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Blu-ray on a Budget in Uncertain Times

by September 18, 2008

Bubbles may burst, Lehman may crumble, AIG may get bailed out - but gold isn’t the only commodity on the rise, so is Blu. These days consumers may be thinking twice about a buying a new high-definition disc player. The Memorex MVBD-2510 and Best Buy’s Insignia NS-BRDVD have arrived to combat those price-tag willies.

It’s not a great time to be an emerging consumer electronics format. DVD had the benefit of almost a decade of economic growth while Blu-ray is truly getting the short end of the picture tube. But with players edging closer to the $200 mark the format can’t help but witness growth.

Best Buy’s house brand Insignia was originally a $300+ player released earlier this year. At the time of writing it’s down to a very reasonable $229. Not bad for a Blu-ray player that actually decodes DTS-HD.

Now the Memorex MVBD-2510 dips into this "low-price" territory with a new Blu-ray player that will list for $270 in November.

    • Supports Blu-ray Profile 1.1
    • Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD High Resolution
    • Bitstream output for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
    • 5.1 multichannel analog output

Very good numbers for Blu-ray on a budget. The Memorex model is probably not a significant step up from the Insignia but will have one important feature the Insignia overlooks – 5.1 analog outputs. It’s the feature that will save consumers who want the high-resolution audio formats to go with their high-def video from having buy a whole new A/V receiver.

It’s good to see the price of Blu-ray players keep coming down during this period of economic uncertainty. Now if only the power brokers on Wall Street can do something about the ridiculous price of the discs. Case in point … The 1987 film Wall Street on Blu-ray sells for a steep $30 – a classic film I’d love to own on BD but Gekko is asking me to mortgage too many lunches for the pleasure. I guess we know how Gekko feels about lunch.

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

allargon posts on October 03, 2008 14:56
jostenmeat, post: 464136
Dunno man, dunno…

I'll PM you with any player deals, but being a defeated soldier from the red army (Ha!), I still buy HD DVD when appropriate. I bought two Blu-Ray's from Warner that are also available on HD DVD. Why? The Blu-Ray's were cheaper. I bought The Shining and “Led Zeppelin-The Song Remains the Same” on Blu-Ray. Fry's has no more copies on red, and the E-bay HD DVD versions cost more. I held off buying 40-Year-Old Virgin. However, I read review after review and discovered it was the same. With Universal discs, I will generally seek out the red–especially after seeing Xylon's caps of The Thing.

Back to the original topic: People love a bargain in good times and bad. Those PBS “Over America” discs were breaking sales records on Blu-Ray because they were priced at like $12. $12 for great looking nature discs makes sense. $99 for “Sunrise Earth” does not!
jostenmeat posts on October 03, 2008 13:21
I like my HD-A35. I might've waited too long on a backup player. I don't see anything new anymore. If you see a good deal on any good player, please PM me.

I didn't care before, but when I see what happens to some poor BD transfers that were awesome on HD-DVD, I'm now second guessing myself.

I hope they don't do to Darkman what they did to The Thing. I would hope King Kong and The Pianist will look as good, because I've been holding out on the BD release for quite a while. Maybe I should get the HD-DVDs after all.

Dunno man, dunno…
allargon posts on October 03, 2008 10:08
jostenmeat, post: 463904
Im not telling people they have to blow $220. I am just saying if you are going to blow $220 on a DVD player, why not spend it on the BDP instead. Catch my drift?

Now, if you ARE talking about audioholics…. I just don't see why someone would opt for an Oppo 983 when a Sony Ps3 is roughly the same price. Maybe give a tiny bit up in upconverting, but getting so much more to boot.

I'm not an Oppo fanboy at all. I know the Anchor Bay scaling rocks. My Toshiba HD-A20 has it. The Oppo can actually de-interlace properly (unlike my Tosh.). Besides significantly better upscaling than the PS3, the Oppo also offers SACD, DVD-A playback and multichannel analog outs. I still think the 983 is overpriced by $200.
jostenmeat posts on October 02, 2008 21:13
allargon, post: 463848
I will say this one time here even though this is Audioholics. More people care about special features than they do about high resolution/lossless audio.

If you say so. I honestly wouldn't know. In fact, I didn't know that most any person even cared about anything in terms of high quality AV.

Doby and Josten, $220 may be a cheap player to you. However, to many of us used to $50 DVD players, it's still a LOT of money for a player that can't even access all of the special features of a disc. Every DVD player ever made can play all of the special DVD features including multiple angles, etc. Blu-Ray can't say the same thing. You have to admit the profile thing was a major screw-up.

Like I said, I wouldn't know.

I have yet to play a single extra feature. Not one single extra. Nothing. I believe I've mentioned here before that some friends have encouraged me to watch the “making of” extras in Surf's Up. I can't get myself to do it, and hence I don't know any better.

I wouldn't know that the profile thing was a screw up. If profile 2.0 never existed, I would never notice. Honestly. Just me. So . . . I don't think I have to admit anything. OTOH, I am not refuting your statement that everyone else might feel differently.

$220 is a lot for a lot of people. But this is… just …. one…. argument…. that gets repeated too many times. For every $1,000 I spent on this hobby, I can show you other thousand dollar purchases by others who spend next to nothing on AV. Different strokes.

I didn't have this much disposable income until rather recently. For the poorer, one might consider other hobbies. Other hobbies I took up with zeal when I had considerably less money were basketball, reading, and chess. Most singular AV purchases could fund those three hobbies simultaneously for a year. Easy.

I didn't have a TV to speak of about 26 months ago. Was like that for close to a year. I used Radio Shack bookshelves for the better part of two decades. I didn't even have a pre-amp, but used the variable gain on the cdp to change the volume on my Kenwood amp. The cdp was a floor model, even older than the speakers, I got from Good Guys I think. Maybe. I used a knife to pry open the drawer immediately after hitting “open” when that started to fail.

Im not telling people they have to blow $220. I am just saying if you are going to blow $220 on a DVD player, why not spend it on the BDP instead. Catch my drift?

Now, if you ARE talking about audioholics…. I just don't see why someone would opt for an Oppo 983 when a Sony Ps3 is roughly the same price. Maybe give a tiny bit up in upconverting, but getting so much more to boot.

PENG posts on October 02, 2008 19:12
hillbill, post: 463790
Thank you for your opinion. That's what I've been thinking but wasn't real sure.

He is most likely wrong if he is talking about 1080i vs 1080p. You may not be able to tell much difference if at all, between 1080i and 1080p especially if your so call 1080i (input) display is a plasma or LCD. People like to talk about difference that are “huge”. You have to find out what “huge” means to you.
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