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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Blu Notes For You!

At Shakey Pictures they have a motto that says: "Quality - whether you want it or not".

Well, we've had an interesting couple of days recently regarding the posting Is Blu-Ray Dead Already? Not So Fast Yet. The comments section has featured an extended question and answer session on Blu-Ray technology and the Neil Young Archives.

Providing some definitive information, a poster going by Test Pilot has very patiently tried to answer dozens of questions about the Blu-Ray version of the Archives. Here's how Test Pilot frames the issue:
I think a car analogy works well in discussing the Archives sets.

Our luxury, flagship model is the BD [Blu-Ray Disc] edition. It has the most powerful engine, custom trim and high end entertainment packages built in. While the BD is the most expensive model that we offer, it best represents our product and has premier performance and feel.

Consider BD-Live to be the equivalent of getting a lifetime subscription to XM radio, OnStar and mobile Netflix as part of your purchase.

The DVD edition is a base model that has a smaller motor and doesn't handle quite as smooth as the BD. Being a base model, the owner doesn't get the luxury packages that come included with the BD Edition. However, DVD is a finely built piece of work and has been made using the same craftsmen and tooling that the BD uses.
DVD may not be as high end, but it will certainly get you where ya want to go, in comfort and with reliability for years to come.

A number of you aren't interested in buying the Archives series and that's OK. Maybe you are holding out to see if the future will bring the vastly underpowered CD edition.

For years you have been told that the CD is a safe means of transportation, despite it's lack of quality parts and safety features.

A few more of the holdouts would like to strip down the CD edition removing much of the powertrain and suspension....leaving that bumpy, unreliable deathtrap known as the MP3 model. These MP3 chop shops often have untrained mechanics without certification and roll out noisy, thin sounding mods that are unsafe, yet from a distance look like the real deal.

Only you know which edition fits your needs, budget and lifestyle. Our mission isn't to sell on you on one edition vs the other, but to help you make informed choices.

You Do The Math.

To which Dan responded:
Just wanted to say thank you to you and Neil for answering all of our questions. Once again Neil has decided to take things to a revolutionary dimension and we as fans get to enjoy the priviledge of coming along if we so choose. The decades (no pun intended) of being Neil fans have taught us that Neil will almost always force us out of our comfort zones only to realize after the fact how fortunate we were to be open enough to come along for the ride. In this case, as we venture into the world of some hard core technology, thank you for your patience and hand holding as we get our bearings on this new project. As a long time fan, it is a thrill to watch Neil lead us into the unknown once again...

We've been running a poll here at Thrasher's Wheat on the question of what are your plans when The Archives are released? Thus far, with 624 votes cast, polls still open and precincts still reporting, our shakey polling system reveals:


34% - Looks like the DVD option for me (212 votes)
32% - I'm going all the way with Blu-Ray, baby! (200 votes)
26% - I'm not sure what I'm going to do (160 votes)
8% - No Archives for me, thank you. (52 votes)

So what are you thinking of doing when The Archives is released?

So just rock the vote!

And thanks Test Pilot!!! You Rock!!!


At 11/19/2008 02:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Test Pilot and Thrasher!

I was one of the ones who voted as "I don't know" and you both have helped me decide.

I'll start with the DVD edition for Volume I, and then will go Blu-Ray when I can afford all the equipment it will take to support it. All the money is well worth the investment. I liked the car analogy a lot. My first car was not a brand new Mercedes; it was a 1984 Chevy Citation.

Part of the joy is in the anticipation!

26 days until Neil is at MSG!!!!

Marian M.

At 11/19/2008 03:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to more posts from Test Pilot.
Is there any way to know specifically what his position is with Shakey Inc.? Code cowboy? Viral marketer?


At 11/19/2008 04:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Chicago-

It doesn't really matter who I's about helping folks understand the technology so they can make informed Archives choices.

We'll be back in a few weeks to discuss BD players that have been tested using the Archives set and how they rate in performance and reliability. That might help some of you with your Xmas wish lists.

You can call me a lot of things, but I'm not marketing guy or a suit....yeech.

Test Pilot

At 11/19/2008 05:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in italy a Blue Ray costs from 229 to 299 euro, it means from about US$ 30O to US$ 400. Do you think it is expensive or avarage?. I am planning to buy it.

