Sunday Apr 20, 2008

Blu-Ray vs. AppleTV

Not ready to dump the Blu-Ray player yet for HD downloads. Still enjoy having a physical disk to put in the player. But there are a few wrinkles that the disk camp needs to address.

First is the poor or slow performance of the players. Both Blu-Ray and to a lesser extent HD-DVD are poor performers. Not picture or sound wise. But you can brew coffee in the time needed to power up and load a disk. Toshiba kicks my beloved Sony every time. Now that I own the player its not like I am going to take it back to the store. Other functions like ejecting a DVD take seconds before the player takes action on my command. Not sure where the problem lays but a faster processor could solve these issues. Apple TV just performs.

Winner: Apple TV.

Packaging. Yes I understand the need to deter theft. But I would like to meet the team that has come up with the theft deterent tape for Blu-Ray. HD-DVD had it as well but it seemed easier to peel off. With Blu-Ray you have at least 2-3 tape strips compared to 1 with most of the HD-DVD movies I bought. Blu-Rays tape is a \*&(\*\^& to get off the package. I guess I could just slit the tape with a pair of scissors but I hate leaving the tape on. So this adds 2 more minutes of frustration to enjoying a movie. No packing or media with Apple TV. Personally I would like to find the packaging team and wrap them with the tape the so liberally use to secure their contents.

Winner: Apple TV

When I pay 25 bucks for a Blu-Ray DVD, why am I penalized with 20 minutes of ads that I cannot skip. WTF. They player takes 5 minutes to boot. Opening the package takes another 2 minutes. The ads take another 20 minutes to play. A half hour down the drain. HD-DVD was only half annoying. Blu-Ray you can do better here or risk losing your audience to Apple TV and others. Yes, I may have wait for the download but Apple TV movies start instantly without ads or startup delays. Apple TV is always on. Literally. The only draw back is if I do not have a broadband connection. Rural USA prepare to be bitter.

Winner: Apple TV

Hire a real QA team to test the Blu-Ray movies before there are released. It took me 2 months and several BIOS update for my Sony Blu-Ray player before I could play Pirates of the Caribbean. Will John Q Public continually patch their players like the dev community does. I think not. Apple TV has had a series of updates that add new functionality but the update mechanism is built into the unit. Seamless. Maybe the Blu-Ray camp will get there with the next generation players ? But then I have to dump my player to get BD-Live and an Internet connection. Apple TV has this built in.

Winner: Apple TV

While I am media, with the DVD formats you get a movie for life. With Apple TV you have a movie for 30 days or 24 hours once you start viewing it. This could be a nice enhancement for Apple TV but would require external storage since the Apple TV drive is miniscule.

Winner: Blu-Ray

Older DVD formats will playback with my new Blu-Ray equipment. Apple TV has no DVD player.

Winner: Blu-Ray

Media library. Blu-Ray has a better library available with HD content. Apple TV is not bad but seems a bit limited at this point.

Winner: Blu-Ray

Pricing. Apple TV is a bargain compared to any Blu-Ray player. The cost of renting a movie is a fraction of owning a Blu-Ray disk.

Winner: Apple TV

Enhanced features include BD-Live from the Blu-Ray camp to extend my experience. Apple TV integrates with my music and picture libraries. Hmmm. Different. Maybe we need both these camps to converge.


Summary Apple TV seems to be my favorite out of the two types of movie experiences. It could be better with a Blu-Ray drive added. I would also love Apple TV to be more of a movie server. With the ability to rip my movies to server for immediate playback. Blu-Ray on the other hand, has more movies in HD and will play my existing collection of DVD's. But I believe that both these solutions will continue to evolve. Time will tell.

You will notice I did not comment on AV. I have not had any problems with the audio or picture detail with either. I am not a AV critic so I cannot comment on the differences. They both seem visually appealing to me.




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