Considering the price, it's almost criminal especially on SACD and DVD-Audio...
What is the price? I cannot find any pricing mentioned on the Oppo website.
Interesting points and reasonable conclusions. However, my crystal ball is a little foggier so maybe my predictions are a bit different.
I agree with your first point that Blu-Ray is not hugely better, but it is demonstrably better. It is only the price premium that is holding it back as studios milk it for all they can. When the prices drop, why purchase regular DVD over Blu-Ray? You'll take the better one if the price differential is not too great. I think this will happen eventually.
Also, there are larger forces at work here. Equipment manufacturers and retailers have to keep things going forward or their market stagnates. Stores are pushing Blu-Ray players, not regular DVD players. A regular DVD player will soon become as rare as a stand alone CD player in the mass market stores. Also, higher-end computers are adding Blu-Ray drives and recorders. These things will create a demand for the discs which will increase as prices drop.
I think your second point is true but it is past oriented; it only applies to people replacing collections. What about going forward...people who are buying a title for the first time? Blu-Ray will focus on new titles, not remastered classics, at least in the beginning. And for the people replacing things, never underestimate the desire of people to get the latest and greatest. It keeps the computer industry in business.
I think your third point about downloads is the future. But we're a long way from having the bandwidth capability to deliver in any appreciable numbers. Internet providers are even now throttling high bandwidth users with higher prices and slower downlaod speeds. When we do get more bandwidth that is readily available, we'll probably be past Blu-Ray into the next thing anyway (i.e. downloads).
I had a Denon 5910, which I had modded, and the video on the Oppo is in another catagory, and although the Oppo sounds excellent, the Denon (going from memory here) was in another league for audio, even un-modded. But come on, the Denon weighs the same as a baby elephant. Great player, the Denon 5910.
It isn't surprising considering your screen size v.s your distance to your display.
My impression was very similar to yours while shopping for new display last year. While comparing Pioneer 1080p plasma (50" size) to its 720p counterpart from the distance of 12 feet (my viewing distance) I had very difficult time distinguishing one over the other. That's why I chose less expensive 720p set and invested the difference in better quality 1080p front projection setup (80" electric screen and 10' viewing distance) which isn't that forgiving in regards to differences between 720p and 1080p material.
In closing argument, I would say - size does matter. If your display is smaller then 50" and your viewing distance greater then 9', save yourself some money and delusions. If you really want to see HD at its best, invest in front projection and quality 1080p source (satellite and Blueray)
Acutally, isn't the "standard" viewing distance per CEDIA, 3 times the diagonal? Since my display is 52" that's a distance of 13 feet and my main viewing area is actually in front of that. Also, part of the reason, after much research, I bought the display I have, is that actually usually sit on the floor about 8' from the screen. It really is amazing, the detail, without any pixelation. It's a great display, and once again I say it, BluRay is doomed to go the way of Beta, SACD (which was awesome), and the 8 track.
I think blu-ray will make it. I was an early adopter and have observed a significant growth over the past year or so. My local Fry's and Best Buy now devote significant shelf space to blu-ray. I get emails from Amazon practically everyday pushing blu-ray. SACD, on the other hand, was never more than a niche product and never gained any traction outside the audiophile community. Actually, my local Best Buy is now devoting more shelf space to LP's than they ever devoted to SACD.
In regard to HD downloads, I agree that is the future, but I believe that technology has some serious hurdles. Not only the referenced bandwidth issues, but we'll have to get to the point that the average consumer has the ability to download, i.e. high speed internet access in their viewing room (or wireless acess) and access to devices to accomplish to the download, etc. For the average consumer, a blu-ray player will be the easiest access to HD movies for the forseeable future.
My Mac did not detect any but if concerned same info can be found on "Audioholics" website or this link
Apologies for any concerns with the previous link - do not use it just in case (my Mac did not detect any problems tho)
C'mon guys, this is (primarily) an audio forum, so I can't believe that none of the posts on this thread mention the REAL benefit of Blu-Ray: It's the SOUND!
