Stores are so prepared to blow your mind with all the amazing technical statistics of why Blu-ray is so much more awesome than DVD that they often overlook the one key element in their jargon-filled diatribe of technical word-vomit: their audience.
For most people, hearing about technical specs is about an interesting as reading the phone book. I think it’s fantastic that the sales kids at Best Buy even know what pixel resolution and frames per second even mean. However, that doesn’t mean that the average consumer necessarily does. Here are three key technical differences between Blu-ray and DVD, broken down into layman’s terms (i.e. something I can explain to my mom).
Anamorphic 16×9, 59.94i frame rate, 1920×1080 pixel resolution
Blah, blah, blah–it’s a better picture.
All this tech speak means is a cleaner image and better color, whether you’re watching on a 15 or 50-inch screen. It’s simple math: A higher number of pixels = denser image = clearer picture. And those little black bars at the top and bottom of the screen? Not just there to piss you off. They actually preserve the way the film was shot and prevent the film from being distorted and stretched.
Want to experience the world altering colors of Pandora in Avatar? Blu-ray is for you. Want to see the intimate details of the Mad Hatter’s make-up in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland? Blu-ray is for you! Looking forward to experiencing the Lord of the Rings trilogy the way it was MEANT to be seen? Me too. Ergo, Blu-ray.
Dolby Digital (AC-3), DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
There is essentially one important difference between audio on a Blu-ray and audio on a DVD. DVD uses “Lossy” sound, which is a euphemistic, albeit weird, way of saying that you’ll get six channels of sound, but will lose some of it digitally.
Blu-ray, on the other hand, includes eight channels of sound in which no digital sound is lost; appropriately named “Lossless.”
So, to recap, partial sound versus full sound. These are the difficult decisions of our lives.
Single Layer = 25GB, Dual Layer=50GB
Let’s not lie to ourselves–size DOES matter. Fewer available gigabytes (GB) per disc simply means there’s less space. With Blu-ray’s additional space, you get things like better picture, better audio, and more bonus material. And while there are quite a few people who buy a DVD or Blu-ray because they just like the movie, there is a large part of the film-loving population of über-nerds like me who also make a choice based on bonus materials. And I’m not just talking about previews and bloopers. We’re talking J.J. Abrams Star Trek style bonus here. A dual layered disc is more likely to have every interactive Behind the Scenes featurette the filmmakers and studios can dream up. From creating the make-up for mystical creatures to a nanny-cam worn around set by a child star to capture those Candid Camera moments. I dare you not to watch.
We’ve covered the basics, but before I stop bending your ear, let’s answer the ultimate question:
What is “Blu-ray?”
Simply put, the color of the laser that reads and writes on the disc is blue (well, blue-violet). You cannot trademark an everyday word (let alone a primary color), so in true English language fashion, we drop a letter. Voila! Blu-ray.
Now go forth, my friends, and spew your knowledge to the world. Or even just your mom.
Today’s blog was brought to you today by the color Blue Blu and the letters B and D.