Gadget Watch: The rise of Blu-ray

wall-eThis post looks at one of the latest bits of home entertainment kit. You’ve probably started to hear “Blu-ray” mentioned at the end of adverts for films. Read on for an explanation and find out how you can enter the world of high definition.

The rise of high-definition TV formatting and Blu-ray has seen a change in home entertainment and we are now able to create a full cinema experience within the family home, which is a great bonus during the currently economic climate.

What is Blu-ray? Blu-ray is a high-definition disc format and DVD is a standard-definition format. The higher definition means that Blu-ray is a significant improvement over DVD in terms of picture and sound quality, delivering a whole new exciting way to experience movies, games and music. Blu-ray discs play through either a BD player or Playstation III enabling the highest quality viewing experience available to date.

This new technology often sounds intimidating, however it’s surprisingly simple to use! You don’t have to throw out the existing collection of DVDs as they still play on these machines and in fact the Blu-ray player will even enhance the quality of your DVDs. Price has also been a worry in the past but this is a another surprise, with BD players now starting at £80.00 and Blu-ray discs available nationwide.

So, is Blu-ray here to stay? It’s a resounding yes, as 3D TV is still a little way off the HD images that Blu-ray provides are second to none. I recently viewed Disney’s Enchanted on both DVD and Blu-ray, the difference was astounding and I was able to create the cinema experience from my very own living room with a little help from the kids.

The science bit, how does it work?

The Blu-ray Disc offers better video quality and to do this each disc needs to hold more information so it is burnt using a different laser to a DVD. As these discs can hold more content they also have an array of bonus features and many players now offer connection to the Internet. This enables you to download additional content or features about the program or movie you are viewing.

With Blu-ray sales predicted to exceed 15m in 2009 we have been quicker to switch to the format than we were to relinquish the VHS. Recent sales figures from Disney home entertainment show that 1 in 10 sales of Wall-E were purchased on Blu-ray rather than DVD.

It’s actually quite simple:

1. Make sure your TV is HD ready – check to see if there is an HD symbol on your TV as nearly half of all homes in the UK already have an HD TV.

2. Get a Blu-ray player. There are over 67 different players now available, prices starting from £80.00.

3. Connect your Blu-ray player to your HD TV with an HDMI cable – it should be in the box with your Blu-ray player.

4. Blu-ray not only looks better but it sounds better too. Enjoy this enhanced audio quality with a simple surround sound system.

5. Connect to the Internet through your Blu-ray player to download bonus features and games that you and the kids can enjoy (most modern Blu-ray players support this feature – look for ones that say “BD Live”).

For more information on family titles available on Blu-ray visit //