Blu-ray DVD players: Choosing the best Blu-ray and DVD players What is Blu-ray?
Blu-ray is the latest development in the world of DVD players and discs. A Blu-ray disc gives a sharper and more detailed picture than a standard-definition DVD. The picture is even better than HDTV broadcasts.
Blu-ray also has some extra features. For example, BD-Live-enabled players let you connect to the internet, download extras such as games and trailers, and even interact with other connected users.
The future: Blu-ray players or film downloads?
The Blu-ray format is rapidly becoming more popular as people upgrade from DVD players. (Blu-ray machines also play older DVDs so your old collection won’t become obsolete.)
Disc sales grew by a healthy 358% last year, more than two million Blu-ray capable machines have been snapped up, and it’s predicted that by 2012, more than one in three film discs bought in western Europe will be Blu-ray.
This growth sounds impressive, but isn’t all it seems. Many Blu-ray players sold in the UK are part of Sony PlayStation3 (PS3) video games machines rather than standalone players.
Many, if not most, buyers are likely to be buying the PS3 mainly as a games machine – the Blu-ray player is almost incidental.
And while sales of Blu Ray discs saw a 123% increase in sales in 2009, rising to 8.4 million units in the UK, this only equates to 3.4% of total video sales. It's still dwarfed by the 256 million standard DVD discs sold which account for 96.3% of the market.
Another fact to consider is film downloading, which increased by 4,080% in 2009 – a trend that will accelerate with the rise of internet-capable TVs.