Blu-ray disc quality Which? Blu-ray disc test

Blu Ray logo

The max HD experience. But how good is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray discs deliver ‘the maximum high-definition experience’ – but a Which? investigation has cast doubt on the high-definition claims made by some Blu-ray content. 

Which? put the claims to the test and has found that some Blu-ray movies are almost identical in picture quality to standard DVDs.

What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray is a high-definition (HD) DVD format launched in 2006. A Blu-ray picture is made up of 1,080 horizontal lines, compared to just 576 on a standard definition DVD. So, you’d expect a Blu-ray disc to show a movie that is much higher definition – up to four times – that of a DVD.

The extra resolution can make Blu-rays look sharper, more detailed and more realistic than standard DVDs. Most new movies are released on both DVD and Blu-ray, and many older movies have been retrospectively launched on Blu-ray since the format appeared. Blu-ray discs typically cost far more than the DVD version.

To watch a Blu-ray movie you need a Blu-ray player and high-definition TV. HD-ready TVs will work with Blu-ray discs, but higher resolution full HD TVs are best suited to the format.

Our test

Our expert viewing panel watched a selection of 17 films from a variety of studios, both made before and after the advent of the Blu-ray format. Each title was viewed simultaneously on DVD and Blu-ray disc on two identical Full-HD (Bravia KDL-40W4500) and played back on two identical Sony Blu-ray players (BDP-S550). Blu-ray players can play both high-definition and regular DVD discs.

When watching a DVD movie on a player connected to an HDTV via HDMI you have the option to adjust the settings and ‘up-scale’ the picture. For comparisons sake we left the 'up-scaling' option off, so the DVD was watched in its regular 576p resolution setting.

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