Blu-ray 'flipper' discs finally coming


image courtesy of EngadgetHD

image courtesy of EngadgetHD

According to CNET’s Crave blog, Universal Studios is set to release the first title on the market to use the “flipper disc” format: A single disc that contains the Blu-ray version of a movie on one side, while the traditional DVD format is available on the other side:

The “Bourne” trilogy (“Identity,” “Supremacy,” “Ultimatum”) will be the first movies to get the dual-sided treatment, with all three discs coming out on January 19.

It’s been a while getting here though. EngadgetHD first reported on this new format almost a year ago. While we’ve been waiting, some of the studios have opted to market combo-sets for their releases: A Blu-ray disc bundled with a DVD disc.

While there are advantages to having dedicated discs for each format (keeping the DVD copy at where your DVD player is, and storing the Blu-ray version elsewhere) most consumers balk at the idea of paying a hefty premium for this package.

If the studios can bring the price of these new flipper discs in-line with existing Blu-ray prices, I think consumers will respond positively and start buying these new discs instead of the cheaper, but ultimately obsolete, DVD discs.

For my part, I’m a little ambivalent on Blu-ray. Our HDTV is 720p – fantastic for all of the currently available HD broadcasts/movie network/PPV that we receive. Our upconverting DVD player does a great job making our DVDs look their best. I’ve even hooked up a Blu-ray player that I borrowed from a neighbour to see how it would look. The verdict? Meh.

At this point, I’m not rushing to buy a Blu-ray player or movies in the Blu-ray format. Of course, that could change if the price of both the players and discs experience another massive price drop as they have over the last 12 months.

What do you think? Are you tired of buying DVDs that you know won’t be as fun to watch when you eventually buy a Blu-ray player? Or are you cold on the whole Blu-ray platform? Convinced physical formats as a whole are destined for extinction?

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23 comments

  1. pb

    Everything should be downloaded, we should all have 100 megabit internet lines to all our houses, unlimited download capability’s and be able to buy or rent movies online.

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  2. jimmy

    If you can’t tell the difference between Blu-ray and regular DVD’s it’s because you have a crappy TV.

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      • Ken

        You only have to upgrade your connections if you are still using yellow white and red jacks, as they only output standard definition video. If you use The green, blue and red jacks they output in high definition. The human eye can hardly tell the difference because they output the same amount of data as HDMI. Also some lesser known brand tv’s have been reported to have problems with the HDMI inputs. So before you buy a 50 dollar HDMI cable with your brand new tv. Remember alot of products have the appropriate cables in the box and the sale of a HDMI cable can easily be a gimick

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    • Simon Cohen

      Hey Jimmy – I never said I couldn’t tell the difference between Blu-ray and regular DVD. I said that Blu-ray didn’t make a big impression on me compared to the hi-def content I already get via satellite. FWIW, we have a 50″ Panasonic Viera Plasma… which is universally regarded as not an especially crappy TV ;)

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  3. Marc Saltzman

    I prefer individual discs for DVD and Blu-ray as I can keep one with my TV (Blu-ray) and take one for my laptop on a business trip, in the minivan, etc. We’ll see if these combo discs are cheaper than buying the two individually (plus the Digital Copy disc)…

    Marc

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  4. Phil

    I do not buy Blue Ray because of the grossly inflated price per unit nor am I going to buy a remake of a movie already owned in DVD or HD-DVD formats. Up converting works just fine on my 1080P Plasma. Greater capacities means greater interactions with content and tons of extras most of which I have little to no time for other than the movie I want to watch.

    Remember the perceptible difference between Beta Max and VHS was only 2% and now between 720P and 1080P is more dependant upon sitting distance and the HDTV itself, still detail is much greater with 1080P, 1 Million pixels vs. 2 Million pixels.

    A standard DVD is actually 720X480 (NTSC), not as detailed as 720P, again not as detailed as 1080P if you have the right set-up.