The sound quality of DTS Master-HD and even Dolby TrueHD is SOOO much better than DVD's lossy Dolby Digital and DTS. If you can't immediately hear a huge difference, it's time for a new HT processor.
Something to consider about actually observing REAL differences when comparing Blu-ray to regular DVDs. On my own personal Sony Wega tube set (which has the best "balck" in the business) there is HUGE depth of field difference between Blu-ray and standard DVD formats. Can we say "spooky real 3D depth!". However, when I took my new Blu-ray player to a couple friends houses (to show them these "HUGE" differences) neither of their flat panel LCDs had deep enough black levels to make the visual difference nearly as noticeable. (In this case, I would totally support this poster's opinion of Blu-ray not really being such a big deal). And yes, both flat panels were "1080 P". In a nutshell, it's more than just the fact of this particular specification. IMHO having a monitor and/or flat panel with true DEEEEP black levels are everything for showing a Blu-ray's superior capabilities over standard DVD. Big Hint; go hook a Blu-ray player up to a Pioneer Kuro flat panel and then tell me you aren't seriously impressed with the video improvement that Blu-ray has over the old DVD format ;-)
I'm glad that somebody finally mentioned "audio on BD". I own the Pioneer 6020 and the Denon 4308ci. I own 3 bd players---one being the older Sam.1200---the Pioneer '95 and the Sony 550. On reg dvd the Sammy 1200 is about what our poster is referring to.---"Once Upon A Time In The West" isn't out on BD yet.I doubt BD will improve on pc much.The audio might tho.I did pay big bucks for my 1200 and I'm kinda sure the Oppo will be at; or better this player at a lower price than I paid.
I agree with the original poster's comments on Blu-ray being a short term format but disagree with at least one of the listed reasons.
#1 - Picture quality - The difference on my system, while not as great as VHS to DVD is huge. Are you watching Blu-ray on a 1080p TV at the proper distance?
#2 - Library replacement - I guess this one is a draw. I am replacing many of my favorite DVDs with Blu-ray - when the price is right (not at anywhere near MSRP). But many of them will stay DVD. It all depends upon the movie, subject matter, etc. Pixar films are amazing in Blu-ray!
#3 - Upcoming format - This is where I wholeheartedly agree with the OP. Software is the future of media delivery whether it is movies or music. Why would I buy a CD, SACD or DVD-A of a recording that I can buy a download of a 24-bit/192kHz recording? Equally, why would I go to a store to buy a physical disc of a 1080p movie when I could download one onto a flash drive or hard disc, or carry a 64 or 128GB flash drive into a store and have one loaded on it in seconds. Virtual media is the future and moving formats (spinning discs) will be obsolete in a couple of years.
That is why my Blu-ray player is a PS3. And yes, I fully expect Sony to replace it with a game/media server in several years time.
I question whether downloadable HD movies will come to pass, but I hope they are the wave of the future if for no other reason than that occurrence likely would mean Time Warner (and everyone else waiting in the wings) to place caps on bandwidth have failed in their attempt to charge exorbitant amounts to even the average household for high speed internet.
I agree somewhat with your view that a good upconverting DVD player can come close to Bluray picture quality. I have both Bluray and HD-DVD players that both upconvert and it is difficult to tell the difference, unless one gets really close to the TV, (which is a 58" Panasonic Plasma, btw).
The one thing that I can state is that on really good animation movies (i.e. pixar, etc.), the 1080P format (regardless of whether it is Bluray or HD-DVD) really does shine.
I hope that Bluray makes it (much as I hoped that HD-DVD would have made it), if only so as to have a choice as to whether to buy from a store, or to (eventually) download it from some website. (I'm an old fart, so I appreciate having B&M stores, (I love to go LP, CD and DVD browsing), and having a disk in case the harddrive takes a dump!)
My two cents worth.
Wired broadband will go the way of the spinning disc as G4 and later solutions come on line. Again - why spend the money to lay copper - then fiber-optic - when the same and higher speeds are coming wirelessly. Any carrier implementing by the byte pricing will doom themselves to extinction as wireless carriers are going the opposite direction.
I find it odd that in a forum of audiophiles who purchase $3000 power cords for a very small, yet noticeable improvement in sound that the original poster contends that Blu-Ray is not much of an improvement over DVD's.
