I’ve been antagonising some of my nerdier friends on The Twitter recently with my proclamations that there’s fuck all difference between Blu-ray and DVD.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an idiot – I know that one is read using a Blue laser as opposed to a Red one (hence the name) and I know that if you watch an older DVD and compare it to a Blu-Ray, the picture quality is poor by comparison due to how the definition of Standard Definition has changed over the years. Compare The Shawshank Redemption to Star Wars and you’ll see what I mean.
It doesn’t help that by its very nature, you cannot advertise Blu-ray quality on a DVD (much like you can’t advertise 3D footage on a 2D television). I saw an advert the other day where the ‘before’ picture appeared to have a filter applied to it to make it look worse. You can, however, upscale existing DVDs to high definition in most Blu-ray players just by putting them in and playing them.
These days, Standard Definition looks a lot better than it did, as evidenced by the most recent series of Doctor Who and Sherlock. This makes a small step up to almost-unnoticeable High Definition so very, very unnecessary. Think of the upgrade from VHS to DVD, and now compare the upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray. Almost unnoticeable.
What I don’t understand is why stand-up comedy productions get their own Blu-ray releases. There’s almost nothing gained by it, it’s purely done to get more money due to the price difference between Blu-ray and DVD. I would be less cynical of the studios’ motives if Blu-ray was actually a big step forwards. My best analogy for this is comparing the DSi to the DSi XL. While the step up from DS Lite was a noticeable improvement, the one from DSi to DSi XL was much less so.
So in essence, it’s more expensive, more isolating as a format (as Blu-ray players are more expensive and for obvious reasons DVD players are not forwards-compatible) and the difference is negligible. Why does it exist again?
Blu-ray discs have 25GB of capacity. You’d think some of that would be visible!
50 First Dates was a launch title for Blu-ray, a fact so depressing that I want to kill myself now. Should’ve been Failure To Launch! [/snark]
I have precisely one Blu-ray disc in my collection (although with the picture quality these days, I don’t need any): Dara O Briain’s This Is The Show. I was happy with this until I realised that I couldn’t watch it that day due to not having a Blu-ray player in my room.
Blu-ray is trademarked under that name, rather than Blu-Ray. Similar to the way Technicolor is a trademark whatever country you’re using it in.