Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
We used to go out to a movie every weekend, but now with theater ticket and concession stand prices so high, we decided to invest in a good DVD player and rent movies. However, when I went to the store, there were players that played blu-ray or HD. The sales clerk was steering me toward the blu-ray, which of course cost more, and I had never heard of it. Is this a passing fad?
Dear Just looking,
It seems that Blu-ray is here to stay and has beaten the HD DVD competition.
All major Hollywood studios will be releasing movies in Blu-ray Disc, with several studios completely dropping HD DVDs. According to Lucas Mearian of Computer World (www.computerworld.com), Sony's Blu-ray has exclusive support from major studios and manufacturers such as Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Apple, Dell, HP, LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung, and Sharp.
Further support for Blu-ray came from major retailers such as Woolworths, Wal-Mart, Netflix, and Best Buy. In January 2008, the British store chain, Woolworths, announced that it was going to drop HD DVD discs and only sell Blu-ray discs. In February 2008, Wal-Mart and Netflix announced plans to phase out HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray, and Best Buy will stock both Blu-ray and HD DVD, but will recommend Blu-ray to their customers. Consumers also support Blu-ray. Despite the downturn in the economy, Blu-ray disc sales nearly tripled in 2008 (Williams reporting in PCWorld, 2008, 2009).
Blu-ray disc players are expensive, but Mearian predicts that prices for Blu-ray will come down. In addition, there are combo players that support both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.
Go to a store that can show you a movie demo comparison of Blu-ray and HD DVD side by side on the same screen. Blu-ray is sharper and clearer.
Mearian points out that the main difference between Blu-ray and HD DVD is capacity or the amount of information it can hold. Basically, single layer HD DVD has about 15GB capacity whereas Blu-ray has 25GB and therefore, better images and sound. DVDs use a red laser to read and write data. Blu-ray uses a blue laser, and hence the name.
For more information about Blu-ray versus HD DVD, see www.computerworld.com and www.pcworld.com