Blu-Ray and Hi-Def Television: A Unbeatable Combo

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When high definition television sets first started cropping up on the market in late 90s consumers were amazed at the clarity high definition delivered over regular TV screens. Since that point millions of men and women have upgraded their TVs to enjoy wide screen flicks with DVDs and high definition cable and satellite programming. While some people still haven't made the jump, a technology breakthrough has made even HDTV aficionados take notice. Developed by Sony, Blu-Ray has pushed TV quality to the next level. Just a few years ago, nobody knew what format would become the inheritor to DVD, but now Blu-Ray has won the battle and I'll tell you why you should think about adding Blu-Ray to your home entertainment system.

Though research commenced in 2000, Sony and its partners failed to manufacture a final commercial product till mid 2006. The name Blu-Ray derives from the blue laser that is utilized to read data from a Blu-Ray formatted disc. This contrasts with the red laser used to read standard DVD discs. Yet why is Blu-Ray better than current DVD formats? Although Blu-Ray discs and players don't look any different than regular DVDs, they can save much more data meaning sharper picture, better audio, and more special extras. DVDs can hold up to eight gbs. of data while Blu-Ray discs can hold 50 gigs. Huge difference. The maximum resolution of a DVD is 720x480 lines while Blu-Ray has a max of 1920x1080 (also known as full HD). If you have spent $1000 or more on a 1080p TV, you're essentially not utilizing all the set can deliver when watching standard DVDs.

In the beginning prices for Blu-Ray players were way beyond what a typical home user wished to spend. Costs between $700 and $1000 were not unusual for the first Blu-Ray players. And, there had been another competing standard on the market that created lots of perplexity. Toshiba and NEC produced their own DVD follow-up device with the announcement of the HD DVD format. HD DVD, with a storage capability of 15 gigs, was an advance over standard DVDs but couldn't meet the specifications of Blu-Ray. But HD DVD did have some market influence. First, HD DVD was on store shelves 3 months before Blu-Ray. Second, HD DVD devices where a little cheaper to make and had a lower price tag as a result. Lastly, HD DVD had more picture studios on signed up at launch than Sony did which meant more pictures were at first available while Blu-Ray remained rare.

Sony had a gigantic trick up their sleeve that quite potentially saved Blu-Ray from a Betamax fate. Sony incorporated a Blu-Ray player into their long awaited PlayStation 3 and sold the entire device cheaper than many stand alone players were being sold for at the time. Quickly, Blu-Ray commenced making strides until soon it outsold HD DVD 2-to-1 by late 2007. More picture studios started to sign on to the Blu-Ray standard totally, beginning with Warner Brothers in early 2008. Right after Toshiba stopped making HD DVD players and recorders. By years end rental companies Netflix and Blockbuster, as well as major shops, said they would no longer carry HD DVD movies. Currently all major studios release their films on Blu-Ray. A few have continued to produce HD DVD and Blu-Ray releases concurrently.

Prices have fallen seriously during the last few years too. Many big name brand Blu-Ray players from firms like Panasonic and LG can easily be found between $150 and $250. Blu-Ray disc recorders are in the $200 - $400 range and falling. For anyone who likes watching films from home and has invested in a high definition TV, now is a fabulous time take a look into adding a Blu-Ray player to your setup. Even those who could be doubtful about Blu-Ray's improvements over DVD owe it themselves to head down to their local electronics store and ask for a Blu-Ray demonstration. The picture sharpness and audio fidelity from Blu-Ray is really superb.

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