At 11/19/2008 10:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Internet for these great moments like this: access to information we would have never been able to obtain.
However, I hate to stir the pot, but in the latest Rolling Stone issue (Issue 1066 Nov. 27) an exclusive interview with Neil Young states the Archives will be available Jan 27 (DVD:$345, Blu-ray:$432) and "eventually in CD and download formats.) That kind of goes against everything the Test Pilot says, but then again just because it was printed it doesn't mean it's true. Anyone care to elaborate on this?


At 11/19/2008 11:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A DVD is a DVD, But the Blu-Ray gives you lifetime admission to the Barn!

At 11/19/2008 11:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for hosting such an excellent blog. Test Pilot's guest appearance was not only one of the (many) great things that have occurred here on your blog, but its also IMHO is a testament to the cool vibe and high quality Neil experience and dialog you've nurtured.

I hope everyone is supporting your blog by ordering their copies of the NYA, Sugar Mountain, Toast via your link to AMAZON.

At 11/20/2008 05:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I'm still confused about (maybe I haven't been reading closely enough) - will the Blu-Ray version have more content up front than the DVD version (not counting any future downloads), or just enhanced interaction/navigation between the audio and the other elements?

At 11/20/2008 05:59:00 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Hmm... I see there is no option for downloading peer to peer

At 11/20/2008 08:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breaking News: There's a new editorial by our beloved writer on Huffington Post!

"Maybe introducing a new high-performance fossil fueled Shelby Mustang and jumping into a private jet to go to Washington for a bailout was not such a good idea."

Great stuff! So, Neil, were can I get a Shelby Mustang Volt and how does that fit with the image?
Bring on the Goodwin/Young Mustang Volt! B.S.M.

At 11/20/2008 08:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breaking News 2:
NEIL YOUNG is set to pay back soul man BOOKER T. JONES for backing him on his ARE YOU PASSIONATE album - by signing up to play guitar on the GREEN ONIONS hitmaker's first solo release in 20 years.
Jones and his Booker T + The MGs bandmates acted as Young's backing group on the acclaimed 2002 album, and now the rocker is returning the favour.
He'll join The Drive-By Truckers, who will back Jones on his new all-instrumental album, which will hit stores early in 2009.

At 11/20/2008 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Moore teames up with Neil on Larry King Live:

Interesting to come up with Roosevelt on this.

At 11/20/2008 12:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Test Pilot:

I've been researching BD, inspired by this continued dialogue, and am dismayed to read that Apple, as well as others, are stating BD is brief if not DOA technology.

As one who will be required to purchase a unit in addition the BD set collection, it concerns me that it may have a short shelf life, technically speaking.

Despite all of Neil's many gifts, no one can slow down the pace of technology and competition (VHS vs Beta, Zune vs Ipod for example). However, when an industry leader such as Steve Jobs is making such pronouncements, a consumer might pay some attention.

All that said, is there anyway to know, after all the time & labor invested, if future Archive releases will stick with BD?


At 11/20/2008 12:39:00 PM, Blogger aV-109 said...

Thanks SO much for the info TP...Blue Ray all the way! Absolutely love the chance to look through the files at all the memorabilia, video, and history of Neil's music....It will be WELL worth the wait. Hope to see you soon.....


At 11/20/2008 01:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what Steve Jobs said:

"Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. I don't mean from the consumer point of view. It's great to watch movies, but the licensing is so complex," Jobs said. "We're waiting until things settle down, and waiting until Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace before we burden our customers with the cost of the licensing and the cost of the drives."

At 11/20/2008 01:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This came after the post above:

However, the company (Apple) was quick to point out that it supports HD video -- as long as it's not on a disc.

One more time:

"as long as it's not on a disc."

At 11/22/2008 01:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi gang-

Just checking in with you as we wind down with our BD testing, in preparation for the of releasing this massive endeavor.

I say to Steve Jobs (who is just basically not wanting to commit) as I paraphrase the great Mark Twain:
"The rumors of Blu-ray death have been greatly exaggerated".

see ya all here in a few weeks with more real info.

Test Pilot

ps a quick shout out to aV-109 and a hearty thanks.

*for you NYA fanatics- what does aV-109 reference in rock history with his screen name???

At 11/22/2008 08:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure when I'll own a BD Player, but I will buy the Deluxe version as soon as its available. I've been a day of release NY acquisition type of fan since DejaVu.

