Where's the BD?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere..



My dependable 2002 Titanium Powerbook's wifi just died on me. Very sad, but its kind of a mixed blessing b/c I've had my eye on a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro for some time. Problem is, its not competitive anymore.



Blu-ray optical drives have become available on lots of laptops, notably by HP and Acer. You can actually get an HP laptop with internal BD for $1200 or less. And since i officially made the leap to BD with my purchase of a PS3 last year, I cant imagine purchasing a laptop that wouldn't allow me to pack the laptop and go to a friends house along with some BDs and an HDMI cable. Of course i'll have to deal with Vista or at least XP, but its worth it in my opinion to have the extra functionality.



Is Apple considering their lost laptop sales due to their failure to adopt the blu-ray format? I am living proof of a faithful mac customer (MBP, PB, 24"iMac and an Apple TV) who is actually considering going outside the Mac family on this one purchase. Does anyone have any strong thoughts on this? Thanks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    synpsynp Posts: 248member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bg_nyc View Post


    Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere..



    My dependable 2002 Titanium Powerbook's wifi just died on me. Very sad, but its kind of a mixed blessing b/c I've had my eye on a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro for some time. Problem is, its not competitive anymore.



    Blu-ray optical drives have become available on lots of laptops, notably by HP and Acer. You can actually get an HP laptop with internal BD for $1200 or less. And since i officially made the leap to BD with my purchase of a PS3 last year, I cant imagine purchasing a laptop that wouldn't allow me to pack the laptop and go to a friends house along with some BDs and an HDMI cable. Of course i'll have to deal with Vista or at least XP, but its worth it in my opinion to have the extra functionality.



    Is Apple considering their lost laptop sales due to their failure to adopt the blu-ray format? I am living proof of a faithful mac customer (MBP, PB, 24"iMac and an Apple TV) who is actually considering going outside the Mac family on this one purchase. Does anyone have any strong thoughts on this? Thanks.



    You said you were eyeing the MacBook Air. So buy that and add an external BD with USB. Then you only have it when you really need it.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    If you're motivation is to be able to bring it to a friends house to watch blu-ray movies then by all means enjoy your Windows laptop.



    I actually agree with Apple on this one. Blu-ray is overrated and expensive at this point. I wish they didn't include fixed DVD drives in their laptops at all. I would LOVE to have a removable DVD drive in my MBPro so I can insert an extra battery. Apple's blowing it in my opinion with a fixed optical drive. How often do I actually use my optical drive? Once a month maybe, but yet I run it on battery everyday... it's a joke



    Why not just convince your friend to buy a PS3 and then have some gaming fun on the local LAN?
  • Reply 3 of 14
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,129member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bg_nyc View Post


    Is Apple considering their lost laptop sales due to their failure to adopt the blu-ray format? I am living proof of a faithful mac customer (MBP, PB, 24"iMac and an Apple TV) who is actually considering going outside the Mac family on this one purchase. Does anyone have any strong thoughts on this? Thanks.



    Apple just dropped FW from their Macbook which means the new Macbooks cannot hook up to Firewire devices that already exist in thousands of homes. I seriously doubt they've even batted an eye towards the people that want Blu-ray in a laptop.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,647member
    Look to Vista and the other recent MS products to understand some of the issues involved here. Much of the obtrusive DRM software in Vista was mandated by the Blue Ray group. The whole of Blue Ray is managed in a very oppressive manner. That just for the hardware and software vendors, this doesn't include all the limitations on consumer rights. Basically by buying Blue Ray you are feeding the very organizations that are he'll bent on getting paid for every play and that also want to undermine long standing right that consumers have always had. So why feed the monster?



    From the technical stand point Blue Ray isn't as progressive of an distribution method as many think it is. In fact I suspect it will quickly be replaced.



    Dave
  • Reply 5 of 14
    bg_nycbg_nyc Posts: 189member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by synp View Post


    You said you were eyeing the MacBook Air. So buy that and add an external BD with USB. Then you only have it when you really need it.



    I tend to agree with this. Although it doesnt solve my portability issue, i have no real use for an optical drive outside of that, especially when i can share the drive of my iMac to install software.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    bg_nycbg_nyc Posts: 189member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Look to Vista and the other recent MS products to understand some of the issues involved here. Much of the obtrusive DRM software in Vista was mandated by the Blue Ray group. The whole of Blue Ray is managed in a very oppressive manner. That just for the hardware and software vendors, this doesn't include all the limitations on consumer rights. Basically by buying Blue Ray you are feeding the very organizations that are he'll bent on getting paid for every play and that also want to undermine long standing right that consumers have always had. So why feed the monster?



