Whether the second Predator release is better than the first is a highly subjective matter. Video bitrate alone does not tell the story. The new release, according to debates now raging on home video forums, may have a higher bitrate but has also had significant amounts of digital noise reduction applied to remove film grain from the image. (This makes the picture look very clean, like digital video or TV, but also obscures some of the detail in the picture).
The question of whether a new BD release is better than an old one sometimes amounts to: Do you like a clean image, or an image that is not as clean but looks more like the actual film it was transferred from?
You can only answer that for yourself. And the bitrate or compression methods alone won't tell you. So I would suggest that BD consumers do become educated about such things as bitrate and compression, but also about things like image manipulation. They can do this by reading reviews of discs online, at sites such as blu-ray.com or hometheaterforum.com. (Note that I am a member of neither site, and have no personal stake in them as well, just an interested reader and consumer).
The only definite extra content I can absolutely say there is in the new set... Sigourney Weaver a while back mentioned that she was brought in for some new interviews and commentary for this set. She did not get any more specific than that. There may be more said by other people elsewhere... but I have not heard it.
From what I've read Fox is putting all the special features from EVERY box set of aliens that has ever come out. That means that it will have stuff that was on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD. And I don't know for sure but I think they putting in never before seen deleted scenes, pictures, and screen tests. And there is also the new mu-th-ur mode all though I am not quite sure what that is yet
Seeing as how I consider the Alien Quadrilogy to contain the gold standard for DVD extras*, I'm somewhat surprised that people are asking for new material. The extras on the previous release are so exhaustive that I can't imagine there's much new material that could be added. The only exceptions I can think of is if a) they were finally able to get David Fincher to go on the record about Alien 3, and b) they expanded the Alien Resurrection documentaries to discuss its status as a disappointment (and to allow Joss Whedon to vent his spleen). Personally, I doubt either of those will happen, and the Alien 3 documentary is fine as it is. (I don't care that much about Alien Resurrection, so it doesn't make that big a difference to me if there's new stuff or not. Of course, I tend to be a completist, so even if the films were released separately, I'd opt for the set.)
My point is that the big selling point of this set for me is having some of my all-time favorite films in HD. If you don't feel the upgrade is worth the money, then hang on to your Quadrilogy set. Nobody's forcing you to buy this.
*Whenever discussing how much I loved the extras on the Quadrilogy set, I would often say that I would look at the set on my shelf and smile and then look over to the Indiana Jones and Star Wars DVD sets and sadly shake my head.
I agree with your feelings regarding the differences (whatever they are) between the quad and this set. The biggest change I have heard is that the Alien 3 doc is going to be different, and apparently dish a lot more dirt than the previous version (the previous doc was cut down by a nervous exec). That is the only real "extra" that interests me, but it's not enough for me to plunk down $98. $50-60, maybe.
David Fincher was asked to be involved in the quad. Apparently, he thought about it, and decided against it. He's not involved in this release, either, and I personally believe that he won't ever be involved with the movie again.
Let's not forget, however, that we'll all be rebuying these films (well, at least the first two) in whatever 4k format we'll have in five-ten years (Redray (red.com) is already available, but only commercially). Shouldn't we all wait for the "ultimate," so-to-speak, Alien collection? Blu-Ray = 20-25% of 35mm film; this is not the end-all, be-all collection. There will be a third, and possibly a fourth, opportunity to be "complete," shortly down the road (especially if you want the inevitable 3D conversions)...
...and yes, the benefits of 4k are quickly apparent (if you're looking for a truly "theatrical" presentation, that is (e.g. a 120" projector screen @ 10 feet (who cares if you have to turn your head to see it all :) )))...
"It won't ever come, as long as there is a studio making money on it." I'm not sure I follow; do you mean making money on the current (thus, Blu-Ray) release? "The Masses," as you've stated, aren't interested in Blu-Ray...yet. When people realize that broadband is soon going to be capped and metered, they'll begin to understand that downloading high-quality video is soon going to become a very expensive proposition. 4k, for all intents and purposes, is the end-all, be-all format, and yes, there will be a consumer 4k format within five to ten years (again, we already have a commercial 4k disc-based system), and yes, there will be an "Alien" collection in 4k...you can count on it. Who cares how many copies it sells (especially at $40-50 per film (in my estimation, especially if it's an ultra-high-end product))? As soon as it's available, the Blu-Ray set will be obsolete...which begs the question...why buy two films, for the second time, that you don't really want, simply to feel "complete?" That feeling isn't going to last...and yes, to head off the inevitable response: there is an obvious benefit of 4K over 1080p. It's a true "theatrical" experience, vs. my 37" TV from seven feet (not exactly theatrical), where my eyes fully resolve all of the pixels of my 1080p set.
No I meant that there will probably never be an "ultimate" edition, because the studio is always going to be there to re-package the films, in whatever format they can, and do whatever they can to wrench more money out of fan's hands - such as "egg" collectibles and whatever additional extras they can put on a new release, no matter how insignificant.
"When people realize that broadband is soon going to be capped and metered, they'll begin to understand that downloading high-quality video is soon going to become a very expensive proposition."
Fiber direct to the home is going to become a reality, whether it is 3 years or 15. But that is insignificant, because I can *already* get near blu-ray quality downloads of films through Netflix on my Xbox 360 through my "slow" broadband connection. That setup is only going to get better.
Film downloads are only going to get more popular as time goes on, and download speeds to the home are only going to get faster and more prevalent as time goes on. Downloads of music and film have eroded the market already (have you watched all of the video stores and music retail shops closing up over the years?) and it will continue. Again, I firmly believe that blu-ray is going to be the last physical format that *the masses* (and by that I specifically mean Joe-Sixpack, and not obsessive-compulsive collectors or film-nerds/audiophiles) will be remotely interested in. "Red-ray" may end up attracting the Criterion crowd, but I think that is about it.
Heh...very true, especially regarding the packaging ("egg," etc.). I wouldn't say, however, that Netflix HD (4mbps VC1 720P) rivals Blu-Ray...unless on a 720p set while watching a relatively static film...and watching one HD-Lite film on Netflix (which, I admit, looks quite impressive, and good enough for most people (not me), given the bitrate) can easily accumlate 5GB of used bandwidth. I don't feel that we'll have capped internet simply out of necessity (e.g. punishing the "bad apples"), and I therefore can't agree that fiber-optic connections will be exempt from what will ultimately be put in place for one reason...profit (using those "bad apples" as scapegoats). However, I could be wrong, and perhaps the course of capping and constraining connections will reverse itself given expanded network capabilities, but my impression is that regardless of throughput capability, providers are going to decrease GB limits and further throttle networks, especially as the numbers of users continues to increase, as time goes on. More simply, we'll be paying premiums for certain amounts of data (in tiers), and once past that limit (which most users will have no idea how to monitor), you could be paying $5 per GB (which could amount to a $25 film via Netflix).
Well, the infrastructure for fiber in the home is where the real expense is going to be. I am sure that the cable companies do not want that to happen. But, still, I don't see high speed internet becoming *more* expensive. In fact, I see it the other way. I think that increased competition and increased choices (sometime down the line) is going to make it all cost less. About two years ago, a nearby city wanted to put in *free* wireless internet for *all* of its citizens. Of course, the cable companies completely freaked and shut that down about as fast as they could.