Blu-ray or Digital Downloads? Integrators Weigh In

Integrators are keeping their options open, but Blu-ray is the recommended choice.

Blu-ray or Digital Downloads? Integrators Weigh In
Jason Knott · October 21, 2008

Integrators are not just installers; they are advisors. And never has your advice for customers been more important than it is now, especially in the debate over high-definition video content.

Should customers be purchasing Blu-ray players/Playstation 3 hardware to watch high-def content? Or should they be purchasing/renting downloadable HD streaming media from the Internet and storing it on hard-drive servers in the home?

Or should they just be watching over-the-air/cable/fiber HD in their homes?

Eventually, the answer, of course, will be all of the above. But what should you recommend to your clients in the meantime, during this transitional phase?

CE Pro asked integrators: “What source of high-definition content are you recommending to your clients and why?”

Overall, among the more than 100 responses we received, Blu-ray players are the recommended choice at this point. Here is a sampling of what dealers are doing and why.

Blu-ray Is the Way

I’m a big believer of using technologies that are proven in the marketplace for some time before I begin recommending them to my client base. This gives the manufacturers time to work out all the bugs so I don’t have to deal with the headaches.

Blu-ray players and discs are being used in my clients’ homes and theaters because, simply put, people know how to load a disc into a player. Also, the other high-def players rely on an Internet connection for downloading.

This is just another possible point of failure that may result in an increase of non-billable service calls. Blu-ray has my vote for now and the foreseeable future.”—Seth Diggs, president, Paramount Home Theater, West Palm Beach, Fla.

As of right now we are recommending Blu-ray as an option, but we are also explaining to the clients about the current limitations of the current players. Vudu has also been a terrific option for our clients. We have been installing it since the beginning of the year, and our clients are thrilled with it.

Most of the time, they are adding a second unit to their home. Also since DirecTV’s upgrade last year, it has been the best option for our clients for most of their content.—Robert Kowalski, Premier Home Theater, Newton, N.J.

We are recommending Blu-ray to our clients who want to keep the content. Although we are selling some Vudu, we are not currently recommending it for our clients that want to own or keep the HD content.

Vudu has been slow to provide purchasable HD content. We are, however, recommending it for our clients who are more interested in the on-screen library capabilities.

We still have clients who want to keep and maintain their own libraries via hard drive or changer, and they are still waiting on either a Blu-ray changer or some closure to the whole digital rights issue regarding hard drive storage.”—E. Stan Kidd, Savant Living LLC, Virginia Beach, Va.

I am recommending Blu-ray currently. It’s important to maintain their freedom of source selection from anywhere in the home.Bob Piccirilli, Performance Innovations Corp., Genoa, Ill.

We are recommending Blu-ray and DirecTV because the quality of both is far superior to anything else out there.Aaron Poole, Poole Audio Video, Newburgh, Ind.

We are recommending Blu-ray for 1080p content. However, we are careful to inform our customers of some of the more common problems that still exist, such as frequent incompatibility with certain standard definition discs, etc.

We currently wire all central control and source equipment locations with Ethernet jacks so as to provide access to any future download service over the Web, such as Netflix.—Dale Boyd, Audioscapes Inc., Yorba Linda, Calif.

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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