Being big fans of the Blu-ray HD format, we’ve compiled a list of ten reasons why you should buy a Blu-ray player, and Blu-ray discs going forward.
When Blu-ray first came out, it was pretty cost prohibitive for many people to buy one. A lot of people thought “Why should I buy this new thing, and then re-buy all my favorite movies again?” And they were right. At $800, why would anyone want to spend that kind of money? And then spend $35 a pop for movies?
Nowadays you can get a pretty good Blu-ray player from Samsung for $250, or from Sony for roughly the same price.
Thinking back to the first DVD player I bought in ’96, $250’s a deal.
And now that Blu-Ray Movies are so cheap on Amazon, why wouldn’t you get one?
9. The format war is over They stopped making HD DVD in February of last year. That means the format war has been over for nearly a year and a half. There’s no more worrying about whether you’re buying the “right” thing or not. Blu-ray is it. At least for now. A few years from now, will there be something better? Probably. But for now, Blu-ray is the mack daddy of home DVD viewing.
8. Ease of use People who are afraid of new things are afraid to go Blu-ray. Why? Because they’re used to their DVD player’s controls, and don’t want to learn something new.
Think back to when you got your parents to switch from VHS to DVD. It was painful at first, right? Constant calls asking how to do something. Confusion over which input to put the TV on.
Now that they’re used to it, it’s not so bad, right? Switching from DVD to Blu-ray is seamless. It’s not like switching from VHS to DVD. Think of it as switching from one car, to another. Sure, it’s new, and shiny, and different. But at its heart, it’s still the same thing you’ve known and love.
7. Support from all the major studios Since HD DVD is no longer being made, you don’t have to worry if your favorite movie will become available on Blu-ray. Chances are, it will.
Though, just because it will be available on Blu-ray, doesn’t mean that you need to re-buy it. Chances are, the standard copy you’ve got on DVD will look better on a Blu-ray player anyway. Re-buying the DVD with “remastered content” is sometimes a waste, and isn’t as impressive as movies that were filmed specifically in 1080P.
6. It’ll play your regular DVDs You don’t have to worry about whether or not your old DVDs will play in it. It’s a guarantee that they will, assuming you buy your Blu-ray player in the same country you bought your DVDs.
5. Sound quality There is no comparison. The sound quality on a Blu-ray disc is better than a standard DVD. Most Blu-ray players support the new Dolby Digital Plus format for HD audio. That means full surround sound on any movie on Blu-ray.
Wondered why some of your old DVDs didn’t have any sound coming out of the back speakers in your home theater? Wonder no more. Dolby Digital Plus is all surround sound, all the time.
4. Wireless Updates When there’s new software available for your Blu-ray player, whether it’s a patch to fix something that’s broken, or a new feature that’s being added to the format, you don’t need to do anything.
99% of the Blu-ray models in stores today have wireless networking built into them. So when you configure your player for the first time, you have it connect to your wireless network. The player does the rest, when it needs to.
Of course, it’ll most likely tell you there’s an update, and make you agree to some form of terms of service, for legal reasons. But other than that, it’ll do everything itself.
3. BD Live BD Live is a newer feature of Blu-ray. It’s pretty cool, too. It sounds complicated, but to boil it down: it’s interactive features utilizing the internet through your Blu-ray player.
Depending on your Blu-ray player, you can record your own audio commentary and upload it for others to listen to. You can watch the movie along with your friends, and have an interactive chatroom during the film.
There are other more subtle features, including downloading movie artwork, screenshots, and trailers. Some companies are also doing exclusive content for certain retailers. So if you, for example, buy a copy of The Dark Knight from Target, you may get special content that you don’t get if you buy it from Best Buy.
2. Big Screen TV Prices It’s no secret that you can get a pretty sweet deal on a huge TV nowadays. Where five years ago a 65″ TV would cost you $3,000, now you can get that same TV for $1500 retail.
Now that bigger TVs are getting cheaper, people can afford to buy them. And Blu-ray’s amazing picture is much more noticeable on a larger TV.
While it’s true that you may not notice the difference between 720p and 1080p on a 23″ TV, you certainly will on a 40″ or larger set. We’ve got a 40″ Sony at our place, and when we’re watching Blu-ray, and people walk into the room, they can tell it’s Blu-ray. Regardless of their knowledge of picture quality. It usually starts with “Wow, my DVDs don’t look that good.”
1. Picture Quality Those who haven’t seen Blu-ray will argue this point, citing that it’s not important how good a movie looks, but rather how good it is. Hogwash. Here’s proof.
Dumbledore in Standard Definition - DVD
Dumbledore in High Definition - Blu-ray
Click on the images to enlarge them. The top if Dumbledore (from the Harry Potter series of films) from a regular DVD. The second is from a Blu-ray movie.
If you can’t see the difference you don’t need Blu-ray. But, it’s unlikely that you won’t be able to see it. It’s pretty evident how superior the Blu-ray picture is.
Note: These images aren’t retouched in anyway. They’re straight from the discs. Blu-ray is just that good.
That concludes my list. Hopefully I’ve helped answer some questions you’ve got about Blu-ray, and why you should buy it. Any questions that I didn’t address, or things you want to know, feel free to drop them in the comments section, and I’ll get you an answer.
The New York Times reports that Best Buy, clearly an influential power in this field, will be “strongly recommending” Blu-ray to customers as the high definition format of choice.
Further digging the hole is the news that Blockbuster will also be joining the Blu-ray bandwagon. Hacking Netflix reported the news, and received confirmation from a Blockbuster spokesperson who said that they had 250 stores with HD-DVD, and 1700 with Blu-ray. They clarified by saying that the 250 were the first stores they rolled both high definition formats out to, where they watched customer rental trends and determined Blu-ray was the clear winner.
I guess this means I’m buying a Blu-ray player or PS3.
Netflix has driven a nail in the coffin of the HD-DVD format. They have officially gone Blu-ray only, according to Hacking Netflix. Despite my wish that HD-DVD would win, mainly because it’s appropriately named instead of that ridiculous “Blu-ray” crap, it looks like Blu-ray is going to win. Most of the studios and now Netflix, the leading rental place, have gone Blu-ray only.