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Blu-ray In Laptops Could Be Hard On Batteries

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the power-vampire dept.

Portables 202

damienhunter notes a Wired story on the power-hungry ways of the first generation of Blu-ray players coming soon to a laptop near you. "With the Sony-backed HD format emerging victorious from a two-year showdown with Toshiba's HD DVD, many laptop manufacturers are now scrambling to add Blu-ray drives in their desktop and notebook lineups. Next month, Dell will even introduce a sub-$1,000 Blu-ray notebook... But the promise of viewing an increasing variety of HD movies on your laptop may be overshadowed by ongoing concerns over the technology's vampiric effect on battery life. Indeed, if the first generation of Blu-ray equipped laptops are any indication, you might not get more than halfway through that movie before running out of juice completely, analysts say."

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Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (2, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599620)

I wonder....

Re:Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (5, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599810)

No, the DRM has little to nothing to do with it.

Decoding 20+ Mbps of MPEG-2 or VC-1 video along with lossless, compressed audio on the fly is extremely taxing and uses a lot of power.

Re:Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600056)

I'd be surprised if BD+ comes completely free in terms of additional processing load. But even the AACS layer has to be costly.

I'm not sure how the interactivity features compare in terms of additional processor loads, but this could cause differences between the formats also.

Whilst I understand the power required to render HD content I think we must also bear in mind we're looking at 20gb - 30gb of data that needs to be decrypted, that can't be easy on the hardware either surely?

I don't know if there's anything fancy they can do to lower the load, but even if there is dedicated hardware in the drive to offload this from the processor the dedicated hardware is still going to need some power.

It'd be nice to see what proportion of resources are required for AACS, BD+, Java for Bluray discs and the data decoding and rendering itself. Anyone any ideas on this?

Re:Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (5, Insightful)

ChoppedBroccoli (988942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600682)

Well certainly having hardware assisted decode with the new Intel chipsets will be a great improvement.

From a recent anandtech review (http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3246&p=2):
"The Mobile GM45/47 chipsets are an integral part of Montevina and will feature the new GMA X4500HD graphics core. The X4500HD will add full hardware H.264 decode acceleration, so Apple could begin shipping MacBook Pros with Blu-ray drives after the Montevina upgrade without them being a futile addition. With full hardware H.264 decode acceleration your CPU would be somewhere in the 0 - 10% range of utilization while watching a high definition movie, allowing you to watch a 1080p movie while on battery power . The new graphics core will also add integrated HDMI and DisplayPort support."

However, there is going to have to be some sacrifice on the user experience. I mean you can't really expect to watch 30-40gb of data in 2 hours and expect battery life not to take a hit. What would be ideal is if a single blu-ray discs had both an H.264 and a lower quality MPEG-2/mpeg-4 version of the video. If I am watching on a laptop screen (hooking the laptop to a HDTV would be another story), I don't really need to see 1080p resolution.

Re:Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600090)

It makes it quite a bit easier if you have a graphics chip built to decode MPEG2 and VC-1, like the newer Intel GMA series chips

Re:Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (2, Informative)

thedletterman (926787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600294)

It makes it easier on the CPU, but you're still consuming the power to decode. I'm sure it helps to a degree, but "quite a bit easier" on power consumption is still an over statement.

Re:Is it the CPU power needed for the DRM? (1)

squallbsr (826163) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600832)

Actually, there is overhead to decrypt data. It doesn't matter how efficient you can make that process, it requires either the CPU to do the decodes or some chip in some device to do the decodes. Both take power. As technology gets better over time, the ability to run the HD discs on a laptop will become more and more feasible. Its just how things work. How many first generation DVD drives in laptops had stellar battery performance?

Missing the point: Batteries (0)

dereference (875531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600856)

Sony manufactures batteries for several major laptop vendors. Follow the money.

Captain Obvious (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599642)

Because _nobody_ would have known in advance that decoding 25mbit+ of 1920x1080 h264 (a task that redlines even dual core desktop cpus) could be a battery consuming activity.

No one's going to install it anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599964)

Blu-ray is still just too expensive add. Combine that with the fact that most folks don't really care whether they have it [computerworld.com] or not and you're simply not going to see it adopted.

You can run... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600888)

WTF 1. [slashdot.org]


WTF 2. [slashdot.org]


Parent is "WTF 3.".

o rly? (5, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599656)

I don't know, my new computer here looks fi

Re:o rly? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599890)

Slashtip #174:

If your laptop shuts down, you won't have time to press the preview and submit buttons before it goes down (on you).

Re:o rly? (5, Funny)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599954)

Woh the hlel use the pereviwe button/?

Re:o rly? (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600894)

why, its a perfectly cromulent post...

Re:o rly? (3, Insightful)

rudeboy1 (516023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599934)

Just one question... Why the hell do you need to watch a movie in HD on a 15 inch screen?

