WARNING !! BLU-RAY - THE NEW BETAMAX?

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Andy Clough

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Really can't see Sony dropping the PS3 guys. They've invested way too much in the PlayStation brand and technology, and even if things in the games market are tough at the moment, don't think they'll give up without a fight. There's way too much at stake.
 

FoxJA

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My last post was at 1am! I don't even remember doing it!

I sort of agree with what I said though, PS3 is here to stay.
 
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Anonymous

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my pioneer amp hasnt got hdmi connection still undecided about next generation amp,having just bought my chord cobra phonos 8 months ago it would be a shame not to use them.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Oldskool"]So, as you guys are now discussing the future of the SONY organisation and the PS3, and you see differently, are you really saying that the entire future of BLU-RAY is totally dependant on the future of PS3[/quote]

Hi Gerry

I knew I shouldn't have mentioned the PS3 - Susanoo does the 'PS3 is Doomed' scenario and the thread gets side tracked!.

LG, along with Samsung, are about to launch their new dual format effort. If every fault/problem with yours has been overcome with the new model, then by implication the one you bought was not fit for purpose. Will the new model fall short of expectations or fail to fulfill promises. Either way, LG seem to have shown you, and others, scant regard.

Firmware upgradeable seems to be the new 'get out of jail free' card when it should just be a bonus portal for on-going improvements.

Still at least with the new forum thread (thanks Andrew) this topic should keep alive.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="david1997"]
Firmware upgradeable seems to be the new 'get out of jail free' card when it should just be a bonus portal for on-going improvements.

[/quote]

Fireware is not new, it's been around for years, mainly in the PC domain, but also in the DVD one as well. My first DVD player was a Wharfdale 850 or something about 5 years ago I think, I was a bit late getting into the format partly due to all the videos I had. Anyway, they released this player which was only sold at Tesco's, I believe and what it did was bring DVD to the masses as the player only cost £150 which at the time was one of the cheapest you could buy.

The only problem was that it wouldn't play the 25th Anniversary disc of Jaws, they already knew of this problem and quickly replaced the machine allowing customers to swap their original players and then if the disc still didn't work they sent a guy out, can't remember if he was from Wharfdale or Tesco's, but he came round and did a Firmware patch on the machine, problem solved. I also believe that this was the only disc at the time that didn't work, but proved that there was a problem, with the machine and not the disc.

Now more manufacturers are using Firmware to save on the recalls or home visits, obviously as a cost issue.

In regards to the format war, in the end I think both will work in harmony, same as the DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW in the the PC market, there will eventually be drives/players that will play both formats, it's only a matter of time. Also with the introduction of dual players, this will throw up some initial problems but will soon be overcome, whether they will be replaced buy dual drives as opposed to two separate drives in one bow, time will tell.

My advice, take it or leave it, is to buy two separate players; a) it's the cheaper option, you can buy both the excellent Toshiba HD EP-30 and the Sony BDP-S300 for £70 cheaper than the new Samsung. It may not be in the case of the LG, but as this was the first player out, there was always going to be problems with it. b) both, Sony and Toshiba have a fairly good record, maybe not every time, but if anything goes wrong it seems easier to fix one player than it does two. The Toshiba comes with an ethernet connection for this very purpose, mine is plugged in all the time and updates as and when it needs to.

I'm sure other people will have their own comments on this, but that is mine at the moment.
 
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Anonymous

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Thank you for that Stephanr, I was not aware of the DVD firmware issue. Probably the first one in the mass consumer market?

I do still agree with David though that we were led to believe that firmware updates were there to allow continual improvements to the players as time went on and as the format matured, but it has in fact STOPPED machines functioning and most definately appears to be a get-out-of-jail-free card.

One would naturally assume, (and incorrectly so), that your player would continue to operate at its latest firmware spec until upgraded, ie slow loading, lesser audio formats, less interactivity or functions etc, but you woulod not expect it to pack-up completely if not updated!

Lets hope the motor industry does not follow this route. At the moment engine management software can be upgraded as the car is further developed, but at least it does not break down if you don't. Although if the Euro Penpushers get their way and OBD 3 is made a requirement, (On Board Diagnostics Mk3), your CAR will report you to the Police and DVLA if you drive it with a fault that is not repaired almost immediately. It will be like having the Police MOT your car every time you get in it.

