Friday, December 4, 2009

Television: Giving up on Blu

I was cautious about entering the HD disk wars until the battle between HD disks and Blu Ray was settled, but once it was I was fully prepared to embrace it whole-heartedly. Last Christmas my gift to the whole family was a Blu-ray player that also streamed Netflix play-it-now titles. I was sure it would improve our TV enjoyment. Two months later, I bought a blu-ray drive for my computer to play titles on while the main TV was occupied. I thought our future Christmasses would be filled with lovely (if slightly expensive) blu-ray disks, purchased because the format is so crisp and clear that any other format would be unthinkable for our favorite movies and tv shows.

Here it is, the following Christmas season, and ther is not a Blu-ray title anywhere on anyone's gift list. Why? Because BOTH blu-ray players died. I even purchased a replacement for the Netflix streamer back in APRIL (when it died) and that one is ALSO dead. They just stop reading disks. First, on the Netflix unit (made by LG, and quite the piece of crap, I might add) it stopped reading regular disks, but still read Blu-ray just fine, and was still streaming Netflix, so I thought "Hey, so what, I can still play normal disks on my Xbox 360. I really wanted it for Blu-ray." Then it stopped reading Blu-ray about a month later. Since by that time I could stream Netflix (the only function left on the LG unit) on the Xbox 360, the LG unit got retired behind the couch. A few months later, the blu-ray disk drive in my PC died (ALSO an LG product). The replacement Blu-ray player for the living room (NOT made by LG) didn't even last two months.

Ironically, the HD drive attached to my Xbox 360 has been working for years and is still our default disk player for normal disks. I wish I could go back and say "Hey, studio executives... I don't think Blu-ray really won, after all. Could you make HD again please?"

Nobody wants to adopt a format where you're going to have to buy a new player every year. If I wanted to rent, I'd go to Rent-A-Center.

So be careful this holiday season. Be wary of cheap deals on Blu-ray players... there may be a reason.

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