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The Blu-Ray Decision

Author:  Artiom Bell
Date:  2008.03.07
Topic:  Hardware
Provider:  Lite-On
Manufacturer:  Lite-On

The Blu-Ray Decision

“Spiderman 3”, “Pearl Harbor” and “300” are just some of the titles available in Blu-Ray format at your local retail store. Now that the format war for high definition is over, you might consider going out and buying your very own Blu-Ray player thinking it is safe to spend hundreds of dollars so you can enjoy high quality viewing of the latest new movies on the 40 inch + home television set. If you follow this mindset, you might be setting yourself up for something you won't be satisfied with in the future. Sure, the price of the Blu-Ray players is cheaper than ever, and with the Play Station 3 standing considerably high on the entertainment ladder with not only its Blu-Ray playback capabilities, but also with its mighty gaming performance, one can not help but wonder what is the catch? Well there are multiple things consumers have to watch out for regarding the future of Blu-Ray Disk players.

Say you go to Europe and as you are walking through the streets and sight-seeing you find a title that you've never seen before in US and you decide to buy it. When you come home from your trip and pop in that disk into your new Blu-Disk player you will be faced with a particularly unpleasant surprise. It doesn't play! Why? Is something wrong with the disk? No. Is it scratched? No. Then why doesn’t it play? That’s because the Blu-Ray disk that you bought has been region coded, and your new Play Station 3 that you bought at your local retail store for $399.99 isn't a region 2 player. What to do? No worries, as long as you don’t buy titles that have been made in Europe, Australia, most of Asia and Africa, you should be fine. Several overseas web sites have announced that they have cracked players and are selling them at a much heftier price. Here are the regions for the coding of Blu-Ray disks taken from Wikipedia.

Region Area
Americas; East and Southeast Asia

Africa, Europe, Oceania, Middle East, French territories, Greenland

Central and South Asia, Mongolia, Russia, PRC China (Mainland)

Most movies titles are region free, however, some aren't and therefore those looking forward to watching specific titles might be limited in their selection based on the region they bought their player in. With the increasing influence of DRM, MPAA, and others the list of region encoded titles is growing. A list of titles and region locks is available on this site.

If gaming is not an issue then, you might want to buy one of the more inexpensive Blu-Disk players, but don't be fooled. If you aren't buying something with at least 1 GB of storage space and an internet connection, the future Blu-Ray player updates will not apply to you. The hardware requirements to run profile 1.0 differ from requirements to run 1.1 and 2.0. All profile 1.0 players with the exception of Play Station 3 will be ineligible for the upgrade, thus making the Play Station 3 the most future-proof player in the market today. Here is a list of requirements based on the profile taken from Wikipedia.

Feature BD-Video (Grace Period Profile – Profile 1.0) Bonus View (Final Standard Profile – Profile 1.1) BD-Live (Profile 2.0)
Built-in persistent memory 64 KB 64 KB 64 KB
Local storage capability - 256 MB 1 GB
Secondary video decoder Optional Mandatory Mandatory
Secondary audio decoder Optional Mandatory Mandatory
Virtual File System Optional Mandatory Mandatory
Internet Connection Optional Mandatory Mandatory

All in all no item can be completely flawless and future-proof, as time progresses the players are bound to get better and cheaper. Application/program cracks and modifications will be made to overcome issues with regions and security issues of the Blu-Ray DVDs. In my opinion waiting would be the best choice to get the best software and hardware, but for those that absolutely must have the Blu-Ray technology today, Play Station 3 seems to offer the most "bang for the buck" providing both hard-core gaming experience and Blu-Ray playback.

Check out these inexpensive and good Blu-Ray players.





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