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5 Ways to Improve Blu-ray

Sure, with a high-quality transfer, Blu-ray offers the best possible home viewing experience.  But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement, right? Right?!

In order for Blu-ray to earn a blue ribbon, it’s going to have to improve. Here’s a few helpful suggestions.

1. Firmware updates should be included on the disc.

The firmware updates for Blu-ray have mostly included anti-piracy features or new capabilities for the player. The updates are administered online or you can burn a disc which, if my parents are like yours, they are never going to do. Some DVD releases (such as the initial Avatar release) required the latest firmware in order to be viewed and the discs did not work when put into creaky old Blu-ray players with the outdated firmware. Why not include the latest firmware updates on the latest discs? The disc can check to see the version number of the OS, and if it is not the latest, update it.  Automatically.  Y’know, like they do on Xbox Live whenever there is an update, just perform the function. My mom will appreciate it.

2. Option to skip the trailers.

I love movie trailers, I really do.  When I go to the movies, I get there early just to see the trailers. But when I put on a Blu-ray, get me right to the movie, no trailers please. In fact, some companies won’t even allow you to step past the trailers, so it’s a 10 minute wait to get to the main menu. I will often put in a disc, walk away to make a sandwich, to return to even more trailers! And most of these trailers are ones I’ve already seen simply announcing the film is coming to Blu-ray. Trailers should be included on the disc, but put this on the menu. Or, if the marketing departments still insist, how about an option upon putting the disc in the players, “Would you like to view the latest trailers? Yes or No.” I’m going to click “No” but will probably check them out later.

3. BD Live offers future extras.

I buy DVD for the extras, plain and simple. And it annoys me when I see a new edition of a film with an all-new extra or behind-the-scenes documentary with interviews with the cast they couldn’t get before the deadline for the film’s initial Blu-ray release. Now, I think these should be free. But with BD Live, heck, a micro-payment should get me extras that are on the new edition with the coffee mug that I don’t really need.

4. Blu-ray allows you to own the movie forever.

It’s frustrating when new technology obsolesces old formats. I’ve purchased Star Wars on Super 8, VHS, Super VHS, Laser Disc, DVD, Bootleg DVD (for the original versions made from the Laser Discs), not including various special editions within those formats. Blu-ray should allow you to own the movie forever, no matter any future format change. Warner Bros. had a program where they allowed you to upgrade your old DVDs for a fee of around $5. That was encouraging and I hope any other format change on the horizon will allow me the option to upgrade my library. Sure, I’d prefer that the upgrade would be free, but you know how movie studios love money and all.

5. Stop running ads for Blu-ray discs touting the virtues of Blu-ray.

We already own a Blu-ray player so please stop running ads touting the amazing clarity, the spectacular image and impressive sound of Blu-ray –  I ALREADY KNOW!  Because I own a Blu-ray player and purchased your movie ON Blu-ray!

Images: BBC, MPAA, Sony

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  1. Eric says:

    How about adding a new button to the machine/remote “Play Movie” that when pressed skips all the pre-movie garbage, and just plays the movie?

    On a more serious note, it’d be nice if these players could be connected w/ a computer via USB and an API.

    I also wish I could make a copy of the disc that I have personally screened/censored so I could let my children watch it. It’s sad when 98% of a movie is family-friendly, but that 2% ruins it.

  2. Douglas says:

    I propose an amendment – skip Blue Ray altogether and go back to laserdiscs and Betamax!

  3. ZamZam says:

    It funny how they try to advertise blu ray on and old TV, it like trying to show someone the wonders of color TV on a Black and White TV.

  4. Nikki says:

    Finding something great to watch is the first step in a great TV experience. is a cool way to find exactly the movie that suits your taste and mood.!

  5. Chris Gore says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome to the Nerdist community. I’ll be contributing something each week and based on the intelligent and respectful responses I see here, I can hardly believe I’m even on the internet! So thanks.

    To respond to a few of your specific comments:

    Many DVDs (both standard def and blu-ray) have closed-captioning. In fact, when I produced my own short film Red for release on DVD, I had the track translated into 10 different languages including Mandarin Chinese. Smart DVD producers will always included multiple caption tracks since it takes up so little space. How do you think I learned Portuegese in a week! Captions!

    I so agree with you about Disney! If they could include one million trailers at the beginning, I believe they would. So frustrating. I could watch another DVD in the time it takes to get to the menu screen of a Disney DVD! At least they are packaging standard def and blu-ray together, which should have happened from the beginning.

