Today's Blu-ray players are much more than Blu-ray players. I just got a new one and it was really an eye-opener seeing what else is available through it. The new players support a wide variety of streaming content (video and audio) and work with many other sources, like Netflix. Seems to me the writing is on the wall that physical Blu-ray disks will eventually be obsolete, or at least not the primary source of content. Netflix is only about $9 a month and you could watch a high-def movie every night for that one price. Another example is the Berlin Philharmonic available for a reasonable fee. This aspect will continue to expand. These should be called "Media Players" and not "Blu-ray players".
Unfortunately my ISP cannot provide me the bandwidth to take advantage of all that!
The figures are as follows. Streaming video requires 2.5 Mbps but I only get 1 Mbps. I couldn't even get that until they installed a new transmitter within range of my house. Each of these only supplies 11 Mbps total. (They do over subscribe that so it supports more than 11 accounts.) They are experimenting with new technology that within a couple of years will probably give me what I need but by then the increased use of streaming content will push that envelope.
This leads to the one cloud on the horizon. ISPs are beginning to charge for bandwidth use. My ISP is a small regional WDSL company and I talked to the guy who runs the place. Something needs to happen with the pricing model. Right now the ISPs are eating the cost of delivering all this streaming content by adding more and more equipment to supply the bandwidth to service the same number of customers. Each of those transmitters costs several thousand dollars plus fees to the tower owner and the ISPs increased maintenance costs. The ISPs are in essence subsidizing Netflix (etc.).
I jokingly suggested that he reverse the charges to the content provider and he said that wasn't out of the question. He said they can limit bandwidth not only to the receiving end but also from the source and charge the sender for usage of the ISP's resources.
It will be interesting to see how all this works out in the next few years. Perhaps improved technology will continue to keep the bandwidth costs down to the point where a new pricing model isn't needed. Or maybe we will have metered bandwidth like just about every other utility (water, gas, electric, etc.). Or maybe Netflix will need to pay some of the cost.
EDIT: Forgot to mention -- Firmware update via Internet is pretty standard for these things. I would be surprised if any of the mainstream players couldn't do it. Perhaps some of the super high-end players that appeal to the real audiophiles (the guys with tube amps!) might not.
Last edited by Bertilak; 09-07-2010 at 08:05 AM.
Somebody's nuts. I don't know whether it's me or them, but somebody is definitely nuts. I just wished I knew, so I'd know, you know?