Last week I got a review unit of Sony’s XL301 Media Center PC complete with Blu-ray drive. I recorded a video review and in the review (out soon) in the video I said it was a shame that I had no Blu-ray film to try with it. So on Saturday I visited my local Blockbuster store to rent a Blu-ray film.
The first thing I noticed is that in terms of HD content Blockbuster only offer Blu-ray films and have no HD-DVD films. I have been thinking about getting a HD drive for a while and for me the best option would be a HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 but this now looks like it would be a waist of money as far as rental is concerned there is only Blu-ray, so to me this looks like the Blu-ray format has won (well in the UK)
HD-DVD can be better and cheaper but if the average consumer looks at their local Blockbuster and can only see Blu-ray then the that will be the format they go for. I can remember by parents having a Betamax video player and going to the video shops and watching the number of rental films drop from a parallel number with VHS down to non. So unless rental stores offer HD-DVD the war would be lost
As for my first thoughts on Blu-ray, I have to say I am impressed. The picture is fantastic, I had it connected up to my 50" Sony Bravia via HDMI and the audio via optical to my AV receiver for 5.1 sound
The film I rented was Pirates of the Caribbean- Dead Mans Chest which is a great fun film. It was a great picture with vivid colours, I found the colours via the PC and HDMI were richer than the Xbox via VGA. You can tell it’s a better picture than normal DVD but its not like going from VHS to DVD. I guess here is the problem, its great but only a little better than DVD and I guess that is why the uptake is going to be slow, it is not like the vast difference from VHS to DVD so consumers are in no rush to upgrade and when they do it will to a format that has good features and plenty of content which just going off my one visit to my local Blockbuster (Chorley UK) was Blu-ray
Look out for my video review of the Sony unit and Blu-ray soon