Blu-ray outsells DVD this Christmas, says Asda
Sun, Jan 1st 2012
Blu-ray players have finally outsold DVD players over the
Christmas period, as the format starts to dominate the market five years after
However, Blu-ray has not seen such a definitive rise over DVD players, compared
to VHS's domination over Betamax in 1980s.
Asda feels that Blu-ray's modest growth is due to a "more subtle" difference in
Blu-ray supports a maximum resolution of 1920x1080 (1080p), while DVD is limited
to 720x576 (480p).
Blu-ray also uses enhanced compression technology to produce smooth contrast and
richer colours, superior to that of even high-definition satellite TV images.
Asda feels that with HD TVs becoming more common in UK homes, Blu-ray's superior
picture quality and ability to 'upscale' standard DVDs is "at last poised to
fulfil its potential".
Wayne Steenson, the vision expert at Asda, said: "More and more UK homes are now
equipped to enjoy the full benefit of high-definition Blu-ray discs and we're
pleased to be offering Blu-ray players at the lowest price in the market."
Government to close cheap DVD and Blu-ray loophole during 2012
Sun 13th Nov, 2011
So – the government wants a level playing field regarding
taxation, but refuses to look at mysterious DVD player region restrictions…
DVDExploder says, ridiculous!
The UK government has introduced a scheme that could well totter cheap DVD
importers such as Play.com and Amazon - closing the loophole currently allowing
cheap importation of DVD, Blu-ray, and CD discs from the UK Channel Islands.
In short, as of 01/04/2012, some of our favourite retailers will no longer gain
the advantage of tax relief from Channel Island imports, meaning more expensive
DVDs for EU residents.
The government has already chopped the Low Value Consignment Relief maximum from
£18 to £15, as of 11/11/2011 (just in time for Christmas) - but is to be
scrapped altogether in 2012. This is sad news considering that the UK and
Germany are the largest Blu-ray purchasers globally. Source, Twentieth Century
This means that online retailers may have to look further afield for cheap
imports, outside of the EU. DVDExploder says this will simply encourage the
thriving culture of DVD piracy. After all, who wants to pay the government extra
for the simple pleasures in life?
Here’s what David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury says about the
"These reforms will ensure that UK companies, especially small and medium-sized
enterprises, can compete on a level playing field with those larger companies
with the resources to set up operations in the Channel Islands."
Or is it simply a ruse, raising further taxes to finance our floundering
economy? David, please don’t use honest DVD and Blu-ray film fans to plug your
financial hole. It wouldn’t even touch the sides!
Sony Blu-ray Player - IN 3D
Wed 10th Feb, 2010
From cinema to your living room - the 3-D
viewing experience can be bought from a store near you. Sony have announced the
practically priced $200 BDP-S470, capable of reading 3-D discs using a new
A number of other Blu-ray players will also be 3-D compatible using the same
firmware upgrade - including the $250 BDP-S570, owing its higher cost to
built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi. However, both can access online services with an
Ethernet cable. The $550 BDV-E570 and $650 BDV-E770W Blu-ray home theatre
systems both become 3-D capable using a simple USB wireless adapter.
One Sony system that will miss out on 3-D glory is the BDP-S370, priced at just
All of these products have begun shipping and are available for purchase.
Denon S-5BD 'Cara' Blu-ray player announced
Tue 9th Feb, 2010
Denon has announced
the arrival of its latest all-in-one
Blu-ray system, the S-5BD.
The Denon S-5BD, or Cara as it is
more affectionately known, is
Denon's attempt at making its
high-end AV kit more affordable.
Combining an 5.1-channel surround
sound amplifier with a Blu-ray
player, Denon is incorporating
technology used in its £4,500
DVD-A1UD Blu-ray player, combining
it with an amplifier which pipes out
nearly 400W of sound.
Also on-board is a Compressed Audio
Restorer, which promises to get
better sound out of your MP3s and
support for Dolby Pro Logic and
Dolby TrueHD/DTSHD Master Audio.
The system is Profile 2.0 and HDMI
1.4 compatible, so you will be able
to spin those 3D-Ready Blu-ray discs
when they make an appearance later
in the year.
Price-wise, it's going to retail for
£1,999. Expensive, but compared to
some of the kit released by Denon,
it's a bit of a steal.
Blu-ray News: A Technology Too Far?
Wed 4th Mar, 2009
ago, Blu-ray machines seemed destined to substitute basic DVD
technology after out-selling HD-DVD on the high street. Does this mean
that simple, reliable DVD have been usurped from our living rooms?