Oldskool
 
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Anonymous

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Timely thread. I was also in a dither whether to get Blue Ray or HD DVD and am still wondering which format will survive.

I had considered the choice of titles available for each format, hardware price differences, combo players from LG and Samsung, both with less features than stand alone players etc and very expensive. All considered I decided upon the HD DVD and ordered the new toshiba HD-EP35 HD DVD Player yesterday. Very reasonable cost, currently about £270, including a limited choice of 7 HD DVD's. Very well specified and good reviews. But I have only purchased now so that I would have something to play on and upscale existing DVD's on my new plasma - Pioneer PDP -LX608D, also ordered yesterday, that will also upscale existing DVD's. If I was not changing my TV, I would not have bought either HD DVD format yet.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="malwrx"]If I was not changing my TV, I would not have bought either HD DVD format yet.[/quote]

I think that goes for a lot of us. The upscaling ability of some non-HD players out there would have delayed my move. There is, though, quite a good argument for going hi-def on the audio side of this debate.
 
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Anonymous

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I would also add that I went that route initially with the very highly regarded Pioneer 989I upscaling player and had good results with it but it is not possible to add detail that is not there from the disc. I got best results upscaling DVD's to 720p on my 1080 projector. Upscaling to 1080i or p degraded the image quality. I did not buy this to deferr the jump to HD, but as my 737i was starting to play up, and I needed a multi-region player, this was my player of choice.

However, using a genuine 1080 signal from either HD DVD or Blu-Ray just blows away any upscaled picture for colour rendition and sharpness. Be under no illusion that an upscaled picture even approaches a raw 1080 image, it doesn't..
The way I imagine it is that you have a 525 or 625 line image of a field of grass. The DVD can then show up to 625 individual blades of grass on the image. Irrespective of upscaling, you cannot get more than 625 blades of grass off that DVD even at 1080, just 625 sharper images. An HD source will contain 1080 individual blades of grass which will be shown on screen as 1080 blades. Multiply this by the increased resolution widthways also and you get a much sharper image over an upscaled view.
 
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Anonymous

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Like Betamax/VHS, the winner of this particular spat will be content-driven. That's what most consumers (ie not early adopters or tech-savvy people who post on Forums like this) need. They're not buying the format, superior or otherwise, they're buying what they're going to play on it. VHS won not because it was the superior product (it wasn't). It won because it was the format that had the most movies available. That's why the studios are playing this game and trying to errrr..... BUY business and market share. Claire is right, they're totally the ones to blame, they know they're in the driver's seat.

Warners, currently format neutral, say they'll come off the fence once this Christmas has died down and the figures are in. Given the Blu-Ray promos available on the high street and on-line, and the falling prices of BD hardware (not to mention the gift-fiendly PS3), it looks likely that Blu Ray might just outsell HDDVD up to January. In that case, Warners will go BD only and HDDVD will be (mortally?) wounded.

Oh - and the Blu Ray spec fiasco really does SUCK!!!!!
 
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Anonymous

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Without good games that can match the Xbox 360 the PS3 will inevitably flop. How long can the PS3 survive as a blu ray player when the prices of other blu ray players eventually come down? Even if a 250Gb blu ray disc was made, the games may not even benefit from this. Xbox 360 produces better games on 8.5Gb discs right now and the PS3 still cant match it for a great gaming experience even on 25Gb discs. Susanoo is right, Sony made a blunder.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Oldskool"]However, using a genuine 1080 signal from either HD DVD or Blu-Ray just blows away any upscaled picture for colour rendition and sharpness.[/quote]

Yes, although I would add two exceptions.

1. At the recent WHFS&V show, this team were giving a hi-def demo of Transformers. If you were there you will know what I'm going on about. (If you weren't it will take too long to explain !). Basically a projector set up with additional lense to cover the whole screen cinema-style. 1st half of demo was upscale, 2nd half HD-DVD. Whilst the HD audio sounded terrific in round 2, I left feeling that the first picture was more cinema-like. The second was 'too perfect' if you get my drift.

2. Andrew E, in another thread(I think!) was talking about his trusty old - and expensive, Naim DVD5. He really rates it's picture producing qualities. Although hideously overpaid, he does have two eyes and a brain and if he reckons nothing better has come along to tempt him to ditch it (except perhaps for another Naim) then matbe we have all got a bit carried away with HiDef.

