Oct 12 2017

News - Wirecutter picks a "Best 4K Blu-ray Player"

Little disappointed to find my Xbox One S excluded from the top Ultra HD Blu-ray picks due to it's gameyness and Netflix HDR performance (does anyone sell a 4K TV without Netflix built in?). So feel free to completely disregard Chris's picks Smile.

Nov 10 2015

News - How Well Does Streaming Compare To Blu-ray

If you like movies, quality matters. The more "real" the audio and video, the more immersive and enjoyable the experience. That's why we like big, high resolution TVs and multi-channel audio. No doubt OTT streaming services have gotten better, much better, over the last couple years. But how well do they stack up against physical media?

Jul 29 2014

News - Playstation 4 3D Blu-ray Update Now Available

Having picked up a Sony Playstation 4 recently, I was a bit disappointed to find that while it wouldn't play 3D Blu-ray (something the PS3 could do). Sony fixed that issue, along with adding some enhancements to general disc playback. I had a chance to check it out briefly (updated and threw in The Lego Movie while heating up lunch) and it works great.

Happy updating!


Sep 12 2013

News - 4K Blu-ray Outed?

As much as I like the sound of 4K OTT, it just doesn't seem realistic in any reasonable time frame. So I was thrilled to see a report on HDTVtest that SINGULUS appears to have outed the devices required to manufacture 100GB Blu-ray discs. Hopefully they are correct and it's exactly what we need to get 4K movies out sooner rather than later.

Singulus Technologies, a manufacturer of optical disc replication equipment, appears to have blown the cover of the next-gen 4K Blu-ray Disc format ahead of any official announcement by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). The company has just announced the BLULINE III, a machine capable of replicating triple-layer 100GB Blu-ray Discs.


Dec 30 2012

News - Harry Potter BD Collection for $44.99 - Best Buy Deal of the Day

A quicky for you all.  8hrs left on Best Buy's Harry Potter 8 Film collection for $44.99 (66.49 @ Amazon).   At $5.60/movie, that makes it a no-brainer price-point for me.

 Harry Potter Complete 8 Movie Collection

Feb 21 2012

News - SlySoft Releases AnyDVD HD - Adds "Speedmenus"

AnyDVDEvery time a new release of HTPC Blu-ray software comes out I am amused by the standalone v. HTPC discussions that crop up here and at AVS Forum. While there is validity on both sides of the argument, there is one point that doesn't get much mention, which makes the PC side a clear winner for me - SlySoft's AnyDVD HD. The reasons should be obvious, because the strength of the product is that it provides the control and flexibility fundamental to why many people, including myself, use a HTPC for Blu-ray playback.

With studios pushing ever more intrusive advertising and blocking easy navigation through it all via restrictions, especially on rental discs, AnyDVD gives us the ability to skip through all of it and get to the menu faster.  Not content with that, now includes a feature that removes all of the cruft and draws a new "Speedmenu" in place of all the warnings and other "value" that stands between you and the important bits on the disc.

Check out the release notes, screenshots, and videos demonstrating the difference after the click...

Jan 27 2012

News - Enable VLC to Playback Encrypted Blu-Ray

VLC is a popular media player among HTPC enthusiasts due, in no large part, to its support for a wide range of file formats. Many folks were attracted to VLC early on because it was one of the first open source media players to support encrypted DVD playback. Recent updates to VLC and a VideoLAN Organization project called libaacs have made it possible to also play encrypted Blu-rays. Unencrypted Blu-ray ISO and folder playback has been possible in VLC for awhile now through the nightly builds, but if you know where your VLC directory is and where your "appdata" folder can be found, then you are just a couple of quick downloads away from having encrypted Blu-ray playback. If you are the type to wait for official releases, then you will need to hold off a bit longer, and there are still some features missing, some of which will likely never be possible to access with VLC, but it does mean that you have one more option for enjoying your Blu-ray discs on your HTPC.

VLC and Blu-ray

VLC is one of the most widely used media players. It was one of the first open source media players to get encrypted DVD playback capability, and now, it looks like the time has come for Blu-ray playback capability also.


Jan 13 2012

News - Dune HD - CES 2012

Dune HDAnyone who's read our reviews of the Dune HD media streamers, know that they provide an excellent local media playback experience but there are some gaps around 3D Blu-ray and video processing where it would be great to see some improvement. Fortunately both of these will be addressed when the Dune HD Pro (click through for a gallery and further discussion) ships because it is based around Sigma Designs 8910 flagship system on a chip (SOC) which includes HDMI 1.4 and VXP. Unfortunately due to some issues around the availability of the 8910 the actual date for delivering the Pro has slipped from March to June/July (as a best guess). This delay should not impact the release of VUDU for Dune HD players as the port is complete and it is intended for all models.

Jan 12 2012

News - Panasonic Booth - CES 2012

I expected to enjoy the trip to Panasonic's booth at CES because I love looking at big, high quality HDTVs and historically they have delivered on both points. This year's models will prove no exception to that as they have raised the bar again with better picture quality through panel improvements and higher internal refresh rates. There were many interesting things discovered at the booth, but the most impressive was the demo for "IPS LED Moving Picture Quality" which demonstrated a new feature found on their LCDs which provides near-plasma moving picture resolution. While TVs were the main reason for stopping by, we also too the opportunity to check out the Blu-ray player line up and some of the HTIB (home theater in a box) and audio systems that will come out this year - click through to check out the pictures and highlights.

Jan 04 2012

News - Samsung Announces Audio Docks, Sound Bar, and HTIB Systems, Vacuum Tubes Included

Samsung HT-E5500W

Samsung has gotten the jump on CES with the announcement of several new products, including a few that Samsung probably hopes will lure in budding audiophiles. First up is the HW-E550 sound bar that is similar to the HW-D550, except that it can be split into two separate speakers. Seems to defeat the purpose of buying a soundbar, but I suppose it might suit some markets. The more interesting products are the new sound docks and home-theater-in-a-box systems. Both sound docks take the unusual step of supporting iOS and Samsung Galaxy devices and the higher-end DA-E750 model, along with the HT-E6730W and HT-E5500W HTIB systems, includes Samsung's Crystal Amp Plus hybrid vacuum tube technology. The goal of the tech is to meld digital clarity with the warmer sound that vacuum tubes are apt to impart. Can the inclusion of vacuum tubes overcome the stigma attached to the sound quality of these types of devices?

Samsung claims its vacuum tube setup offers "the best of both worlds," giving it the benefits of both digital and vacuum tube amplifiers. Samsung says that the system is of its own making, and is able to maintain the clarity of digital with the more natural sound of a vacuum tube. The company also says that the tech "offers an extra octave of sound without distortion."

The Verge

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