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SadieMartinPaul's avatar

What is "Blueray," and should I buy it?

Asked by SadieMartinPaul (8977 points ) August 14th, 2014

After quite a few years, my DVD player just bit the dust. I looked around online and saw that I can buy a new machine for a very low price, as little as $30 – $50.

“Blueray” seems to cost more. What is this feature, do I need it, and do you recommend choosing it?

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15 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Blueray is two things:

a) a technology that delivers higher quality video DVDs – sharper, better, etc. This only is noticeable if you have a high (1080) quality high level digital TV. Otherwise the effects are pretty much lost.

b) From the business point of view, Blueray was a blatant attempt to jerk consumers around to buy yet another format (we used to have VHS, then DVD, and now Blueray) so that we would buy the same movies in a new format. It didn’t work Blueray, from the business side, has been a failure. It didn’t help that Blueray disks, when they first came out, were double the cost of regular DVDs.

Streaming is in the process of replacing the idea of a physical DVD anyway.

If I were in your position, I would buy a low cost regular DVD player. Unless you are a serious videophile (which I doubt) there is no benefit to buying Blueray.

zenvelo's avatar

You can get an inexpensive blueray player that plays regular DVDs for a pretty low price.

So the component does raise the issue of how you are viewing it. I have an HD TV, so a blueray player with an HDMI output to an HDMI port on my TV preserves the quality. But if you don’t have a high-def TV, it makes no sense to get a blueray player.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Blueray only makes sense if you have a big ass HD tv, otherwise DVD format is fine. It may be worth an extra ten bucks or so to get the blue ray player then you’ll be able to play both formats. If you get a simple DVD player just be sure it “upconverts” to HD format.

filmfann's avatar

Okay, everybody here is wrong. Blu-ray’s have two advantages:
First is the moderately improved picture, which you will only notice if you have a big TV (I’m talking 44” or more). The second is a vastly improved sound quality. DVD’s have the same sound coming out of the rear speakers. Blu-ray’s have seperate channels for each rear speaker, which is important if you have a nice sound system.
Personally, I am underwhelmed by it, but my sound system is low end, because I can’t justify the cost when my wife can’t appreciate it.

rojo's avatar

Personally, I don’t see a difference but others seem to be able to pick up on it. My former SIL swore the difference was night and day. Kinda like some people hear more in music than others do. So for me, I would not spend the extra bucks.

rojo's avatar

Maybe that is what it is @filmfann. Perhaps no one I know has a system that can take advantage of the better sound and pic although almost all have 50” or larger tv’s but most don’t have the extra speakers that must be needed. Maybe if I did a side-by-side.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Pretty sure it’s blu-ray, not blueray.

I honestly don’t see much of a difference. My mom has one and I’ve yet to spend the money on one for my own home. I don’t really see the point.

AshlynM's avatar

Just another useless gadget that we think we need or must have. I really don’t see the difference in it. If you’re fine with regular dvds, then stick with that. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money.

jerv's avatar

Whether it’s worth it for a home theatre depends on your TV and sound. I have a 1080p TV and like 5.1 surround sound, but if you’re fine with small screens and have a tin ear, DVD is good enough.

On the computer storage side, blu-ray stores about 5 times the data of DVD; for those that back up large files to optical disc, that’s important.

Stinley's avatar

One of the differences is that you can play DVDs on a blu-ray but you can’t play blu-ray discs on a DVD player. So if you have friends with blu-rays you can borrow their blu-rays or DVDs. However if you have a DVD player in another room, you won’t be able to watch your blu-rays in that room.

I bought a DVD player recently for £20 (c$35). The cheapest blu-ray player on Amazon is £50 (c$85). My dvd player plays all my DVDs that I have already. I can buy any movie on DVD that I want – I’ve never seen a movie that was out on blu-ray only. I wouldn’t notice the difference in quality enough to make the change.

jerv's avatar

For those that don’t see a difference, I must ask what you have for a home theatre setup.

Is your TV a flatscreen, or an old CRT (“tube’) TV? If it’s an old tube-style TV, then you won’t see a difference as the screen is incapable of that sort of resolution. Old TVs are set up for 640×480 (or thereabouts; they’re 480 scan-lines high) so trying to show a 720p or 1080p movie will merely skip half or two-thirds of the picture. Even a 720p flatscreen is a bit blocky to my eyes, as is any 1080p screen much over 30”.

Are your speakers decent or not? If your system is just whatever speakers your TV has built-in, then you won’t miss the audio options of Blu-ray that are lacking on most DVDs. If you have a nice 5.1/7.1 setup though, then Blu-ray will make a huge difference. As I can locate sounds by direction, I like having at least 2 speakers, preferably full surround. I also like to hear everything; if it doesn’t have a powered subwoofer (that’s the ”.1” part of 2.1/5.1/7.1), I won’t even bother looking at it. Most systems are geared towards the approximate frequencies of the human voice only and cannot reproduce the highs (not even many musicians hitting “that note”) and definitely cannot do bass. My hearing range is now down to 15Hz – 14 KHz, but many people seem to barely notice the difference in sound quality between HD Audio and AM radio.

Darth_Algar's avatar

No, folks, you do not need a huge ass set to notice the difference (unless you have no eye for detail or you’re watching from 20 feet away). My TV, while capable of displaying resolutions up to 1080p, is small in size (though I’m using it in a small space) and even on my small 20” screen the difference is very noticeable.

jerv's avatar

@Darth_Algar Well, viewing distance does matter. You’re probably closer to your 20” than I am to my 32”. When I’m sitting 3’ away using it as a computer monitor, I notice things I don’t see when sitting 15’ away using it as a movie screen. So yes, the size of your space matters. I’m just used to large living rooms.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jerv

Yes, that was part of my point.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Blueray” is a reference to the system’s blue laser, that is capable of slightly higher resolution.

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