The problem is that to achieve high levels of visual joy, bucket loads of bucks have to be exchanged. Mere mortals like me have to go the upscale/HD way. But at least it will not matter if it is Blu-ray or HD-dvd since we will all have dual format players just like we all have multi-format dvd players.

The PS3 will outlive the Xbox by a good few years. Of that there can be no doubt.
 
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Anonymous

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It appears to me that having a dual format player has many short term advatages, but maybe less obvious long term and general advantages. Firstly, as there is a current format war, then at least (in theory) a dual format player can play all discs! However, a downside to this is that it just prolongs the format war, which doesn't serve the interests of many, the longer it goes on. Whilst we have two competing formats, there is little or no chance that the critical mass will migrate from DVD to HiDef Media. The other problem is potentially twice as many problems. Compatibility with DB/HD/DVD/CD, it asking a lot! There must be quality sacrifices to keep the price down?

There has simply got to be a winner, as I fear that without one soon, both formats will just be a LaserDisc sitution, whereby only the A/V elite will buy the hardware and software. No chance of mass market appeal whilst there is the confusion of a war! Microsoft may want us to think otherwise, but how long will it take to download 50GB of a film and extras? Longer than the film itself! Downloading of HiDef content is years away, even for high speed internet in USA, mainland Europe etc! Then, there's nothing like the portability of a 5in disc to insert in any compatible machine! That's why CD and DVD have proved so popular! Perhaps I'm just old fashioned?

We thought long and hard about the situation, and came to the conclusion that we didn't want to miss out on HiDef Media, so all things considered we plumped for Blu-ray (not least because of the more universal hardware options) but the larger selection of available BD discs. We will have approx 20 by Christmas, including two 'all region' discs from the USA.

We purchased a Samsung BD-P1400 from a well known retailer for a bargain £319. The BD-P1400 plays absoluletely everything, no problems whatsoever. There was a firmware update available, and we duly burned a DVD-R and installed the update. Again, absolutely no problems with any discs. I would heartily recommend the BD-P1400 for it's fabulous pictures** and incredible sound^. The LPCM5.1 on the Elton John 60 BD shows what BD was invented for! If only concerts were presented with such pristine pictures and sound! Looking forward to the Genesis BD in February! Cars (US disc) is another reference disc!

** The TV by the way is a Panasonic TX-37LZD70. This set was made for HiDef! SD is pretty good too!

^ The amplifier is a Yamaha DSP-AX750SE. Only 5.1 speakers used at the moment, but still sounds incredible!

I don't want to spark a new debate, but the LZD70 blows the plasmas away when it comes to HiDef content. If anyone had any doubts over LCD being good enough for sizes over 32in, those canny people at Panasonic have laid down the marker and produced an absolute reference 37in LCD. Maybe it should have had three HDMIs and 100Hz - that would have made it near perfect (and no incentive for people to buy the LZD700 or LZD80/800 when they come out next year)!!!!

Finally, I think the Blu-ray Disc Association were wrong not to finalise the profile from day one (credit to HD DVD for that), but that shouldn't put anyone off taking the plunge. The difference between upscaled DVD (on our Pioneer DV-600AV) and Blu-ray is massive! When you see and hear the results, it really makes it all worthwhile.

P.S. If we have to buy and HD DVD player (assuming that both formats survive) then so be it! Warner Brothers decision on their future support could determine the outcome quite quickly, depending on what they decide to do. There is lots of speculation that they will be BD exclusive. If that were to happen, then Universal would probably follow suit, leaving just Paramount/Dreamworks supporting HD DVD. In an ideal world we would have just one format or dual releases!
 
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Anonymous

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PS3 may outlive the Xbox 360, which is doubtful mind you, but there are rumours of a 360 with an intergrated dual format disc player bein released later down the line. Blu ray and HD DVD eat your heart out!
 
