Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What Say You: DVD versus Blu-Ray?

I own a lot of DVDs. Around 500 total. That's probably not as many as some. And probably a little more than others. My wife asks me from time to time why we own so many and my response is always the same: My DVDs are my security blanket. If we were in a blizzard that shut down Kansas City for several days, we would have endless entertainment with our large selection of movies. That has never happened, but it could. I take comfort in my large collection. And I find extreme pleasure in shopping for DVDs either in stores or on-line. Some might say I am making up for other shortcomings with my huge DVD collection. I myself would just ask that those people stop staring at my package and just be impressed with my vast DVD collection. But I digress.

So the other day, I got an e-mail from a friend asking me what I was going to do with my collection of outdated technology? He went on to ask if I was going to put my DVDs next to my LPs in the attic? This is a greeting I get from a guy in New York who I e-mail every other month or so. He leads with the punch, and then asks me how I'm doing. But again, I am digressing.

So here's the thing. Should I get all panicky? Is my extremely enormous (remember I'm not compensating) DVD collection truly worthless? Is Blu-Ray really that much better? I'm a techy guy, but I'm not convinced that I will see Blu-Ray and then want to burn all my DVDs. And if Blu-Ray really is that good, how much time do I have? A year? Two? So many questions, have I. And I look to you for the answers. Is Blu-Ray really the answer? And if it is, is anyone interested in a DVD fire sale?



Burbanked said...

With every DVD I buy, Piper, I get a similar "why" reaction from my wife, and from what I can tell, my response is usually less adequate than your own.

That having been said, my collection is markedly smaller than yours, but I've also contemplated the same issue that you're raising now. Everyone seems to believe that Blu-Ray is SO much better and SO much clearer and SO superior to anyone's perception of Visual Nirvana...just as everyone said DVDs were as compared to VHS. They were right, of course, and I'd suspect that over time I will replace my player and many if not all of my DVDs - at tremendous personal cost and inconvenience - with Blu-Rays. Such is the price of technology to people for whom such things matter. It stings, but it's still better than the alternative, which is to do nothing and watch nothing and be sad much of the time.

When I need to start The Great Replacement, however, I imagine that I'll have to have a rather difficult conversation with the wife...

Burbanked said...

Oh, and I also meant to say *Nelson from the Simpsons voice* "Ha, ha! Piper owns Star Trek: Nemesis!"

Unknown said...

I'm not really sure I see a reason to be worried. My understanding is that the Blu-Ray players can play standard DVDs. This was one of the biggest differences when the shift was made from VHS. Tapes and disc are inherently different. They can't fit into the same slot.

Then again, my PS1 games could be played on my PS2, but they looked so shitty in comparison it was rarely worth it. I don't know if this will be the case or not.

I'm in no hurry to make the change. Like you I have around 500 dvds. I don't want to replace them.

And to burbanked I ask, what's wrong with Nemesis? Sure it wasn't the best in the series, but it wasn't so bad as to make one's eyes bleed either. Personally, I liked it and own the 2 disc version of it myself.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
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PIPER said...

burbanked and dreamrot,

sorry to disappoint you both, but that is not a photo of my collection, it's something I pulled off of Flickr. It's funny though, when I got the photo, I noticed Garfield is in the stack and I thought to myself, Good God I don't want people to think I own Garfield (I didn't pay much attention to the other titles) but then I thought who would really pay attention. And the answer to that is... Burbanked. But you're a detailed guy, Alan. Probably the only one who notices and appreciates the Unknowing Sponsors I have. And for that, I love ya.


The thing with Laserdiscs is that they are cool like LPs. I had a friend who was able to sell all his Laserdiscs and be able to completely fund a whole new collection in DVD. I'm not sure there's still a market for them, but you should check it out. And then I wonder if there will be a market for my DVDs when the time comes.

Unknown said...

I have about 750 DVD Movies and about 1500 DVD's of TV shows on DVD's.

I don't own any HD-DVD or Bluray discs and don't plan on it any time soon. (Waiting to make sure the copy protection has been completely bypassed for good).

I have never bought cable and never plan on it nor do I use a regular TV. I watch my movies on my 24" Dell computer monitor (looks just fine from my bed). Before I watched movies on my computer I watched them on a Sony 27" CRT TV. (This TV never saw a cable connection and I only connected bunny ears to it once and I've owned it since 2003).

Before that I lived overseas and only watched DVD's on the TV I had there as well.

So I spent the money I would have burned on cable TV on DVD's instead. I'm quite happy with that.

As for as quality since I currently have a 24" LCD and only plan on upgrading to a 30" within the next 2 years then "upgrading" to HD-DVD or Blu-Ray wouldn't be much of an upgrade for this screen size. Add that to the fact that I care more about content than screen quality and I'm in no hurry to "upgrade".

If I do ever get HD versions of media I already own then I'll just rent it and rip it since I already bought the license for the content when I bought the DVD. (Right? he)

Planning on building a multi terabyte NAS at the end of the year and star ripping my DVD's. The older ones (10yrs) seem to be the ones that are degrading fast.

Burbanked said...

Thanks for the explainer regarding the misleading picture of the DVD collection that you refuse to admit is yours.

On-topic, that's good news that Blu-Ray players will still play the old stuff. I tend to be a late adapter, so I'll catch up just around the time that the next technology is coming 'round the bend.

