Blu-Ray Buying Guide
When HDTV began to slowly gain acceptance around the world, it was only a matter of time before electronics companies with an investment in home video viewing and recording began to follow suit. This is where Blu-Ray comes in. The Blu-Ray format was developed as a joint-partnership between Philips and Sony , who wanted to introduce the world's first high-definition media format. This proved problematic, as rivals Toshiba and NEC were developing their own high-definition platform, HD DVD . Both formats were released at about the same time in 2006, but didn't become popular due to the high prices of players. Despite Microsoft's push for the HD DVD format (they even released an Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on), enough movie studios finally defected to the Blu-Ray camp, forcing HD DVD off the market. Now, as the sole high-definition media format, Blu-Ray has started to pick up steam with consumers, in part because of the PlayStation 3's inclusion of a Blu-Ray drive, but also because the prices of Blu-Ray players have begun to fall to reasonable levels.
For all those science-y types in the house, here's a painfully simple overview of how Blu-Ray works and what it can do.
- Blu-Ray gets its name from the type of laser used to read this discs. Blu-Ray discs are read using a blue laser (duh), as opposed to the traditional red lasers of yesteryear. Because blue lasers operate on a shorter wavelength than red lasers, data on a Blu-Ray disc will be readable even if densely stored. This is what allows a single-layer Blu-Ray disc to hold 25GB of data, or roughly 35 times the capacity of a standard CD.
- Blu-Ray movies can be played at either 720p or 1080p resolutions and are natively encoded with Dolby Digital DTS surround sound for the best in audio and visual quality.