Re:o rly? (4, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599982)

Why the hell do you need to watch a movie in HD on your 42" screen? Your laptop probably has a higher resolution, and you can still see the pixels.

Re:o rly? (1)

genik76 (1193359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600162)

Why would I want to see the pixels? Besides of that, a cheap laptop LCD screen ("cheap" referring to screen, not laptop - they're all cheap) can hardly match a modern flat-screen TV - especially a plasma TV.

Re:o rly? (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600272)

What do you mean by that? Do you mean that the pixels magically bleed on a laptop screen so the increased resolution go to waste? Or do you mean that you would rather lug your 42" plasma to the hotel room when you want to watch a movie on the go, instead of watching it on the subpar laptop screen?

Re:o rly? (2, Interesting)

genik76 (1193359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600346)

I don't see why anyone would want to see the individual pixels - if you're seeing them instead of the movie, you're too close. And when watching a movie, the bigger, the better. When watching a HD movie in any location, I would always prefer a 42" screen over a 17" screen. The discussion about who's gonna carry the plasma to a hotel room is another topic.

Re:o rly? (2, Insightful)

rudeboy1 (516023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600546)

It might be a higher resolution, but most laptops I use (I don't really consider the "desktop replacement", 15 lb monster as a "LAPtop" here) have integrated graphics and a processor that is designed for low power consumption. So, it's not just the resolution that is a factor here. There is also the software/video translation in realtime, not to mention HD sound coming through 2 tinny speakers or a pair of earbuds. I'm sure you might be able to tell the difference, but for all the negative factors, I think you're going to be just as well off either buying a standard DVD, or converting it down to a smaller encoded format that you can realistically store on the HD. I'm definitely down for buying a blu-ray player (once the price comes down) for my home theater setup, but spending the extra money for one in my laptop is just corporate driven consumer gullibility. You must buy the latest and greatest stuff! Even if it has no noticeable upgrades from the previous technology (in this particular application)! Sorry.

Re:o rly? (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600566)

Isn't a laptop with 1080 lines of resolution pretty rare? Will a 1050-line laptop scale the image or just crop it? I'd hope that there is a crop option, since the scaling would probably use even more CPU and degrade the image.

Re:o rly? (2, Interesting)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600368)

My laptop screen resolution is 1280x800. 720p resolution is 1280x720.

Re:o rly? (2, Insightful)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600512)

"Why the hell do you need to watch a movie in HD on a 15 inch screen?"
      Because you bought the BluRay edition of the movie to be able to watch it at home on your 42" plasma TV?

Problem solved.. (0)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599670)

Just plug the power in, rip the movies to your hard disk, and take the disc out. Last time I checked, you could get a pretty good HD quality movie down to about 8GB with Divx, without any real quality drop.

Re:Problem solved.. (5, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599786)

Just plug the power in, rip the movies to your hard disk, and take the disc out.

Except the main consumer of power is maxing out the CPU to do the highdef H.264 decoding in real time.

Last time I checked, you could get a pretty good HD quality movie down to about 8GB with Divx, without any real quality drop.

Words cannot adequately describe how idiotic that statement is... Divx is MPEG-4 ASP, much older and less advanced than H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, which is the primary codec used to encode highdef discs.

How in the world you're expecting to use an OLD codec to reencode a video stored in a NEW codec, to reduce the file-size of a video by a factor of 5, while NOT losing HUGE amounts of picture quality, is vastly beyond my comprehension.

Re:Problem solved.. (1)

Bud Dickman (1131973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599866)

"How in the world you're expecting to use an OLD codec to reencode a video stored in a NEW codec, to reduce the file-size of a video by a factor of 5, while NOT losing HUGE amounts of picture quality, is vastly beyond my comprehension."
Maybe he's using an old prescription in his glasses? That way - he can't see the difference. It's a win-win situation for everyone except his optometrist.

Re:Problem solved.. (-1, Flamebait)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600046)

How in the world you're expecting to use an OLD codec to reencode a video stored in a NEW codec, to reduce the file-size of a video by a factor of 5, while NOT losing HUGE amounts of picture quality, is vastly beyond my comprehension.
That's probably because you have a very limited capacity of comprehending things.

The parent said: "you could get a pretty good HD quality movie down to about 8GB with Divx, without any real quality drop"

An intelligent observer might note (this is probably the part you're having difficulties with), that a newer codec does not necessarily mean a higher compression ratio.

Some codecs are invented for the sole purpose of adding meta-info to a media file, adding DRM, or changing the way it can be streamed (or not) over a network.

In fact, one can create a new codec (notice the magic key-word NEW) that does nothing what-so-ever and actually performs far worse than 'cat movie.raw.uncompressed > /dev/null' in terms of throughput.