    From the technical stand point Blue Ray isn't as progressive of an distribution method as many think it is. In fact I suspect it will quickly be replaced.



    Dave



    Yes I agree. And for the plethora of issues I dont want to touch Vista. But Apple is not giving me much of a choice here. But I agree they're probably not batting an eye to my problem.



    And when you say progressive, do you mean worthwhile improvement? I do believe its a worthwhile improvement over DVD. And other threads have argued over whether BD will stay around a while. I believe it will. And you spell blu-ray incorrectly.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Look to Vista and the other recent MS products to understand some of the issues involved here. Much of the obtrusive DRM software in Vista was mandated by the Blue Ray group. The whole of Blue Ray is managed in a very oppressive manner. That just for the hardware and software vendors, this doesn't include all the limitations on consumer rights. Basically by buying Blue Ray you are feeding the very organizations that are he'll bent on getting paid for every play and that also want to undermine long standing right that consumers have always had. So why feed the monster?



    From the technical stand point Blue Ray isn't as progressive of an distribution method as many think it is. In fact I suspect it will quickly be replaced.



    I agree with you except the last part. Unfortunately, I don't see Blu-Ray being replaced quickly. UMD did die a fairly sudden death regarding movie distribution but major movie studios are backing Blu-Ray. I'm sure they love having their content locked down more than anyone.



    The issues arise when it comes to computers and I don't think that many people view movies on their computers because few people hook up their computers to HDTVs, which HD movies are made for.



    I don't think HDCP affects consumer movie watchers so much as computer users and I would rather not have Blu-Ray support at all than have to succumb to the kind of measures required for compatibility.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,647member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I agree with you except the last part. Unfortunately, I don't see Blu-Ray being replaced quickly. UMD did die a fairly sudden death regarding movie distribution but major movie studios are backing Blu-Ray. I'm sure they love having their content locked down more than anyone.



    With another optical disk format, probably not. The reality here is that there are alternative distribution methods and those methods are cheaper for the consumer. Digital distribution and digital streaming both have advantages over Blue-Ray. So we have alternatives they just are not the type of alternatives that come in shrinked wrapped boxes.



    There are also the technical legal issues surrounding Blue-Ray and its control by one company. The studios may have been willing to let SONY by them out, after all who doesn't like cash thrown at them, but I don't think they would have been willing here if it weren't for them seeing alternative solutions coming down the line. One of those is of course digital distribution. All the money in the world won't make up for having all your eggs in one basket.

    Quote:

    The issues arise when it comes to computers and I don't think that many people view movies on their computers because few people hook up their computers to HDTVs, which HD movies are made for.



    To put this politely that is yesterdays thinking. Seriously it has only been very recently where home computers could even do a half decent job with HDTV. Combine that with TV's with more processing power than a home computer of a year or two ago and the lines become blurred. When it comes to conventional TV the digital recorders have been a big hit, mostly for the ability to time shift. Digital distribution is just a way to make time shift an inherent part of the viewing experience, you start the flick when you want to.



    In any event consider that Apples laptops just recently became powerful enough, via the addition of Nvidia drivers, to effectively operate as a HDTV source. It doesn't take much of a stretch to realize that Apple can see the significance of having a PC for the home with the same sort of capability. In other words you can't really make an argument out of something that Macs weren't even capable of a few months ago. Or PC's in general for that matter. What we are looking at is modern PC's enabling a shift in how media is delivered to and consumed by the average person. The TV version of media distribution has been around for like 55 year now, that doesn't imply it will be around for another 55 years.



    As a side note conventional TV is sort of like the film industry. Once people got a taste of digital the industry died real fast. I can see the same thing happening for conventional cable and maybe even broadcast. Digital gives people the opportunity to view around their schedule not the media providers schedule.

    Quote:



    I don't think HDCP affects consumer movie watchers so much as computer users and I would rather not have Blu-Ray support at all than have to succumb to the kind of measures required for compatibility.



