06. 09. 2008
What you need to know about Blu-ray
A survey published last week revealed that 55% of Americans who have HDTV don't know what Blu-ray is. Of those who did know, just 9% plan on buying a Blu-ray player anytime soon.
Considering that Blu-ray and HDTV go together like french fries and ketchup, it's a shame people aren't more aware of - and more enthusiastic about - the new DVD format. Unless you only ever rent movies from iTunes or have no interest in films whatsoever, it's hard to avoid ads for Blu-ray movies in every video store on and offline. There can't be many stores without a small but prominent Blu-ray section, and I've seen more than one confused customer try to check out a Blu-ray disc when they don't have the capacity to play it.
In short, it's worth learning what Blu-ray means. And if you have splashed out big bucks on a high definition (HD) television, it's worth thinking about investing in a Blu-ray DVD player.
Carry on over the cut to learn what Blu-ray is, and why you might want it...
Earlier this year, in an echo of VHS' victory over Betamax, Blu-ray won out over HDTV DVDs as the high-definition format of choice. Since then, Blu-ray has grown in popularity.
Blu-ray is a high-definition disc format that will probably take over from DVDs in the same way DVDs took over from video.
To make the most of movie-watching on an HDTV, you really need to play Blu-ray discs.
Blu-ray discs have more storage (more deleted scenes! Yay!) and are better quality than DVDs. The name comes from the blue laser which is used to read them (as opposed to the red laser of DVD players). They are also easier to use, with menus which allow you to navigate the disc without ever leaving your movie.
Blu-ray provides up to 7.1 channels of high definition surround sound, whereas DVD uses 5.1 channels, losing more of the sound quality from the original source.
Blu-ray discs have a protective coating, meaning they are more durable and less vulnerable to scratching.
Over 500 titles are available on Blu-ray, with more being released.
In order to play Blu-ray discs, you'll need a Blu-ray player (caution: not cheap), which will automatically also play standard DVDs - so there's no idea to replace your entire collection. Unless you want to of course.
Sony's Playstation 3 comes with Blu-ray capability, so you may have a player without even knowing it! Get a high-definition TV and you're all set.
Or wait until prices come down, as I'm doing...