    Many blu-ray releases include exclusive content, but for the most part, it’s not particularly impressive. However, sometimes BD Live will actually provide a chat or extra content. I did screen capture the entire Christopher Nolan BD Live chat for The Dark Knight. If can accommodate my 300+ screen grabs, I could post it here. It was fascinating and considering Nolan doesn’t do commentary (anymore at least) it was Bat-nerd heaven for me.

    Thank you for your insightful comments! Love them.

    Regarding your comment on number one, I’ve produced my own DVDs (see Red, My Big Fat Independent Movie, which I did for Anchor Bay) and I even owned an indie DVD company, Film Threat DVD and we released 30+ films just before the independent DVD crash, so I know a little something about technical issues. And you are right. It’s probably impossible. But I never thought a few years ago I could get a terabyte drive for a hundred bucks or that we could put a man on Mars. (I’m thinking people may be reading this post in the future, so bare with me.) The point is that we never really know what is technically possible as things change so quickly. I think there has to be a technical fix for this issue. Whenever I have designed web sites, I always make sure that it is readable by the largest number of people, which is why I have never used Flash. I even designed the old Film Threat web site to work with AOL’s web crawler! I just wanted someone on a low end computer to be able to enjoy content I produced.

    Blu-ray has still failed to catch on to the masses, even now that players are at the $100 price point! The public hates incompatibility issues to the point where they would rather choose an inferior format (see VHS VS. Beta, PC VS. MAC). Wait. Did I just cause a new debate?

    Again, thanks for your comments. Look for me more on Nerdist and wherever you can find other popular Chris Gore-related products and merchandise. Let’s get outta here!

  6. Rob says:

    I don’t have a lot to add to this conversation, I think that all these ideas are spot-on, and the majority of comments have been pretty insightful.

    Mostly, I wanted to welcome Chris Gore to the nerd horde here at, I hope we see some more articles from you.

  7. J Michael says:

    I have an all region dvd player because my family gets lots of dvds from Japan. Do you know what happens when you put a Japanese dvd on? It plays that movie, and when it’s done, it goes to the top menu. Glorious.

  8. Artie says:

    You know what I’d like to see? A disc with an “audible dialogue” audio track. If you have a family or roommates, it is IMPOSSIBLE to watch movies at night on DVD or Blu-Ray, because whether through pure ineptitude or outright hatred of their audience, the sound mix is guaranteed to offer about thirty seconds of hushed dialogue followed by three minutes of swelling score and foley effects, with this cycle repeated about 25 times. As soon as you get the volume up to where you can actually make out what the actors are saying, suddenly the entire set blows up and someone in the house is screaming at *you*. But they don’t actually have those sounds happening while the actors are saying their lines; they’re all put in later. So SOMEWHERE there exists a recording of people saying words that other people can hear that could easily be re-mixed with all the other crap put in at a much lower, reasonable volume. I don’t know if this could be done, what with the Illuminati-like iron grip the International Foley Artists’ Local 666 has over Hollywood, but if you ever go back to making movies where the story is driven by plot and scripting, rather than Michael Baying it all to hell, I think you’d see a positive audience reception to such a feature.

  9. Tom G. says:

    The commercial for Blu-Ray on the Blu-Ray disc is kinda like an Applebee’s menu that keeps hammering you to buy their “SHRIMPSTRAVAGANZA” meal.

    “Dude, I’m IN your restaurant. I have a MENU in my hand. You won. Lay off.”

  10. bluraydude says:


    Sorry, the stop stop play trick will not work on most blu-ray discs. The older 1st gen discs might work, but anything authored with java menus will not skip to the feature using this trick.

  11. Calli Arcale says:

    Disney DVDs are, in my experience, the worst. (Don’t have a Disney BluRay disk to try yet — so far my only BluRay purchase is Season Five of Doctor Who. WOOT!) They *technically* give you the option of skipping the trailers, but you have about three seconds to press the menu button before you’re locked in. They do let you at least skip ahead, trailer by trailer, so it’s not as bad as it *could* be. But it’s insulting. To make matters worse, the instructions are insulting. “This disk is enhanced with Fast play!” which means, basically, it means it will be *slower* to get to the actual show. It’s also none to clear about what you need to do to in order to avoid the commercials, and I believe this is intentional.

    Sometimes you gotta think the marketroids who come up with these rules actively want to punish their customers.

  12. wowsa says:

    #2 On normal DVD players, you can do the following combination of button presses to skip straight to the movie:


    Not sure if it works on Blu-Ray players but it definitely works on DVD players – including XBox360!

