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Is it Death for the Blu-ray???

What she has to say:

She

Look around you. It appears that the digital media revolution just doesn’t know what direction it wants to move in. Disney makes a big splash with their special re-mastered Blu-ray release of Beauty and the Beast. Meanwhile, both Apple and Microsoft are outspoken in their belief that streaming video is the future of entertainment viewing. So which is it?

As a loyal Blu-ray owner—we purchased our PS3 several years ago—I can attest to the staggering quality of this medium. Lines are crisp and colors unbelievably vivid. With a Blu-ray, you can actually see the reflection off an actor’s eye when he or she looks into the camera. However, Blu-rays have their downside. Most notably, price. Even years after their arrival on the market, it is still rare to see a Blu-ray on sale for less than $20. I think this has helped DVDs hang in there as somewhat relevant. I admit, for comedies, or movies that I’m not extremely passionate about, I’ll default to the $12 DVD over the $25 Blu-ray. It should be noted that the price of Blu-ray players has gone down a significant amount.

Despite Blu-ray’s quality, streaming media seems to have emerged as the “next big thing.” Supported by various sites across the web—Hulu, ComcastTV, and the major networks—making full episodes of our favorite shows available online has changed the way American’s watch television. People no longer pay for cable, or even have a television in their home, and instead go online to watch TV content. Quality is eh to okay, depending on your internet speed. But the convenience of not being tied down to a timeslot is unparalleled.

Now this streaming content craze is threatening movies. Netflix is making unlimited streaming service available to its highest paying members. Microsoft is also partnering with Netflix to offer 1080p streaming video, and, no surprise here, has vowed never to add a Blu-ray drive to the Xbox. Meanwhile, Apple is moving into the movie business as well through an expanded Apple TV.

So the question is…will the Blu-ray survive this streaming media onslaught? And better yet, do we want it to survive, or shall we wave goodbye and let it go the way of the Betamax or HD-DVD?

I, for one, would like to see the Blu-ray hang in there. There are issues inherent with streaming video content that have not yet fully emerged. For example, how will internet providers handle the increased bandwidth use? We already see ISPs putting caps on data usage. If we all start streaming and downloading our movies, I see this swiftly becoming an issue. Another question, how about the quality? The talk is that even in so-called 1080p, streaming remains subpar to Blu-ray. Are we willing to back down on quality for the sake of convenience? For many, that answer may be yes. For me, not so much. Frankly, we shouldn’t have to if the technology for better quality is there. And finally, won’t we miss swapping movies with friends? Unless I’m passing off my Netflix creds to comrades, there’s no way for me to share my favorite movies with them. Maybe I’m just a product of the ‘80s/’90s, but I’ve always enjoyed swapping flicks.

The future of Blu-ray remains a bit of a mystery. The public currently seems divided, as we wait to see if the technology behind streaming media will prove itself viable. All we can do is wait and see what happens. In the meantime, I’m going to continue stocking up on my Blu-rays. If nothing else, perhaps I can one day go back and watch them as nostalgia.

What he has to say:

He

People of the world, I implore you to take a stand to this disturbing trend. Digital media has changed the way we work and live, and in many cases it has even been a beneficial. But, please continue to rent and/or buy DVD/Blu-ray technology. Do not abandon this concrete medium for some inferior virtual copy.

First of all, the quality is simply not as good. That is a fact. Digital copies of movies and television programs completely negate the entire purpose of upgrading your television (those of us who have one know it was not cheap). The quality of these digital copies is lower than that of a DVD (which is already a dying technology). Blu-ray on the other hand, looks gorgeous. It is simply phenomenal to have something this crisp in your own home. It’s actually superior to what you see in theaters. Even DVDs look good on my LCD TV.

But they want to eliminate both of these mediums for a lesser quality? And I should be happy about this because??? Hey, if you don't have cable TV and/or are on the road a lot and like to watch things via your mobile device, by all means continue to do that. But do not take away my right to watch the highest quality possible - it is after all why I decided to splurge for my LCD TV and PS3.

Is it more convenient to simply click a few buttons than to actually go out and rent/buy a hard copy? Sure, but again you are completely negating the point of upgrading your television. Do you remember CRT TVs? You can barely find one now and they will eventually become extinct. We were strongly urged to upgrade to that medium because it would make both TV and movies a more enjoyable experience. Well it is true, it all looks better.

But if these "industry types" have their way, we'll all be watching really low quality movies on our really nice TVs.

This article was written on October 7, 2010.