03/01/2009 | Posted by Jonas D
For many months now, many folks have held that the PS3 was the best of the Blu-ray players. That was based on the affordable price, and the features that were built into the box, including BD-Live. However, there's a rumor floating around that Sony may look to cut the price of their latest videogame console player. What extra might they be trimming? The whisper is "Blu-ray."
Could it be? Wouldn't this just take away the best feature of the PS3? At least some folks bought the product more for its movie playing functionality than as a gaming platform. Can't they cut the price without gutting it from the inside out? Doesn't Sony want to encourage people to adopt the Blu-ray format, and wouldn't this send the wrong message?
Personally, I'd rather see them make a Blu-ray only version of the PS3. In other words, a high quality Blu-ray player that sold for less, and didn't do games. While I thought this rumor was kind of ridiculous at first, you can see it here and here.
In the meantime, the value of your "old and outdated" PS3 may just have gone up on eBay depending on how this pans out...
02/06/2009 | Posted by Jonas D
Been on the fence about adding a Blu-ray drive to your system? Collecting parts for a new system build? While DVDRW drive prices have been rock bottom for many months now, Blu-ray has still commanded a premium. However, when you can get a name brand Blu-ray combo drive, that can both read Blu-ray, and write to DVD and CD's, for $79, that DVDRW only drive is looking mighty long in the tooth.
The Sony BD-ROM drive is currently available at Fry's for $79, and it can be shipped if you don't live near one. However, at this price, he who hesistates will not get one.
12/07/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
BD Live is the feature that allows disc makers to include web only content and interactive features linked into the Blu-ray disc. The first time I heard about this, I thought it was really cool, and would offer a definite feature to differentiate Blu-ray from DVD, and reinforce the new technology aspect. After I thought about it, I realized that I didn't have an internet connection available behind my HDTV, and this could not be easily remedied without some serious network upgrades (like a WiFi bridge or a separate Powerline network, as Cat 5e is not an option). I wondered how many other consumers would not overcome this barrier to entry?
Apparently, it is not much of an issue. Even though the PS3 is the only player that does BD Live that's commonly available, and even though not too many discs have these features, BD Live traffic has been high. Even at this early stage, Sony is reporting that the BD Live entertainment site is nearing a million hits. They are also preparing for more BD Live traffic as The Dark Knight is scheduled for release soon, and it is a highly anticipated BD Live disc.
Just out of curiousity, while I realize that many PS3 owners do gaming and hence need the network connection, how do you folks have it hooked up to your network?
11/28/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
With most everything "instant on" in our society, folks don't want to wait for much. With that in mind, the time it takes to get a Blu-ray disc loaded can be an interminable wait on some players, and can exceed a minute. With such a time waster, it's enough to make you want to go back to good ol' DVD (well almost anyway).
The Crave gang over at the UK version of CNET took out their trusty stopwatches to get an idea how long different players take to load a disc. While a four player sample is hardly the definitive study, it becomes clear that the Pioneer BDP-LX71 is not the speed demon of the group, as it takes almost two minutes to get the job done. Wondering who is the fastest of these disc mounting slowpokes? It's the PS3 which is the only player that got the job accomplished in under a minute at 43 seconds. Is it any wonder why so many advocate the PS3 as the best affordable player?
11/21/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
With the slowdown of the global economy, it's no big mystery that sales of the Blu-ray format
are flat as a pancake aren't exactly living up to expectations. With the players price's finally coming out of the stratosphere, and the Blu-ray discs still commanding a premium, it's seriously no mystery why Blu-ray remains stuck in first gear.
However, given all these factors, I'm really not sure what the folks at Sony were smoking when they came up with their estimates of sales. According this this, the sales were expected to be 10 times of what they actually are! Are they serious? I'm pretty confident that no amount of Black-Friday-Blu-ray-pricing is going to be able to save those sales numbers! About the best we can hope for is that Blu-ray gets more firmly established before digital downloads become more practical with real broadband for the majority of Americans.
