In fact, aside from the fact that Blu-Ray’s high definition picture is so ridiculously gorgeous, the whole format is demonstrably worse than what came before it.
Agreed. I’ve only used Blu-Ray on a PS3, which is probably better than most standalone players, but all of the consumer-hostile “features” of DVDs — unskippable logos, previews, warnings, and disclaimers, long animation delays before menu activation, custom-themed interfaces that make everything more difficult — has advanced to new levels of hassles, delays, restrictions, and annoyances. Granted, I probably own more Blu-Rays than I should (I'm slowly weaning myself off physical media), but each time I pop a new disc into my PS3 and wait the full three-to-five minutes for my movie to actually begin, I say "This is why people pirate movies".
Although recently, I'm noticing a disturbing trend in the pre-movie junk. Where there used to be the "You wouldn't steal a car" warning, some studios are now putting a message to say "Thank you for buying a legitimate copy of this movie". Except the whole thing is done in a comedy voice, kind of like the E4 announcer, which makes the whole thing seem really insincere. Which is a step in the right direction, I suppose -- at least they're no longer treating consumers as potential criminals -- but it's a long way from what consumers actually want, which is quick access to the movie they just bought.