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Richard the Plumber

12 Oct, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Richard the Plumber came by the other day to fix a toilet that's not holding up too well under three growing boys. He spied a DVD of the hit HBO series "True Blood" on the coffee table in my family room and told me his whole family is a big fan. What he said next surprised me. "You should get the Blu-ray version," he said. "You won't believe how much better it looks than DVD, and you've got the kind of TV where you're really going to notice the difference."

Two things about this exchange are worth noting: 1) Richard the Plumber has already invested in a Blu-ray Disc player, and 2) he just reaffirmed my belief that the picture quality, much more so than any novel special features or even BD Live application, should be the primary selling point in propagating Blu-ray to the masses. If Richard the Plumber notices the difference, and on a TV series, no less, then you can bet other people will, too.

Of course I didn't let the conversation end with that. Now that I knew he had a Blu-ray machine, I had to follow up with the big question home entertainment executives are all thinking about these days. "Do you ever watch BD Live?" I asked. His response echoed the sentiments expressed two weeks ago by members of the Home Media Tastemakers Forum. "Nope," he said. "My Internet's in my office and my TV's in the living room, and I sure as heck don't want to string a cable halfway across the house. You'd think they'd figure out a way to connect via WiFi."

You'd think, Richard. You'd think.

I told him the first wireless players came on the market in July and they're gradually rolling them out now. Richard's response: "I wish I would've knowed before I bought my player. Why are they always doing stuff like that?"

I didn't have an answer.

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