5 reasons why Blu-ray is boss
Streaming may be the talk of the town, but true TV and film buffs need a Blu-ray player.
Blu-ray is the only option for home cinema enthusiasts and movie buffs, with HD picture quality, crystal-clear surround sound and oodles of rarities and extras.
Read on for 5 reasons why we think that even in the age of online streaming, Blu-ray remains the one for those serious about their cinema.
1) A true home cinema experience - superior picture and sound
Combine a Blu-ray player with a HD screen and home cinema speakers or a soundbar and you're ready for a truly cinematic experience.
A Blu-ray player offers a huge step up from DVD in picture quality with Full HD (high definition) resolution.
With a picture that's six times better than DVD, expect brighter
colours and sharper detail.
Although online streaming services advertise Full HD streaming, it's not as high quality as a Blu-ray disc, and often lags or needs to buffer.
Dolby Digital surround sound is the industry standard for movies
and cinema. A 5.1 system is made up of three speakers in front of
you and to your left and right, two speakers behind you, and a
subwoofer. Blu-ray discs offer true surround sound on set-ups as
high as 7.1 (two extra speakers).
Pair your player with a set of home cinema speakers placed around your living room for truly cinematic sound. Crashes, bangs and explosions will come from behind, and dialogue will be crisp and clear in front of you.
A soundbar will also give you vastly improved audio, with stereo sound coming from either side of you but not from behind. A separate subwoofer will boost the bass.
2. Super-sharp 4K upscaling
4K UHD is the next big thing in TV technology. It offers four
times the resolution of Full HD and crams in eight million pixels.
Current 4K TVs can show native 4K content (films and movies shot in
4K) or upscale content shot in full HD to near 4K quality.
There are also a number of Blu-ray players that can upscale regular Blu-ray discs to near 4K quality.
3. Classic and hard-to-find cult movies restored to higher quality levels than ever
Blu-ray cemented its reputation as the cinema enthusiast's
favourite with a series of restorations of iconic Hollywood
Classics from the 1940s, 50s and 60s were made brighter, sharper and clearer with immersive, dynamic soundtracks, thanks to technologies such as 4K and 7.1 surround sound.
Smaller companies like Arrow, Criterion and Eureka are also releasing restored versions of hard-to-find cult films.
Two movies to get the restoration treatment:
- Casablanca - this 1942 film noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart has never looked sharper
- The Wizard of Oz - Ultra-resolution technology is used to make the colourful world of Oz more breathtaking than ever
4. Extras: Never-seen-before rarities and re-edits
The extra storage space on Blu-ray opened the doors to a world of extras, such as commentaries, alternative edits and making-of documentaries.
With deleted scenes, books, soundtrack CDs, interactive features
and documentaries on the true-life events movies are based on, this
is any cinephile's idea of heaven.
Two Blu-rays with amazing extras:
- Mission Impossible 2 - among other delights
you'll find a hilarious short film revealing Tom Cruise's stunt
double for the movie…
- Gone with the Wind - Documentaries, vintage footage, a book and a CD soundtrack
5. It's the best place to watch 3D
Although 3D TV hasn't taken over our living rooms as
technology firms originally expected, the majority of high-end TVs
and many Blu-ray players still carry the feature.
Its best suited to movies - and if you're watching a film that was specially created for 3D it can be a truly immersive experience.
2 great 3D films:
- Avatar - 3D really brings the strange lands
and blue creatures of this James Cameron movie to life - you'll
feel truly immersed in the world
- Gravity - for many the Alfonso Cuaron space epic has redefined how 3D is used in film. Expect to be sucked right into outer space