Strangely, although an average DVD player doesn’t match
Blu-ray’s high definition quality, Blu-ray sales have been slow – so
say Reevoo. In fact, since
Christmas ’08, simple ‘DVD’ has outperformed its big brother, selling
ten times as many units. Even Sony predicted a fall in sales for 2009.
This becomes more obvious when you look at pricing.
While Blu-ray players sell for around £200, you can pick up a decent
DVD player for less than £50. It begs the question – do people with a
large DVD collection really want to re-buy all their favourite movies
on a more expensive format, for a questionable increase in quality?
Another reason why Blu-ray sales are suffering could be
that many people happily record films from Sky+ straight to
hard-drive, or download to a PC, leaving no advantage to buying new,
relatively expensive hardware.
After all, DVD solved all the major VHS problems – a
cumbersome format that enslaved you to FF-RW buttons and left you
wondering how eliminate an irritating flicker at the top of the
screen. Remember all that? If you’re under 16, I doubt it.
In fact, Blu-ray owners might complain at the ponderous
response time of their players, with a frustrating gap between
pressing ‘play’ and the film actually starting. Have we somehow
slipped back a few years for the sake of a crisper picture? And what’s
the point of ‘high-definition’ anyway when your eyes aren’t 20-20?
Okay, so I’m playing Devil’s advocate with that one.
The bottom line here is that although Blu-ray offers
greater definition, just how much are we willing to spend to achieve
Blu-ray News: Blu-ray Production Costs Slashed
Mon 2nd March, 2009
For a manufacturer, the development of
Blu-ray technology (including Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and CD) has been strained by a confused licensing
procedure. To integrate Blu-ray equipment into any DVD player or
DVD-ROM, manufacturers must liaise with every Blu-ray patent holder
and arrange a specific product license.
However, Sony, Panasonic & Philips (amongst other patent holders) have
joined forces to create a united licensing authority for all Blu-ray
manufacturers. An integrated licensing body will be run by an
independent company based in the United States, allowing all patent
holders to join as both a licensor and shareholder.
This will permit Blu-ray to grow as costs are discounted – around 40%
for patent fees alone. For every product produced, licenses will be
$9.50 for a Blu-ray Disc player and $14 for a Blu-ray Disc recorder.
Disc fees will be $0.11 for ‘read-only’, $0.12 for a ‘recordable’ and
$0.15 for a rewritable disc.
It seems that The Big Three have found a way to secure their
intellectual property and pool a great deal of money in one company.
Also, as royalties are paid in a more identifiable manner and
manufacturers are forced to meet contractual obligations, unlicensed
products will be highlighted in the market place. Indeed, a single Blu-ray
licensing company should ease license-compliance issues and make
chasing down non fee-paying offenders much easier.
With the creation of a new licensing body, Sony, Panasonic & Philips
must feel additional manufacturers turning their attentions to Blu-ray
and are jumping to secure future royalties. In fact, at CES 2009, a
number of China-based manufacturers displayed Blu-ray Disc players.
Although a big score for the intellectual property owners, a 40%
reduction in royalties with spell a win for consumers. As
manufacturing costs fall, shoppers could see lower in-store prices by
the end of the year. A decent Blu-ray player for $100 on the horizon?
It seems so!
Blu-ray/HD NEWS: Amazon Offering $50 Gift Certificate to HD DVD
Wed Apr 09, 2008
In a move reminiscent of last month's Best Buy
offer, Amazon has begun contacting customers who qualify for a
$50 gift certificate for purchasing HD-DVD players.
In a company email that has begun going out to qualifying
customers, the company states that players purchased before
February 23, 2008, the same date specified in the Best Buy
offer, qualify for the gift certificate, which can be used for
new purchases on the site.
The email states, "New technologies don't always work out as
planned. We at Amazon.com value our customer relationships more
than anything and would like to support customers who purchased
these players by offering a credit good for $50." The
announcement does list some restrictions for the certificate's
Unlike the Best Buy offer, the company does not mention trade-in
options for HD DVD media, but does state that the "Amazon.com
Marketplace is available to sell items you might not want
anymore as you upgrade to new ones." Perhaps suggesting that
customer's might want to use their certificates to bring down
the price of a shiny new Blu-ray player.
The program will run through April 9, 2009, so customers have
plenty of time to take advantage of the offer.
Blu-ray/HD NEWS: Vanguard Ends HD DVD Support with 'Disco Pigs,'
Makes Move to Blu
Thu Mar 27, 2008
Indie Vanguard has confirmed that it will close
out its HD DVD support with the June release of 'Disco Pigs,'
and that it plans to begin releasing titles on Blu-ray later
Although Vanguard says there will be no official statement to
come, the company has released an updated high-def release
schedule that confirms they will no longer issue any new titles
on the format following the June 24 HD DVD debut of the Cillian
Murphy-starrer 'Disco Pigs.'
