All You Needed to Know About The Blu-ray
A Brief History
What is a blu-ray? A blu-ray disc is a is a storage medium that has the same shape and size as a DVD. Its name comes from the blue laser that is used to read the disc. Blue laser allows information to be stored at a greater density compared to the red laser for DVDs, which have longer wavelenths. It was created as a superior form over the DVD. The first prototypes for Blu-Ray discs were released in October 2000. The first prototype for Blu-ray prototypes was released in Japan in April 2003. Blu-rays were released officially in June 2006 after much development.
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Advantages of the Blu-Ray
In the product itself, Blu-ray is clearly superior to DVDs in many ways due to the greater storage capacity of Blu-rays, which can store up to 50GB of information in a single disk while a DVD can only store up to 8GB.
Blu-ray provides top-of-the-line quality in video resolution, which means that images are clearer and in great detail. Blu-rays have a maximum resolution of 1920x1080 (DVD only has a 720x480 resolution). Also, Blu-rays provide greater contrast and greatly improved colors on screen due to its superior video compression methods. Blu-rays are very high quality and can even rival movie theatre quality for images.
In addition to video quality, blu-rays also enhance audio quality as well. Users of blu-rays can hear audio as the director of movies and shows intended them to be due to new high-resolution sound track formats, including Dolby TrueHD.
The Blu-ray Disc Association recommends producers of the blu-ray discs that they make their blu-ray disc "backwards compatible". This means that the blu-ray disc is able to read standard DVDs and CDs. Although it is not mandatory, many, if not most blu-rays have backwards compatability. DVDs and CDs, on the other hand, are not compatible with blu-ray discs.
Blu-ray has greater features that the DVD does not. For instance, one can download new content straight from the Blu-ray player (although one must have a Blu-ray profile to do so). Also, users can use the pop-up menu while the movie is still playing.
Disadvantages of the Blu-Ray
The most noticeable difference between Blu-rays and DVDs is the price that one must pay for blu-rays. Besides the initial investment of a Blu-ray player, which is over $200, each disc purchased afterward is significantly more expensive. While a DVD may cost around $5-15, a Blu-ray will cost around $20-30 each. Although, as mentioned, there is the backwards compatability option, so one could purchase DVDs and use them in the blu-ray player to save money.
There are significantly more DVDs than Blu-rays, likely due to how recently the Blu-ray has come out compared to the DVD. There are roughly only about 1,000 titles of Blu-rays out compared to around 100,000 DVD titles. However, there is a growing number of Blu-ray titles and this number will be increasing.
Unfortunately, DVD players cannot play Blu-ray discs. While one may have a Blu-ray player at home, if the person decides to watch a movie or listen to something on a laptop that only has a DVD player, or wants to play music in the car, this can cause frustration due to the lack of compatability, deeming the Blu-ray useless in these situations.
The Future of the Blu-Ray
Overall, Blu-rays have been growing in rapid numbers. In the United States and in Canada, the sales numbers have jumped tremendously, from a meager 1.2 million sales in 2006 to over 350 million sales in 2010. The Blu-ray technology is being adopted at a faster rate than DVD format.
However, Blu-rays face fierce competition from other competitors in the market, such as video on demand companies including Netflix, the PS3 and XBox 360.
Should I get a Blu-Ray Player?
It is personal preference whether or not to get a Blu-ray player.
If you have a well-working DVD system or are indiscriminate about your movie and audio quality (i.e. you are indifferent to slightly blurrier images and lower-quality sound), then maybe you can stay with your current media player (at least for now).
However, a Blu-ray player is a worthwhile investment for the future to see movies and listen to audio files in higher quality. Blu-ray players are slowly replacing DVD players and the rapidly increasing sales numbers of Blu-ray players will lead to greater numbers of movie titles being released in Blu-ray to feed the demand for this market.
If you're looking to get a Blu-ray player, I recommend the LG BD670 3D Wireless Network Blu-ray Disc Player, which you can buy at a large discount online compared to purchasing in-store.