transfer like that of Don't Look Now can't be unscrewed, but a top-notch, vanilla SD transfer can be uprezzed by a good machine.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:19 pm 
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I meant that, if you are dealing with the same source (unless that source is SD video or worse), that source will look better when it's only compressed to fit on a Blu-ray than it will compressed to fit on a DVD. Obviously, there are many DVDs that look far better than some of the worst Blu-rays that have been put out.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:27 pm 

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The Blu-Ray, unless the transfer is fiddled with, will always be a closer representation to the source materials than the equivalent DVD. Take a look at Artificial Eye's recent Mizoguchi box set for instance - I'd be lying if I said it looked reference quality but it represents the source materials accurately, which is what I think HD should do.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:06 pm 

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I'm not saying this is necessarily the case with MoC (I don't work for them) but there is also the issue of AACS fees.

On BD you have to pay some fairly silly fees for each disc you press (which I guess is why a lot of studios include bonus features on a standard DVD disc). The fees are for a mandatory copy protection system which Hollywood demanded, and has been cracked anyway, called AACS. (On HD DVD, AACS was optional, and on DVD, the older, cruder copy protection system is also optional).

The system was designed by Hollywood, for Hollywood, and can make or break profit for a small distributor putting out niche/risky titles.

Back in the mid-2000s when certain, uh, overly enthusiastic Blu-ray fans were adamant that it would offer a hugely superior experience over HD DVD, I doubt they considered this. Had HD DVD won we'd probably see more niche HD titles. Although the copy protection fees are just one part of the bill of course.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:16 am 
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But why the Dual Formats as well as DVD-only releases all of a sudden (Floating Weeds, Gate of Hell, Die Nibelungen, etc)? I understand the situation with Pigsty/Hawks and Sparrows and the Fuller/Lubitsch titles, and maybe this is only an experiment on MoC's part, but I thought the move to Dual Formats solved the matter for those reluctant/unable to go Blu in a fairly pleasing manner for everybody. The extra DVD-only editions seem superfluous to me, though maybe I'm wrong and they'll end up selling better than the Duals...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:18 am 
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David M. wrote:
I'm not saying this is necessarily the case with MoC (I don't work for them) but there is also the issue of AACS fees.

On BD you have to pay some fairly silly fees for each disc you press (which I guess is why a lot of studios include bonus features on a standard DVD disc). The fees are for a mandatory copy protection system which Hollywood demanded, and has been cracked anyway, called AACS. (On HD DVD, AACS was optional, and on DVD, the older, cruder copy protection system is also optional).

The system was designed by Hollywood, for Hollywood, and can make or break profit for a small distributor putting out niche/risky titles.

Indeed. I can't speak for MoC, but these additional fees are one of the core issues that has prevented Second Run from going into Blu-ray. They'd dearly love to, especially since HD masters of some of their titles are slowly becoming available, but after a huge amount of research and number-crunching they simply couldn't work out how to break even, let alone make a profit.

One problem that particularly affected their business model was that because the obscurity of their catalogue means that they rely heavily on impulse blind-buys, they prefer to charge very low prices - typically £12.99 RRP, which in practice means that no-one should pay more than a tenner unless they do something silly like shop over the counter at HMV.

But because it isn't currently possible to produce BDs cheaply enough, that business model is no longer workable - and when you consider that the BD market is still much smaller than the DVD market, that's a huge gamble for a tiny business. So I'm not surprised they haven't taken it.

Depending on who you talk to, it currently costs between four to six times as much to author and manufacture a Blu-ray as it does to manufacture a DVD. For a niche label, that can easily mean the difference between a small profit and a massive loss - which is why MoC are, very sensibly and pragmatically, only opting to go down the Blu-ray route if they think they can produce something that shows an equivalent level of improvement over the DVD.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:18 pm 

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Cronenfly wrote:
But why the Dual Formats as well as DVD-only releases all of a sudden (Floating Weeds, Gate of Hell, Die Nibelungen, etc)? I understand the situation with Pigsty/Hawks and Sparrows and the Fuller/Lubitsch titles, and maybe this is only an experiment on MoC's part, but I thought the move to Dual Formats solved the matter for those reluctant/unable to go Blu in a fairly pleasing manner for everybody. The extra DVD-only editions seem superfluous to me, though maybe I'm wrong and they'll end up selling better than the Duals...

