Blu-ray Cruising Toward v2.0

Currently, it is extremely hip to be hating on Blu-ray and to explain to all five people who read your blog that Blu-ray won't be successful because everyone is totally happy with their upconverting  DVD players. The other herd mentality talking point de jour is that standalone BD players have no future because for the same price, you might as well buy a PSP3. I feel the mental pain of everyone making those arguments, as well as the mental pain of all the high-school grammar teachers who have to read them, but I respectfully (ha!) disagree.  It's not completely fair to diss the current implementations of Blu-ray because it still hasn't grown into the full, manly version of its future self.

In particular, the BD-Live (Profile v2.0) specification is just now becoming available. Among other things, it boosts local storage capacity from 256M to 1G, and has Internet connection capability. The latter opens the door to titles with web-enhanced content and other cool tricks. Manufacturers will be quick to exploit these new opportunities, and point out that your current BD player is an obsolete piece of junk.

Case in point is the Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player (pictured) coming in June. The player will ship with the BonusView (Profile v1.1) spec, with a future upgrade to BD-Live (Profile v2.0). It will also have HDMI v1.3 and Ethernet (with firmware upgrade). Of course, it will output 1080p/24p video, and decode Dolby TrueHD audio (with DTS-HD HR as a future upgrade). This is Samsung's fourth-generation BD player, and if disc load times are decent, it may well be worth a look. Now, I am not a fan of promises for "future upgrades" and instead I wish players shipped with the code already safely onboard.  But, late is better than never.

Now, price for the BD-P1500 has not been announced, but let's assume it's somewhere in the $399 neighborhood, which is to say, the same neighborhood that PSP3 plays in. Why not just buy a PSP3? Because if you do, you and millions of other people may discover that playing video games is way more fun than passively watching movies. And Hollywood would never allow that to happen. -Ken C. Pohlmann