    DVD= 4.7GB, HD-DVD=30GB, Blu-Ray= 50GB the greater the capacity the greater the resolution and the more that can be compacted onto one disc. Video Resolution Blu-Ray = 1920X1080 (1080P), DVD= 720X480/X576 (480i/576i) and the Video Bit Rate Blu-Ray= 40.0Mbps and DVD= 9.8Mbps.

    In short, not for now.

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    • Mike

      Hi Phil
      Sounds like you know what you are talking about. Really.
      Maybe you have some suggestions for me .
      I am using Pinnacle’s Dazzle Video Creator Plus , with the Studio 12 , to transfer VHS content to my hard drive then DVD. I am using Memorex DVD-R , 4.7 GB discs.
      The transfer / editing is quite easy using this updated Pinnacle product.
      One VHS tape I have was recorded in 1984 at an outdoor concert at night .It is my Bluegrass band and I really was hoping for a better visual quality DVD. The visual quality of the tape is not great and is worse than not great when you look at the final product on DVD on my TV , which is the standard old analog TV.
      So – do you think the quality would improve if I used a better quality blank disc? Or am I just stuck with 1980’s VHS technology and have to make the best of it.

      Thanks

      Mike
      Mississauga

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  5. Phil

    Where the heck are you that my post is one hour ahead of my own time zone?
    Posted at 18:23, my time is 17:23. What are the loto results please!

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    • Tom

      It’s called time zones Phil it’s because the earth is a sphere and we don’t all live on the same bit of it… LOL

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  6. Michael Hanzuk

    You say your HDTV is only 720p you must come to realize that Blu-ray works only on 1080p.
    You must now buy a new HDTV with 1080p .

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    • Simon Cohen

      Not true. Blu-ray outputs 1080p, but most 720p TVs are more than capable of down-scaling the 1080p while retaining the quality. Moreover, I auditioned a 1080p TV before buying our 720p TV and wasn’t able to discern much of a difference at 8 feet from the set.

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  7. leaps

    Simon, with all due respect, you should not be writing about this topic since you don’t have much experience with Blu-ray. Blu-ray was ‘meh’ on a 720 p TV, what a surprise… The consumer standard for a couple of years has been at least 1080i if not 1080p, you should catch up with the times. The upconversion of standard DVDs does not replace a dedicated Blu-ray player. Again, if you haven’t switched to Blu-ray yourself, how can you be any kind of authority on the benefits of anything to do with Blu-ray?

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    • Simon Cohen

      Weird, that’s like saying unless you own a Ferrari, you can’t comment on Ferraris, and yet that’s what the entire automotive press does. You don’t think they all own them do you? Of course not. But they have spent time with them – as I have spent time with a Blu-ray player. Besides, how can 1080p be a ‘standard’ if the only content that comes in 1080p is Blu-ray? I’d say, based on available programming, SD is still the ‘standard’ with 720p catching up fast, and 1080p still a distant third place.

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  8. Jamesbay

    I think a double-sided disc doubles your chances of getting scratched.

    That aside, I think many people would like to see Upconverting technology develop as they have spent ALOT of money on DVDs and would not like to lose that. I have an OPPO Blu-Ray which upconverts (upconverting only works with HDMI, btw)and I have to tell you these movies look phenomenal!

    Not to mention, re-buying all your movies is a giant PITA! And that’s assuming IF you can find all your titles on Blu-Ray!

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  9. gene

    What a bunch of crap! Now, everyone is supposed to run out and upgrade to the new stuff… and again at that!?!

    Don’t have blu-ray and I will never buy it. I still buy conventional DVD movies. If these become obsolete and cannot be played in future DVD players… I’ll throw everything in the garbage and save a whole load of cash in the future by not purchasing any movies.

    People are nothing more than cattle. They all line up like a herd and follow the lead not knowing where it will all end up. In this case, technology is the pied piper leading us here and there, making us spend our cash needlessly.

