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Old May 3rd, 2014, 09:15 AM   #1
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Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

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The Blu-ray optical disc format, once a bastion of hope for reviving the home entertainment industry, is struggling to survive under the assault of video-on-demand and downloads.

In a new financial forecast, Sony has warned of heavy losses primarily due to its exit from the PC business and because "demand for physical media [is] contracting faster than anticipated."
Read more at: Bye-bye, Blu-ray: Video-on-demand and streaming options are gaining on you - Computerworld

Andrew
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 09:24 AM   #2
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

This supports the notion that Blu-Ray is not a good choice for long term data archiving due to the likelihood that devices needed to read the disks may not be easily obtainable in a few years.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

Hi

Blu-ray will be around for a while yet and no one should worry about not being able to play them. When was the last time anyone bought or was interested in Video CD, yet my new Blu-ray writer plays them just fine. Even on old gold Kodak photo disc (anyone heard of them let alone seen one?) works perfectly.

Only last month a report was saying that CD sales were keeping streaming music sales from growing, and another article was saying Blu-ray and DVD discs are still the preferred choice of consumers.

I guess it just depends on who is writing the articles and what bit of research they've picked up on.

Sony is very keen for physical media to disappear anyway, they've made all the money they can on inventing CD, CD-R and patents that went into DVD- and +RW/+R formats. The irony is when they were complaining of lost sales to piracy and people copying physical media, they were providing the equipment to do and still profiting from it!

The money for Sony Entertainment is in streaming, as it is a pay once watch once service, they have more control over the media and can enforce DRM.

They'll still produce the Blu-ray disc after they have strictly control the release of top grossing films and programs via cinemas and TV companies, then streaming with DRM.

DVD And Blu-ray Discs Remain Preferred Sources of Video Content
CDs Keep Music Subscription Revenues Low

I don't think we should panic just yet.

Regards

Phil
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 05:14 PM   #4
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

When bluray appeared, I took a decision to not offer it to clients unless they asked. To date, I have only been asked once if I supply on bluray and that was just a few weeks ago. When I said I could and could also supply in mp4 on sd card, usb stick or data dvd, they decided to go for the usb as they felt it was much more flexible than bluray. They could plug it into the tv, bluray player and laptop, plus transfer it to iPads and smartphones. I really can't see the demand for bluray increasing.

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Old May 3rd, 2014, 06:53 PM   #5
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

It depends what you're doing, doesn't it? And Blu-Ray offers a complementary option to such as delivering on USB etc - the strengths of one are the weaknesses of the other.

For immediate use, I don't dispute there's a lot going for file delivery on solid state - especially for just single video files (no menu structure etc).

But Blu-Ray (same as DVD) has it's own attractions, long term storage being an obvious one. Put it on a shelf and forget it. You can't do that with a hard drive, and probably not with solid state either, leaving aside the question of cost.

To Jim - the appeal of Blu-Ray is that it is backwards compatible with DVD and CD. Pricing is becoming such that there is little point in producing a drive that won't support Blu-Ray - even if you only want to read DVD/CD. It's going to be a very long time before there is going to be any problem finding a reader for Blu-ray. If not DVD/BluRay for long term storage at the moment, then what?

I don't doubt that streamed delivery of commercial content won't continue to grow in the years to come, but I see it co-existing with optical disc for quite a long time to come - not totally displacing it. Think how many BluRay/DVDs are given as presents - it's the act of giving something physical that helps to make the present.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 07:39 PM   #6
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

