My name is Micah, and I have failed at BluRay. This is my story.
Since 1995, when I was an "early adopter," I have had four DVD players. The first was one of the original Panasonic DVD players, and cost over $400. But since then I've learned that even the cheaper players do just fine, and for about the last five years I've been using a $39 Pioneer progressive-scan DVD player that I probably bought at Wal-Mart.
It's connected to my stupendous Sony RPTV; component video direct to TV & optical audio to an antique (circa 1995) Denon processor. The picture quality is close to perfect. Calibrated regularly with AVIA, films from SD-DVD are rendered incredibly film-like. Lines are sharp, black is black, there's no jitter, and while there is natural film grain there is no artifacting, smearing, or mosquitoing. All is right with the world.
And then my wife says, "I'll get you a BluRay player for your birthday!"
I have no real interest in BluRay discs. I already own most of the great films on DVD. I wouldn't rebuy them. I'm not interested in superduper extras, Internet streaming, chat-while-watching bonus features. (All I want is the film.) But I was under the impression that a BluRay player would be a good investment. I thought the blue laser would read SD-DVDs much better than the older DVD player technology (red laser?). SD-DVDs would bloom into high definition! Brighter brights, whiter whites! I also thought that the all-digital HDMI video connection would be a great thing (and I'd keep the optical audio connected to the processor).
So we went to buy a new Sony BluRay player, the newest thing (recommended by you!). I brought it home and connected it just the way I thought I would; HDMI video direct to TV & optical audio to the processor. Then, I set about calibrating the HDMI input on the TV. After about a week of fiddling around and many A-B comparisons, I came to the startling conclusion that my $39 Pioneer DVD player looked much better than the new BluRay player.
Images rendered by the BluRay player were everything that DVD images were not. Even after multiple calibrations, changes and adjustments, increases and decreases in resolutions, the BluRay player delivered jittery, smearing pictures filled with artifacts. Yes, brights were brighter. But even after calibration, film images were just too bright, and began to look like video games! I couldn't understand it. Everybody's talking about how BluRay players make everything look fantastic, realistic, amazing! And yet, I didn't see anything I liked at all. Nothing looked film-like. Everything looked cold and digital. What was I doing wrong?
Was it merely that I was playing SD-DVDs on the BluRay player? Could this really be it? Was everything I thought I knew about how the blue laser makes SD-DVD "look better" wrong? Was HDMI just too good, rendering defects instead of images?
(At this point in the story I returned the BluRay player, and exchanged it for a newer Sony DVD player, one that also had an HDMI out. But when I got this new Sony DVD player home I discovered, to my horror, that it did not have an optical audio output. Since I didn't have a coax cable for the audio out, I ended up returning the Sony DVD player also. I reconnected my $39 Pioneer... and all is right with the world again.)
I'm the only person in the world unhappy with BluRay technology, aren't I? I'm the only person in the world happy with a six-year-old progressive scan DVD player outputting 480p via component video and optical audio outs, aren't I?