    I suspect this is the way Apple and Steve Jobs feels. He has as much as said so, when he called Blue Ray a world of hurt. Sadly he only has a couple of options. One would be to ignore Blue-Ray totally. Another would be to develop an alternative, which appears to be in progress as we speak with iTunes. Of in left field would be the idea of putting all that HDCP crap and other controls into a video card or chip that in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the OS and its use. Unfortunately that third option doesn't seem to be in the cards even though a couple of months ago I thought it might be Apples best option.



    It will be interesting to see what happens. Many consumers are rejecting Blue-Ray though I think it is mostly because of price. Will alternative distribution sink Blue-Ray, i really think it will. Mostly due to cost and flexibility. Blue-Ray will appeal to people who like to collect things but not so much to people that just want to enjoy a movie.



    Frankly ownership of the physical media seems to only appeal to a few groups. One would be the children's movie group where the same movie gets played day after day after day after day after day. Another would be the collector who needs things. And finally the people off grid for long periods of time, such as boaters, and people working out in the wilderness. Otherwise why bother with the costs of a Blue-Ray disk? Really how many movies do you watch over and over again to the point where the cost of the disk is justified? Yeah I know there are a few worthwhile but even then you can have the option of a purchase as Apple is already doing. The only thing really missing here is a universal format, that would allow for multiple suppliers.



    Dave
  • Reply 9 of 14
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Look to Vista and the other recent MS products to understand some of the issues involved here. Much of the obtrusive DRM software in Vista was mandated by the Blue Ray group. The whole of Blue Ray is managed in a very oppressive manner. That just for the hardware and software vendors, this doesn't include all the limitations on consumer rights. Basically by buying Blue Ray you are feeding the very organizations that are he'll bent on getting paid for every play and that also want to undermine long standing right that consumers have always had. So why feed the monster?



    From the technical stand point Blue Ray isn't as progressive of an distribution method as many think it is.



    I agree wholeheartedly. Ironically, the format that Microsoft backed was the one which was far more open and easier (in infrastructure and costs) for media producers/developers to adopt. The hoops that the BDA makes you jump through are ridiculous, not to mention the costs/fees.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    bg_nycbg_nyc Posts: 189member
    Wizard - you say a lot there, and I agree with alot of it. At one point, it seemed like you were inadvertently making an argument for Apple to turn the Mac Mini into a bonafide HTPC, complete with HDMI out, DVR functionality and BD compatability. With a slick apple interface, wouldn't that be the product to end all discussion?



    I don't understand how the DRM mess of blu-ray would be such a problem for macs. Ok, there are some fees from the blu-ray association, but they can just pass them on to the customer. I don't mind paying for it as long as I have an option.



    I wont try to make an argument for why BD (blu-ray disc) will stick around, but I will say this... As 42"+ HDTVs penetrate households, and once the casual TV viewer gets used to HD programming everywhere, they will simply demand a higher quality picture at all times, which means either downloaded HD content or BDs. And downloaded content implies a level of internet saavy that is just not common among the general public (like my parents who are just now getting around to learning how to pay bills online). BD has no technical learning curve to overcome. Pop in a disc and go.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Digital distribution and digital streaming both have advantages over Blue-Ray.



    They need bandwidth though. I can walk into a store and take home 50GB of data. Transferring that over a cable needs considerable resources especially if the mass public take it on.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    it has only been very recently where home computers could even do a half decent job with HDTV. Combine that with TV's with more processing power than a home computer of a year or two ago and the lines become blurred.



    Theoretical capability doesn't change the fact that very few people have a home computer hooked up to their TV. One factor is price. If you get a cable subscription, they give you a box for free. To get a modern computer that will do the same job will cost you about £400 at least. Media center PCs may reach the cost of a cable box one day so that providers offer one but I think there's a huge price gap just now and there's the aspect of simplicity as mentioned above as well as stability.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I can see the same thing happening for conventional cable and maybe even broadcast. Digital gives people the opportunity to view around their schedule not the media providers schedule.



    I think this is the way forward but all cable companies need to do is offer this as a single channel. I know it seems like this should be easily doable over the internet due to the fact that it already handles multiple on-demand requests but the internet keeps going because the requests usually aren't continuous 25Mbps streams of video. That will choke any network.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Will alternative distribution sink Blue-Ray, i really think it will. Mostly due to cost and flexibility. Blue-Ray will appeal to people who like to collect things but not so much to people that just want to enjoy a movie.