And Yet, it would be newer. (You're probably so shocked by this point that you're starting to doubt your faith and upbringing - that's about time if you ask me)

You see, having a "NEW" thing does not imply anything on the "PROPERTIES" of the "NEW" thing. And certainly does not imply anything regarding the compression ratio.

Getting back on topic,
many people are very happy with the quality that can be achieved with XviD using a few gigs of data and can barely tell the difference between that and a H.264 uber NEW 25+MBps HD+++ codec.

That is what the parent meant.

Re:Problem solved.. (5, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600116)

Some codecs are invented for the sole purpose of adding meta-info to a media file, adding DRM, or changing the way it can be streamed (or not) over a network.

I happen to be a professional, and I know of NO such codecs. Not one.

DRM, metadata, and streaming are completely and totally independent of the underlying video and audio codecs.

many people are very happy with the quality that can be achieved with XviD using a few gigs of data and can barely tell the difference between that and a H.264 uber NEW 25+MBps HD+++ codec.

Some people are very happy with vinyl records. Some people are legally blind. That does not change the facts.

I will ignore the rest of your purely trolling comment.

Re:Problem solved.. (-1, Flamebait)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600216)

Well, let's reffer to wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec [wikipedia.org]

"A codec is a device or program capable of performing encoding and decoding on a digital data stream or signal."

Do you know the Matroska Project?
http://www.matroska.org/ [matroska.org]

It's an Audio/Video container format, it does not define how the video is compressed in terms of algorithms and whatever, but it does add useful meta-data - nontheless it is a CODEC!

some kind'a expert you are...

Re:Problem solved.. (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600334)

Matroska is a container format; it is not a codec, in any sense, and is never referred to as such by anyone with any knowledge of the subject.

Wikipedia is not a dictionary. And one vastly over-simplified summary explanation does not change the definition.

Re:Problem solved.. (4, Insightful)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600160)

While I have seen HD-rips in Divx or Xvid, most of them, by far, has been done in H264. And two hours of video nicely fits a single 4.7gb DVD-R with acceptable quality.

The big space-saver (and CPU as well) is resizing that 1920x1080 stream down to a more reasonable (and closer to your average laptop resolutions) of 1280x720.

Re:Problem solved.. (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600606)

two hours of video nicely fits a single 4.7gb DVD-R with acceptable quality

Perhaps for sufficiently low values of acceptable.

Re:Problem solved.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600806)

1280x720? I'm willing to accept that some laptops have that resolution display, but who else wants that resolution? I want 420p/i, 720p/i or 1080p/i resolution. Why would I ever want anything else? I have nothing at that resolution (laptops in this house are 1680x1050, 1600x1200, and 1024x768; my external flat panel is 1280x1024.) I would a million times rather have the 1366x768 of 720i/p, because systems are optimized to handle common resolutions, and I might actually see an output device that resolution which is utterly unlike the experience I will have aith 1280x720. Honestly, I'd rather have 720x480p.

It makes much more sense to deliver a full-resolution stream and allow the user to generate their own derivatives for whatever devices they actually own.

But then, I guess that's why I'd want to do my own rips. As my televisions are SDTV (480i) and XGA resolution (the projector) I actually have no need yet for full-HD content, but it would be kind of neat to be able to rent, transcode to something that will fit within XGA nicely, watch on the projector, and delete.

Re:Problem solved.. (3, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599796)

What effect does decoding a hidef movie have on the power consumption for your laptop cpu and memory?
This problem is not limited to illuminating the laser.

...and such a convenient solution, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599880)

So if I want to watch a film all I have to do is pop it in and wait for 30GB of video to be encoded in to an 8GB Divx file. That only takes a few seconds, right?

Re:Problem solved.. (3, Informative)

FSWKU (551325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600012)

Last time I checked, you could get a pretty good HD quality movie down to about 8GB with Divx, without any real quality drop.
Sorry, but you're wrong. There WILL be quality loss. The h.264 codec used by both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD allow for much higher compression ratios with less loss of quality. This means that you can keep the same size and get more quality, or you can keep the same quality and drop the filesize.

Case in point, I have a couple of projects I've done with DVD footage. The DivX/XviD version comes to about 95mb. The exact same thing encoded in h.264 at the exact same quality (720x480) clocks in at about 45mb. If I kept the same filesize, I could scale it up to 1280x720 easily (would look like ass since the source isn't that high to begin with, but you see the point). There is no way you could take a high-def movie and compress it to 8gb in DivX without sacrificing quality.

The only win you're going to get with this route is saving power due to decreased CPU usage. Rendering h.264 video in realtime is notoriously taxing on CPU's, ESPECIALLY at HD resolutions. But if you drop the quality, you lose the entire point of having a high-def copy in the first place.

