Tag Archive for Blu-ray

Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray and DVD today

Iron Man 2 Blu-ray

I used to read comic books. Admittedly, I still pick one up and flip through the pages to see what’s going on with some of my favorites.

One favorite has always been Iron Man.

I loved the first Iron Man movie. I probably saw it at least 6 times in the theater. I bought the DVD shortly after it came out… and I was waiting for it to come out, too.

I didn’t think the second one was as good as the first. The first one was good enough to make up for it, I guess. I was concerned the filmmakers wouldn’t work so hard on the second one. It’s easy to do when then first was so successful.

Regardless, Iron Man 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD today. Both can be bought with digital copies for your computer or laptop. You can use the links here to take advantage of the great prices at Buy.com.

Iron Man 2 Blu-ray

Iron Man 2 Blu-ray

Iron Man 2 DVD

Iron Man 2 DVD

Video: To Stream or Not To Stream

That is today’s question.

Apple iTunes

I’m referring to the video streaming services that are available for the home consumer market today: Netflix, CinemaNow, Amazon’s Video on Demand, and Blockbuster. Streaming video, for those unfamiliar, allows you to watch a video while it downloads. This was available to computers originally, and has since moved on to include televisions via game consoles and set-top boxes, and mobile phones most recently through YouTube and MySpace among others.

Netflix, Inc.

I’ve read a lot of articles with a lot of opinions on which is better or best, but it seems clear to me there is no one service that works best for everyone and every viewing platform:

  • Not everyone wants to watch video or TV on their computer or mobile phone
  • Not everyone wants to pay $300 for a phone or a box
  • Not everyone watches videos on a regular monthly basis

As Tim Berry at business planning site Bplans.com says, “Not everyone is your customer.”

What Services are there?

Computer Services

For streaming video to your computer you have many choices: Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon’s Video on Demand, iTunes, and CinemaNow among others. Some of these, such as iTunes, aren’t true streaming services since the video must be partially or completely downloaded first in order to be watched, but broadband Internet access is sharply reducing the amount of time one must wait for the video to download.

All you need is some video playing software on your computer in order to watch the videos. Some services use popular pre-existing programs such as Apple’s Quicktime (which is included with iTunes) and Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. Some services, such as Amazon’s Video on Demand use their own software. (Amazon has their Unbox Video player software.) Others, such as Google’s YouTube and Hulu from NBC Universal and News Corp. can be watched in your browser.

Some of these services charges have a monthly subscription fee you can use, or you can pay on demand. If you watch videos frequently, they are bound to have a monthly subscription plan that you will find suitable. Otherwise you can expect to pay at least $1.99 or $3.99 per video for on demand service. New releases tend to be harding to get as not all film distributors are willing to make their videos available in this fashion.

Television

Netflix Devices

Netflix Devices

The number of television services are increasing rapidly, but, in my opinion, still has a way to go. Quality is still not dependable from the true streaming services.

For example, Netflix, a perennial favorite, allows you to stream to your computer, and a variety of network media boxes are available which allow you to connect your computer to your television though your home computer network. You also have the option of streaming to a TiVo digital video recorder, a Xbox 360 game console, or a LG BD300 or Samsung’s BD-P2500 or BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc players. The video will download at the highest possible speed with the highest possible picture quality, but if there is a increase in demand the picture quality reduces to maintain the download speed necessary to keep the picture moving. A recent increase in usage by Xbox 360 owners caused such an increase in demand that some experienced picture qualities they considered “unwatchable”.

Vudu
Take control! Get movies on-demand. Watch instantly on your TV at anytime. Learn more.

As with the computer services mentioned earlier, there is either an on-demand fee or a monthly subscription plus the boxes themselves cost upwards of $150 and $250. TIVO has a monthly subscription of about $8 to $12, and Xbox 360 requires a $8 monthly subscription to their Xbox Live Gold service, or a $49 annual fee.

There are other set-top boxes to look at, too, such as Vudu and Roku.

Special Recommendation

Take a look at the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player for accessing Netflix video on demand service. This player sells at Best Buy for $349, but you can get it at Amazon for $290 now.