Also nixed from the company's schedule were two
previously-announced HD-DVD releases, 'The Low Life' and 'Animal
When asked for comment on Vanguard's future high-def plans, a
company rep told us that a move to Blu-ray is currently in the
planning stages for later this year. Initial titles and street
date information are yet to be determined.
BCI Moves to Blu, Cancels Upcoming HD DVD Slate
Wed Mar 26, 2008
UPDATE 03/26/08: We've received word from BCI
that the 'Son of Paleface/My Favorite Brunette' HD DVD will be
available via select retailers as originally scheduled. The
company has no plans to support the format with any further
releases. We've updated our database accordingly.
BCI/Eclipse has announced it has become the latest indie to go
Blu, and has cancelled all previously-scheduled HD DVD titles.
The indie distributor was the first major indie to announce HD-DVD support in late 2006, with a line-up of diverse cult gems
that included 'Galaxina,' 'Golgo 13' and 'The Way of the World.'
After a delay of over a year, however, only 'Galaxina' finally
showed up in stores earlier this year, joining such recent BCI
HD DVD releases as 'Ultimate Force' and the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby
double-feature 'Road to Rio/Road to Bali.'
BCI had originally announced its latest HD-DVD title (another
Bob Hope double-header, 'My Favorite Brunette'/'Son of
Paleface') was due to hit stores this week, but it failed to
materialize on retail shelves. When asked for comment, a BCI rep
confirmed to us that the company has nixed the release, as well
any future support for the format.
Fans can still look forward to future next-gen BCI titles,
however, as they will continue to throw their weight behind Blu-ray
(the company has so far released 'Ultimate Force' on the format,
as well as the "double feature" titles, 'Night of the
Werewolf/Vengeance of the Zombies' and 'Sister Street
Fighter/Sister Street Fighter 2'). According to the rep, it is
planning a more aggressive Blu-ray line-up for later this year,
although exact titles and street dates have yet to be
Blu-ray NEWS: Jan 2008
With HD-DVD on its last
legs, it seems like a pretty good time to do a round up of some
of the best and most interesting Blu-ray players on the market.
Of course, it's not all a bed of roses for Blu-ray. Despite
having a lot of studio support, the players come in a variety of
capabilities and not one of them supports the same
BDP-S1E doesn't support
Profile 1.1, which means that if you buy it, you won't be able
to enjoy enhanced interactivity and picture-in-picture support.
A sniff around and you might get it for less than £500, but
that's still more expensive than
The good news is that if you
PS3, it's a good Blu-ray player. Some say it's the best
-- and they might be right -- because it's upgradable, has all
the features of Profile 2 and Profile 1.1, and can also play
PS3 games. You can pick one up for about £300 these days,
which means it's one of the better valued high-end players on
the market. Of course, this is because the
PS3 is being subsidised by
Sony. So if 20 million people bought one and never bought
Sony would go bust in three minutes flat.
If you don't want a Sony
player, then how about going for either the high end or the low
end? At the bottom of the range, there is the
Sharp BD-HP20H, which at
just £300 really is quite cheap for a standalone.
It doesn't support Profile
1.1, but then again neither does the
Pioneer BDP-LX70 and it
costs quite a lot more.
Blu-ray NEWS: Feb. 27, 2007
Sony has formally announced its
BDP-S300 Blu-ray player, which carries a $600 price tag, can
handle audio CDs, and leaves Samsung's current $1,000 offerings
twisting in the wind.
Sony has formally announced its
forthcoming BPD-S300 Blu-ray disc player, which the company
teased on Monday. At an estimated price around $600, the BCP-S300
will significantly undercut current price points for Blu-ray disc
players (currently around $1,000 for units like Sony's own BDP-S1)
when it ships "this summer," presumably leaving those
now-overpriced players to gather dust on dealers' shelves or be
sold at significant discounts to make way for the newer, younger,
Sony has said it expects prices for Blu-ray
players to drop to under $500 in time for for the 2007 end-of-year
The BDP-S300 supports BD-ROM,BD-Java, AVC-HD,
and standard DVD playback, as well as standard CD audio (a feature
not present on the BDP-S1). The system can also read MP3 audio and
JPEG images stored on DVD media. The unit offers HDMI and HD
component outputs for supporting 1080p and 1080i output,
respectively, along with optical and co-ax digital audio output,
with 5.1 channel decoding for backward compatibility with many
existing receivers. The player will also support discs encoded
with xvYCC, an international standard enabling larger color
spaces, which Sony implements under the name x.v.Color. The system
also supports Sony's Bravia Theater Sync, which—when used in
conjunction with Sony's new Bravia displays enables users to turn
on matching connected devices and switch inputs with the touch of
Expect the BDP-S300 "this summer"—in the
northern hemisphere, anyway—for around $600…before that, maybe
look for fire sales on existing Blu-ray players, if you can't wait
to take sides in the Blu-ray/HD DVD battle.
