In the beginning, there was television, and it was good, for it allowed families to gather in the comfort of their caves to be entertained inexpensively. We soon realized that television was flawed, for we were at the mercy of the television stations and their programmers … and we were sad.
Then came VHS, and it was good; actually, it was better, because once the prices came down and Beta capitulated, it became “the way” to see movies and shows at home over and over again, and there was great rejoicing throughout the land. But lo, after everyone had hoarded every movie and show to amass their desired movie collections, there was DVD.
With the release of this new technology, there was much sorrow and gnashing of teeth throughout the land, for it meant our VHS was obsolete and all of our favorite movies and shows had to be purchased anew.
Thus our collections of tapes and VHS decks were relegated to yard sales, attics and library sales across the land and we repurchased our favorite movies and shows and rejoiced at the clarity and seeming durability of these simple to load discs that shone like diamonds when held in the light. Once more, great happiness and joy came over the land, for here was a superior solution in which extra long movies could fit onto one disc instead of many tapes. Life was good once more.
This happiness was short lived, for off in the distance rumors began. A new format was coming to push DVDs aside. Panic ran amuck … women screamed, men shouted and children cried. It was a sad time as darkness settled over the land once more and we realized our movie collections would never cease to be overhauled time and time again.
So what exactly is Blu-ray? Is it time to retire those DVDs? And what’s in store for the future? This comparison between the two formats will help you decide.
First let’s compare capacity. DVDs hold five to nine gigabytes depending on if they are single or double layer. Blu-ray on the other hand, holds from 25 to 50 gigabytes (again, depending on single or double layer) or roughly five times the capacity of DVDs. This translates into five times better picture resolution and sound quality.
Blu-ray can also play 3D movies and games. Plus, you can play your original DVDs on the Blu-ray player, so there is no reason to ditch your hard-to-find DVD titles.
Blu-ray players start at $79 with top-of-the-line Wi-Fi units going for around $100. Comparatively, most people can find relatively nice HD DVD players for around $30. However, Blu-ray players can play both Blu-ray discs and DVDs, and most will improve the look of your DVDs when played side-by-side with a standard DVD player.
As for prices of the discs themselves, they average $5 extra for Blu-ray discs as compared to DVDs, which works out to $19.99 to $29.99, depending on if it is an old favorite or a newly released blockbuster.
Blu-ray discs are pricier, but account for their durability factor and you might discover why the extra $5 may be worth it. Blu-ray discs are designed to last 10 years minimum, and have a coating that is much more scratch-resistant than that of DVDs (for those of us who clench our teeth when the DVD skips).
The Blu-Ray Takeover
Eventually, you will see a happy market medium reached where all new movie and game releases will be on Blu-ray only (although there are currently combo packs with Blu-ray discs and DVD discs both enclosed) and non-Blu-ray titles of old movies will still be available for purchase. This will be especially true of many Christian movies that are available, since most of these will still be produced as DVDs.
It boils down to Blu-ray eventually being the king of at-home movies with DVD relegated to second banana. If you have plans for an entertainment center upgrade, now may be the time to consider an HD television coupled with a Blu-ray player. Once you see and hear the quality of Blu-ray, you’ll wonder why you waited so long (at least until the next “big idea” comes off the designer’s drafting table).