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Anonymous

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Cannot believe how many problems you`ve had with blu-ray,I bought a Toshiba Hd-ep30 HD-DVD player last month for £279 and have had no problems so far,in fact I`m well happy.I think blu-ray is expected to be the format to take off,having backing from Sony,Panasonic,Samsung etc,as far as I know,only Toshiba make HD-DVD players,but if your problem happens to others,how long before people turn their back on the format?Before I bought my player,I was worried about the lack of titles compared to blu-ray,but after reading your problem,I`m so glad Ichose HD-DVD.Also,to gain firmware updates for my player,you stick an ethernet lead in the back and download the info from the web,simple,in fact I performed this operation successfully today.How long before the studios turn their backs on blu-ray too,being cheaper to produce HD-DVD`S,surely cost must be a factor,blu-ray players are dearer too.Sorry but I was well happy when Igot it out the box,connected it to my Sony bravia lcd and my yamaha a/v amp,best kit I`ve bought in ages.If I was you,chuck the blu-ray in the bin and seek out your nearest Toshiba dealer,buy some discs and get some cans and see how good HD-DVD really is.I would offer this advice to anyone with cash to spend on HD.Beware people,Toshiba do no wrong in my eyes.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="bot bot"],I bought a Toshiba Hd-ep30 HD-DVD player last month for £279 and have had no problems[/quote]

And so you shouldn't. It does what it says on the box. In Gerry's case he wanted Hi-Def when it first came out and has subsequently found himself with a player that has fallen short of what he believed to be reasonable. You have had the benefit time on your side. The latest batch of players should all be behaving themselves. No consolation for Gerry, though.

Not a Blu-ray issue. Both formats should perform equally well. I have seen no evidence that Blu-ray is less 'reliable' than HD-dvd. It is true that the cost of the cheapest HD players is less than the cheapest Blu-ray and that may be a factor for some people, but disc costs are so low, even if HD was cheaper to produce than BD (and I've seen no hard facts on that) we would only be talking pennies so the consumer should see prices comparable between the two formats.
 
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[quote user="david1997"]
[quote user="bot bot"],I bought a Toshiba Hd-ep30 HD-DVD player last month for £279 and have had no problems[/quote]

And so you shouldn't. It does what it says on the box. In Gerry's case he wanted Hi-Def when it first came out and has subsequently found himself with a player that has fallen short of what he believed to be reasonable. You have had the benefit time on your side. The latest batch of players should all be behaving themselves. No consolation for Gerry, though.

[/quote]

I'm glad I had time on my side as I brought a EP30 a couple of weeks ago and I only paid £181.00 for it and that was with 7 free HD discs.

If Toshiba can make players this good and sell them for that price then there is only going to be one winner. One that every one can afford eventually, HD DVD. I cannot see BD players coming down in price by that much and certainly not the PS3 which by all accounts is the best of the bunch anyway.

Enough said.
 
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Anonymous

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I`m only quoting what I read,either in WHAT HIFI recently or on Toshiba`s website,hd-dvd`s are cheaper due to their 30gb capacity compared to blu-ray`s 50gb,maybe someone at WHAT HIFI can verify this for me?Their 30gb is still big enough though.Any way,sorry Sony,Panasonic etc.but so far I can only see one clear winner here and Toshiba and hd-dvd is it.Time will tell.In the meantime,BOYCOTT BLU-RAY!(Just kidding folks)
 
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Anonymous

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Yes that is very true i know that every hddvd players are fully up to spec now due to the recent firmware update at Toshiba.See the thing is hddvd was always a finished format and bluray in the other hand was not. It just makes me angry that they, Sony and it's partners had released an unfinished format.And many people with old players will soon reallies their players can't play many of the extras on their disc.I really would had hoped no one had brought any bluray players so that these company's
reallies people don't wanna be played with, anyway theres always going to be people like that i guess.
Am sure Sony would add the latest surround sound formats and the profile 1.1-1.2 very soon to the ps3 and that's what makes the ps3 the best bluray in the market today but poor dvd player for screens up-to 40-46.[quote [quote user="niftynigel"]Finally, I think the Blu-ray Disc Association were wrong not to finalise the profile from day one (credit to HD DVD for that), but [/quote]
 
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Anonymous

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It appears to be a matter of popular opinion that the PS3 is the best Blu-ray player. If it didn't have the ability to play PS3 games, then we suspect that popular opinion would be different. For those of us not interested in games, then the PS3 would be considered as a Blu-ray player along with all the standalone players. We did consider a PS3, but having auditioned it alongside players from Panasonic, Pioneer, Sharp, Sony and Samsung. It was a process of elimination for us. Panasonic and Pioneer, albeit with some minor 'A' modifications, were still their first generation players. As there had been a shortage of Panasonic BD10/As, it appears curious that they didn't stop production and release the Profile 1.1 BD30 worldwide. Both the Sharp and Sony (S300) players have been build to a price and reviews appear to reflect this as there are better players out there. The Samsung BD-P1400 hasn't been reviewed as yet, but I'd be very surprised if it didn't get Five Star rating for it picture and sound quality. As it has an ethernet port, then firmware upgrades are a doddle - we actually used a DVD-R for the upgrade (a facility that should be available to all BD/HD players)? Who actually needs the ethernet for this particular function? The DVD-R route only took 15 mins total.

