I’ve never been one to spend a fortune on new tech when I know that within a year or two the price will drop dramatically. (I know someone who spent hundreds of pounds on a Bluray player when they first came out, and within a year the price had dropped enormously.) And I’m not much of a movie buff any more. So it wasn’t until last year that I finally got around to getting a Bluray player. Bought a Bluray movie at Christmas for the kids, and it wasn’t until this Easter that we decided to sit down and watch it.
But could we have a nice time watching the movie? No, of course not. Suffering must be involved. The Bluray, a Sony, did all sorts of funny things. Hours of internet research were involved to see if we could fix the problem. Eventually we discovered that you have to try a software upgrade, that’s the only possible solution, but that will either fix the problem, or brick the unit, and the latter is more likely. An hour later we were left with a bricked unit and all our hair pulled out in clumps on the floor.
Fast forward to this summer. A death in the family had left us in possession of another Bluray player. Another Sony, but a bigger and better-looking unit. Will this work? Put the Bluray in, and we’re told that this unit cannot play this Bluray movie because this movie is too new and is incompatible with this unit’s OS. (It does say on a little sticker in the movie case that you need the latest software to play the movie, but of course you don’t see that when you’re buying it.)
So after much faffing about we connect it to the internet and try updating it, which by a miracle does work, although I noticed that the latest OS was from a couple of years ago. My overly-optimistic wife says, ‘Finally the problem is fixed and we can watch this movie’. But my fears were borne out: this movie is still to new for the OS.
But at least we can play other, older, movies on it, right? No, because a week later it the word ‘WAIT’ started flashing on it non-stop, and it no longer works. I could spend a few more hours on the internet trying to track down the issue, and maybe fix it, or maybe not, and I’m normally good at that sort of thing, but I just thought, why bother? And why bother buying another Bluray player if we can’t get it working?
They’re not expensive any more, but they’re still at least £60. Most movies aren’t worth watching. I don’t have many Bluray discs. I don’t even have that many DVDs. We have more movies on the computer that we have downloaded from Amazon than we have on disc. Why not just take the opportunity to dump all that, like a lot of people have dumped music CDs for downloads? It’s not like I enjoy having the physical movie, like I enjoy having a physical record or CD. I usually throw away the cases because they take up so much room, and put the discs in one of those multi-disc wallets. Also, why would I want to spend £60 just to play one £10 movie?
The other thing that has always annoyed me about DVDs and Blurays is the amount of time is takes to get them going. Blurays are often glacial in starting up. Ads and piracy warnings and menus all drive me nuts. If I pay for a movie I want the movie, not ads for other movies. I don’t pay money to be lectured. Downloads don’t have any of that rubbish. And they don’t get scratched. And they don’t fill up all the space in your your loungeroom or spare room or loft (I knew someone whose whole loungeroom was filled with videocassettes, about 1% of which he ever watched again).
So it’s goodbye to the disc from me.
Update: I would add that I’ll never buy Sony ever again, but I’ve said that about products from just about every other major electronics company, and if I stuck to that I’d never be able to buy any electronic unit ever again. But I do think the heydey of Sony is long gone. The Trinitron, after all, was a long time ago.
Update 2: After a few days unplugged it’s no longer flashing ‘WAIT’ any more, so possibly it’s working agan now. But it’s too late. I’m no longer going to buy any discs for it.
Of course computers have their own problems, but I have to keep a few up-and-running in the house anyway.