Blu-ray News: Blu-ray vs.
As far as Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD goes, it seems less and less likely that negotiation
will take place on a next generation format. The ongoing talks between the
two camps, seem to have entirely dissolved. This is a disappointment, as
the HD DVD and Blu-ray factions have wasted countless opportunities to
produce one universal disc. Anybody remember Betamax vs. VHS? In a few
short months we’ll have to make the decision ourselves as to what
generation we choose to buy into. Other than refusing to accept either
format we can at least try to appreciate the nature of the circumstances
Philips's development of the Laserdisc way back in 1969 yielded many of
the technologies Sony carried over and adopted when they partnered with
Philips. This helped create the groundbreaking CD in '79. The same
companies worked together again in the early 1990s to create a new
high-density disc called the MultiMedia Compact Disc (MMCD). However, this
format was eventually forsaken in favour of Toshiba's Super Density Disc (SD),
having the majority of backers at the time, including Mitsubishi, Hitachi,
Matsushita (Panasonic), Pioneer, Time Warner and Thomson.
The two factions cut a
deal, brokered by IBM president Lou Gerstner, on a new format – the common
DVD disc we all know and love. After the dust settled in 1995/1996 Toshiba
found themselves at the top of the pack, leaving Sony and Philips, who
weren't fully ‘in’ on the deal’s standard technology, to begin work on a
next generation system. Angered by this, Sony looked for new technological
developments to outdo its rivals. In fact the Professional Disc for DATA (PDD
or ProDATA), was based on an optical disc system Sony had been developing
in the background. This eventually became the Blu-ray disc. Not to be
outdone by the pair, Toshiba waded in with its next generation system -
the Advanced Optical Disc. This soon evolved into the HD-DVD.
Ye gods! 35 years after
the development of optical audio/video disc technology we see the same
battling techno giants, threatening to stomp all over the consumer
electronics industry. Okay, so here’s some technical clarification.
Blu-ray and HD-DVD
systems use the same 405nm wavelength blue-violet laser, although their
optics differ in two ways. Although the Blu-ray disc has a tighter track
pitch (the thread of data that spirals from the inside of the disc all the
way out – much like the groove on a 12-inch vinyl - it can hold more pits.
Think of pits as microscopic 0s and 1s. This means it can hold more data
on the same size disc as HD-DVD, even with a laser of the same wavelength.
Unfortunately, the differing track pitch of the Blu-ray disc makes its
pickup apertures differ, making its optics incompatible with HD-DVD
despite using lasers of the same type. If you’re interested, HD-DVD uses a
0.65 aperture versus 0.85 for Blu-ray. HD-DVD discs also have a different
surface layer, that’s the clear plastic surface of the disc holding the
data. HD-DVD uses a 0.6 mm-thick surface layer, while Blu-ray has a much
smaller 0.1mm layer, enabling the laser to focus its larger 0.85 aperture.
This is the main issue
associated with the higher cost of Blu-ray discs. The thinner surface
layer make the discs more expensive to produce, as Blu-ray discs do not
share the same surface thickness of DVDs. This means costly production
facilities must be modified or replaced in order to produce these discs.
To make production even costlier, a hard coating must also be applied to a
Blu-ray disc surface, making it tough enough to protect the data 0.1mm
beneath. Why bother? Well, the benefit of keeping a data layer closer to
the surface leaves more room for extra layers of data. Fantastic, more
room for films and data - other than the fact a Blu-ray disc costs much
more than the beloved DVD discs we have at home.
So now you know why Blu-ray discs cost more, and why
Toshiba are bashing our heads in trying to sell us their products. DVDExploder’s opinion..? Keep it simple with a HD-DVD. At least it will
give you the opportunity to unlock a ‘normal’ player and make them region
free using handset DVD codes.
For your information - the first Blu-ray DVD player has been launched! -
the Samsung BD-P1000.
Plays Blu-ray discs in true high-definition; upscales standard DVDs to
high-definition; sleek design; 1080p output via HDMI.
The bad: Twice as expensive
as the competing HD-DVD player; very few titles available at launch; video
quality on initial titles less impressive than HD-DVD versions; slower
load times; some operational bugs.
The bottom line: With video
quality that's impressive but still not as good as its HD-DVD competition,
the costly Samsung BD-P1000 will appeal only to those willing to risk a
grand on a first-generation player in the middle of a format war.
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