And to the people talking about the lasers eating up power, yes they do. To an extent. Along with maxing out the CPU, the biggest drain on the battery is the drive itself. It's a moving part. It spins. ANY optical drive when in constant use is going to drain the battery a lot faster than just sitting idle or reading a few files every couple of minutes.

Re:Problem solved.. (0, Redundant)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600604)

"The DivX/XviD version comes to about 95mb. The exact same thing encoded in h.264 at the exact same quality (720x480) clocks in at about 45mb"
      You should mention the other side of the equation:
      The processing power needed for the h.264 file (encoding, decoding or both) is vastly larger than for the DivX/XviD version (I don't know if the H.264 codec is optimised for decoding - it could be, usually making encoding a much more time intensive operation).

Re:Problem solved.. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600392)

Yeah, you could do that, but then why do you even need BluRay? We could just put Divx movies on plain old DVDs and have HighDef movies without even having a new disc. If you're going to rip the disk, you might as well rip it to a DVD resolution file, and make it only take up about 1 GB. You probably wouldn't even see the difference given the size of the screen and the quality of the sound card.

There's a solution to this (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599704)

Blu-ray discs have optional support for "Managed copy". For those discs that enable it, there's nothing stopping the manufacturers from shipping a tool allowing the user to copy the disc to the laptop's hard drive in a form that's easier to play. The user can build a library of stored content while the laptop is plugged in, and then watch it when it's not. Supporting this feature would also beat carrying around discs everywhere. I can honestly say I've used my laptops to watch full DVDs four or five times in the entire time I've had the capability, it's just not as practical as it appears, and I hate taking discs on vacation with me that I might lose.

HD DVD made "managed copy" mandatory for discs with DRM, but, alas, it's Blu-ray that's the remaining widely supported HD disc format. (I'm not calling it the victor, it still has to beat downloads, and SD.)

Re:There's a solution to this (1, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600026)

Managed copy is not 1080p. You may as well buy DVDs if you're doing that.

Re:There's a solution to this (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600070)

Managed copy is whatever resolution you want it to be. Typical implementations right now are aimed at making copies for small devices like the PSP, so a resolution down-convert happens during that process. But Managed Copy itself can be a bit-for-bit copy.

Part of the aim of Managed Copy is to make things like Movie Jukeboxes a possibility. The entire concept would be flawed if you couldn't copy the movie as-is.

It's not the drive that's really the problem (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600420)

It's the decoding. H.264 in particular (which is getting to be rather favoured) but all the codecs on Blu-Ray take a ton of computation to decode. We are talking like 90% of both cores on a dual core CPU. That is what hits the battery really hard. Copying to a HD won't fix that.

What probably will start happening is some hardware acceleration of the process. The newer models of the nVidia 8800 series support hardware acceleration of the HD codecs and it apparently take a bunch of load off the CPU. Something like that could presumably be made to work in a laptop (maybe already has, I don't know about the mobile 8800 capabilities).

Re:It's not the drive that's really the problem (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600726)

Decoding still isn't free, no matter whether the CPU or the GPU does it. It still eats up power.

The thing that would help most is to rip the movie to a resolution more compatible with your laptop... I know of very few laptops that can display 1920x1080 video in it's proper resolution... convert it to 720p, something with fewer pixels. It'll make the decoding easier, the file smaller, and look better on your smaller screen anyway.

Not really a "Blu-Ray" issue (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599714)

Before we start bitching about Blu-Ray, it's worthwhile to note that HD-DVD has (had, anyway) similar power requirements. From an Engadget article [engadget.com] (emphasis mine):

For all the back and forth "we're better than you" rhetoric exchanged between the parties, the two really aren't that different. Both offer the same array of codecs and are driven by very similar power requirements. Essentially (and without intending any slight towards the HD DVD camp), anything an HD DVD player can do, a Blu-ray can do also.

Better batteries? (4, Funny)

Adam Zweimiller (710977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599724)

Perhaps this is finally the sort of problem that will stur average joe consumer to be dissatisfied with the state of current battery technology, stirring innovation? Personally, I can't wait for Mr. Fusion in my laptop. My kids would all be the next WWE superstars with those kinds of irradiated swimmers in my loins.

Re:Better batteries? (2, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599766)

You mean innovations like this [gizmag.com] ?

Re:Better batteries? (2, Insightful)

cob666 (656740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599906)

I Can't imagine trying to get that thing onto a plane?

Re:Better batteries? (1)

Adam Zweimiller (710977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600062)

I suppose, but from a quick perusal of the article it looks as though A) it's not rechargable. You have to buy new cells after 48 hours of use. Personally, I use my laptop that amount within a week, so I'd be buying these pretty often. You could argue that it's not different than having to stop and fuel your car, but it really isn't as convienent as charging it from an outlet in your home, work, school, or local Starbucks. B) That article is two years old, and it takes about a commercial version possibly being out by the end of '06. I haven't googled it or anything, but I haven't heard about this being commercially available just quite yet, as cool as it sounds.