I'm wondering this myself. I can't find a reason to do this.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:23 pm 
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Probably has something to do with the results of their survey from a while back.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:32 pm 
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The only thing I can think of is that some of the dual format releases have not been selling very well, and they're going to try to push these standalone DVD releases at a lower price point as a kind of experiment to see if that helps matters any. If it does, perhaps they abandon their thinking that duals sell better than standalone Blus, and go back to just offering separate Blu and DVD editions?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:42 pm 

Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 1:10 pm
Quote:
but I thought the move to Dual Formats solved the matter for those reluctant/unable to go Blu in a fairly pleasing manner for everybody.


There are people reluctant/unable to go to Blu?

I know these are tough times, but you can get players that spit out a basically perfect image for £60 or so. Is there anyone out there who has enough disposable income to buy films on disc but NOT buy a BD player?

I guess there's still the fact that the discs aren't as cheap as DVDs are, but give it time... it's already at the stage where you can pick up some older titles for 5 pounds in the UK.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:45 pm 
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For what it's worth-there are people I work with who make what I assume most people here would consider a LOT of money (comfortably into 6 figures) and many of them I don't talk to just don't own blu ray players because they don't care. It's all about DVRs...I don't think Blu Rays are/ever will(?) catch on with the general public. Everyone prefers instant streams over quality it seems.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:47 am 

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Drucker wrote:
It's all about DVRs... Everyone prefers instant streams over quality it seems.

Of course, these people are unlikely to still be buying DVDs anyway.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:57 am 

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Quote:
many of them I don't talk to just don't own blu ray players because they don't care. It's all about DVRs...I don't think Blu Rays are/ever will(?) catch on with the general public. Everyone prefers instant streams over quality it seems.


That's a very common viewpoint, but I could dig up plenty of sources showing a pretty significant preference for physical media.

Of course, there's no denying that there are many more ways to watch a film today either.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:59 am 
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David M. wrote:
Quote:
but I thought the move to Dual Formats solved the matter for those reluctant/unable to go Blu in a fairly pleasing manner for everybody.


There are people reluctant/unable to go to Blu?

I know these are tough times, but you can get players that spit out a basically perfect image for £60 or so. Is there anyone out there who has enough disposable income to buy films on disc but NOT buy a BD player?

I guess there's still the fact that the discs aren't as cheap as DVDs are, but give it time... it's already at the stage where you can pick up some older titles for 5 pounds in the UK.


I have been unable to go to Blu for several years now, mainly for financial reasons I won't go into here, which leaves me the only regular and currently active film/DVD reviewer at The Digital Fix who isn't Blu-enabled. . But you're forgetting that it isn't just a new player - there's not much point in upgrading without a larger screen TV than the nine-year-old CRT set I currently have. Also, as my current amp/decoder is built in to the DVD player, unless I can get a BD player to output sound through it, I will need to buy a new sound system as well (£100 or so minimum for something that goes up to DD/DTS 5.1).

That said, I should be coming into some money via a company sharesave next month which will allow me to upgrade around the end of September/beginning of October. That assumes that the share price doesn't crash and burn in the next few weeks - I also need to upgrade my nine-year-old desktop PC and that will have to take priority if I can only do one upgrade this year, as it's not working properly and my TV/DVD player is, touch wood. Fingers crossed, that won't be an issue and I can do both upgrades this year.

For the record, I have four BD discs already - two of them BFI Flipside dual-format releases, and two others where I made a point of buying a dual-format release instead of a DVD-only, as I knew the upgrade was on the cards for this year.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:22 am 
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And the other crucial point that it's easy for the likes of us to forget is that a huge number of people just don't care.

My brother recently bought his first HD telly, not because he cares about HD but because you really have to go out of your way not to buy one these days, and his ten-year-old CRT set was finally giving up the ghost. I asked him if he planned to get a Blu-ray player. He said "what's a Blu-ray player?". I told him and he said he couldn't see the point: DVDs suited him just fine.

My wife has lived in a house with a Blu-ray player for four years and HD cable reception for one, but she cares so little about HD that she'll watch things in SD on BBC1 even if exactly the same thing is playing on BBC HD at the same time and for no extra cost. It takes about five seconds to check this, but since she genuinely doesn't care, she doesn't bother.

