Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's Official: Don't waste your money on Blu-ray (or HD-DVD?)

We finally got a hold of a Blu-ray movie today. I must say that it was difficult to find one to review because I wasn't interested in most of the movies available (extremely limited selection in Wal-mart).

I also know that we'd be better off picking a recent movie that would be recorded in HD originally. But then again, I wanted to pretend I was an average consumer, thus I wouldn't have knowledge of such things. Besides, both versions blabber on about 1080p on the packaging, so we needed to see the "difference".

Terminator 2 was my most recent DVD purchase. I figured, hey, why not get it on Blu-ray so we could compare side-by-side? It was only twenty bucks as opposed to the upcoming AVP which will be forty, so I figured it was worth a shot. I'll end up buying AVP anyway, so I can do a comparison on it later.

As you could probably guess, my Blu-ray player is none other than the PS3.

Continue reading...

We popped in the Blu-ray T2 first and ran it at 1080i over HDMI on a 27" Westinghouse LCD television. The results were nothing short of disappointing. There was no "high def" to be seen, and the picture was actually STILL grainy/snowy. We lowered the resolution to 720p, and the results didn't change.

At this point, I was already getting frustrated because the poorly designed triggers on the controller would get pushed every time I put the controller on the ground. That caused some unwelcome fast forwarding in addition to the high-def no-show we just witnessed.

We popped in the DVD version. The PS3 put black bars on both sides AND letterboxed it. Since the PS3 can't upscale, we were stuck with 480p. Up close and personal, we could barely tell that the picture was a tiny bit more snowy/grainy. But from 10 feet away, the DVD vs Blu-ray difference was not discernible.

Then we had the DVD version upscaled to 1080i. Essentially no difference between the two.

I moved on to my 51" rear-projection television, which has a component switchbox. I paused the upscaled DVD version and Blu-ray versions in the same spot. Then I used the switchbox to bounce between the two frozen pictures. No difference. We scrutinized all the details, and concluded that I just wasted $20 on this Blu-ray movie.

Maybe I was "lucky" and T2 is a Blu-ray movie encoded in MPEG2, so the quality is poor. Still, the movie is being sold as being superior to the regular old DVD version when it is essentially a night and well...night difference.

Save your money kids. Not only is the PS3 frustrating, but Blu-ray is a giant scam. I have little doubt in my mind that HD-DVD will fail to provide anything better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do you consider using your PS3 a chore? I haven't had any trouble with mine. Yes some of the menu presentations aren't all that great but for playing games, how could it get any simpler?

9:18 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

That's a good question.

Compared to the Xbox 360, with all fanboyism aside, the PS3 is overly complex. I'm finding it to be the novelty console when I originally thought that would be the Wii. Anyone who started with a 360 will absolutely abhor the PS3. I've got a few online friends who are already trading their PS3's back in because they aren't worth the money. I am going to hold on to mine, but second thoughts plague my mind every day.

Something as simple as setting up your display takes twice as long as it does on the 360. The text entry system is annoying, and the lack of rumble really kills the overall feel of Resistance (nearby grenades, getting shot, etc.). And the fact that I have to keep my PS2 because the games look awful on the PS3 makes their %100 backwards compatibility negligible. At least the Xbox games that are BC are upscaled and look BETTER than they did on the old console.

Things such as background downloading, which Microsoft fixed long ago seemed utterly ignored by Sony. If a download gets interrupted or canceled, the whole download must be restarted. A service isn't free if it angers you. Even if AOL was free, I wouldn't use it.

I find myself not wanting to play Resistance because I have to deal with controller lag or temporary disconnects. The list goes on and on. Aggravation, thy name be PS3. Decidedly, you have to really want this console to enjoy it. Even the Microsoft-hating people I live with have been turned off by Sony's poor display of "The Next Generation starts when we say it does."

If you enjoy your PS3, hats off to you. Please don't take my frustrations personally, because Sony failed me, not its fans. I'm not saying it's impossible to enjoy it, but for me, it's a lot of effort for little payoff. FFXIII better be the best RPG ever, or this console will be a waste of space and $600.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a ps3 that i got the day it came out and i love it and hello did you hear there are patching in the rumble function. also with blu-ray get a new tv thats how it works depending on how old your tv is! also you have to set up the hdmi for it to work if you dont it thinks you are just using regular composite cables. And on a final note the ps3 does upscale everything if you have agood enough HDMI cable

8:04 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Dear Anonymous-I-got-it-the-day-it came-out,

I suggest that you read newer posts than one from two months ago. You're using information that came about well after this article was written.

Since I've posted this, I've purchased a new 57" 1080p television and I use HDMI. My opinion has not changed whatsoever. Blu-ray is still a sham, even at 1080p. HD-DVD has a better picture than Blu-ray from my experience because they use better encoding. Someday Blu-ray will use that encoding, but they don't seem too interested at the moment.

I know about the rumble, but they aren't just "patching" it. They will have to make a new controller first now that they've worked things out with Immersion. Or you can wait for the PS2 controller adapter which is coming out soon. However, as we know, the dualshocks don't have a PS button, and they're not wireless.

Also, the HDMI cable ISN'T what causes upscaling. Your television can upscale, or the player upscales. Currently, the PS3 DOES NOT UPSCALE. It doesn't have a scaler in it. If they do add upscaling, it will be a software scaler. However, it will probably perform poorly since hardware always does better than software.

I said that I tried component AND HDMI at the time, so accusing me of using composite with two different HD televisions is asanine. It should be known that you can't exactly get a video signal out of the PS3 through HDMI if the OS is setup through composite. That in itself is ridiculous; the 360 can autodetect just fine.

FYI, a digital cable is a ditigal cable. Cable quality doesn't matter with a digital signal unless you get cables that are too long (probably over 6'-10' for HDMI).



10:13 AM  
Blogger Kenneth said...


I absolutely agree with everything you've said thus far. Blu-Ray is indeed a sham. It's another attempt from Sony at shoving a new format down our throats.

Sony doesn't give a crap about their Playstation, IMO, I think they want Blu-ray to succeed so badly... That they were willing to up the price of the PS3 to include a Blu-ray player (thus increasing sales for Blu-ray discs, making their format much more popular).

When I get my tax return, I'll be buying an HD-DVD player for my 55" DLP TV, or probably the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player, since it's cheaper.

Keep up the blogging, you're a good man.


12:27 PM  

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