Is Now the Right Time to Upgrade to Blu-ray?

Comparing Blu-Ray & DVD

A few of the items sure to be flying off the shelves this holiday season are Blu-ray disc players and movies. As you probably know by now, a Blu-ray player offers the best video and audio quality on the market today, but this can come at a high price. There are a few different DVD movie formats out there, but is now the right time to make the switch from standard DVD to Blu-ray? Let’s take a look at the differences between DVD technology and Blu-ray - including what you'll be getting by upgrading your player (and your movie collection) and how much it will cost you.

Blu-ray vs. DVD Comparison
A standard DVD can hold somewhere between 4 GB and 8 GB of data. On the other hand, a Blu-ray disc, which is identical in physical size to a traditional DVD, can hold between 25 GB and 50 GB of data. Because of these size limitations, a DVD can only store standard definition video and audio while a Blu-ray disc can hold high definition video and audio.

What is the difference between standard definition and high definition? Standard definition is limited by the number of "lines" of data that run across your TV screen. Usually, these top out at around 480 lines per screen (480p). With high definition, that number goes up to at least 720 (720p), with many TVs able to support 1080 "lines" per screen (1080p). This increase provides you with a much clearer picture on your television screen.

If you’ve ever watched high-definition television before, you've seen that the image quality compared to standard definition TV can be evidently better. Blu-ray offers this same upgrade in picture quality for your favorite movies and TV shows.

Advantages of Upgrading
There are many advantages to upgrading to Blu-ray. First of all, Blu-ray offers the best quality video available on the market, surpassing even the quality offered by most cable and satellite programming. Second, and one that people often don’t take into account, is the increase in audio quality as well. Believe it or not, your movies are actually going to sound much better. Blu-ray offers Dolby TrueHD sound, which is head and shoulders above the sound included on your standard DVDs.

Moreover, because of Blu-ray's higher data capacity, movies in that format will include all kinds of content that you won't find on regular DVDs. Blu-ray titles typically offer a variety of different special features, including interviews with the actors and cast, deleted scenes and bloopers, and other extras. These can be watched simultaneously while you’re watching the film, and menus are available within the movie while it is being played.

Also, keep in mind that most Blu-ray players are "backwards compatible," meaning that they still support standard definition movies in addition to Blu-Ray. Therefore, there is no need to get rid of your old movies in DVD format if you decide to make the switch.

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November 21, 2010
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