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Old 08-12-2009, 06:54 AM
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Hey all! Just a quick query here... I wanted to ask a question that's really cross-format, but could potentially sound derogatory to Blu Ray (even thought it's really just a personal observation), so rather than have it just devolve into a slinging match, I thought it best to post here, so I can just get some legitimate opinions...

I've only got a couple of Blu Rays at the moment, but one thing that has jumped out at me...

All of the HD DVDs I have, even the most minimal (e.g. The Island, or Top Gun) at least feel like a 'new' experience, if that makes sense, over old-fashioned DVD. With sliding menus, etc. And the rest, especially things like Blade Runner, or the T2 german steelbook, all feel extremely slick and polished and like a completely new format.

Whereas the couple of new Blu Rays I have... I have to say, I was distinctly struck by how 'DVD-like' the menus are. Even though they still have menus that pop-up during run time, they're very 'clunky' so to speak. They don't feel very swish lol!

I know it's really picky, as what matters is the video/audio quality and content, but it just all felt a bit lacklustre in comparison, and I was wondering if this is fairly across the board for Blu Ray when it comes to menus/nav?

When I first put in an HD DVD, I felt that 'cool' factor. It was 'new'. Putting in my first Blu Ray, I felt distinctly underwhelmed. I'll be borrowing/renting a few soon, but I just thought it would be interesting to get any views/opinions. (And yes, I know I'm just being picky, and it doesn't really matter, but hey, sue me lol! I wanted to be impressed, and instead I feel like I got DVD+ )
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:15 AM
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What are you using as your bluray player? Since I upgraded to my BD-P2500 my bluray's now typically respond a little faster than HD DVD's do... Some how though, it is impossble to escape the clunkyness of java you refer to. Blurays still tend to "stick" just a little when you press the menu button, and rather than slide (as HD DVD's typically did) they just pop up out of no where.

I think my biggest gripe is a small thing. With any given HD DVD you can use the d-pad to open your pop-menu. Any uni-title just push right, and the pop-menu pops out right. WB & Paramount typically you push up. That by and large has been lost on bluray. The only studio I'm aware of that does this consitantly is paramount, WB did it on TDK and that's it. I can't specifically remember trying a Uni-title off hand, I'll have to give it a shot. But this went a long way towards that "awesome" feel you're describing that bluray just doesn't have.

I do agree that disc menus should be a thing of the past. Unfortunetly the only studio brave enough to totally abandon them has bee WB. All their HD DVDs and blurays (that I'm aware of anyway) from day one lack a disc menu at disc start up. Technically they all have once since the technologies seem to require one exist, but under normal operation you'll never see it.

Disney has experimented with that in the past, but they seem unwilling to totally drop it. They're the only other studio I know of willing to drop the disc menu. Sad IMHO.
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:29 AM
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Disney has experimented with that in the past, but they seem unwilling to totally drop it. They're the only other studio I know of willing to drop the disc menu. Sad IMHO.
20 minutes of previews just to start the movie 4 seconds faster? No wonder they haven't ditched it.. ha!
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by crazzeto View Post
I do agree that disc menus should be a thing of the past. Unfortunetly the only studio brave enough to totally abandon them has bee WB. All their HD DVDs and blurays (that I'm aware of anyway) from day one lack a disc menu at disc start up. Technically they all have once since the technologies seem to require one exist, but under normal operation you'll never see it.
I find Warner's auto-start infuriating, and am very glad that Disney discontinued it. I wish Warner would as well.

Auto-start is all well and good if you're ready for the movie to start the moment you put it in the player, and the disc automatically defaults to the correct (lossless) soundtrack and subtitle options. But until recently, Warner discs always defaulted to the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and required you to manually select TrueHD from the menu after the movie had already started playing.

This problem is compounded by the fact that pop-up menus don't work while a movie is paused on non-Java discs. So you have to make your changes while the movie is playing, then skip back to rewatch the beginning of the movie again. And that's assuming that you remember to do this when the movie starts. If you don't think of it right away, you may wind up watching a good chunk of the movie with lossy audio when you don't have to.

More often than not, I'll put a disc in the player while I'm still setting up other aspects of my home theater and getting myself (and guests) situated. I much prefer the disc to go to a main menu screen first rather than auto-start the movie before I'm ready for it.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by crazzeto View Post
What are you using as your bluray player? Since I upgraded to my BD-P2500 my bluray's now typically respond a little faster than HD DVD's do... Some how though, it is impossble to escape the clunkyness of java you refer to. Blurays still tend to "stick" just a little when you press the menu button, and rather than slide (as HD DVD's typically did) they just pop up out of no where.
It's a Sony S-350. Speed-wise, I was quite chuffed to find it wasn't slow. It's just the 'clunkyness' in terms of the java, as you described. There's just no style. As you said, things just 'appear' rather than a nice smooth slide, as with most HD DVD menus. As I said, I know it's petty... but let's face it, it's all about the experience. And I've also noticed the surprising use of aliased flat colour selection icons, as with DVD... oh my...

