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  • Blu-ray Players vs. DVD Players
Technology Articles > Entertainment > Blu-ray Players > Blu-ray Players vs. DVD Players

The war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs is over, and Blu-ray is the victor. And just as we’ve progressed from VHS to DVD (with respects to laser discs, the missing link along the evolutionary chain), Blu-ray is the clear next step in high quality home movie viewing. The key difference is that the Blu-ray player, as the name suggests, uses a blue (almost black) laser rather than a red laser. The shorter wavelength allows exponentially more storage per disc than a DVD. To put it in perspective, a DVD holds about 8 GB while a Blu-ray disc holds about 50 GB.

There’s good news and bad news about Blu-ray players. And before you decide whether to buy a Blu-ray player or to stick with your old DVD player, it’s best that you have both broken to you.

Pros of Blu-ray Players

More capacity per disc means better sound, better picture quality and more special features. Blu-ray gives you true high definition video, thanks to its higher resolution of 1,920x1080 (1080p). DVD players, on the other hand, produce 720x480 (480p) tops. Blu-ray also uses a better video compression method, so that the picture is truer to what it would look like in a movie theater. Blu-ray also brings new audio formats to your living room, which essentially recreate what the audio engineers intended.

As icing on the cake, Blu-ray discs also have additional special features that DVD discs don’t have. You’ll get picture-in-picture video commentary, popup menus that allow you to continue watching while you access menus and the ability to download new content.

Cons of Blu-ray Players

As with all new technology, Blu-ray players come at a high price. Not only are the players themselves more expensive, you’ll also pay more for each disc. Given the larger amount of data that has to be processed, Blu-ray players also have significantly longer load times than DVD players. Furthermore, you won’t be able to play your Blu-ray discs in a DVD player, which means you’ll have to get a Blu-ray player for every room in your house or stick with DVDs in your bedroom or den. Most computers won’t have Blu-ray players either, nor will Blu-ray discs work in your built-in DVD player in your mini-van. (You can play DVDs in Blu-ray players, however.)

There’s also the challenge of Blu-ray Profiles. Blu-ray {Profiles are a bit like operating systems for your Blu-ray player. Just like Windows XP won’t run a program that’s designed for Windows 7, you’ll be missing out on some of the special features designed for Blu-ray Profile 2.0 if you have a Blu-ray Profile 1.1. The good news is that some Blu-ray players do allow you to upgrade the profile. The better news is that your Blu-ray player will still play the disc even though it might be of an older profile—you’ll just have less special features. The main event will be intact, however.

The last disadvantage of a Blu-ray player is that to enjoy the full grandeur of the new audio and video formats, you’ll need to upgrade the rest of your A/V equipment, too. Otherwise it’s like putting premium gasoline into a 1971 Ford Pinto. You’ll need to fork over the cash for an HDTV, an A/V receiver and surround sound to get the full experience.


Blu-ray discs deliver superior picture quality and sound compared to DVD. On a purely technical level, the difference is obvious. But for those with undiscerning eyes or standard def TVs, the investment in a Blu-ray player might not be worth it.