Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blu Ray Vs. DVD

In short, yeah, it is worth the investment for a Blu-Ray player.

Over the weekend, my roommate broke down and purchased a Blu Ray player to go with his ginormous television. (Have I mentioned how wonderful it is having a technophile for a roommate?)

We both purchased a few Blu Ray movies to go with it. The first movie we watched was Hitman, because it seemed appropriate to watch something with a lot of explosions for the high definition experience. It was a gorgeous picture. Unfortunately, I haven't seen this on regular DVD and don't have a base of comparison for this movie. The other night we watched Serenity, because I love Firefly and it's something I've already seen on DVD. The space scenes are particularly pretty. Part of me wants to watch the DVD and Blu Ray back to back for comparison.

My thought is that if you have a high definition television, then it's worth getting a Blu Ray player for the improved picture. This is especially true for action movies, and modern movies that can take into account filming in high definition.

I'm not sure how some of the older movies will do on the Blu Ray format. As an example, I noticed that there are several James Bond collections available, including the earlier movies. Dr. No was filmed in the early 60's, using the technology of the day. I don't think that putting this film on a Blu Ray disc is going to improve the picture significantly. I feel the same about television series. These shows were filmed specifically for standard definition broadcast.

With that said, newer movies, and possibly even newer TV shows since high definition broadcasting is becoming more common, have a much better picture. Over New Year's, Bluemule was showing off his fancy new set up and I was impressed. We watched a few scenes from the last Pirates movie. Water looks great. You could see the texture and detailing of the costuming. Definately an improvement over the DVD version.

I plan on watching WALL-E in the next day or so and I bet it will be absolutely beautiful.

Blu Ray movies are still more pricey than regular DVDs. My highly scientific statistical method of price gathering (meaning I glanced at the prices in BestBuy) found that the average new release DVD is around $20, compared to $30 for the same movie on Blu Ray. I'm won't be re-purchase all of movies on Blu Ray anytime soon, particularly since Blu Ray players will play DVDs. However, I will be buying new movies on Blu Ray from now on.


BlueMule said...

Without a doubt, Blu-Ray is an amazing improvement over DVD. Like you, I'm a bit skeptical of how older movies will look on Blu-Ray given the technology. That said, I'm under the impression that DVD doesn't duplicate the quality of what is actually filmed in a movie, so regardless of how old the movie is, it should be an improvement. I know that Yomper bought the Blu-Ray version of "Blade Runner" and said it looks great.

My policy on buying Blu-Ray films will be based on whether or not a movie has a lot of re-watchability. There are a number of movies that I think would look dandy in Blu-Ray. But spending $20-30 on a movie that looks pretty but isn't worth watching more than once is silly. So, I'll slowly upgrade my collection selecting those movies that I know for sure I'll watch time and time again.

Serenity is on my short list!


Yomper said...

Older movies don't really take advantage of BluRay, from what I've seen. I've downloaded hi-def versions of movies like "Pale Rider" (a Clint Eastwood flick from the mid '80s), "Airplane!", and "The Jerk". They look good, but aren't going to wow you. "Blade Runner" looks great, but mostly because it's based on Ridley Scott's "final cut" that was released in theaters in 2007. I base BluRay purchases on rewatchability and video/sound quality. Both volumes of "Kill Bill" are exceptional, as are "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight". "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" (bought for the rewatchability factor) actually looks worse than its DVD counterpart, and I feel like I got rooked even though it was only $10. "Serenity" looks and sounds wonderful, but the "Firefly" series runs the gamut from beautiful to god-awful (dark scenes tend to be very speckly), quite similar to the DVD version, although the good-looking scenes look much better on BluRay.

Don't forget to check the almighty WalMart for good BluRay bargains. I recently picked up "Reservoir Dogs" and "Total Recall" for $10 each. "Dogs" looks very good, and the ear scene is intact. (Some people who bought the DVD from WallyWorld found that the scene had been, as Mr. Orange would put it, hacked off.) I haven't watched "Total Recall" yet, but any movie that has Sharon Stone naked AND contains Ronny Cox's great line, "Soon you'll be dead, and I'll be back home in time for Corn Flakes!" is worth a $10 double-dip.