11/02/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
Sure, by now we've all heard that BD-Live offers a really cool feature set that allows for interactivity. These kinds of features could never be done in DVD, and offers a real advantage taking the user beyond what is on the disc, and into exclusive content, which is internet based. Of course, that means that the Blu-ray player needs to have a connection to the world wide web. While my initial thought is how to snake some CAT 5e cable to the back of a Blu-ray player, that may be the least of the concerns. Recalling that the internet goes both ways, and Sony just may be using this new level of connnectivity to collect more than a little data on its users. Is this just paranoia, or one more example of why Sony shouldn't be trusted when it comes to technology? Personally, if this type of info is being collected, the user should be informed up front, and not find out later.
10/18/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
Rebranded Optiarc For "The Continent"
Sony gave up on making optical drives for eons, so why not let the crafty folks at Optiarc Europe to do the dirty work for them. Later this month, Sony will debut their BWU-300S Blu-ray burner. Of note, it will feature an 8x speed to get the writing done in no time flat (or at least create coasters quicker). For those that are counting, this 8x speed can get the write of a single layer Blu-ray blank down to 15 minutes, and double that for a dual layer Blu-ray write. Rounding out the drive's capabilities are 16x DVD writing, 48x CD-R burning, and DVD-RAM compatibility.
The BWU-300S is compatible with Windows Vista, and for the holdouts, Windows XP. It utilizes a SATA interface. Expect it in Europe by the end of the month at a price of €295. No word on when we might see it stateside.
10/06/2008 | Posted by Nino Marchetti
Sony wants to reward its Blu-ray consumers extra little incentives to pick up BD-Live enabled titles. To that end it is unveiling with the launch of You Don't Mess with The Zohan on October 7 the Sony Pictures Blu-ray Club.
The BD-Live related rewards club lets one accumulate points to "become eligible to earn Sony products and prizes and become a part of the greater Sony Rewards program." One creates a user profile on BD-Live and then registers their Sony Blu-ray High-Def movies when connected. Once the title is registered, the user’s Sony Rewards account balance will be automatically credited.
The downside to this program, of course, is that you have to buy Sony-specific BD-Live titles to be eligible. This also requires you have a compatible Blu-ray player. A small mountain indeed to climb for perhaps not that much value.
09/26/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
What's a better feeling than finding an extra $20 bill in your wallet? It's getting a firmware upgrade out of a manufacturer that enables additional functionality out of an existing device. Now that's a bargain all Blurayfreaks can get into. This relates specifically to Sony releasing a firmware upgrade for their BDP-S350 player, which enables it to support the BD-Live 2.0 standard. Here's all the specifics:
Sony has just launched their promised firmware update for the BDP-S350. During the summer the company promised to launch the download and now the Japanese giant keeps its word.
Available right now the Blu-ray player adds BD-Live and better BD-Java compatibility, meaning that the Sony BDP-S350 actually becomes a Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player.
The article goes on to wonder if this could be the start of a new trend of new firmwares adding in functionality. While this is not new to optical media hardware, it's not been a dominant feature of Blu-ray players. Can hacked firmware be far behind?
09/21/2008 | Posted by Jonas D
For months now, we're been pointing out that until the Blu-ray players come down in price, Sony shouldn't expect the sales to skyrocket. True to form, prices have stayed high, and sales have stumbled. On top of that, it makes little sense that their own PS3 is a fuller featured player, and more affordable than most of the Blu-ray players on the market.
Well, perhaps Sony is listening to our comments, as EngadgetHD has spotted a good deal on a Blu-ray player. As of now, the online shipping giant, Amazon, is selling Sony's BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray player for under $200, which is a very reasonable price point for a next gen disc player from a name brand manufacturer. And there is even free shipping to sweeten the deal one step even further.
I had been hoping for this kind of deal to come for Black Friday this year, but maybe some Christmas shopping will come a little early for some folks. Let's hope that this player sets the new price point for Blu-ray, and we get the price out of the stratosphere.
Get yours here.