Tech

Why choose Blu-ray?

Blu-ray Disc

When I was younger, I had every Disney title on VHS. Really. I remember shoving a tape into the VCR and throwing a fit when I realized that I had to rewind it. I had some good times laying on the floor too close to the television watching Beauty and the Beast, but those times have changed — I’ve learned to sit farther away.

Though our film tastes may or may not change through the years, the way we soak in our entertainment definitely does.

DVDs grew to be the popular media format in the late 90s, but a format war was on the horizon. The HD DVD and Blu-ray formats were developed around the same time, but Blu-ray was crowned the top dog in early 2008. The tech isn’t exactly new, but Blu-ray has finally gained traction in the mainstream market, with HDTVs becoming more affordable.

What now though? You might be on the fence about moving on to Blu-ray, but we’re here to help you.

“Why should I upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray?”

  • Viewing experience – It’s all about HD. The incredibly sharp picture — with about five times more detail than standard definition — and vibrant colors will sell you. Blu-ray is one of the very few ways to watch full 1080p high-definition media. Not only is the view stunning, but Blu-ray offers high quality audio to boot. Blu-ray is even jumping into the 3D viewing game — with a compatible system you can really get into your movies.
  • Extra storage capacity – With a storage capacity of up to 25GB on a single-layer Blu-ray disc, and 50GB on a dual-layer disc, the possibilities are far more than with DVDs — plenty of room for additional content and special features. This extra space brings your menus, graphics and special features to a whole new level. For example, you could bring up a menu without even pausing what you’re watching.
  • Interactivity – With an Internet connection, it’s possible to access great features, like downloading new extras, watching recent movie trailers, web browsing, and more. You can even manage your copies of Blu-ray movies and transfer them over your home network.

Here’s a quick overview of the technical specs:

Blu-ray vs DVD

Your concerns…

“But Blu-ray is expensive!”

Initially, new technologies lean toward the expensive range — and Blu-ray was a pricey format conversion from the DVD. Note, I say was! Blu-ray players and discs have become extremely affordable, and your favorite titles are even priced competitively against their DVD counterparts — and some even cheaper!

For example, in the U.S., you can find Blu-ray players for about $100 more than DVD players and tons of movies in the $15-$24.99 range (and lower!), with one of my personal classic favorites Dune at only $16.24 on Blu-ray versus $24.99 on DVD. But I digress.

I compared prices for new releases, and in general, DVD and Blu-ray prices are really neck-in-neck. There are so many different sales depending on the retailer, so it’s difficult to pinpoint. Just shop around! If you spot an expensive Blu-ray title that’s just not worth it to you, then simply don’t buy it — your Blu-ray player will still play your old DVDs.

If you live in a house with gamers, then moving to Blu-ray may make even more sense. Sony’s Playstation 3 console is already equipped with a Blu-ray player, so you can enjoy a night of Assassin’s Creed II and Star Trek in HD glory. And this technology is getting cheaper as time goes on.

“But I own a regular TV!”

Even if you have a regular TV, you can still enjoy both DVD and Blu-ray titles on a Blu-ray player. When it comes time to upgrade your TV to something HD-ready, then you’ll be ready to enjoy the full Blu-ray viewing experience.

“I already own an HD-ready TV… But I have a huge DVD collection.”

Why don’t you have a Blu-ray player already? Just because you have a DVD collection shouldn’t stop you! Most Blu-ray players will upscale your viewing experience with DVDs anyway, so you can build your Blu-ray collection gradually.

The viewing experience with Blu-ray is top notch, especially if you have a great sound system. You’ll notice the difference when you watch that Blu-ray title — imagine the first time you watched a DVD over VHS.

“But what about a new format in the future?”

This is just the nature of technology. If you never upgrade due to this logic, then you’d be stuck watching a black and white television. Your old formats don’t become useless either — people still listen to their old records today. And hey, you can still watch your DVDs on a Blu-ray player.

What are you waiting for?

The format war has been over for a while now, so what are you waiting for? You can switch over and start building your Blu-ray collection today without breaking the bank — check out Blu-ray players, listings and deals to get started.

[Chart via Blu-ray.com Thanks to the guys at blu-raydisc-reporter.com for providing us with some great kit]

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