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Blu-ray - worth purchasing?


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I realize the title above may reveal me for the total Luddite that I am, but oh well.  A couple of questions, as I contemplate purchasing a Blu-ray player:

- Will I notice an immense difference by comparison to a standard DVD player?

- Will I notice an immense difference by comparison to the resolution/picture quality on Apple TV downloads?

- Is there new technology moving through the pipeline that will render Blu-ray obsolete in 12 months?



To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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The difference you notice will depend on your monitor/screen and on the quality of the content. For example, when my kids are watching cartoons in the living room, sitting several feet away from a 32" TV, there's no significant difference between DVD, Blu-ray, and a decent stream from Netflix. The difference between the original DVD release of My Darling Clementine from Fox and the new Blu-ray from Criterion is night-and-day, though, especially if you compare them on a decent-sized screen. We prefer to show Blu-rays at our microcinema because 1080p looks great even when projected 22-feet wide.


You can buy a Blu-ray player today for the same cost as a good meal out, so I think it's  worth getting one.

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A few thoughts:


- Blu-ray is the last physical format for home video. It's all streaming from here. 

- If you have a discerning eye, you'll notice a difference in picture quality in Blu-rays that have been properly mastered. The difference is generally more dramatic in older films, particularly in those that have been carefully restored. Compare these screenshots from The African Queen, for instance.

DVDs often use something called "digital noise reduction" (DNR) in order to stay within the narrow bandwidth requirements. This often results in an unnaturally smooth image. Occasionally, to balance out this smoothness, they will apply "edge enhancement" which almost always makes things look worse. What Blu-ray does is retain the film grain present in all film masters, approximating the experience of watching a film being projected on a big screen. 

If these glimpses of The Quiet Man and Lawrence of Arabia don't excite you, then Blu-ray is probably not for you. 

- Bookmark DVD Beaver and use it as a resource!

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

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I agree with those who note that you really need an HD TV to get the most out of Blu-ray, but an added bonus of a Blu-ray player is that even the DVDs you play on it will look better. I have a PS3 that I use for Blu-ray and streaming services and have been immensely happy with it.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut


Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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