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Where's my blu-ray-go-round?
September 10, 2011 12:24 PM   Subscribe

What's the real reason Blu-Ray players don't come in multi-disc carousel configurations?

After much googling and reading of of BD sites, as well as reading this, I am still not sure why the Blu-Ray hardware makers don't make carousel players. Assuming the obvious deductive reasoning that more moving parts may cause the machines to not last as long, I am not convinced that this is the reason, since that didn't ever stop CD and DVD carousels from becoming prevalent.

I don't want to add another piece of hardware to the A/V mess in the living room armoir, i'd prefer to replace my CD/DVD carousel with a BD/CD/DVD/etc carousel, but I can't seem to find any in an affordable price range. I do actually get some value out of the carousel (using one machine to support video and audio), and considering that most (if not all) BD players play all audio and video formats, I don't see a good reason to have a BD player AND my CD/DVD carousel.

So, is there a real, valid reason they don't make them?
posted by tdischino to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know about BD players specifically, but there are pockets of the video world that exist in a perpetual mexican standoff state. Some things are impossible to do because you need to license technology from company A and B, but company A's license agreement forbids you from using their product with anything made by company B.

I've even seen a situation where company Z has been doing business with company Q for years and years. Company Z wants to license some technology from Q so that they can better sell other products that Q makes. Q refuses. Months later, people from Q organize a meeting with Z to encourage Z to consider using the forbidden technology. Z comes to the meeting and explains that they would LOVE to, but that the group that controls the technology in question won't let them. The standoff continues.

At some level, most of these things resolve down to decisions that make sense when taken in their original context, but don't make any sense at all in a larger context. Other issues are essentially the corporate version of a blood feud.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:34 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having owned and used a Sony carousel DVD I'd venture it's due to lack of potential market. They just wouldn't make enough money for it to be worth the bother. The DVD units didn't sell all that great, what's to think a BD would do any better?
posted by wkearney99 at 12:44 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am not speaking from any sort of expertise, but I have a feeling that the issue is just that people won't buy them. How often do you really plan on what movies you're going to watch so that a five- or six-disc carousel is useful? And if you're going to go all the way up to a 200-BD carousel, anyone who has that many discs probably has even more.

Anyone who has so many discs, especially in Blu-Ray, may well just have them on a hard drive anyway. I have a feeling that the Blu-Ray people realized that there was only time for one more physical medium before everything went to an iTunes model, or even a cloud-based one.
posted by Etrigan at 12:47 PM on September 10, 2011


Just guesses, but 1) a lot of people only watch a movie once, or if they watch it again, they do so years later; and 2) a carousel version has more moving parts to fail. Plenty of people, perhaps the majority, find the carousels annoying to deal with. Loading discs is a pain, remembering which disc is where is a pain, etc. At least, that's why I wouldn't buy one.

I can see a great use case for DVD/BD carousel players for families with small children though. I think my brothers and I watched the same 5 movies on repeat for at least a couple of months.
posted by Maximian at 12:50 PM on September 10, 2011


OK, It's not just about video as I noted. If the player plays more than just video, as I mentioned, I'm not just loading it up with DVDs. I'm putting in CDs, DVD, mp3 discs. With so much media, I would feel bottlenecked by having to remove/replace discs to utilize a multimedia player.

And yeah, i've got the small children that Maximian mentions, who can work the remote, to switch between their content (again, music and video), or watch the same 3 movies 100 times.
posted by tdischino at 12:57 PM on September 10, 2011


With music, I would assume most people just play music nowadays through their mp3 player or laptop plugged into the stereo, rather than playing individual CDs. I literally cannot remember the last time I did anything with a music CD other than put it into my PC to rip it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:00 PM on September 10, 2011


If the player plays more than just video, as I mentioned, I'm not just loading it up with DVDs. I'm putting in CDs, DVD, mp3 discs. With so much media, I would feel bottlenecked by having to remove/replace discs to utilize a multimedia player.

You're in a thin wedge of people who feel that there's enough inconvenience to want the carousel to get rid of some of the inconvenience, but who haven't just converted everything over to a hard drive to get rid of all of the inconvenience. Five-disc DVD carousels are 3-4 times as expensive as single players, and that's after more than a decade of getting them right. The 400-disc Sony Blu-Ray carousel lists at $800 and will likely never get under half that price. It is trivially easy to set up a home media server for $800.
posted by Etrigan at 1:13 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The 400-disc Sony Blu-Ray carousel lists at $800 and will likely never get under half that price.

$450 on amazon. Give me 6 months to make the less than $400 happen.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:06 PM on September 10, 2011


The 400-disc Sony Blu-Ray carousel lists at $800 and will likely never get under half that price.

$450 on amazon. Give me 6 months to make the less than $400 happen.


I meant that it will never list under $400. I'm sure you can find practically-unused ones for less than that even now, from people who quickly realized that a home server would be just as useful. Or when Sony pulls the plug on the entire enterprise and Best Buy just needs to get them off the shelves.
posted by Etrigan at 2:22 PM on September 10, 2011


There's not really much call for it. How often do you change a Bluray? Every two hours, once or twice a sitting? That's really not enough of a problem to warrant an entire class of products.

With CDs, the main attraction of the carousel was multi-disc shuffling. Who's going to shuffle Blurays?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:27 PM on September 10, 2011


> If the player plays more than just video, as I mentioned, I'm not just loading it up with DVDs. I'm putting in CDs, DVD, mp3 discs.

As others have have said, I think the obsolescence of the CD format is the main reason. When DVD players came out a lot of people were still buying and playing music from CDs, so a player that could handle multiple discs at a time was useful for music and video both. Now that shiny discs are only for video (if anything) there's less market for a carousel. Many modern single-disc Blu-ray players will play back your music collection for you without any physical loading/unloading, but they'll do it by reading the data from a hard drive over the network or USB connection. With the integration of Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and other streaming content sources, the physical disc capabilities of media players are starting to feel vestigial even for video.
posted by contraption at 4:36 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why you need to regain control of your data. You bought it, right? But now it's stuck on this piece of plastic, and Sony wants to control precisely when where and how you use that piece of plastic.

Hard drives, as has been previously mentioned. It's the only way you can be sure you'll still have access to the stuff you've already paid for.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:43 AM on September 11, 2011


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