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.

Winner:Tie

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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leroyk

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