A lot is made of the HD (and BD Profile 1.1) function of picture in picture and extra content downloadable via internet. We think it's good to have extras with DVD/BD/HDs, but there becomes a time when there could be too many. We'd much rather have all the content on one disc. BD has a clear advantage here with a 50GB working capacity.

How long will it be until the studios will start to charge for 'downloadable extras'?

The most important issue for most people, when upgrading to HiDef, be it Sky, cable, BD, HD or whatever is the picture and sound quality. There is a novelty value of some of the periferal facilities, but once that has worn off, are the basics up to scratch?

From our point of view, the Samsung BD-P1400 meets all those objectives. It has has fabulous picture and sound. It plays all discs with no problems and it plays all the extras faultlessly too! Firmware updates are a dobble. As an upscaling DVD player (to 1080p) it's good, maybe not a match for our Pioneer DV-600AV, but if someone has never seen upscaled DVDs before, then I'm sure it would be more than adequate for most!? As a CD player, it's OK, again the DV-600AV is better. Contrary to the manual and publicity, it DOES play DVD-Audio discs. Our Sony RDR-HXD710 DVD recorder also plays DVD-Audio discs when it's not supposed to!

As I wrote before, although we are in the BD camp firstly, we would have no problems getting an HD player too.

History does repeat itself. Remembering the Betamax/VHS war. There are some comparisons. Sony lost that war because it didn't have the support of the rest of the hardware industry. Maybe Samsung and LG have produced dual format players, but they are in essence BD players with HD added on. All the other majors are supporting BD. Given it's close ties with Toshiba, it's not really surprising Onkyo has and HD player out. I'm sure the hardware manufacturers are in constant 'development' talks with the studios. It wouldn't surprise me if Warner Brothers decision on their future bias is being discussed with the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, Sharp, Philips, Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, JVC, Hitachi etc. Their decision could well be based on what hardware those companies are going to release next year. If they have all got sub $400 / £200 players (or less) lined up, then that's pretty well it for HD, I'm sorry to say.

Anyone wonder why Microsoft doesn't put an HD drive as standard in the XBox360? They've probably already got an add-on BD drive lined up for the inevitable!?

P.S. I'm most certainly not anti-Microsoft.

Although it may well have been Sony's arrogance in not incorporating HDi (it chose Java) for BD (to unify one HiDef 5in disc format), as time has passed, it appears that Microsoft has backed the wrong side this time around - only they can explain the real reason - we can only speculate! Downloading songs is one thing, but 50GB of films, that's pure fantasy!
 
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Anonymous

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From what ive read on the av forums the samsung is fault ridden with hardly anyone who's happy wth their buy! pop over and have read if youve got the patience to read the thread as its very long!
 
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Anonymous

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So, basically, its a question of what cheapish BD or HD to buy now just to get that hi-def experience. I've now got my PS3 so I will read the reviews of all the dual format players between now and Xmas '08, shortlist 2-3 and buy Jan 2009. The mad world of HiDef players should have quietened down by then, even though my money would be on both formats still 'going strong'.

Its going to be a dual format future, my friends!!
 
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Anonymous

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Nifty its not nearly as cut and dry as you may think! im not biased as i have both formats! For me its about films i couldnt give a monkeys which format their on as a long as ive got the player to play them on but in the good old usa HD dvd players are outselling blu ray (ps3 excluded). you can buy a tosh hd player in walmart for £100.
 

Andy Clough

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[quote user="david1997"]

Its going to be a dual format future, my friends!!

[/quote]

Indeed, it may well be. Although as I once bought a Betamax instead of a VHS VCR (and also invested in Laserdisc), I may not be the best person to predict the future!
 

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