My use of "long term" means greater than 25 years. I suppose there will transfer services as there are now for Super 8, 3.5 floppies, VCR tapes, etc. Also, it depends on your projected access to the data. Let's say you have a video memoir that you would like to be accessible to those who find it in 100 years and data migration is unlikely. At this point in time my best guess would be to use both LTO tape and an archival quality Blu-Ray, but I'd have misgivings about both, even if I paid for 100 years worth of salt mine storage. Maybe you place a reader in the storage container with the media.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 02:08 AM   #7
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
When bluray appeared, I took a decision to not offer it to clients unless they asked. To date, I have only been asked once if I supply on bluray and that was just a few weeks ago. When I said I could and could also supply in mp4 on sd card, usb stick or data dvd, they decided to go for the usb as they felt it was much more flexible than bluray. They could plug it into the tv, bluray player and laptop, plus transfer it to iPads and smartphones. I really can't see the demand for bluray increasing.
That's been my recent experience too (with delivery of corporate video). Over the past 12 months, I can't recall delivering in DVD or blu-ray. It's all .mp4 delivery (in 1080p) these days in my neck of the woods. Internally, it's loaded onto the client's internal server, or on a USB stick to be played from the back of 1080p TVs or it can be with the USB inserted into the front of the blu-ray player. I'm finding that, externally, putting the .mp4 on Dropbox is an increasingly popular way for a company to share a video with its corporate partners. The essential thing is to make sure that the .mp4s play smoothly on all devices and my final encode is always run through HandBrake. With 1080p video, it gives excellent quality with smaller file sizes and plays well on everything (I've found that exporting the .mp4 directly from FCP X can lead to stuttering playback from a USB in the back of a TV set, but Handbrake exports always play as smooth as silk).

I purchased a newer blu-ray burner 6 months ago, but I now suspect that its main use will be for archiving (as already mentioned by others in this thread). I'm really surprised by that, because, 3 or 4 years ago, I really thought that we'd simply shift over from DVD to blu-ray delivery. But it's not the case at all.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 03:19 AM   #8
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

Hi

Who know's what options there will be playing anything in 100 years time, it's a gamble whatever is chosen. I do know that several projects where I've delivered on DVD are still playable a long time later, but if it had been as a media file I doubt they would still have it, as I know in a couple of cases when I've been asked to help, that due to hard disk crashes where all their media has been lost, an MP4 would have gone the same way. They still have the DVD to play of course and in one case I had used a lot of still photos in the footage and copied all the original images to spare space on the DVD including ones not used. You've not seen anyone so grateful when they heard I had done that and just needed to browse to a folder on the DVD to retrieve them.

Companies like Dropbox can come and go taking the media files with them.

As always the answer with anything data related and archiving is not to put all your eggs in one basket.

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Phil
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Old May 4th, 2014, 10:08 AM   #9
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

I agree with David, it all depends upon what you are shooting and who you are delivering it to.

For corporate work, yes, solid state will always win in this environment. Computers are the norm and companies want files to deal with.

For consumer sales, Blu-ray has more of a life. Blu-ray is a movie format at its core. A better way to deliver a high quality viewing experience along with the option for data if you want to use it that way.

In my view Sony or "the consortium" missed the boat on pricing. They overestimated the demand for Blu-ray over DVD and priced it way too high out of the gate. People did not want to spend $200+ on a Blu-ray player and skipped it. Meanwhile streaming came on the television/movie scene and Blu-ray was too late to react with lower pricing. Now we have a permanent coexistence.

It is a real shame as Blu-ray really is the best viewing experience quality wise. Streaming will eventually get there but as a small business, streaming is not a great business model. At least for sales to larger groups of people.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 01:08 PM   #10
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

My understanding is that they also over-priced the royalties for the replication plants. The economy of doing smaller runs was negatively affected.

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Old May 5th, 2014, 06:18 PM   #11
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

My reply to the OP was purely about his bluray question and the fact that I find mp4 HD files more flexible. However, the vast majority of my mainly wedding output is delivered on dvd as requested by clients, so I do agree that a hard copy storage is desirable, I just don't see any demand for bluray delivery and although some producers may see it as useful for archiving, I don't see the general public being particularly interested.

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Old May 7th, 2014, 09:56 AM   #12
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I just don't see any demand for bluray delivery and although some producers may see it as useful for archiving, I don't see the general public being particularly interested.
The question remains that if you don't go for Blu-Ray - what do you use for (long term) archiving?

