A Buyer's Guide to Blu-ray vs. DVD Players

There are two types of audio-visual media player in the Appliances Online stable: DVD players and Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray is, on paper, the much superior format. It delivers better picture, better sound.

But why is the DVD still so popular? Why are we bothering to sell something clearly so old-fashioned? Well, the DVD player isn't quite dead. Well, not yet.

Here's a quick comparison between the two. 

Blu-ray advantages

First we should acknowledge where the Blu-ray definitely has the advantage. 

The fundamental difference between the two is storage capacity. A single Blu-ray Disc is capable of storing up to 50GB of information, while a DVD is only able to manage 8GB.

What does that mean? Four things:

1. Blu-ray has better image quality:

Simply put, it has more room to store the information required to deliver a much more detailed image, with darker blacks and richer colours. It's the highest-quality video format available today (superior to down-loaded or streamed HD content). 

Blu-ray's maximum resolution is Full High Definition 1920 x 1080p (1080p). DVD is limited to 720 x 480 (480p).

That means if a DVD player is the hub of your home theatre system, it'll never be able to deliver the Full HD experience, the best TV resolution possible with the highest density of pixels.

NB That rule applies even if your TV is capable of Full HD. You'll still enjoy a pretty great image, but it won't be quite be all that it could be.

Apart from resolution, Blu-ray images will be smooth, rich and sharp. In harness with a good television, they will really pop.

2. Blu-ray has better audio quality:

Audio quality with the Blu-ray is also superior.  In fact, you'll get to hear sound as close as possible to how the director and audio engineers intended.

What's going on? Well, let's start with the problem with DVD in this case - there isn't enough to storage capacity to fit the raw surround-sound audio.

So it has to be compressed to fit. There were two main surround-sound formats that did this - DTS and Dolby Digital. Both used what was called lossy compression. It refers to the fact some audio info is lost. The intention was the loss wouldn't be significant enough to make any difference.

However, with more space on the Blu-ray disc, Dolby and DTS have got - very simply put - more room to move. Since less info is binned, the audio fidelity is better. 

This has been taken to extremes with a format like Dolby TrueHD which is available on Blu-ray. This actually uses lossless compression. It's also able to support up to 7.1 channels - versus the 5.1 channels that Dolby Digital offers with DVD.

3. Blu-ray discs are capable of storing more special features:

Okay, this is not such an important reason - but it is a factor in some cases, say if you're a fan looking for all the extras available on a particular release.

4. Blu-ray players can also play DVDs.

Yeah, Blu-ray players are also able to play standard DVDs.

This means that a particular movie you want isn't one of the relatively small amount of Blu-ray titles out there, you'll be able to pop in the DVD equivalent and enjoy it regardless.

Okay, so why wouldn't you purchase a Blu-ray Player.?

Well, the main reason the humble DVD player is still kicking around is down to cost. Blu-ray Players and Home Theatre Systems are quite a bit more expensive than their DVD compatriots.

And if you don't have a Full HD Television set, you will have to buy one to enjoy the Full HD source material anyway - and the bigger the better is preferable to maximise the effect.

Arguments against this upgrade are worth considering.

Relatively small amount of available titles: 

Firstly, the availability of titles on Blu-ray is quite a bit smaller than DVD. Depending on your circumstances, the stuff you want to watch may not be available.

DVDs are pretty good:

This isn't as glib a point as it sounds. If you purchase a DVD Home Theatre System from Appliances Online you will enjoy an excellent viewing experience.

You may also feel that the upgrade in picture and quality isn't worth it depending on your taste - particularly if it doesn't depend on spectacle or surround-sound audio. Say, if your taste runs to older sitcoms or dramas.

And our Conclusion .

Believe the hype. Blu-ray players are great. Sceptics have come out with arguments like: load-times are slow and the improvements aren't that great. Well, the truth is Blu-ray player loading times are fine and the improvement in picture is notable.

BUT The leap from DVD to Blu-ray hasn't been as profound or revolutionary as that between VHS and DVD in terms of quality and standards. Not yet anyway.

So if DVD looks just fine to you - and fits your budget, we say go with it.

Check out our range of Blu-ray and DVD players at Appliances Online.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our customer service team. Call us on 1300 000 500.