Blu-Ray Movie Prices Start to Come Down

 Blu-Ray, Budget, DVD  Comments Off on Blu-Ray Movie Prices Start to Come Down
Feb 222009

Blu-Ray sale pricing has begun to show signs of coming down, not to DVD levels but it is still an improvement. Mainstream titles such as Black Hawk Down, The Shining and Underworld can be found regularly for $14.99 along with a smattering of other archive titles. I picked up MiB and The Fifth Element for $9.99 recently as well.

New releases still seem to be holding to the $22.99 – $29.99 pricing structure but I expect to start seeing these come down over the next year as well. Blu-Ray has continued to show market strength in a difficult economy and can only go up from where we stand today. Archive titles are at a price worth considering VS their DVD counterparts already, at least if you remain patient.

I have found the best prices at Fry’s and Amazon with some surprise bargains at Best Buy. On a side note, for those of us who still have HD-DVD players, Fry’s has some very good deals on the remainder of their HD-DVD stock. I picked up Battlestar Galactica: Season 1 for $9.99 and a number of other titles for under $5 recently.

For true bargain hunters, the wait is nearly over and for those simply looking for a good deal to add to their collection, the time has come. Happy Hunting.

The Golden Age of Movie Collecting

 Blu-Ray, Budget, DVD  Comments Off on The Golden Age of Movie Collecting
Feb 202009

It was 1998 when I first started collecting DVDs, and oh what a time it was. Buy one get ones were all over the web, it was difficult to pay more than five or six bucks for a disc back then, if you knew where to go. It was the golden age of collecting and in a very real way, it was responsible for the super fast adoption of DVD.

Blu-Ray has seen its share of buy 2 get one deals, super special pricing and so forth, but it in no way compares to the early days of DVD. It was the perfect storm. I was working for an online company at the time and was very in-tune with the fledgling industry as a whole. The rise of the internet played a big part in the surge of consumer technology. New product news traveled fast and people wanted it, now.

The general idea behind internet sales sites was not to make money, at least not for a few years or even a decade. It was all about being cool and getting as many customers in your doors as possible. Music, movies and book sales were the driving force behind Amazon and many other companies, they practically gave away the media. Just to ensure they were not going to make any money soon, they often threw in free shipping.

I miss those days but I also realize that they had to end in order for these companies to survive. I grit my teeth when I look at prices for new releases and have had to adopt a different mindset when adding to my collection. In the old days. I bought everything the week it came out, assuming it had received high ratings for picture and sound quality. Today it is more difficult to get me out there on any given Tuesday, I can wait most of the time.

Waiting serves two purposes and unless I absolutely know I have to get the movie, I wait. First off, waiting means the price will come down, way down in most cases. Second, I end up finding I really didn’t need the movie. I rent it and will probably never watch it again.

Waiting was unthinkable before, I would miss out on the good deals… hey, wait a minute… you know what? That old marketing ploy actually worked. Amazon got me collecting on the cheap, they hooked me like a pusher births a junkie. All those years ago I thought I was taking advantage of these companies but they were just waiting for my addiction to fully kick in.

I don’t collect as much crap as I used to and I figure the stores I buy at are even making a little money off of me now. Perhaps Blu-Ray needs to go out and offer up a few cheap highs to the public. It worked in the past, besides, I could deal with a good sale on Blu-Ray movies right now. I still have a taste for the addiction but I am staying on the wagon, at least for now.

Top 5 Concert Albums, DVD, and Blu-Ray Discs

 Blu-Ray, DVD, Music Review  Comments Off on Top 5 Concert Albums, DVD, and Blu-Ray Discs
Feb 132009

My love affair with concert albums, and now concert DVD and Blu-Ray discs started back in the 70s with Frampton Comes Alive and Journey:  Captured. Since then I have listened to far more disappointing concert albums than good, but there are a handful of concerts I consider great in every way.

With the advent of concert DVDs and Blu-Rays, I am now able to place myself in the front row and let the experience envelope me. Based on my age I know many of these concerts will not appeal to the younger crowd but they are without doubt fantastic examples of what can be done when magic strikes on concert night.

When it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray concerts, I have a strict criteria for whether a disc gets my love or not. The disc must be a concert, not a documentary that continually breaks up the experience.

I found Peter Gabriel while I was going through my MTV, New Wave phase back in the 80s. Shock the Monkey received a lot of airplay and opened the door for me to experience what a master of epic concert drama is capable of. When I first popped Growing Up Live into my DVD player I had not given Peter a serious listen for several years. While I appreciate his work in the later 80s and early 90s, it was not something I listened to often. Growing Up Live changed that when I was blown away by not only the complexity of the music, but also the theatrical powerhouse of a show that unfolded.

Growing Up Live became my reference DVD immediately, the picture quality is peter gabriel growing upoutstanding and the DTS 5.1 track is mind blowing. I have found few DVDs that can provide as quality a test for speakers. I take this along every time I look for speakers and can tell immediately if they meet my requirements. The music, the show, and the quality make this my number one pick.