In the big money world, then LTO tape seems the current de facto standard - but even that requires a certain amount of "active archiving" as drives are only guaranteed to be backwards compatible with the previous two generations.

If you don't have that sort of money, it's difficult to think of anything at all better than Blu-ray.

I also know of people in the wedding business who haven't waited to be asked for Blu-Ray, but have actively promoted it. (Normally as additional to a DVD copy.) The pitch has been along the lines of "even if you don't have a Blu-Ray player at the moment, you may want the Blu-Ray to be able to see the event in the best possible quality in the future". Since the shooting/editing/authoring is all in HD anyway, it just means doing two renders of the same basic project to get the two versions, so not much extra work.

They feel that apart from any actual extra direct sales, then it makes them look more "special" in the eyes of potential clients (who may not ask unprompted for Blu-Ray, because they don't know enough), helps to set them apart from competition - even with clients that don't actually want that service.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 10:33 AM   #13
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

As 99.9% pf my clients want dvd delivery, I simply make an extra copy for archiving, so don't need dvd there. As for offering bluray to clients even if they don't ask for it or have a player to pay it on, I don't see the point. It is a dying format that I have not been asked to produce, so I am even less likely to be adked as it fades away. The argument about the best possible quality doesn't really hold up in that instance for bluray, as I can just as easily offer extra hd copies on usb, data dvd etc which enables much more playing flexibility and easy transfer to other devices.

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Old May 7th, 2014, 07:59 PM   #14
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
As 99.9% pf my clients want dvd delivery, I simply make an extra copy for archiving, so don't need dvd there. As for offering bluray to clients even if they don't ask for it or have a player to pay it on, I don't see the point. It is a dying format ............
Blu-Ray is most definitely NOT a "dying format", most certainly not as far as drives go. If you look at what is now on sale, you'll find that they outnumber DVD/CD only drives, both as standalone units and as drives within computers. It's getting close to the stage where manufacturers will only produce Blu-ray/DVD/CD combined drives - DVD only drives will go the way of CD only drives.

OK, it's quite likely that many of these will play far more DVDs than Blu-Rays in their lifetime, and it's also likely that Blu-Ray discs will continue on sale alongside (rather than supersede) DVD, but that's not the point. With a common player, expect to be able to play a Blu-Ray disc for a good many years into the future - same with DVD and CD.

And you say "just as easily offer extra hd copies on usb, data dvd etc"? Surely for such as a wedding the capacity of a data DVD is a bit limited, and even for a USB it's more expensive than a blank Blu-Ray disc? What about replicating the DVD menu on the HD version? I'd expect the end result may get viewed initially, then put away untouched for a number of years only to be "rediscovered" in the future. To have any use, the recording needs both to be usable itself, and needs hardware to make use of it. Currently, a DVD/BluRay disc is likely to be viable in itself for far longer than any hard drive or solid state recording.

I don't dispute that such as solid state USB may be the most sensible form of delivery for HD for some uses, but if being used to deliver such as a wedding video, it should be given with a strong health warning that it has an inherently limited life - think years, but not decades. (As may be expected from magnetic tape or optical disc, given good storage conditions.)
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Old May 8th, 2014, 03:26 PM   #15
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Re: Blu-Ray disc use receding faster than expected

I think the whole idea of needing to archive for decades is totally pointless unless it is of some historical value. Whether optical storage outlasts solid state, is to my mind purely of limited technical interest. I have archive copies of weddings going back to 1983, on Betamax, VHS, Umatic and DVD. That totals well over 2000 weddings and I have only once been asked if I could supply a copy after more than a few months. That was for a seven year old wedding, where the couple had the original stolen.

Many of the couples that I filmed are probably long since divorced, many others would have copied them themselves and there is no contractual obligation on me to store for years. With corporate work, none of the companies that I have dealt with over the years would dream of using years old footage for current promotions and many of them also stopped trading years ago.

So apart from broadcasters and historians, the requirement for long term archiving in my opinion is very limited.

Roger
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