Many Blu-ray Players Unable to Handle Maximum Bitrate

Midnight Legacy is a small indie studio looking to push some obscure films onto Blu-ray. Dolph Chiarino is co-owner, and their first release was Alien 2: On Earth, a disc that Dolph wanted to be the best it could be. His goal? Max out the video bitrate to the format’s allowance, 40MBPS. However, the post house said it wasn’t possible, “without running the risk of locking up a majority of players.”

To be clear, the difference between a bitrate of 30MBPS and 40MBPS would be imperceptible visually (even lesser bitrates in most cases would look identical in the right hands), not to mention a constant 40 would be rather wasteful. There’s no need to have a black screen running at 40 during an edit or general end credits, but the option should at least be there. For some Blu-ray players, that’s just not an option.

“They [Blink Digital] were saying that very high-end players would be able to do it, but maybe an $89 Wal-Mart player might not.”

That begs the question as to why players are even allowed to be released with such weak abilities in the first place. It’s one thing to release a player without Profile 2.0 capability, which allows for BD-Live online features. It’s another to completely ignore the basic specs themselves. If a studio wants the option to maximize video bitrate, that should be their choice and not be held hostage by lower-end players that were not created up to the possibilities of Blu-ray.

It’s a technical hurdle those cheaper players introduce, pushing people away from what is, already, a complex format hindered by firmware updates, player-locking Java features, and other user-unfriendliness. It’s a shame a lack of standards are causing people to have a negative view of the format.

You can read the full 3-part interview with Dolph on DoBlu (the bitrate discussion happens in part 2).

Matt Paprocki has been a movie and video game critic for 12-years. His work has been featured on a variety of websites, and he currently edits and

  • kyri

    What about PS3?

  • I’m sure the PS3 could given the power it has on the back end, but it wouldn’t matter anyway because no one would author a disc only playable on certain machines.

  • Gil

    So… I can still enjoy watching blu-rays the way I’ve been?

  • Yep. No change in your viewing habits. Just short-sightedness on part of the player makers.

  • Gil

    Praise Bob for that. I was worried about my investment in two PS3s solely for the Blu-Ray exploitation and very mild gaming habits.