Dreamrot - I don't have a huge problem with Nemesis, although I think it's a weak link in an increasingly weak series, that's all. To be honest, I was pretty much pre-disposed to making the joke when I saw the picture and believed it *might* be Piper's collection. I could just as easily applied the same lame joke to Jurassic Park III, and I didn't even notice Garfield until Piper mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably at about 200 DVDs and I bought a $44 Philips DVD player that upconverts to HD much like the Blu-Ray player will do to your SD-DVDs.

Gotta say that the $44 player makes movies look great on my 40" LCD. So, I'm not too worried about keeping my current collection whenever I switch to Blu-Ray.

Anonymous said...

Don't panic.

The transition from dvd to blue-ray is not as drastic as Laser Disc to DVd or VHS to dvd or even beta to vhs...or any other incarnations of media.

It's still a disc, it's still dvd.

As long as they continue to sell regular dvd go for it.

Blue-Ray isn't even that worth it. I've seen it on many occasions and don't really care.

Heck, I still watch Clerks on vhs every now and again, so it's not a total loss.

In some circles even LP is revered over cd or any other format, so you can turn into a snob and hipster and drink latte's with shades on in a seedy coffee shop somewhere.

I know I will.

Anonymous said...

LOL Well, I wouldn't be too concerned about replacing ones like STAR TREK: NEMESIS or THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.


Unlike VHS tapes, I tend to think that DVD quality is good enough that you could and should keep a DVD player for a long time. I mean, we still have VHS machines being sold 15 years after the format was "out of date."

Adam Ross said...

As long as you own your DVDs and a functioning DVD player, they will never be obsolete. Blu-Ray looks like heaven, no question, but not all movies translate that well. I read a review of the HD "Wild Bunch," and the biggest difference the reviewer noticed was how you could see all the makeup William Holden was wearing.

Standard DVDs are going to be around a long time. It took almost ten years to get a proper version of "2001" on standard DVD, it's going to be many years until the high definition catalog even approaches what is available on standard.

Garrett Sorrels said...

Man, i wish that was your collection. I would ask to borrow "Contact" and then never return it.

PIPER said...

sir jorge,

you make a good point about LPs, but I think there's a difference. Part of the music experience is those pops. And while CDs and digital music are great, they still aren't as rich as LPs.


Content over technology is a good reminder.

Ross Ruediger said...

Piper -

I still have a closet full of laserdiscs and some of them even get watched from time to time. (Although, as Moviezzz said, they are basically pretty frisbees, even though I've never actually flung one of them.)

There you go.

PIPER said...


Always good to hear from you. I'm telling ya, you might be able to good money for those discs.

* (asterisk) said...

I've just bought a PS3, so am looking into Blu-ray Discs (BDs) a bit. Right now, I won't make the change, and the upscaling offered to DVD by a BD player does make quite a difference.

I say, keep the DVDs. (I'm in a similar boat, with about 500 discs.) Maybe buy a BD once in a while to check it out. Even if BD doesn't win the HD battle, it looks like there's enough support for manufacturers to create multi-format players.

Either way, this race is far from over. DVD mags over here are saying it's likely at least another 12 months before we'll really know. As someone who refuses to support Microsoft, I'm hoping for BD to win out.

Ross Ruediger said...

Piper -

I've looked into it. I think maybe a half a dozen of my 300 LDs are worth anything. Oh well. They brought me an immense amount of pleasure in the years I treasured them.

As far as your big issue goes, aren't Blu-Ray players backwards compatible[1]? If so, your DVDs are as good as long as you need them to be, even if you go for the upgrade.

[1] If not, then Blu-Ray is lame.

Unknown said...

Although the only DVD's I buy are music related, one issue I ran into when I upgraded to hi-def was if I should go the Blu-Ray route or HD DVD.

In the short term, I didn't go either path, since the format standards haven't shaken out, but instead opted for a significantly cheaper (<$100 vs. $400) upconvert DVD player to go with my new TV.

There was a good post on MacRumors recently about where the studios stand.

Blu-Ray has the majority but Universal and Paramount are sticking with HD DVD for the time being. Warner recently announced they are moving to Blu-Ray, and, as the article references, many people think this could mark the end of HD DVD.

That's the risk I guess you take when you are an early adopter.

-- Dustin

Janice said...

//I noticed Garfield is in the stack and I thought to myself, Good God I don't want people to think I own Garfield (I didn't pay much attention to the other titles) but then I thought who would really pay attention.//

*Raises hand* Well, as a matter of fact, I did notice it.

Janice said...
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elgringo said...

I've got around 1,200 DVDs, maybe more. I'm not switching to Blu-Ray for a LONG time. No need, in my opinion. When prices get way lower I'll think about it.

PIPER said...


You're dipping into the archives of Lazy Eye, aren't ya?

I own a PS3 and I have purchased about 5 blu-ray discs to watch on them. I'm a movie geek and somewhat of a quality geek. I can't say that I notice that much difference. I will say, however, that the smaller boxes are much appreciated as far as storage goes.

RMELIFER said...

I was always watching the regular DVD versions of 300, Gladiator, LOTR, etc until my wife forced me to watch a blu-ray version of the Boelyn Girls. I might be imagining this, but regular DVDs just don't seem good enough anymore on my big screen TV.

PIPER said...


We had a big Blu-Ray discussion last night, my friends and I.

My thought was that there's a slight difference. Not a major one, but I have only seen a few. I'm more of a sound guy than an image guy and I'm still trying to deal with the fact that my PS3 isn't hooked into my surround sound so when I watch a blu-ray I have to settle for mediocre sound.

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