When Blu-ray first arrived on the scene in 2006, tech reviewers were already predicting its demise as it had to contend with the HD DVD format. Even though that war was won, reviewers in 2008 expected Blu-ray to die out by 2012, as its higher price tag would not allow it to compete with DVD and the increasing number of HD-quality streaming services.
Increase in Sales
These predictions, however, have not come to pass as Blu-ray continues to grow in popularity; showing a 45% global increase in sales since 2010. This is largely due to more affordable players as well as increasing support from film studios and distributors. Next year will be especially important for Blu-ray, as sales are expected to outstrip DVD for the first time, marking the beginning of the end for the old format.
High Quality Audio and Video
Now that Blu-ray has firmly established itself as a lasting media format, what has motivated consumers to make the switch? For one thing, Blu-ray offers the highest audio and video quality available. Unlike DVD, Blu-ray takes full advantage of HDTV technology by using higher-density discs that support full HD resolution. While streaming services such as Netflix also offer HD-quality video, streaming rates are still considerably lower than Blu-ray, and when coupled with household bandwidth restrictions, the picture quality is further reduced.
Another advantage that Blu-ray has over other media is that recordable Blu-ray discs offer an incredible amount of storage for a reasonable price. When compared with DVDs, for example, a single-layer BD-R can store 25GB of data, more than five times the amount of a standard DVD-R. Dual-layer BD-Rs can store twice as much, and the technology is currently designed to support additional layers for even larger storage capacities. Speeds for recordable blu-ray players have also been increasing, enabling users to burn data at much faster rates than the often painfully slow download speeds offered by streaming sites.
As the latest media format, Blu-ray has also attracted the attention of quality player manufacturers such as Sony, LG and Samsung. Sony’s BDP-S370, for instance, offers features such as True Cinema, which enables users to play Blu-ray Discs at film speeds, along with Dolby True HD and noise reduction technology to produce fantastic sound when coupled with a set of quality speakers. Blu-ray is also the best choice for 3D players, as streaming services are just now beginning to offer 3D titles, whereas all the hottest 3D movies such as Avatar and Toy Story 3 are readily available for the Blu-ray format.
The Future of Blu-Ray
With its superior picture quality and sound, Blu-ray is destined to overtake DVD as the premier format for optical disc storage, especially once multilayered recordable blu-ray discs become available. Some question remains, however, as to how long Blu-ray will last when faced with a growing number of streaming services. Although tech speculators still predict that physical media will ultimately disappear in favor of streaming, it will still take several decades before the technology becomes advanced enough to offer competitive picture quality. For now, once consumers go Blu-ray, they never go back.
Brandi Tolleson writes prolifically on technology, media and gadgets. She resides in Whitter, CA.
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