Blu-Ray Adoption

Predicting The Curves

I’m wondering whether it’s worth it to stay behind the trailing edge of adopting Blu-ray. I imagine that using this technology is very much a personal decision and depends on a lot of factors, but I suspect that there’s also a demographic sweet spot that Blu-ray adopters are living in, and I think it’s mainly a financial thing (i.e. having a lot of disposable income not destined for other forms of entertainment).

Though I am typically defined as a “techie” the hardware I use for A/V is woefully primitive. My computer monitor is way more advanced than my TV (a roughly nine year old 32″ Panasonic tube which still works wonderfully well); I no longer have a DVR and only use cable for Internet access, I use a PS2 for a DVD player, and my DVD collection is quite small – mainly because I only believe in purchasing DVDs that I can watch over and over again. I once had a stereo and speaker set, but found that I never really used it much, so I guess I’m not really an audiophile.

Anyhow, when I think about going Blu-ray, the following confronts me: I have to create a whole new ecosystem. I’ll really need to get an HDTV, and I’ll have to get a Blu-ray player. It would also make sense to get a nice little sound system, even a cheapo CostCo one. All of that will probably be around $3500 after taxes, I’m sure. When faced with this up front investment and set up effort, I balk a bit. I pause and consider how much time I really spend in front of a television. I have no desire to buy Blu-ray versions of the DVDs I already own, if versions of them even exist, so what would all that new hardware get me? I can always set up Netflix to deliver me Blu-ray disc rentals, but how extensive is the Blu-ray catalog really; do the movies I want to see even exist on Blu-ray? Is having a home theater really important to me at all? I think the answer is “not really” and I think that’s a function of the fact that I go out more than I stay in.

I am leaning very heavily towards just ignoring Blu-ray altogether, and solely relying on streamed and downloaded HD content (via torrents or Hulu or Netflix or iTunes). It gives Sony less of a foothold in my world, it’s more economically and environmentally friendly (fewer things destined for landfills). I know somewhere down the line I will be getting an HDTV, but it will only happen when my TV dies or when I make another big move to a new residence (it’s way too heavy to move again, too much hassle). Ideally, I would like my next TV to have wireless and Bluetooth built in, and allow me to stream content to it via various sources. I don’t really care about having a gigantic display – maybe it would just make sense for me to get a 30″ Apple Cinema display down the road and just use that for everything? I just wish it were more “television-like” where I could just plug in component cables or s-video and have those things pump a signal into it…

9 Comments

  1. rovanda

    I’m currently in the “ignore Blu-Ray and stick with regular DVDs, streaming and downloads until something really better comes along” camp…

  2. jessnut

    I’m assuming that your monitor is HD. So why don’t you just get a Blu-Ray DVD drive. Last I checked they cost around $100. If you really wanted you could get a bigger monitor too, or a TV tuner card and then connect your PC directly to your TV (if you get a newer TV too).

    I think you could do the whole thing for maybe $100 – $1,500 depending on how much you want to upgrade your computer or around $2,500 if you want to go with a stand alone TV unit, HD TVs aren’t that much anymore.

  3. mik3cap

    I thought about that, but it’s just not quite big enough…

  4. mik3cap

    I really believe that anyone who isn’t a home theater maven is also in this camp. It’s bad news for Sony.

  5. If your current stuff isn’t broken, and you’re happy with what you’ve got now, why change anything?

    You don’t need to overhaul everything at once (unless, like me, everything was destroyed by fire/water. While it’s very effective, I do not recommend this method). If/when something craps out, upgrade it. PS3 is a blu-ray player if that’s your thing, but it also plays regular DVDs as well.

  6. mik3cap

    I’ve seen stunning pictures on HD using Blu-ray, but that was at the WIRED store in NYC, and I know it was super high end equipment. It would be nice to have that kind of experience in my home, but it’s really a high end luxury at this point.

    I guess it’s just me figuring out what my long term spending will be and deciding where purchase power will go; for example, in the case of the PS3, all I see with that thing is that it’s a vehicle for Blu-ray and serves no other purpose (no games for PS3 pique my interest at all). So if I never plan to go Blu-ray, I’ll never end up buying one.

  7. jessnut

    A newer, larger HD monitor isn’t that expensive, less than a TV at least.

  8. boxee

    I have nothing else to say about this, and even boxee is repeated in ignorance. goodluck.