BLU-RAY SKIES ARE HERE
The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but for all intents and purposes, it looks like the next-generation DVD battle between Blu-ray and HD DVD is pretty much over.
The winner of the two-year battle – akin to the Betamax and VHS war of the ’80s – seems to be Blu-ray, thanks largely to Warner Bros. Home Video’s recent announcement that it’ll be going all Blu-ray, all the time, after late May. (It had been the only movie studio that hadn’t picked a side, releasing in both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats.)
Warner will be joining Blu-ray-only studios including Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, MGM and Lionsgate. This leaves Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks as the sole HD DVD supporters – although it’s been reported that Paramount will be ditching its HD DVD support now that Warner Bros. has done it, thanks to a clause in Paramount’s HD DVD-exclusivity contract.
What does this mean for you? Here are some answers to those burning questions you have about Blu-ray.
Q – Can you use a Blu-ray player if you don’t have a high-def TV?
Yes, but unless you’ve got a TV producing 720p, 1080i or 1080p resolution, ìthere’s no point in buying a Blu-ray player,” says David Katzmaier, CNET.com senior editor. ìYou can hook it up with your S-video [connection], and you’re going to see a darn good picture, but there’s not going to be much difference between a [standard] DVD and a Blu-ray player. You really need a newer, preferably larger, HDTV to experience the difference.”
Q – Does size matter when it comes to watching Blu-ray on an HDTV?
Yes. ìThe bigger the TV [40 inches and larger], the more it matters,” says Consumer Reports senior project leader Maurice Wynn, especially when you’re forced to sit closer to the TV than you’d like. ìThe closer you sit to your TV, the more you’d need to have high definition, like Blu-ray,” he says.
Q – What do you need to get the most out of your Blu-ray?
Definitely an HDTV. Katzmaier also recommends HDMI cables, ìif you’re going to get a Blu-ray player, you might as well spend a little bit more and get a cable – we recommend monoprice.com.” Meanwhile, Wynn says you won’t go wrong with an audio system, because ìBlu-ray discs can theoretically have better-quality sound since they have more [memory] capacity and studios can put higher data audio on the disc.”
Q – Do you need to replace all your standard DVDs with Blu-rays?
No. All Blu-ray players will play standard DVDs, although some do a better job at it than others (check out sites like CNET.com’s home video reviews for opinions on which ones do this the best).
Q – Should you rush out and buy a Blu-ray player now?
Probably not. They’re still expensive – the cheapest one on the market is $300 – and there aren’t that many Blu-ray discs out there yet. But if you’re really desperate, Katzmaier suggests getting a PlayStation 3. ìIt’s basically a Blu-ray player and a gaming console, without any compromises. There are no video or audio quality differences, and it does a great job playing [standard] DVDs. It’s basically a little supercomputer [with built-in Web access], which allows you to do a lot of upgrades when Blu-ray requires it, making it the most future-ready Blu-ray player out there.”
No Blu-Ray for me, until I have to. I am content with the format I have now!!
BLU-RAY SKIES ARE HERE