Despite the cost, I buy the pitch that the content will be well worth it, and the best available version for for some time to come. I've been fortunate to be able to afford to spend thousands of dollars following parts Neil's tours over the last ten years, so I can certainly rationalize the Archives. FINALLY!!!
: )

But Neil's neighbor Mr. Jobs alluded to something in his statement. Disks, of most any sort, are a short lived medium. The future is in the air. Literally. And the future will be here as soon as tomorrow. "Cloud" computing is all the rage in the IT trade publications. Satellite radio delivers quality sound to quality receivers across the USA.And for terra firma applications, flash memory is replacing hard drives in portable devices.

So my guess is that BD, in a relative sense, will go the way of VHS sooner rather than later. Its anybody's guess when the next generation of high quality, content dense delivery system will be in place. That is, something that meets the approval of someone like Neil Young. Its like trying to accurately predict when electric car battery exchange depot infrastructure will reach a critical mass sufficient to relegate the Esso Petrol station to town livery status. A quaint reminder of a bygone era. (Cynical note: battery exchange depots will replace filling stations when Esso controls the manufacturing and distribution of said batteries!)

Finally, my biggest gripe about the prospect of purchasing the Neil Young Archives on BD is the idea that I will be forced to purchase a later CD version if I desire to listen to the music on the go, whether on the road or on the treadmill. But then again, I've lost count of how many times I've purchased the early NY albums. Worn out vinyl, cassettes, CD's. Its all one Hawks and Doves!

Note to Mr. Rabinowitz: With every BD edition Archives purchased, a coupon good to be redeemed for a copy of Archives RAW, the CD version!

I Used to Be A Fireman
Niagara Falls, NY

At 11/22/2008 01:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I want to listen to the Archives in my car, do I need a Blu-Ray player there too?

At 11/22/2008 02:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally find it kinda funny that people were so quick to quote Mr. Jobs...with a little thought about where this is coming from, what do you think the guy who has made an unbelievable fortune with the iPod is going to say about High Quality Sound and Video?? It would be the Death of the iPod if people were "searching for quality, having to have the very best" instead of "still scrounging for quantity, never having the time to take the BD test".

At 11/23/2008 09:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Test Pilot:
(cue buzzer)

"aV-109" is the record label that released a Squires recording.

Do I win a complete BD Archives set?


At 11/24/2008 03:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know Chicago?
V-109 side A or V-109 side B

Well after all it's a pretty difficult question.
I really don't have the answer...

At 11/24/2008 11:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You were very close, but not quite there on your guess.
V Records released a single, catalog # by The Squires.
"a" refers to the A Side of this 45.
So now all you have to do is pull out your copy of this rare vinyl and figure out which song was on Side A.

Test Pilot

At 11/24/2008 12:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Test Pilot:

A 2 part question?

#V-109a would be 'The Sultan'
The B side is 'Aurora'


At 11/25/2008 08:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs has many real achievements to be proud of, but his opinions on BluRay should be treated with caution.

Where Apple is concerned, he is known as a bit of a showman and a master of hype, and that means he boosts his products whether they're good or not. And not all Apple products are good, or serve the customer's best interests.

What he says about BluRay inevitably reflects his personal and financial stake in the iPod, Mac computers, and the iTunes store. BluRay largely bypasses all that.

The Archives project, if we believe NY (as I do), treats audio and video quality very seriously. Now look at Apple, from the shitty headphones you get with an iPod to the promotion of MP3 downloads, a crappy, outdated technology that people only use because a) it's now ubiquitous and they don't know better and b)it saves disc space (which, with today's disc sizes and prices, is hardly a pressing issue. MP3 was invented for a much earlier generation of computers and hard discs). The iPod and iTunes are about quantity, not quality.

As far as I know, Steve Jobs has done nothing to promote improved quality in audio or video - rather the opposite in some important respects.

When he does finally show an interest in getting _better_ sound and video to us (already possible with currently available and affordable technology, remember), then his BluRay comments can be taken more seriously.

At 11/26/2008 07:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question...... In Neil "Journey Thru the Past " movie, there is some CSNY footage from 1970 (?).
Does anyone know if any full video exists of that performance and if so, is it anything from it going to appear on the archives ?
Would love to see videos of Neils solo acoustic performances durring that CSNY tour !


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