Mobile Phones

Blackberry

Blackberry

Principal among the mobile phones are the Blackberry and iPhone. These new phones, along with Google G1 phone from T-Mobile, allow you to watch videos from any of the web based services. You laso have the option of storing video files on some of the phones with large storage capability. For example, the iPhone allows you to download videos from the iTunes service. Verizon offers it VCast television service which allows you to watch television programs on your cellphone.

Google G1

Google G1

The phones cost over $179, and then your phone service is about $39 a month (but you already knew that) plus there is a data service fee of $30 per month as well. The data service is needed for either Vcast or Internet access on your Blackberry, G1, or iPhone.

My Issues, Maybe Yours

Many of us watch too much TV, and in many cases too much video. Which is worse?  That all depends on what you watch and who you talk to.  Monthly subscriptions make me feel forced to watch video or feel as though I’m throwing my money away. I was an early adopter of Netflix, among other things, and paid the monthly subscription for a whole year and only watched one video, so that was a $96 rental. Big waste. I’m more of an on-demand video watcher, not an on schedule video watcher. I prefer to be informed over entertained, and when I’m informed I like to be informed honestly and objectively whenever possible.

I also like to have maximum picture quality. I had a laserdisc player, still do, and I have several DVD players. I think some of my laserdiscs look better than some of my DVDs. The engineering quality isn’t always equal. Some manufacturers put a little extra care into the transfer, but streaming video currently has a variable picture quality to account for levels of demand. Some days are better than others. I’m just thinking about digital TV right now. The occasional picture scrambling drives me nuts. We get to look forward to that 24 hours a day when analog TV broadcasts go offline in February 2009.

I hope you’ve found this post informative today. Let me know what you think of streaming video, the different services, and anything related. Or send me a question for a future post.




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Got Blu-ray? Save $100 on Philips BDP7200 until tomorrow

Philips BDP7200 Blu-ray Disc Player

Philips BDP7200 Blu-ray Disc Player

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is a high-definition digital video disc (DVD). Blu-ray offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs offers consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

Not too long ago we saw the beginning and the end of the high definition video disc war. HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Blu-ray was the winner when it was backed by major video distributors, motion picture companies, and manufacturers.  Blu-ray has seen growing support from home consumers for the past year.  One of the reasons many have held out on buying into the new format is the high cost of the Blu-ray players.  Standard DVD players are selling for less than $100, while Blu-ray players are selling for upwards from $260, but here’s a special short term offer from Dell:

Hurry ends tomorrow & ships in time for Christmas: Save $100 off Philips BluRay 2700! Coupon Code: N20JW2GFZMKT0H

Currently, Dell sells the Philips BDP 7200 for $239. (Best Buy is selling this machine for $349.) Use the follwoing coupon code at checkout, N20JW2GFZMKT0H, and you can save an additional $40 on the price. This offer expires tomorrow on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 6 AM Central time.

Technically speaking the Philips BDP720 Blu-ray Disc Player connects to your television via HDMI output, component video output, 5.1 channel audio line-out, composite video output, audio line-out, SPDIF output, SPDIF output (TOSLINK). It plays CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD, CD, DVD+R DL, BD-R, BD-RE, BD-ROM, DVD-R DL. Media Format NTSC. Built-in Dolby Digital Audio Decoders, Output Resolutions are 1080i, 720p, 1080p, 480i, and 480p. It also plays JPEG photo formats, and comes with a remote control. It comes with a 1 year Service & Support warranty, and a limited 1 year warranty for parts and labor.




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10 Days of Deals at Dell

Try to say that 10 times fast.

Click the image at right to see Dell’s “10 Days of Deals” page with savings on computers, monitors, Blu-ray disc players. Each day through October 14 through 23rd will feature discounts and savings on different products, so check back each day. Here’s a list of some upcoming products.

Day One:

Dell's Studio Hybrid mini-desktop

Get a new Dell Studio Hybrid computer for $699 after $180 off!  The studio hybrid is small, powerful, and economical. It takes up 70% less space and uses 70% less power. It comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU (the T5750 with 2.00GHz clock speed, and 667Mhz FSB), Windows Vista Home Premium, 1Yr Limited Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis, Dell SE198WFP 19 inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor, 2GB RAM/Memory (Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz), a 250GB SATA Hard Drive for storage, a CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive), and a Dell Wireless Desktop Keyboard & Mouse. Upgrades available.

