It’s Prime Time for Blu-Ray Discs

Blu-ray disc cover plate

It seems like only yesterday we were dreading making the change from VHS to DVD. What about all my old VHS tapes? Well that feeling came and went as the DVD format quickly became the industry norm. Sharp clear digital pictures and crystal clear sound.

Well the next media technology battle has been underway for a while and it looks like it’s finally prime time for Blu-Ray.

Patient buyers who held off going the DVD route after years of loading up on VHS tapes may be in luck. Many consumers take a “wait and see” view before jumping to the next hot technology, until there’s a clear and pragmatic value proposition. Vendors believe there are many such buyers in this media market, and the vast majority are comprised of VCR owners.

For them, it now looks like these patient buyers will benefit from waiting out this format war, and will soon experience lower prices, larger libraries, more convenience, and reduced uncertainty.

At first it was easy to overlook those blue-topped packages that separated themselves from the regular DVD’s with their higher prices and promises of a higher-definition picture.

But the retail situation has quickly changed. Blu-ray, which is Sony’s HD format, seems much more prominent. Blockbuster has devoted shelves to the discs for sale and rent, and now Netflix is offering Blu-ray rentals for only a $1 monthly surcharge.

The Blu-ray technology is stunning. Movie fans can’t wait for crystal-clear imagery at home. Even the price of Blu-ray players has fallen so low that they can even be found for under $200 in some cases. The players seem to be one of the “must haves” in this season’s holiday shopping season.

With Sony’s victory over Toshiba’s HD DVD this year in the battle of HD formats, and with studios regularly releasing catalog Blu-ray titles along with new releases, Blu-ray is no longer ignorable. But is it inevitable?

So what do you do with your soon to be outdated DVD”s. Nothing because they will still work in your new Blu-ray player. Whether you buy a Blu-ray player or a Sony PlayStation 3, which also plays Blu-ray discs, DVD’s can still be viewed.

“It’s like taking a wallet-size photo that looks great, and now we take it to 8 by 10 and say, “Why are these dots all over the place?’ ” Schiller said. “It’s because you’re enlarging the image, and the image starts to degrade more.”


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