    It appeals to people who maybe have a home projector and want to show full 1080p. TV networks likely won't go to 1080p because TV content is mostly disposable entertainment. You watch once and then you go to the next episode, you don't really have to see it in very high quality. If you like the show, you would buy the whole series.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Frankly ownership of the physical media seems to only appeal to a few groups... Really how many movies do you watch over and over again to the point where the cost of the disk is justified?



    Certain types of movies are watched over and over again like adult movies. Usually you have the favorites that cover exact tastes. Collectors too as you've mentioned.



    The thing is, I bought some films that I really liked thinking that I would watch them again and I really haven't. I guess the reason I bought them is that they are the most likely films I will want to watch again and they are only arms length away when that time comes. This is a certainty whereas a digital network I may subscribe to in the future might not have a particular film on offer or I'd have to pay for it again. I admit though I haven't ever watched a film more than about 5 times. If a rental is £2 and the cost of a movie is £15 to buy then I'd still save money by simply renting when I want the film.



    The issue of selection for digital content is a big problem. There's so much exclusivity going on. If I want to watch a particular movie and say there is an itunes subscription, I don't want to have to subscribe to another provider to see a film they don't have. With Blu-Ray, each title is individual. I don't see there ever being a common digital source where all movies are equally available to all suppliers.



    Also, what do you do when you haven't paid your internet/cable bill or you've moved house or you are in a remote location on holiday? All these things require offline media.



    I personally prefer digital media over discs but I wouldn't deny the superior quality they offer and simplicity.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    ssassa Posts: 47member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen View Post


    I agree wholeheartedly. Ironically, the format that Microsoft backed was the one which was far more open and easier (in infrastructure and costs) for media producers/developers to adopt. The hoops that the BDA makes you jump through are ridiculous, not to mention the costs/fees.



    HD-DVD was more open? So why were there so many more non-Sony Blu-ray players than non-Toshiba HD-DVD players?



    Both formats required licensing AACS so one format wasn't using a form of DRM that was cheaper to license.



    While the players were cheaper that was more a consequence of Toshiba subsidizing the cost of the hardware. Toshiba ended up writing off ~$1 Billion is losses thanks to subsidizing the true cost of the HD-DVD hardware so much of the price advantages for HD-DVD didn't really exist(ie. Toshiba was attempting to buy the high def standard by subsidizing the cost of the hardware).



    Meanwhile HD-DVD really didn't offer any compelling advantages. The discs had a lower capacity (no player AFAIK ever supported the theoretical 51GB HD-DVD discs) and most people found the concept of HD-I boring and uncompelling. I was on a focus group for Blu-ray a few months back on implementing some interactive features like HD-DVDs' HD-I and everyone on the panel I was on didn't care much for it.



    Unless I am missing something I am unclear why people are so fond of HD-DVD beyond the fact that Sony had no role in it.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    They need bandwidth though. I can walk into a store and take home 50GB of data. Transferring that over a cable needs considerable resources especially if the mass public take it on.



    That's also not even taking into account what would happen if net neutrality were to be defeated. Some of the bandwidth caps being used today would limit users to one Blu-ray quality movie or less per month. Not the friendliest environment for media downloads. And given the "broadband" ISPs' reluctance to substantially upgrade their networks, I'd hate to see how quickly a cable connection would brought to a near standstill if everybody on a node was downloading movies for hours if not days at a time.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    bg_nycbg_nyc Posts: 189member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I can walk into a store and take home 50GB of data.



    Very well put! I think that's the key to the survival and eventual take-over of blu-ray disc and why digital download can't keep it from flourishing.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post


    That's also not even taking into account what would happen if net neutrality were to be defeated. Some of the bandwidth caps being used today would limit users to one Blu-ray quality movie or less per month. Not the friendliest environment for media downloads. And given the "broadband" ISPs' reluctance to substantially upgrade their networks, I'd hate to see how quickly a cable connection would brought to a near standstill if everybody on a node was downloading movies for hours if not days at a time.



    Obviously a 50GB film would NOT be made available for download in the foreseable future. Its logistically near impossible given existing constraints on bandwith and storage space. There are plenty of video options between 480i and 1080p. And there are plenty of audio options between mono and DTS-HD MA. Apple found a halfway point with their HD offerings. So did Vudu. A 720p 48-minute TV show can be downloaded at or around 1GB. This makes sense for many.



    That being said, this offering is no replacement for blu-ray. Collectors will always want the physical media, and the general public is not saavy enough (and their computing systems are not powerful enough) to download and maintain a library of 720p video.
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