And I suggest that these people are far more representative of the wider public than anyone posting here.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:56 am 
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Sad, but true. People are really ignorant when it comes to these things on the whole. My fiancee's family are exactly the same and it drives me crazy.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:15 am 
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I think the point was more one of not caring than of being ignorant. Certainly someone married the Michael just by proxy is going to be knowledgeable of this stuff. It just isn't a priority and doesn't need to be one.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:18 am 
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TMDaines wrote:
Sad, but true. People are really ignorant when it comes to these things on the whole. My fiancee's family are exactly the same and it drives me crazy.

It's not ignorance that's the problem.

Both my examples cited people who are now fully aware of the benefits of HD, and one of them has lived in a house with an HD setup for four years.

The problem is that they don't care, and it's very unlikely that they're ever going to be persuaded to care: it's just not important to them.

And these are not stupid people by any stretch of the imagination.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:30 am 
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Aren't we just arguing over semantics? You've just described someone who isn't elderly and uses DVDs, but didn't know what a Blu-ray player was in 2012. If that isn't ignorance then I'm not sure what is.

In my case I was referring to a group of people who have a huge HDTV but who then feed a SDTV signal into it, despite having a box with HD channels and which is capable of outputting 1080p. It's bizzare, especially when one of them is bit of an audiophile.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:36 am 
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TMDaines wrote:
Aren't we just arguing over semantics? You've just described someone who isn't elderly and uses DVDs, but didn't know what a Blu-ray player was in 2012. If that isn't ignorance then I'm not sure what is.

But in the same post I described someone who has lived with a Blu-ray and HD TV setup for four years, and felt exactly the same way about it. Which clearly isn't ignorance.

She's fully aware that an HD picture offers four to six times the resolution of a SD one, that the sound is similarly far more detailed, blah blah blah - but if I can't persuade her that it matters in four years of regular advocacy, no-one else is ever going to.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:19 am 
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I never said it was. I made a general statement about "people" being ignorant about these matters, you replied it wasn't ignorance in the cases you mentioned, yet you're now only referring to one of the two cases as not being ignorant. A bit of a petty argument, no? One of them was ignorant about new technology and still didn't care after being educated and one of them knew about it all along but didn't care regardless. What's the problem?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:35 am 
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TMDaines wrote:
I made a general statement about "people" being ignorant about these matters, you replied it wasn't ignorance in the cases you mentioned, yet you're now only referring to one of the two cases as not being ignorant. A bit of a petty argument, no?

No, because I'm arguing that ignorance is not the problem.

Or rather, it's certainly part of the problem, but implying that the lack of Blu-ray penetration is exclusively down to "ignorance" fails to address the existence of what I believe to be a pretty substantial chunk of the potential market, namely people who aren't ignorant but who don't even care enough to switch to an HD channel when one is instantly available to them at no extra cost.

If the problem was purely down to ignorance, it would be much easier to solve. But people who genuinely don't care offer Blu-ray and HD marketers a much bigger challenge.

And this of course is why the present excessive cost of Blu-ray authoring and pressing is such a huge headache for smaller labels. Even Blu-ray devotees don't value the end result at four times the cost of the DVD - they might pay an extra fiver in extremis, but certainly no more than that and almost certainly much less. Which is fine if you're releasing tens of thousands of copies because you can achieve economies of scale, but a small label can't do that.

Which, I suspect, is why Eureka is constantly experimenting - they've tried BD-only releases and dual-format releases, and this latest initiative is presumably because they're not convinced that the first two arrangements performed anything like up to expectations.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:09 am 
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I've a good friend who's very intelligent and doesn't have a BD player. As far as he's concerned, DVD is good enough. He just doesn't feel the need to seek that extra quality.

I guess it's similar to me buying a £10 bottle of Cava rather than a £20 bottle of Moet. Experts may quite rightly blanch at the idea, but the cheaper one's good enough for my purpose.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:16 am 
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Even I sometimes wonder why I paid the premium on a particular release.

Take In the Loop, for instance. Is there really any particular reason to watch it in 1080p, given that its pleasures are pretty much exclusively dialogue-based? I'd say "not enough to be worth paying extra".

In fact, Moviemail sent me a DVD first time round by mistake and I sent it back - I should have just kept it and got the extra couple of quid refunded.


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