I got my Oppo Blu-Ray player the other day, and I've been thrilled with it thus far. And I can attest to the improved quality of Blu-Ray over DVD (and the DVD's with Oppo's 983H player were excellent, a clear step up from my previous upsampling DVD player). As televisions get larger, I expect the chasm between Blu-Ray and DVD's to only increase. When you have a 3240p TV at some point in the future, which would you rather watch on it: An upsampling DVD player or an upsampling Blu-Ray player?
I think Blu-Ray is the way of the future right now, as it offers high-resolution audio and video on archival media. (For most home users who aren't computer experts, I don't consider a hard drive to be archival, and wonder what the typical lifespan of downloaded music or movies is for them.)
Just my 2 cents.
The fact that many of you are saying that I am not close enough to a 52" 1080p LCD TV to see the difference speaks volumes. It's not a 32" display that I am 20' from, it's a 52" display that I am 8 - 12' from depending on where I sit. It just verifies to me that the difference is just not that great.
It does look better, but it's not VHS to DVD better, no way no how. You could see that difference on a 20" TV from 2 blocks away.
It ain't gonna make it. I give 4 yrs on the over/under for when the last BluRay disc is produced. I'm going to take the under.
Downloads, that's the way it's going to go. Storage gets cheaper and more reliable all the time, bandwith grows and the technology to send large chunks of information gets cheaper and easier. I'm going to pull this thread up again in 2012 and see where we are.
The Oppo is a good player though, if you want a true multidisc, it's a no brainer.
Also, I have never spent $3k on any cord. I didn't pay that much for my speakers.
I agree with the O/P. I just went from an Oppo 981 to the BluRay (thus skipping the 983), and standard DVD was so much better on the Oppo BluRay player that the comparison of standard DVD to BluRay wasn't all that impressive. Kinda like a very good redbook DAC can almost fill the gap to a mediocre SACD player.
For what it's worth, the 2 channel audio is also better compared to the 981, making it a modification candidate for sure. As usual, it sounds better after some burn-in. 48 hrs from ouch to somewhat listenable.
The picture quality of a BluRay disc is very noticeable on my 100" screen with a 1080p projector viewed at around 12 feet. The picture is much cleaner with a greater sense of depth and better color. I do have a good upscaling dvd player that made a huge difference over a standard dvd player, but it still is not nearly as good as most BluRays. On my 37" LCD I can still see a difference, but it is less pronounced. BluRay is still clearer and has a more 3 dimensional image. I believe a BluRay player is worth it as I rent my movies from NetFlix and I don't buy many discs.
Don't forget to take into account the amount of unused space on each Blu-Ray disc. Blu-Ray has the potential to get much better than it currently is. I also agree that the size of screen one is viewing movies on will determine if they want to purchase movies again on Blu-Ray. The differences are accentuated on larger screens.
Mhconley makes a good point.
Consumer electronic technology is constantly evolving, as it has since Edison wax cylinders. It's safe to say any investment in hardware and software should be viewed as short term entertainment.
Each of us has to determine where the value point lies regarding cost and enjoyment of new technology. For some, investing large sums in equipment and software is worth a few years of enjoyment until the next big thing is released. Others seek a longer period of usefulness.
There never has been one universally applicable answer to this question.
If history is a guide, then Blu-Ray, like other formats, will be a blip on the radar.
I've spent good money on reel to reel, audio cassette, vhs, hi-fi vhs, vinyl, fm tuners and goodness knows whatever I've forgotten......all of the aforementioned had their time in the sun before they were supplanted by newer technology and I enjoyed every minute of their use. You have to go in knowing that something new will come down the pike eventually. I bought the Toshiba flagship HD-Dvd player, an incredible machine....I only owned it for 9 moths before Blu-Ray killed it....but, I enjoyed every minute of owning it without regret. You can't wait forever for the next new thing.....do it now and enjoy it today if you have the money.
Kind of like getting married....no matter who you marry, a prettier one will eventually show up,and a prettier one still after that...but, at some point if you want to be married you'll have to eventually jump in.
