The Media Crunch
Taking a Bite of Entertainment….Daily

Why Blu-ray is Better Than DVD

To most people, a disc to a disc upgrade is nowhere near the jump that going from tapes to DVD’s was. Even more confusing to consumers is what actually differentiates DVD from this new Hi-Def format. For all of those who hate “tech jargon” explanations, here’s one for anybody and everybody as to why BD is the future of movie viewing.

#1: Picture Quality

What is 1080p? Every new television advertisement, everywhere you go people are praising the wonders of 1080p picture quality and yet most don’t even know what it is. What 1080 means to you, is that there are 1080 vertical lines of picture on your screen. This means the picture is sharper, more refined. By comparison, the maximum picture quality of a DVD is 480p, meaning Blu-rays give a 600 difference. This may be confusing, so let this picture comparing two of the same scene do the talking for me.

Scene From Blade Runner

Scene From Blade Runner

The top image is taken from the DVD release of Blade Runner, the bottom is taken from the Blu-ray. What 1080p does is not only give you more of the image, it makes everything clearer. Things in the background become more transparent. It’s nicer to look at. If you have a high-definition television that supports the full output, your movies will look miles better then what a theatre can project. In fact the picture quality of Blu-ray’s is better then what you see in the theatre.

#2: The Space

Are you sick of having to get up and swap discs for your season sets? The way they put 4 episodes of Lost or Prison Break together, making your shows take up extra shelf space and [usually] six discs to watch? That’s because the DVD format can only hold up to 8.5GB on one dual-layer disc. Blu-ray, however, can hold up to 50GB (so far). What this means is that your entire season of Lost could fit on two discs instead of six. With both better picture quality and sound you’d not only be able to save shelf space but save time switching in between your shows. It also means that they can hold more special features. By comparison, if one Blu-ray disc was an iPod, it could hold 1000 albums.

Blu-ray shelf space

Blu-ray shelf space

#3: The Audio

In addition to looking great, Blu-ray’s also sound fantastic. Because of that extra space on the disc, they are capable of holding perfect CD audio for your movies. The music will be louder, sound better and pack more of a punch. The bone crunching sound of a punch or the people in the background talking will be perfectly audible. The format is capable of having the exact same audio that you hear on a CD in the movie. DVD’s can’t do this. If you have a good sound system it will be just like the theatre.

#4: They Play DVD’s

Blu-ray players will play your entire DVD collection. You don’t need to upgrade every movie you have. Unlike VHS to DVD, your collection is not obsolete and when you put your old movies into a BD player they will look even better due to the fact that it upconverts them. The picture quality of what your movies will look like is around twice of what it would appear to be on other players.

Blu-ray got its name because of the Blue (instead of red like DVD) laser that it uses inside to read the disc. This laser is much more powerful in reading discs and what that means to you is that it will read your scratched movies. There are movies either through rental or from your own that can be so damaged they skip on your player or won’t even start. Because of the new laser they read flawlessly. I know, I’ve tried it out and it works. One disc wouldn’t even start for me on a DVD player but the Blu-ray player read it like there was nothing wrong.

#5: Miscellaneous

You may not know that Blu-ray discs have a protective coating on them so that they don’t get scratched easily. This makes them last longer. There are videos of people using forks on the disc and it still read.

They can connect to the internet. Some special features allow you to record your own commentary and share it with others.

You can save your favorite scene so when you pop the disc back in you can skip right to it. You just bring up the menu and click “save”, easy as that. You can also access the special features at any time while watching the movie. Interested in seeing how they made that scene? Just bring up the menu.

One of the coolest features of Blu-ray players is that if you are half way through a movie and turn it off then go to bed, when you wake up the next day turn on your player and pop the same disc back in it’ll start from where you left off. It will do this with every movie no matter how many you put in there. It will keep remembering where you last stopped watching. It’s the VHS all over again, something not thought possible with a disc.

If you are a gamer and already have a PS3, then you are already in possession of one. The prices are dropping, the benefits are there. Once you see a movie like the “Dark Knight” in Hi-Definition you may never want to go back. This format will be around for a long to come and with five times the picture quality of a DVD, it’s worth getting into. Are you ready to go Blu?

Kyle Bulai/3/27 ’09

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