Get a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop for $499 after $150 off!  It comes with an Intel Celeron 550 CPU (2.0GHz, 533Mhz), Windows Vista Home Basic, Microsoft Works, 1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty and Mail In Service, a glossy, widescreen 15.4 inch display, 2GB RAM/Memory (Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz), a 250GB SATA Hard Drive, a CD / DVD Writer (DVD+/-RW Drive), Dell Wireless Internet 802.11g Mini-Card, and High Definition Audio. Upgrades available.

Day Two:

Get a Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Disc Player for $269 after $30 off!  Get the superb picture and sound quality only available on a blu-rayu disc player. CNET had this to say about the BDP-S350, “the combination of its small design, solid feature set, and excellent image quality make the Sony BDP-S350 a worthwhile standalone Blu-ray player–especially if you can find it for less than $300”. And her it is, under $300. Speaking for myself, this is the price I’ve been waiting for, a blu-ray player under $300.

Get $120 off on a Dell E248WP 24″ widescreen flat LCD monitor for $299! It has 1920 x 1200 native resolution for stunning detail without compromising desk space, a 5 millisecond response time which helps reduce ghosting and motion blur when gaming or watching movies, a 1000:1 contrast ratio for darker blacks and sharper images, crisp text, better color saturation and greater detail for HD entertainment.

There are more items available which I’ve not mentioned here.

Coming up on Oct. 16:

The Phillips DVD Home Theater System, Canon Rebel EOS XSi digital SLR camera, the Inspiron mini 9 laptop, and the Studio Desktop Mini 9 bundle computer system.


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Pioneer Plans To Launch Blu-ray Recorders


Following up on yesterday’s news from Pioneer, today Pioneer announced its plans to release Blu-ray recorders in Japan by year’s end. Currently, there are no official plans for overseas sales.

At this time Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp dominate the Japanese domestic market for Blu-ray sales. Pioneer’s recorders will be developed with Sharp which already sells its own Blu-ray recorders. Sharp is Pioneer’s largest shareholder with a 14% stake in the company.

In the US, Blu-ray recorders are only available as a computer peripheral, and not as a home recorder for the television. Sony unveiled BDZ-S77 Blu-Ray Disc Recorder for sale in Japan, 5 years ago, in 2003.

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Pioneer creates DVD with 400 GB capacity

July 7, 2008, Tokyo — The Pioneer Corporation announced today that it has successfully developed a 16-layer optical disc (DVD) that is Blu-ray compatible with a storage capacity or 400 GB. That’s 4 times the current Blu-ray capacity, and 48 times that of standard DVDs.

To date, Blu-ray technology has been either single or dual layer, with each layer capable of storing 25 GB (gigabytes) of information. So a dual layer Blu-ray disc could hold 50 GB of data. The new Pioneer disc will also hold 25 GB per layer, but with 16 layers the capacity comes to 400 GB — that’s equal to 48 DVDs or 586 CDs!


The new technology from Pioneer would make it possible to put a 4 disc Blu-ray DVD set on a single disc. Hence Pioneer is touting the new technology’s ability to conserve resources.

Sony had noted that Blu-ray would be capable of achieving 8 to 10 layers for a maximum capacity of 250 GB, but problems arose as the signal weakened from layer to layer. Pioneer claims to have solved this problem.

The new Pioneer disc is a read-only disc, which means there is no recordable version as yet, but they believe they can transfer the technology to a recordable disc. Pioneer will provide more details on the technology at the International Symposium on Optical Memory and Optical Data Storage 2008 (ISOM/ODS2008) to be held in Hawaii starting on July 13, 2008.

Comparison Chart
1 Standard DVD = 12 CDs
1 Blu-ray (dual layer) DVD = 6 DVDs / 73 CDs
1 Pioneer (16 layer) Blu-ray DVD = 4 Blu-ray DVDs / 48 DVDs / 585 CDs

Further Reading:
Pioneer Press Release, July 7, 2008: Pioneer Succeeds in Developing World’s First 16-Layer Optical Disc

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