    You can’t just get a movie anymore. No, you have to get an “anniversary edition” with all sorts of useless baggage… well, they have to justify the price increase, don’t they?

    At a certain point, people are going to have to realize that technology will ALWAYS be growing and coming up with new improvements. Its up to us to say, “No thanks, I’m happy with what I’ve got. No need to spend any more money for the time being.”

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  10. Jonesy

    Buying DVD’s and Blu Ray discs? What are you guys cavemen? I have not bought a DVD or CD in over 5 years and would never waste my money on physical formats again. You buy it, watch it and stick on a shelf, I download it, play on my TV, desktops, laptops (via wifi!), Iphone and whatever else I want. I have 100’s of movies on hard drive and 10 movies on my Iphone at any time ready to go anywhere.

    Anyone want to buy a bunch of dusty CD’s, DVD’s and their related players?

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  11. Kaylee

    I am not “upgrading” to BluRay anytime soon. In fact I probably won’t get one until I purchase a PS3.

    Honestly I still own VHS tapes and a player and they work just fine. My DVD’s all work great and the only movies I have re-purchased were those from my BetaMax childhood.

    I hate re-buying movies which have additional scenes tacked on or hours of lame “making of” documentaries. I just want to watch my movie, maybe some outtakes and that’s it. As far as movies from the 80s I want to watch it AS IT WAS not with an extra musical number or with new digitally added scenes (yes I mean StarWars). And sometimes it’s fun to watch old movies in their original grainy glory!

    Pretty soon I think the trend will be systems like NetFlix that allow you to download movies into your box or computer and store them that way; so why bother trying to keep up with physical formats.

    And for the record…I can’t tell the difference between HighDef and BluRay anyways :P

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  12. Olga Nosulko

    Finally a Flipper Disk! One that plays HD DVD format on the one side and Blu ray on the other!………………oops thats wrong. thats just for suckers like me who bought into that HD DVD Microsoft/Toshiba rip off.

    At least this might last longer than Tiger Woods next “drive”

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  13. Amadna

    With the on-demand movies and tv shows that are offered through my cable provider, and the availability of movies and tv shows available on the internet for download, I think it’s pointless to buy dvd’s or blu-ray disks at all. You can download Hi-Def movies and play them on your tv, or just play the on-demand (free or pay per rental) videos from your cable box. If only sattelite tv would offer on demand, then we’d all be set.

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  14. JoBo

    I buy BRD when they are under £10, (in the UK) so I never feel as though I am being ripped off.

    I understand the convenience of downloads and the benefits in saving space, but I have issues with them, I mean, it’s much more difficult to lend a friend a download, hardware failure is a major concern for me too, I don’t want a massive collection of movies that disappear in one drive failure. They are just as likely as hard copies to become obsolete in the future too, just in this case it’ll be their format, which will probably be unrecognisable to our computers and Playstation 6’s in years to come.

    These flipper discs are pointless though, if you want a DVD buy a DVD if you want the BRD buy the BRD, if you are worried that DVD is on it’s way out (which it shouldn’t be for a LONG time) then buy BRD otherwise you are buying a format you think is on its way out for the sake of it?!?!?! Mad!

    It’s not just that though, I’ve just upgraded all of my DVD’s with the annoying double sided Fullscreen and Widescreen options or even worse the Goodfellas style ‘This film is too long for the disc, please turn it over now’ setup, I don’t AND WON’T start buying any more like it.

    It’s simple. If I’ve bought the BRD I don’t want the DVD version same goes roles reversed.

    BRD and digital copy, well that’s a different story all together….

    One more thing, what’s with these, (500 days of Summer) multi releases in standard DVD size cases, lets stick with the smaller ones…

    HEHEHE, sorry my silly rant over with…

    ….no wait! 3D?!? Where did this come from again, yet another con with zero benefit to the movie and blah blah blah (sorry)

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  15. mike

    Arghh… Hate flipper discs, why can’t they just include an extra dvd disc like disney/pixar and alot of other movies are doing

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