Re:Better batteries? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599948)

Yes, because that is all it takes for technological innovation to happen, consumer disatisfaction. Like when people were so pissed of that the Sun was rotating around the Earth, that they innovated it to stop, and go the other way round. Genius!

Re:Better batteries? (1)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599994)

We need to learn more in order to 'innovate' the next battery technology. And I seriously doubt any scientists are having an epiphany and saying, "Oh, wow! People need to watch HD movies on their laptops! I better move my cot into the lab to better supply consumer demand!" Especially since there's already substantial funding opportunities for research in areas leading to these developments - http://www.nsti.org/press/PRshow.html?id=1342 [nsti.org] for example (and there're probably better examples, but that's what 15 seconds of Google and a burning need to go back to my lab allow).

And DVD doesn't???? (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599726)

Even when my battery was new, I still wouldn't get more than 3/4 of the way through a DVD before having to plug in.

Low end laptops never could play through a complete movie, regardless of whether it was on DVD or Blu Ray.

It doesn't matter how much power Blu Ray consumes - there will always be a laptop manufacturer who skimps on the battery to cut costs. If you want to watch movies on a portable device, you have to buy a personal media player. Sad, but true.

Re:And DVD doesn't???? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599778)

That certainly was the case... back when Linus starting working for Transmeta. Things have progressed a bit since then, you might wanna buy a new laptop sometime.

Re:And DVD doesn't???? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599800)

you must have bought the cheapo laptop with the cheapo battery.

I bought a mid-level laptop with the big battery because I'm not stupid.

I didn't buy the blu-ray drive because it was $360.

I can run my lappy on full brightness and wifi for over 3 hours.

Re:And DVD doesn't???? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600106)

Anyone who uses the work "lappy" outside quotes should be
kicked to death in the street.

Re:And DVD doesn't???? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600350)

I was just thinking the same thing. The drive itself, spinning up the disk made my previous laptop NOT a LAPtop for playback of movies. It also vibrated pretty bad which you could not hear but certainly felt. That's changed in new laptops but is still an issue. Playing back DVDs always heats up the laptop.

I carry a couple DVDs around with me to watch, but I have a folder on my HD with several dozen video clips for entertainment on the road. Considering my HD is 200gb, (about par by today's standards for a laptop I suppose?) that's not a big deal. Obviously trying to watch something in 1080i etc would take more space, but do you really NEED that on a laptop? It's not a home entertainment center when it's on batteries. The homies can't all huddle around your "bigscreen" 17" laptop and really enjoy it. There's no real reason to even be trying to play blueray / HDDVD on a laptop.

Downsample it and store it on the HD. I get at least double the playback time from an AVI than I do from a DVD on my present laptop, and I don't have to deal with the craptastic "operation not permitted", "fbi warning", forced preview viewing, etc etc.

As far as I can see not a "Blue Ray" problem. (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599730)

Since HD DVD used the same lasers and the same compression codecs I believe this would have applied to HD DVD also. This is not a case of "if only HD-DVD had won" but a basic technology problem.

Re:As far as I can see not a "Blue Ray" problem. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600366)

Yeah, but it only re-emphasizes the need to be able to easily rip a video from whatever HD-video format, re-encode it at a more modest and laptop-friendly resolution, and carry that on the hard drive. If it weren't for the DRM it would be relatively easy to do so.

So, download wins again, although "managed copy" might be an option if the studios allow it to be implemented sanely (I don't know if they do or not).

And melted discs, no doubt... (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599734)

From TFA:

"The laser that runs the show [in Blu-ray players] is a very high-power laser," notes Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron. That laser is one of the main things that conspire to raise power consumption.

If the laser in a Blu-ray drive uses remotely as much as your CPU or LCD backlight, you're going to be burning a hole through your laptop in just a few minutes... Where does the media go to always find these moronic analysts?

Does anyone know? (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599754)

Is there any reason a high power laser is needed for reading? Writing may have a power requirement but I would have thought that to read a disk you could make up for a lowered power laser with a higher sensitivity detector.

Re:Does anyone know? (3, Interesting)

cube135 (1231528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599894)

I'm not sure, but it's probably the blue laser that the high-def formats use. It's a shorter wavelength laser than normal DVD or CD lasers, so it would take more power to create the beam. I can't see that taking more power than the 100% CPU needed to actually display the movie, or the LCD's power drain, though...

Re:Does anyone know? (2, Informative)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600130)

Reading does require less power than writing, but the power requirements are also related to read speed. So the laser on a 12x DVD reader needs to be higher power than one on a 1x DVD reader. Similar for Blu-ray.