  13. Seth says:

    #2 Is why I’ve stopped using dvds and never even started with blu-ray. It’s the worst when they do it on kids movies, if you’re not paying attention and press the menu button at the right time they’ll start force feeding ads to your kids. Next thing you know they want barbie in fairyland #27 and a happy meal. No thanks.

    When I want to see movie trailers I’ll check them out on Youtube. I certainly don’t need to see the FBI warning, if it’s so vital, just integrate it into the opening credits. Netflix has it right, press play and the movie starts. Now if only they would get some good movies from the last decade streaming.

  14. I like 2, thats one thing the laserdisc got right.

  15. Wm. (Spacezombie) says:

    Re: #5, I agree with bluraydude. It’s like when you see a TV ad on your TV. It’s like you’re supposed to go, “Wow! That looks a lot better than my POS TV I’m watching this ad on!”

    I still continue to support physical media. If I own something, I want to really own it. I don’t want to be out of luck if my hardware has a meltdown. Don’t get me started about Digital Copy…

  16. adAnt says:

    I propose a sixth idea.

    #6 Release a Blu-ray with more content than the DVD counterpart.

    I get frustrated at the lack of content released on a Blu-ray version of a movie, especially if the DVD version has more special features. Case in point, Robocop. The anniversary edition had both the theatrical and the unrated versions of the film, a commentary track, and more features that have been available for years.(granted, it was a 2 disc release) The Blu-ray has nothing but a trailer. There is more than enough room on the discs made nowadays to support more than a bare bones effort.

    Sorry for devolving into a rant, but I get really passionate about films.

  17. ABurgerADay says:

    Regarding #2, thus far I have only had that problem with the Clash of the Titans blu-ray. I rented it from Redbox, which was provided with a stripped-down version of the release, meaning they had NO EXTRAS. However, they had abso-friggin-lutely no problem keeping in 15 minutes or so of previews and ads that couldn’t be skipped. I found I was able to fast forward through them, but there were 6 or 7 tracks, so I had to restart the fast forward over and over. Gah!

    A side note on the WB $5 upgrade program: many of the titles are meh, and you actually have to mail in your DVD disc, rather than a proof of purchase.

  18. bluraydude says:

    I work in the blu-ray production industry. I’ll see what I can do about these ideas. But for now, let me address these points from an inside perspective. Pardon me if I go on too long.

    #1 There is no way we will ever put player firmware upgrades on studio-released discs. There are far too many players out there which get frequent upgrades to their firmware. Each player is different and needs player-specific firmware upgrades…these are not interchangeable by any means. Even if we did do this, the data on the disc would be out-of-date in a matter of months. I do know that Sony discs put PS3 firmware upgrades on their discs. That’s as close as you will probably ever get.

    #2 Although disc functionality is decided by each movie studio, the studios I work for normally have the auto-play trailers skipable (chapter forward) and fast-forward enabled. There are exceptions, but I believe locking the player and forcing the user to see the trailers is not as prevalent as you might think, at least not on newer discs. I also personally feel the user should be able to press top menu and go straight to the title menu. Sadly, depending on how the disc is authored, there may not even technically be a top-level menu. Difficulty of programming and difficulty of thorough testing are what cause us to sometimes opt out of enabling a feature. You are correct, the FBI warning will not allow you to skip, fast-forward, menu-out, or in most cases stop the disc, for obvious reasons.

    #3 is a brilliant idea and one that I am certain is being considered and developed as we speak. Part of the problem is international copyrights to distribution of material…this legal quagmire is seldom considered by consumers. However, my next comments are tied to this answer as well.

    #4 This is definitely being enacted. As the world moves toward downloadable and streaming content, this will be the way of the future. Check out the DECE and the UltraViolet invention.

    #5 I know. I have been saying this for a while now. What use is a Blu-ray ad on a DVD? The most you will get is an explanation of the features Blu-ray has to offer, you won’t see the kind of image or hear the kind of audio you will get on the real Blu-ray disc. And a Blu-ray ad on a Blu-ray disc? Uh, what’s the point? No one has been able to answer that for me better than it advertises some features and has clips of some films…it’s not really selling the format per se.

    I hope this has been enlightening! Thanks for your article!

  19. 555Jay says:

    RE: #2. I haven’t been able to find a source to corroborate this, but I always understood that on DVDs, the only tracks that the publisher was allowed to make un-skip-able was the FBI anti-piracy warning. Anything else was “against the rules,” though I don’t know if it was really ever a law.