Like the OP, I'm not convinced Blu-ray will succeed like DVD. But, I think there is a very big improvement for BDs compared to DVDs. Not quite like VHS->DVD, but enough to immediately tell the difference between the two (all things equal). But it may not be big enough for the general consumer for them to jump in (plus they have to buy a new TV). If BD does not make it, I just hope it lasts long enough for me to replace my top 200-300 movies I have on DVD.
In the here and now, Blu-Ray is king for both image quality ceteris paribus if you have a screen that is large enough to show the difference. There are studies on the Web that examine our ability to discern pixel pitch. On a small screen, the pixels are very small and you need to sit close enough to see. However the original poster noted that the typical recommendation is 3x the diagonal. This is with respect to filling one's field of view with the screen. At that distance, the pixel pitch on a 50 or 60 inch plasma/LCD is too fine to discern. On a 100 inch screen the amount of information does wonders for image detail.
I had what was probably the finest DVD player made, the Levinson No. 51 with custom processing. It far surpassed my Denon 5910 and Esoteric UX1. However, the Pioneer BDP-09fd is simply better on my 110 inch screen. Plus, as another person noted, the sound is much better, essentially CD quality if listening to the higher bitrate streams.
Whether Blu-Ray survives downloads is another thing although given DRM, the confusion of having to store one's own library on HDs (I do so with my thousands of photographs on multiple RAIDs and backups= frustration). Moreover the real vs. promised bandwidth needed for short download times (my highspeed connection says up to 25 Mbps but Ive been getting as low as 3.5 Mbps recently) would indicate that the advent of digital downloads for regular programming may be a ways off yet, esp. since our market is not really reliably high speed let alone other regional markets around the world that are behind the US in internet connectivity.
First off I've been an early video adopter for SuperBeta,Laserdisc,DVD, HD-DVD, and now bluray... and it was always a requirement to upgrade because of my large displays from projectors.
I own an AppleTV also, a MacMini, and some high end PC's and the appletv's picture is subpar (pretty good for convenience versus quality) to a DVD played on my Theta Compli player when it's displayed 103" on the wall at 13' seating position. The HD versions from the Apple TV are more like DVD quality, and the soundtracks are good but still inferior. If I had a 52" tv then it might not be as big deal...
I just got my Oppo Blu-Ray Player yesterday and build quality is impressive and the lighted remote is the BOMB!!! Can't say how it looks yet because the input board on my Projector decided to stop working and here I thought it was my Sony PS3 which is actually fine... I hated the remote on the PS3 anyway for bluray.
I think Bluray will fail or not be successful as DVD was because people won't pay $25-50 for a movie that's really not that good.... and like people have mentioned I'm not that crazy about re-buying my collection for the 4th time... in each media... DVD is good enough with a killer scaler or an amazing upsampling player unless is a scifi action flick, then I want more. But I have bought about 30 bluray's to replace my DVD's for the extra quality and resolution. Plus even with $200 Bluray players it's the media that drives the demand and people are quite happy with DVD quality or DirectTV video quality. The only real demand for HD and what drove it faster into the mainstream was SPORTS!!! I'm not a huge football fan but WOW those camera's are amazing....
I agree that AppleTV or some sort of Hulu will be the way of the future, I stopped buying DVD's at around 500 because I'm sick of trying to store them... Some of the HD-DVD's and Bluray's sound superior to the DVD counterparts on my Theta Casablanca III, but then again you couldn't hear much of a difference on my buddies high end Denon Receiver... so it all depends on context.
Plus as we watch blockbuster's physical stores shut down, and people's demand for the $1 rentals in store, or the On-Demand Cable, AppleTV, and Sat at $2.99-5.99 a movie from the convenience of your couch. the physical media will start to be reduced in consumption.