Re:And melted discs, no doubt... (2, Informative)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600252)

If the laser in a Blu-ray drive uses remotely as much as your CPU or LCD backlight, you're going to be burning a hole through your laptop in just a few minutes... Where does the media go to always find these moronic analysts?

I agree - that's a misleading and idiotic quote from the analyst.

Older 1GHz laptop CPUs use about 10W, while newer CPUs that you would probably want for higher end graphics capability are 30W or more (that's only the CPU not counting the GPU). A laser diode is about 5mW for reading and on the order of 200mW for burning. As far as I can tell there is no real power requirement difference between Blu-Ray and a high speed DVD RW drive.

And laser power is definitely not the major driver in laptop battery life - the big power draws are the CPU, large LCD panels and WiFi.

New techology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599764)

So where ARE those newfangled batteries I keep hearing about?

Say it isn't so... (3, Insightful)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599776)

New higher capacity optical storage medium takes more power to use?

CD-ROM then CD-RW then DVD then DVD-RW/RAM and now BR... each step started with high power requirements and weren't suited for mobile use. And almost every one of them was met with this kind of fud. After evolution of the technology we seem to be surviving just fine with our current optical medium.

It's just going to take a few revs. of hardware improvements.

As for HD Video playback... well, that's another problem - just the shear size of data needed to be decrypted and decoded... ouch.

Re:Say it isn't so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600050)

Sony announced a while ago a new, cheaper laser that use less power (and should help drive down the cost)- (note: you can get a desktop bluray drive for 130$ right now on newegg). Using you CPU to decode an Bluray, with both cores running at 2+ Ghz is what takes all the power. However, if your laptop has one of ATI's 2XXX or 3XXX or nVidia's 8XXX video cards, these have HARDWARE decoding of H264 on the fly (usually using a 500-600Mhz processor). If you compare the power requirements of laptops that are just FAST with one's that have newer video cards, I've heard that they CAN get through a whole movie.. The video cards are far less taxing to batteries than a fast processor.

All that decryption... (1)

BrunoUsesBBEdit (636379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599780)

Another disaster of DRM is the power required to do all the decryption. Al Gore should go after the media industry for the waste of electricity and subsequent carbon foot print. While he's at it... Why not pressure HD-DVD hardware makers to release the (non-encryption related) specs of the machines on the market so they can be turned into MythTVs and other devices?

Then he can attack the printer manufacturers for adopting a printer & and ink/toner pricing plan that encourages the consumers to through away printers because it's cheaper to buy a new one than to refill it.

Was HD-DVD substantially different? (1, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599782)

Interesting... I wonder how HD-DVD and Blu-Ray compare in this regard? Anybody know?

Already answered above. (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599816)

While I had the edit screen open and was talking to a colleague, someone else answered the question: no.

Re:Was HD-DVD substantially different? (1, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599830)

See my earlier post [slashdot.org] on this subject.

I have a perfect solution (-1, Flamebait)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599798)

A solution to cut costs on laptops and extend movie play battery life:

HD-DVD laptops!

The drives are cheap now, and since you won't be able to get movies for them soon, no worries there either!

720-1080P MKVs don't have this problem (4, Interesting)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599822)

Last night I played Transformers 1080P Blu-ray rip (10GB MKV file) in my Vaio VGN-FZ340E.
I used "Media Player Classic" with latest K-lite codecs, using the just the stock battery and a medium power saving mode and everthing went fine for the entire movie.
Yes, playing this files may not be legal but I just don't see a better or legal way to do HD with my current hardware.
Same thing happens if you try to play a Blu-ray movie (Assuming you have a drive) with Linux.

Um; bullshit? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599996)

Transformers was one of the pivotal movies NOT available in blu-ray
ony DVD and HDDVD
the director was in the news quite a bit, heavily opposed to this decision by the studio
transformers still is unavailable on blu-ray- althought that is expected to change.

Why? (1)

hilather (1079603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599826)

Why on earth would you need to watch a High Def movie on your laptop? Laptop screens are so tiny. Even if you are using your laptop to play a movie on a bigger screen, like your 1080p 52 inch TV, I would assume there would be a power outlet near by.

Re:Why? (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599896)

I think the issue is the Blu-Ray disk you bought to watch in the living room on the big screen, that you then want to take with you.

Re:Why? (1)

twoshortplanks (124523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599918)

Because you bought the HD disk to play on your HD TV, and you don't want to have to buy another copy so you can play it on your laptop. Insert argument here about HD-DVD disks being able to be played on normal DVD players.

Re:Why? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600016)

HD-DVDs can not be played on regular DVD drives.
Duel format HD-DVDs could.

Re:Why? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599962)

Maybe you brought the disk for home use but wanted to play it when on the road.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600144)

My 17" laptop screen has full HD resolution. Sitting on my lap, it has the effective screen size of a quite large TV at a normal sitting distance. HD goggles have screens as small as 2.5", but have effective viewing sizes in excess of 100".