Neil Young’s Live Rust is a powerful set that begins with an all-acoustic set before blasting off when Crazy Horse walks onto the stage. There is no denying the otherworldly, artistic talent that flows from the mind and heart of Neil Young and this is one of his best moments.

U2 caught my attention way back with their first two albums but lost me afterward. I was never offended by their music, it certainly was impressive but the rebel magic of Sunday Bloody Sunday was gone in my mind. I was lucky enough to live in Denver and see Under a Blood Red Sky but that isn’t my pick here despite being an amazing concert. My pick is U2 Go Home – Live from Slane Castle, it is a perfect evening that makes me understand what I was missing when I dismissed U2 during the 90s.

My wife is a huge Elvis Costello fan and while I have always enjoyed his music it wasn’t until she got front row tickets for an Austin show that I really gave him a serious listen. While that show was amazing the Blu-Ray, Elvis Costello & the Imposters: Club Date – Live in Memphis has the master in a very small venue and at his best. This one is not to be missed.

Tom Petty has been dragging my heart around for years and his music has only gotten better with each passing year. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Live in Concert catches Tom and the band doing what they do best for two discs. Blues and rock from his career and a selection of work from other artists make this an evening to enjoy. The sound and picture quality are superb. This disc deserves a night in your theater.

I know I am going to be hammered for leaving out the Eagles, Peter Frampton and many other fine bands. I can only say that this is my current top 5 and while it evolves with time, you can’t go wrong with any of these concerts.



There is no Difference Between DVD and Blu-Ray

 Blu-Ray, DVD, General Ranting, Home Theater Equipment  Comments Off on There is no Difference Between DVD and Blu-Ray
Feb 122009

More and more I hear, “there is no difference between DVD
and Blu-Ray” and I am shocked, dismayed and can do nothing more than scratch my
head. How can anyone with eyes not see the improvement over upscaled DVD? Is
Toshiba working behind the scenes to brainwash people as payback for losing the
format war?

I will admit to the fact that I do not always see the financial
benefit to HD sound or 1080p source material but I sure as hell can see and
hear the difference. I think a fly, with its multi-faceted view of the world
can see the difference. When I have to consider budget however, many times the
DVD wins out. I have discussed my buying criteria in previous articles so I won’t
rehash it here.

I did find a clue to at least one person’s unfavorable
review of DVD VS Blu-Ray however and just so no one else makes this mistake…
You cannot connect your Blu-Ray player to your HDTV with a composite cable (the
yellow one) and see 1080p or even good 480p. You must use at least a component cable
(red, green, blue) for 1080i and HDMI or DVI cables for 1080p.

I understand that to many people, connecting anything to a
TV or receiver is akin to launching the space shuttle, but you spent a lot of
money for your system, read the manual and get what you pay for. If you don’t
want to, can’t or the manual isn’t available in your native language get help
from a friend!

DVD is a wonderful media and I still buy movies on it. The
picture is great and for many of the movies I purchase, quite adequate. Blu-Ray
is amazing and many of my purchased go to HD. The point is, there is in fact, a
huge difference between the formats for movies that are well produced. I
understand that Blu-Ray doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget and that many people
do not have a display that is HD capable. Down the road when prices are right
or there is a beautiful new HDTV in your living room, I hope you make the smart
choice and jump onto the Blu-Ray train, it is better in every way.

Why are the studios waiting for Blu-Ray profile 3.0?

 Blu-Ray, Home Theater, Home Theater Equipment  Comments Off on Why are the studios waiting for Blu-Ray profile 3.0?
Feb 102009

Why are the studios waiting for Blu-Ray profile 3.0 to begin
seriously releasing Blu-Ray music only discs? For those of you who are not familiar
with profile 3.0 it is a simple update to the existing Blu-Ray versions.
Profile 3.0 allows an audio only disc to start by itself, without menus when
placed into the Blu-Ray player.

While skipping all of the menu nonsense sounds great, I ,and
I am sure many of my fellow audiophiles would happily buy music only Blu-Ray
discs now and wait for the upgrade for auto start. Profile 3.0 uses the
existing formats, including the lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio
along with uncompressed audio in stereo and multi-channel. This is a huge leap over
the current Redbook CD and even DVD-A and SACD.

DVD-A and SACD have essentially killed each other off with a
little help from downloadable music formats. It doesn’t take a quantum physicist
to see that the public has moved towards mobile media but there is still a
strong demand for solid medias. Vinyl continues to grow as a new generation
becomes aware of its superior sound quality and CD sales, while slowing are
still the choice for many of us.

Get it right this time and start selling the profile 3 discs
now, they work just fine on any Blu-Ray player. Getting the media out there now
will create an enthusiastic following, which will make the advent of profile
3.0 players a marketer’s wet dream. Give the early adaptors something special
for their loyalty, bring out the profile 3.0 media today.