I'm also worried the music industry is going down the same path where you sign up for a music service that lets you listen but not own low end quality rips... there are some high end downloads coming out but only NIN provides true high resolution recordings (bluray or HD-DVD, or FLAC) for mainstream music (other than classical recordings)... This trend of subpar music is distrubing, then again a top40 artists recording is so compressed I wouldn't want to hear it at a higher resolution.."How about we fix the mastering problems...." to give us dynamics no everything always loud...
interesting post, cytocycle.
ironically, i think it's technology that is hurting the quality of music recordings, as most people only listen to music on-the-go in compressed formats these days. unfortunately, even many of my favorite current bands' recordings sound pretty bad on my main system, while they sound "fine" on my mp3 player. i would have thought that you'd want to make the best recording possible and then just convert it as you need to, but it doesn't seem like that always happens.
same thing with some tv, i can't figure out why some shows still seem to be recorded in lowres, it makes no sense. for god sakes, man, think of future bluray sales if nothing else!
let us know how the oppo looks when you get a chance to check it out.
Kenk168, I sure will. You are right it takes playing time to break the player in.
At this time, I have removed the Denon from the rack. I may sell it, or move it to another location in the house.
The more I play the Oppo the more I am impressed. This player does everything well. I even had some pictures on a flash drive memory stick and that plays in the Oppo.
All my DVDs look much better with the Oppo not just the Blu Ray.
OK, after re-reading this thread, and many hilarous (maybe not intentionally) responses about how if you are a peasant with less than a $10k processor or $20k projector of course there is no difference between BluRay, yada, yada, yada....
I think my conclusions have been verified. We on this forum are about 1/10 of 1% of the total population as owners of higher end electronics, so if only a small percentage of this group see and hear a huge difference it's just not there and it's certainly not going to become the mainstream norm.
Also, after taking this player over to a buddies with a 1080p projector (Panasonic 3000u) and 120" screen (Sterwart, not sure of the model)set up and going through a bunch of BluRay to DVD (and we downloaded some AppleTV HD movies to compare as well) comparisons we came to the same conclusion: better, but not even close to the difference we saw between VHS and DVD. Also, the Oppo BluRay upconverts so well that the DVD's looked spectacular and the HD AppleTV really looked good, but, not as good as the upconverted DVD's or the BluRay. The DTS-HD soundtracks are fantastic, and do seem more dynamic, well just sounded better, especially on my system, but once again, it's not the difference between your VHS and DVD that was shocking, it's a refinement. It's not even close to the difference between Vinyl and CD, so there if you like them collect your BluRay's now, and put them next to your SACD's, DVD-Audio's, Beta's, 8 tracks, et al
It may not matter if BluRay is much better than DVD or not - it won the format war at a time of transition from "low" def to "High" def, and it is the product sales people will be telling there customers to buy when they come in to upgrade to HD TVs in increasing numbers. The extent of the transition will depend on BluRay price points at the time most of the population makes this conversion. So they will pull the trigger when people go into a store to replace their DVD player with a new model equipped with HDMI connections so they can hook it up to their new HD TV. Unlike the VHS to DVD transition, BluRay players are backwardly compatible - so not stranding peoples existing DVD collections.
As for the hard media versus digital on demand products, there are plenty of people who will continue to create demand for "take and go" movies for use both at home, in their mini vans and on their laptops and portable disk players. I do not predict the immediate demise of BluRay as you suggest anytime soon - as much as Microsoft still licking their wounds over HD-DVD and trying to stay relevant pushing broadband solutions - would like us to believe.
You can now get a laptop with BluRay for $700 and a stand alone BluRay player for $160 - both well within reach of the upwardly mobile middle class consumer. No $20,000 dollar projectors needed to make that sale.
Knownothing, I could not disagree with you more.
The minute, and I mean the absolute minute, that movie studios start releasing all movies to digital downloade the same day that they release the DVD/BluRay you can start selling Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stock short. Why on earth would you go rent and have to return, with possible penalties, the same movie you could rent via cable or media server in HD? My point is that the difference in BluRay is not going to make them run to the store.
Also, why would studios want to spend the money printing the DVD if they can just have it downloaded? Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper every day, you will be able to store, and back up, movies very cheaply, very quickly. I have a Drobo with Drobo share now, it's INFINITE storage really, that back's itself up, I have hundreds of hours of HD video of my kids on it now. When it read 50% full I changed 2 of the 4 drives to 1TB from 500MB and you know what, it cost me a whole $200. I think it's going that direction.