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Originally Posted by crazzeto View Post
I think my biggest gripe is a small thing. With any given HD DVD you can use the d-pad to open your pop-menu. Any uni-title just push right, and the pop-menu pops out right. WB & Paramount typically you push up. That by and large has been lost on bluray. The only studio I'm aware of that does this consitantly is paramount, WB did it on TDK and that's it. I can't specifically remember trying a Uni-title off hand, I'll have to give it a shot. But this went a long way towards that "awesome" feel you're describing that bluray just doesn't have.
Yep, I totally agree. It's a small thing, but it just shows that lack of initial thought. Presumably (could be wrong) with the way they've rigged the java, it's not as straight forward or easy to implement as it was with HDi, and therefore gets left out now. The uni menus on HD DVD used to be great (except the occasionally crap stock-music not from the movie) ;-)

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Originally Posted by crazzeto View Post
I do agree that disc menus should be a thing of the past. Unfortunetly the only studio brave enough to totally abandon them has bee WB. All their HD DVDs and blurays (that I'm aware of anyway) from day one lack a disc menu at disc start up. Technically they all have once since the technologies seem to require one exist, but under normal operation you'll never see it.

Disney has experimented with that in the past, but they seem unwilling to totally drop it. They're the only other studio I know of willing to drop the disc menu. Sad IMHO.
It's all a bit of a shame, really. Like a bit of a step back, even though I know 'technically' Blu Ray has/had the potential to do more, it's no good if it's always so difficult/time-consuming/expensive to implement, that the potential rarely gets used, and a 'defunct' format was doing it all as a matter of course lol! Oh well... Gotta live with it now!
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:57 PM
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More often than not, I'll put a disc in the player while I'm still setting up other aspects of my home theater and getting myself (and guests) situated. I much prefer the disc to go to a main menu screen first rather than auto-start the movie before I'm ready for it.
Actually, I'm not too fussed over the menu or autoplay thing. It's more just that the menus themselves seem so DVD-style static (animated background, but no dynamic movement) take something as simple as the menu for Riddick on HD DVD, which is just the usual Uni menu system sliding out nicely over a looped video background from the film, then take the menu on the blu ray of Dark City... eesh!! lol! I was really shocked how lacklustre the Dark City menu system was. So old school lol! So you've effectively got a stock menu that still impresses, as opposed to a custom menu for a special edition film that could've been lifted straight from DVD.
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:11 PM
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I find Warner's auto-start infuriating, and am very glad that Disney discontinued it. I wish Warner would as well.

Auto-start is all well and good if you're ready for the movie to start the moment you put it in the player, and the disc automatically defaults to the correct (lossless) soundtrack and subtitle options. But until recently, Warner discs always defaulted to the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and required you to manually select TrueHD from the menu after the movie had already started playing.
I'll be honest, I find this argument mystifying... In my home I control when the disc enters the player, do you have a robot that does this in your home?

Ok, I'm being a little facetious here but my basic point remains, it's not difficult to put the movie disc in the player when you are ready to finally watch the movie.

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This problem is compounded by the fact that pop-up menus don't work while a movie is paused on non-Java discs. So you have to make your changes while the movie is playing, then skip back to rewatch the beginning of the movie again. And that's assuming that you remember to do this when the movie starts. If you don't think of it right away, you may wind up watching a good chunk of the movie with lossy audio when you don't have to.
At least in my collection movies that lack java menus almost don't exist any more. That seems to be a thing of the past, now that studios are heavliy promoting bluray's abilities to get people to switch. Still I've never been that annoyed opening a menu to switch the lossless track, or alternatively just using the "audio" button on your remote to cycle the track. The same can be done with subtitles. Maybe for some that's asking a lot, for me I prefer the convinence of not having the movie dump me in some DVD style disc menu.

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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
More often than not, I'll put a disc in the player while I'm still setting up other aspects of my home theater and getting myself (and guests) situated. I much prefer the disc to go to a main menu screen first rather than auto-start the movie before I'm ready for it.
You do get the studio logo at the start of the movie, and I do beleive the Oppo player comes with a pause button if putting the disc in when you're finally ready to watch the movie is a big deal. When we did the Watchmen movie night a couple weeks ago I had freinds physically over to watch the movie along with my participation in the online chat. Putting the disc in when we were ready wasn't an issue there. I've done this many times over with many other movies and it's never been an issue, at least certainly not for me. I'll be honest, I've wanted autoplay since the day's of DVD.
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:37 PM
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I can't specifically remember trying a Uni-title off hand, I'll have to give it a shot.
Universal movies on Blu-ray do have the arrow functionalities on the remote for menus.
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:43 PM
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Thanks for confirming that Tim
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by crazzeto View Post
I'll be honest, I find this argument mystifying... In my home I control when the disc enters the player, do you have a robot that does this in your home?

Ok, I'm being a little facetious here but my basic point remains, it's not difficult to put the movie disc in the player when you are ready to finally watch the movie.
Considering how many Blu-rays are front-loaded with trailers and promos and non-skippable FBI warnings, I like to give the disc a head-start to get to the menu while I take care of other matters. There are really extremely few Blu-rays (from Warner or any other studio) that will literally start the movie as soon as you put in the disc.

Since you have to deal with all that crap anyway, there might as well be a main menu where you can get all your settings straight before starting the movie.

Quote:
At least in my collection movies that lack java menus almost don't exist any more. That seems to be a thing of the past, now that studios are heavliy promoting bluray's abilities to get people to switch.
So do you not own any Blu-rays released from 2006 to 2008?

Quote:
Still I've never been that annoyed opening a menu to switch the lossless track, or alternatively just using the "audio" button on your remote to cycle the track. The same can be done with subtitles. Maybe for some that's asking a lot, for me I prefer the convinence of not having the movie dump me in some DVD style disc menu.
And I hate having to do those things while the movie is playing. I find that really disruptive to the entire experience. Those things should be taken care of before you start the movie. Once the movie starts, there's no fiddling around with anything.
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