Blu-ray 101

Blu-ray is the name of the optical disc platform that has been designed with the intention of replacing the widely used format of digital video discs (DVDs). The technology gets its name from the blue laser that reads the information on the disc, at a rate which occurs at a higher storage speed than DVDs that are read by red lasers.

The advantages of Blu-ray include:

* Better picture qualityBlu-ray’s better picture quality starts with its increased resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 versus the standard DVD resolution of 720 x 480. The higher number of pixels available in the Blu-ray format results in far greater detail and picture clarity. The Blu-ray format also has deeper colors and enhanced contrasts.

* Better sound quality – Higher resolution audio formats deliver a richer sound experience that can rival movie theater audio.

* The Blu-ray format optimizes HDTV – Owners of HDTV screens can only optimize the picture from discs with the Blu-ray format due to the fact that DVDs are not designed with enough pixels for the display screen. Trying to integrate a DVD with a high resolution screen can result in a lower picture quality than that of a screen that doesn’t have HD technology.

* DVDs work in Blu-ray players – This avoids the situation where a new technology renders the one being replaced as unusable (VHS tapes versus DVD’s, for example). Being able to play DVDs means that a new Blu-ray owner doesn’t have to start from scratch in terms of a movie collection and can continue to play DVDs while adding Blu-ray movies.

As a relatively new technology, buying a Blu-ray player will still cost more than the DVD version. That being said, enhanced viewing experience is the name of the game for virtually all new technology in this category, which places Blu-ray in the middle of the next generation of video-related electronics.

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