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Test highlights discrepancies in Blu-ray quality

Blockbuster picture quality comes under scrutiny

Master and commander content

Films on Blu-ray typically cost twice the price of a DVD, so you’d expect them to live up to marketing that promises ‘the maximum high-definition experience’. But Which’s test lab has revealed a gulf in picture quality between the best Blu-ray films and the rest, with some hardly better than the DVD version.

Our experts used two identical TVs and Blu-ray players to simultaneously watch Blu-ray and DVD versions of 17 films. Only five Blu-rays, such as newer films Avatar and Casino Royale, and classics, including Zulu, were of the highest high-definition quality expected. A disappointing eight were only marginally better or looked virtually the same as their DVD counterparts.

From A to Z – Avatar to Zulu


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A Which? expert viewing panel watched a number of films from different genres, decades and studios. The test featured: Avatar (2009), Casino Royale (2006), Die Hard (1998), From Russia with Love (1963), Gandhi (1982), Gangs of New York (2002), Ghostbusters (1984), Grease (1978), Master and Commander (2003), Matrix Reloaded (2003), North by Northwest (1959), Terminator 2 1991), The Graduate (1967), The Matrix (1999), The Untouchables (1987), The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Zulu (1964).

Read the full Blu-ray vs DVD picture quality investigation

To find out more about our test results, including the assessment of each of the 17 films we watched, read our Blu-ray disc picture quality investigation.

And if you can recommend any good Blu-rays, know of any to avoid, or want to share a reliable forum where people can read more about picture quality, then join in the Blu-ray discussion on Which? Conversation.

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