I did a battery test. Not quite the same as watching realtime video, but I assume that pegging both my cores to 100% with the screen at 75% brightness while WRITING a DVD (at 1X just to make sure it took at least 2 hours) uses quite similar power to watching a BD or DVDVD movie, if not far more.

My battery died at 1 hour 50 minutes. Feature length for "most" movies nowadays. Playing a 1080P rip of a movie from the HDD I've gotten over 2.5 hours before, but I typically use lower brightness and don't use DVD at the same time. My wife's poor machine however, playing just simple DVDs, she gets about 1 hour 20 minutes. playing games online she gets less than an hour if she forgets to plug in.

Then again, the only places I watch a DVD is 1) in my car, where i have a power agapter, at home at my desk, or at work on breaks. I'm never out in a park wathcing DVD. At a coffee shop, there's an outlet handy if I need it.

This Vista POS I have from work supposedly has a centrino duo, which uses less watts than any of my other systems by a large margin, but since Vista thrashes the HDD so much, it only gets about 90 minutes on a charge. When XP was on it, I got nearly 3 hours per charge. Since BD and HD can only play under Vista anyway (unless you convert and rip to HDD) I'd say Vista itself was a bigger battery hog than the DVD player...

Two words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599832)

"That sucks."

Usual story (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599842)

It's the same old story, to a point. The performance required to do a relatively simple job (play fullscreen video) in a new way (using HD content and a new storage medium) means that it becomes impractical without upgrades. I can remember having to tweak computers to be powerful enough to play MP3's without skipping, but there at least you had the advantage that the storage space saved compared to even the best-compressed formats of the time was phenomenal.

I freely admit that I absolutely do not "get" the HD fuss. It's the same thing we've had for years, with more pixels, that you can't reasonably see on a fair test past a certain distance (although I would say that on a high-res laptop you are more likely to spot the difference because of the unusually close eye-screen distance), with new storage formats, new compression, new software, new DRM and new performance characteristics... which are killing battery life. And, yes, eventually they'll start making "blu-ray acceleration cards" just like MPEG-acceleration, 3D-acceleration, etc., although in this day and age they're called "software on the GPU". But at the end of the day, you've gained little (a higher res that you might not be able to distinguish) for enormous performance increases.

Where's the advantage in it when a "Blu-ray" PC can still play the DVD's of previous years but at much, much less expense... if you can play a blu-ray for two hours or you can play MPEG-2 for six (while compiling stuff in the background without jerkiness) on the same machine, what are you going to end up using if you watch a lot of video on your laptop?

When I go away and know that I might want to view movies on my laptop (e.g. long trip staying in cheap hotels, stay over at a friends house etc), I take either DVD's, or I have a bunch of MPG's/AVI's/VOB's etc. on the laptop itself or on DVD-R's ahead of time. Quality isn't really the factor there and the advantage to having everything in a simple format that everyone can read easily and which doesn't tax the laptop is key.

It's another case of "laptop = general purpose computer, so let's turn it into a media centre and make it do everything". It's nice that it's CAPABLE of everything but you can't expect a portable device to do it all AND give you good performance at everything. Laptops are not even desktop-substitutes for most work (the times I have to explain this to people... it costs pounds to repair a broken desktop, hundreds to repair a broken laptop).

Let the early adopters waste their money. Even if Blu-Ray becomes the de-facto standard, I'd much rather just decrypt-to-disk and convert to a format that's easily readable, with extremely cheap media, that plays the video "good enough" for most things if I'm intending to carry it around with me. Much better 1 x DVD-R with a couple of full movies on it that I can watch one-after-the-other and make a backup copy for pennies than 1 x Blu-Ray that I can't give my friends with only a single movie on it that kills my batteries just watching it.

There was a time when I did exactly the same with DVD vs VCD - it's actually trivial to just copy several DVD's worth of movie/tv show to a DVD-R or even a CD-R and not worry about the quality. You're travelling - who cares whether it's HD or VCD-quality so long as you can tell what's going on without eyestrain?

Re:Usual story (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599972)

but there at least you had the advantage that the storage space saved compared to even the best-compressed formats of the time was phenomenal.

Nonsense. MP2 was far less CPU intensive, while compressing about 33% poorer than MP3. Not a huge difference.

I freely admit that I absolutely do not "get" the HD fuss. It's the same thing we've had for years, with more pixels, that you can't reasonably see on a fair test past a certain distance

An arguement that would have been twice as appropriate to make when DVDs were coming out... After all, they're only about 3X higher resolution than VHS or VCDs... Highdef 1080, meanwhile, is 6X higher resolution than DVDs. And no, highdef pixels aren't magical faeries, you can see them just as well as the rest...