Also my perspective comes from being the guy everyone goes to with AV questions. It's just a hobby, but I probably help purchase/install about 15-20 AV systems a year for co-workers and friends, and I help more people just purchase their gear. I never, never steer them to BluRay, and once anyone has seen an AppleTV they almost always buy one. Between the music server function, and almost everyone already has iTunes, and the downloading movies, they can't believe how cheap it is, I'm with them.
Why, why, why mess with discs???
This experience also has made me believe vinyl and DAC's will continue and expand their renewed popularity. If you think downloadable HD movies are years and years away, I need to ask you if even 2 yrs ago you thought the majority of digital audiophiles would get rid of their disc players and buy outboard DAC's to play digital files?? That's where it's gone, and continues to go. High res or low res, digital is only a file now, not a disc.
Vinyl is still better (best) and will continue, I believe, to grow again along side the digital file/DAC craze. Once agian, my experience is not one dinner party at our house has not been followed by at least 2 calls for help in buying a turntable.
All that said, I like my Oppo, but it's really for the full multidisc capability, not the BluRay.
Albert, I have not compared but who cares really? Your not going to quit playing vinyl, and the SACD's don't sound as good as vinyl on the best rigs so.... Hey where are you in Texas, what a great rig, if it's Austin I could bring you some wine when I go on a road trip from Houston........
It's interesting that the only variables really being considered here regarding the timeframe for downloadable movies are consumer demand and technological capacity (for streaming full 1080P movies, etc.), when the real fly in the ointment is the incredibly complex legal agreements that studios secure regarding the exclusive rights and release schedule for every single film they produce.
After its theatrical run, a film has an exclusive period for pay-per-view, or airlines/hotels, or premium cable, or dvds, etc. These are incredibly complex and long-standing agreements, through which the studios get forwarded much of the money they use to finance the films' productions, so they can just cut and run overnight because they see an opportunity in downloadable content. The studios are now becoming more and more interested in downloadable content, but it will still be a LONG time before the vast majority of movies are available in 1080p on demand; the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, recently said that it would be at least ten years before that happens.
Think about that, DVDs officially came out twelve years ago, and Blu-Ray came out about two years ago; that means that there's still an entire format cycle left before the legal and technological hurdles surrounding downloadable content are overcome. This isn't a question a consumer demand or consumer techno-savvy, it's a question of a fundamental paradigm shift in content delivery that simply cannot be exploited at the present time because of these longstanding structures.
Albert, I have not compared but who cares really? Your not going to quit playing vinyl, and the SACD's don't sound as good as vinyl on the best rigs so.... Hey where are you in Texas, what a great rig, if it's Austin I could bring you some wine when I go on a road trip from Houston........
Not quite that close, I'm in Dallas but would be glad to share wine with you. I have a bunch of 2005 French that's excellent and I share with friends :^).
I need some kind of disc player. When I sold my McCormack UDP-1 Deluxe for the Pioneer Elite the image quality went up, although sound wise I took a hit. However, as you say I listen to LP and open reel tape for most of my music anyway.
The debate for me is between Oppo and Elite Pioneer. Before anyone says anything about price, I can get Elite for a screaming deal, so don't go by that criteria.
So should I stay with present Elite BDP-95FD, upgrade to new Elite BDP 09FD or switch over to Oppo BDP-83. The only criteria is best image from Blue Ray and DVD and best sound with Redbook.
redbook with the oppo was very partisan to say the least. I have not tried it yet as a transport with a stand alone DAC since I have a new tube DAC on the way from Paul G at Tube Audio Design, and I am assuming that will be a huge upgrade.
I thought the SACD and DVD-Audio were very good, and DVD's and BluRay look amazing.
To the point of the legal arguements over BluRay rights, I find it hard to believe that the precident has not been set already with the DVD rights since that is digital media as well. It's just a variation of DVD, not really a new media in the fact that it's just higher resolution digital information. DVD was a change from analog to digital, where the information could be diseminated differently. So I'm not buying the legal rights issues are going to take the same time.