HD DVD is dead, so my Toshiba HD DVD player now makes a good doorstop. I’ve enjoyed a few high-definition movies from Netflix with the player, but now Netflix is phasing out their few HD DVD discs. I want to take full advantage of my HD television, but in the end I’ve wasted $200 on the player and another $130 on the first season of remastered Star Trek: The Original Series discs. Some folks say to not bother with high-definition discs and instead rely upon downloaded movies, but their advice is flawed. Movie downloads lack the feature commentaries I adore and so-called high-definition movie downloads look little better than a standard DVD on my HDTV. Blu-ray discs from Netflix are the smart way to enjoy true high-definition movies and their features. So now I need to put good money after bad and buy a Blu-ray player (and, given my love of Trek, probably buy the Blu-ray version of that first season after it is released).
My income is limited, so I’ll have to spend some of my federal tax
ripoff refund to buy a Blu-ray player. All of the pundits say I should buy a Sony Playstation 3. The problem with Blu-ray is that until recently it was not as advanced as HD DVD, lacking the picture-in-picture commentaries feature I’ve enjoyed on the Star Trek discs. So what they call “Profile 1.1” was recently released to add more interactivity. Old stand-alone Blu-ray players could not be updated with this feature, but Sony has updated their Playstation 3 with that capability. Now Sony claims it will add “BD Live/Profile 2.0” capability to the Playstation 3 in late 2008, allowing movie studios to upload fresh content to your player when you watch a disc.
The technology folks I trust at CNET say the Playstation 3 is a safe bet and point out that you get a game system as well as a Blu-ray player for your money. But Sony, in its typically stupid and arrogant way, uses only Bluetooth to control the Playstation 3. Its lack of standard infrared remote control for disc playback means it won’t work with my treasured Logitech Harmony remote unless I hook up a kludge. And I’ve never had much interest in video games: Ms. Pac-Man is about my limit for arcade play and I tired of Myst-style and SimCity-style gaming long ago. The kicker is that the cheapest Playstation 3 costs much more than I already spent on my HD DVD player and discs, combined.
So maybe I’ll save my refund money for awhile and buy a stand-alone Blu-ray Profile 2.0 player in late 2008. But that is a long time to be without high-definition movies and Sony could keep updating the Blu-ray specification in a scheme of planned obsolescence for stand-alone players. My personal tipping point will likely be when CBS Digital releases the remastered second and third seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series on Blu-ray. I doubt I’ll be able to hold off for long after that.