Where's the advantage in it when a "Blu-ray" PC can still play the DVD's of previous years but at much, much less expense...

A question you could ask of early adopters of any product.

Re:Usual story (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600660)

Which is why he started his post saying, "It's the same old story, to a point."

Re:Usual story (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600884)

Nonsense. MP2 was far less CPU intensive, while compressing about 33% poorer than MP3. Not a huge difference.

Many people can't hear the difference between mp3 and a cd, but anyone can hear the difference between an mp2 and an mp3. A much lower-bitrate mp3 is listenable when compared to an mp2.

I had a lot of basis for comparison back in the day, I spent a day at IUMA mangling files for them (if I knew then what I know now I could have done it with a shell script in minutes) and browsing around their site - when they were just making the mp2 to mp3 transition.

Re:Usual story (2, Informative)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600118)

Have you ever WATCHED anything in HD? I ask, but I'm already assuming you haven't. The difference is night and day. I won't argue that it makes watching a movie any more enjoyable, especially while travelling, but the difference in the picture is huge. That was a pretty long winded comment to have such a glaring hole.

Re:Usual story (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600616)

The difference is night and day.
What kind of TV/laptop do you need to see this difference? If you read the GP's post he's talking about the equipment _he_ has (aka a 'normal' laptop). I would guess a HD format wouldn't help him in that case ... though I could easily be wrong (and I wouldn't be surprised).

Re:Usual story (2, Insightful)

gkai (1220896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600198)

My god, if you can not see the difference between SD and HD, I hope you did not forget your white stick and black glasses, and do not own a car: you are THAT visually impaired. I am far from 20/20 vision, but at my normal viewing distance, the difference is striking, on screens of any size...(a small screen just means I sit closer, I never really understood the common assertion "HD is only usefull on huge screens"). Yes, an HD picture can be so so, if the transfer was not good, if there is too much noise, and so on...and HD do not turn a bad movie in a good one, just like you can still enjoy a great story out of a crappy 320*240 video... But good HD is really spectacular: I still remember the first time I saw an HD TV, playing some wildlife documentary, it was a few years ago in japan and HD was still confidential at the time: from far away, the picture looked a little bit different and better, so I went closer...Even before I was close enough to be comfortable, i was wowed: it gives you a "seeing through a window" experience quite different from "normal" SD TV... I do not own yet an HD TV, but it is not because the technology is irrelevant: I just wait for more source (HD digital broadcast, renting blurays in my videostore at DVD prices) before making the jump, and I guess after getting used to it, it will be the SD material that will look like cheap WebTV or cameraphone videos...

Re:Usual story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600388)

hence forth why they note on the laptops specs when you get it with a drive of this nature to plug in the machine before using the drive for extended periods of time. in otherwords... its one of those RTFM situations... ;)

Re:Usual story (1)

Serge_Tomiko (1178965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600472)

This is absolutely true. I remember the only reason I upgraded from my old NexGen Nx586 (with the FPU thank you very much) was its inability to play MP3 files way back in 1997. Got myself an AMD K6 and I was set.

Only enough battery for half a movie, huh... (5, Funny)

abaddononion (1004472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599854)

This might be a good time for me to try to sit through Star Trek IV or Highlander 2 again.

Blu-Ray: making crappy old movies only half as crappy.

Vaiogra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599860)

Blu-ray In Laptops Could Be Hard On Batteries :)

you might not get more than halfway through that movie before running out of juice completely, analysts say :(

Huh? (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599888)

Blu-ray In Laptops Could Be Hard On Batteries/i?

Blue-ray is like Viagra?

Re:Huh? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600040)

They're both blue...

Re:Huh? (1)

custerfluck (888788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600344)

Are we talking about blu-ray on laptops, porn on blu-ray, or blu-balls in your lap?

The doofuses probably used an Intel GPU (-1, Flamebait)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599974)

Use a notebook with a real GPU, anything modern from ATI or NVIDIA, and the GPU will take care of much of the decoding more efficiently than the CPU alone can. The new AMD Puma platform (2Q2008) ought to be particularly good about this.

Battery life sucks on multimedia laptops anyway (2, Insightful)

cloakable (885764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600074)

And here's me, with no CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM or even BluRay. True it's an ultraportable laptop, so the things are neither needed nor desired. I could understand wanting BluRay in a multimedia laptop, but those things rape their batteries anyway. You want battery life away from the mains? Get an ultraportable. Simple.

(Oh, and I have a good music and video collection stored locally on the laptop)

Please... (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600176)

I'm lucky to get an hour of battery life on my dv9000t with max power-save settings as it is. Playing a Blue-Ray movie? I might get through the opening credits...

whats the point? (1, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600328)

HD BlueRay on a 19" screen?!? I cant see the difference on my 32" screen... talk about overkill
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