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Sony Launches Blu-ray Rewards Club

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Sony Launches Blu-ray Rewards Club

Maybe it's because most of us at TrustedReviews are already high definition converts, but I'm a tad puzzled by Sony's newly-launched Sony Pictures Blu-ray Club. It's not so much that the idea of earning 'points' for purchasing Blu-ray discs is a bad one, just that I think having a high definition version of a film rather than a (comparatively) horrible-looking SD copy is reward enough itself!

The implementation, at least, is pretty neat, though. As well as allowing users to use the Sony Rewards website to manage their Rewards profiles, this information can also be accessed via a BD Live capable Blu-ray player. Sadly for users with older players or non-Sony Pictures Blu-ray films registration of discs can't be done except over Blu-ray Live.

Luckily BD Live-capable systems aren't exactly expensive any more; the Samsung BD-P1500 is currently available for some £150. That's only £20 more than the toshiba XE-E500 DVD upscaler - hardly bad value for money.

Once amassed, these points can be exchanged for various Sony products, such as more Blu-ray discs, Sony TVs, PlayStation accessories, or even a PS3. Sony gives 100 points acquired for every disc registered which, to give an example, means you'd have to buy 400 Sony Pictures films before you could get a pair of PFV-V1 headphones. Each registration also gives an entry into a draw to potentially win a Sony HDTV.

The catch? Currently the deal is US only which is no good for those of us living in the UK. Nonetheless, it's still interesting to hear Sony is starting to push the BD Live concept more heavily. And you never know, the club might come to the UK if we're lucky.

Link

Sony Pictures Blu-ray Club.

Stelph

October 7, 2008, 9:26 pm

Im assuming that their system has some way of telling individual disks apart, rather than just different films apart? The reason being otherwise people with loveflim and other Blu-Ray subscription services could do better than sony planned )should it launch in the UK)....

Matt G Baish

October 7, 2008, 10:41 pm

"... I think having a high definition version of a film rather than a (comparatively) horrible-looking SD copy is reward enough itself!"





SD horrible looking? What telly do you have? If you were comparing to (the majority) of SD Freeview/Sky (& even IMHO some Sky HD) OTA broadcasts then yes - big difference. But DVDs still look pretty good (esp with a decent scalar) and not in the least (comparatively) horrible.





Don't get me wrong, if someone offered to swap all my DVD versions for hi-def versions tomorrow I'd jump at the chance but I don`t think I have ever been watching a film & thought "God this looks awful on DVD" (as opposed to "God this looks awful - period" for anything with Gok Wan in it :)). Conversely I have sat there and thought "Crikey - this looks awesome on HD-DVD!" (& am sure the same could be said of Blu Ray ;^) - but this is *not* the same thing (IMHO yadda yadda).

Matt G Baish

October 7, 2008, 10:48 pm

"you'd have to buy 400 Sony Pictures films before you could get a pair of PFV-V1 headphones"





So if I spend &#1636000+ on Blu Ray discs I get a pair of &#163230 PF-ooh-Arrrr-V1 headphones - woah!

Hugo

October 7, 2008, 11:21 pm

Stelph - I expect the discs all have a serial number printed on them at the factory so Sony can identify them. I doubt they'd tell me if I asked, though. Would leave the system open to abuse if they explain how it works, no doubt.





Matt - Having become accustomed to Blu-rays on my PS3 (yay for video rentals) I have to say I *do* watch DVDs (and other SD content if you get my drift) and think "woah this is rubbish". Even Black Hawk Down, which is an *awful* Blu-ray looks better than an upscaled DVD by *miles*, as Riyad commented in his XD-E500 review.

ilovethemonkeyhead

October 7, 2008, 11:28 pm

truth. watching transformers on a bluray player yields so much detail, even on a 720p screen. when compared to the dvd, the fidelity is just something to behold...





there are some points where i just have to pause the film and step it forwards so i can take in the detail.





unfortunatley, though, it makes CGI moments look very unrealistic *cough*spiderman 3

Hugo

October 8, 2008, 2:12 am

"there are some points where i just have to pause the film and step it forwards so i can take in the detail."





Shame Megan Fox gets in the way of the engine, hiding some of the detail, right? ;)

The Mighty Ben

October 8, 2008, 3:53 am

I don't feel the need for incentives either. SD DVDs do look horrible, with the exception of Japanese animation. It doesn't suffer in the same way due to its use of solid lines and blocks of colour (plus the odd bit of CGI), which is just as well since few titles are available in the new format. It's only real textures which look blurry and murky now. If you're watching an old show like Columbo then part of its appeal lies in the degraded visuals - fine, but I would pay three times as much for the Blue-ray Dark Knight than its SD sibling. Why settle for mutton when you can have lamb?

BigBadDave

October 8, 2008, 12:54 pm

Nah, Anime is vastly improved too. Watch Ghost in the Shell on DVD and BluRay and tell me the difference isn't staggering. :)

The Mighty Ben

October 8, 2008, 3:54 pm

@BBD - I'm sure it is! Can't wait to see for myself. Already have that title on DVD though. I'd be getting all my anime in the new format but where are they! Even newly released DeathNote is only available in DVD and stereo sound at that. I just hope they get their act together before the new evangelion series comes out.

Gavin Hamer

October 8, 2008, 4:36 pm

No question that the Samsung BD-P1500 is far better value than a XD-E500, but "&#16320" difference, my posterior!


http://www.google.co.uk/produc...


http://www.google.co.uk/produc...


Obviously a lot of those listed are imports with hidden fees, but comparing like-for-like, I don't see a &#16320 difference.

Matt G Baish

October 8, 2008, 7:16 pm

@Everyone_above - Look I said, of course HD looks better than SD, but that IS NOT THE SAME as saying SD looks `terrible`. SD does not look terrible on my setup - in fact only this weekend I was had a double-take thinking that an SD-DVD that was playing was an HD-DVD or not - it wasn't (having said that the film WAS terrible IMHO - the kids were watching Alvin & The Chipmunks - AGAIN AGH!).





I have a properly set-up 4 year old 32" 720p LCD Sony Bravia TV and upscaled SD looks fantastic compared to OTA Freeview/Sky broadcasts (& much better than the current crappily configured TVs in the local Sony Centre). Again I agree that HD-DVD looks fantastic compared to SD-DVD but AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN - that doesn't mean SD looks TERRIBLE. It just doesn't! (Unless of course you are sitting about 2 inches from the screen to inspect the dot-crawl - which you can still get on HD just as on SD and is, generally, more to do with the TV than anything else). Yes a *softer* picture BUT NOT terrible!





Shall I say it again?





Nah, whats the point.

Gavin Hamer

October 8, 2008, 9:38 pm

So you're saying that SD looks terrible, right? ;-)





For those who've got used to watching most things in HD, like myself, there are some things you see in SD that make you go "urgh!". I usually get over it (well, 95% over it) after the first 10 minutes of the programme/film. It depends quite a bit on the quality of the upscaling involved, but the other major factor is obviously the personality of the viewer. The question is whether they can get past it and watch the film, or whether they get hung up on the picture/audio quality to the extent that they can't enjoy it.





So basically, you lot are never going to agree! :-)

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