Blu-ray – Beginner’s Guide
Blu-ray (or BD) is one of two competing high-definition disc formats currently available, the other being HD DVD (see our Guide to HD DVD). The discs look identical to a regular DVDs, but they can hold a vastly increased amount of data, which allows them to carry the latest high-definition movies.
Blu-ray players use a blue-violet laser (as opposed to the red laser of a regular DVD player), which can read more tightly packed data on the disc. This means that more data can be squeezed onto a Blu-ray disc.
Blu-ray discs can hold even more information than an HD DVD – 25GB on a single-layered disc and 50GB on a dual-layered disc, as opposed to 15GB on a single-layered HD DVD and 30GB on a dual-layered disc.
The format uses the same structure of ‘bumps’ or ‘pits’ as DVD and HD DVD (see our Guide to DVD players), but they are much smaller, allowing much more data to be stored on the disc.
- Blu-ray discs can hold up to 50GB of information on a dual-layered disc, and even more on discs with more layers
- The extra disc capacity also allows for a huge expansion in the range and quality of bonus material on movie releases, and also allows for standard-definition versions of a film to be carried on the same disc
- Blu-ray discs are more expensive than regular DVDs
- The format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray is a concern, but Blu-ray has greater backing from movie studios and hardware manufacturers.
- Many early Blu-ray releases have been unimpressive, but this is likely to be ironed out as production processes are refined and the technology matures
- Remember that you need an HD Ready TV to get the most out of the new discs, and if you want to get the benefit of ‘Full HD’ you need a TV that can display a 1080p image
- Make sure that the range of titles is to your liking. If you like more of the releases available on HD DVD, that might be the one for you
- Consider carefully before jumping in. One of either Blu-ray or HD DVD is likely to falter eventually
- If you’re worried about backing the wrong horse, consider one of the hybrid players now available that can play both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.
Top tips for buying a Blu-ray player
Blu-ray – A rival to HD DVD, offering more storage capacity but still delivering high-definition movies
HD DVD – A high-definition version of DVD technology
High-definition – A superior delivery format for TV that presents more lines of detail, resulting in a much sharper, more detailed image
Article from HomeCinemaUK.com