Do We Care?
The pace of tech today is blazing fast, and the progression through updated versions of TVs, smartphones, and even vehicle technology is pretty wild.
Specifically, Blu-Ray is still a relatively new technology, and we’re already seeing the rise of 4K screens, mainly in marketing.
So how much should we care about any of this?
If you’re someone who likes watching movies and you a few of them each week, at home, then maybe this is actually a big deal, and you can’t wait to upgrade your system.
But I think for a lot of people, these visual advances are becoming less and less important.
So if you’re asking yourself, “Blu-Ray or DVD, which should I buy?” then we hope this article will help you decide what your home theater priorities really are.
Let’s Talk About Picture Quality
Most of us don’t have fully-fledged home theaters. Maybe a screen, or a computer monitor doubling as a movie screen. A lot of us don’t even have external speakers, we just use whatever is built into our screen.
So here’s the thing about the importance of picture quality:
Yes, it’s important, but it’s not that important.
I’ll just go ahead and talk about my own experience here. I watch movies a lot, usually on a cheap Samsung monitor that someone gave me for free when they were moving. I have a decent set of external speakers, and that’s about it.
I was recently told that I absolutely needed to try Blu-Ray. So I did. I bought an affordable refurbished Blu-Ray player and picked up a variety of Blu-Ray movies, from modern animated movies to old classics to movies from my childhood.
And yeah, Blu-Ray is better, and sometimes, the difference is pretty noticeable. For example, old black and white movies from the 50s and 60s often look great on Blu-Ray. And if you’re a huge fan of that kinda stuff, yes, you should probably make the upgrade.
But if you watch a lot of modern movies, then I’ve got some great news for you: they already look great. On the whole, movies are looking significantly better, thanks in part to the decreasing cost of high-def cameras.
And yes, those movies will look even better on Blu-Ray, but it won’t be as noticeable.
Here’s a quick comparison:
Case Study: Vinyl and .flac Files
Vinyl collecting made a pretty big comeback in the 2010s. Young collectors claimed that it was about sound quality, which it really wasn’t. It was definitely influenced more by a sense of borrowed nostalgia and some desire to belong to a consumer-based subculture.
But in terms of quality, vinyl can produce a higher fidelity of sound than CDs or common compressed music formats used in streaming services.
The same goes for .flac files. Yes, they’re better, but it’s a level of nuance that’s hard to notice.
The same basic principle applies to Blu-Ray vs. DVD.
If it bothers you to watch standard-definition movies, then Blu-Ray might be worth the money. But really, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Real Cost
Ok, so let’s say you want to get into Blu-Ray or even 4K home video. Great, but how much will it all cost?
The Blu-Ray player itself will cost roughly $50-$300. There’s a big range of machines, and every model has its own advantages.
Then there’s the movie themselves, which generally cost more than the DVD version of the same movie.
Blu-Rays tend to cost $15-$40.
Then there’s the screen itself. You’ll still be able to appreciate Blu-Ray quality on a standard screen, but you won’t really be getting your money’s worth unless you upgrade the TV as well.
Entry-level 4K TVs cost around $300. A high-quality 4K TV can cost more than $1,000.
These aren’t necessarily deal breakers but the total cost is important to consider before committing.
Streaming is Also a Thing
We also now live in a time where you don’t have to own physical media at all to watch your favorite movies.
Streaming services and digital downloads are the wave of the future. And since these formats don’t require any physical packaging, companies stand to save a bunch of money.
If you already use Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime streaming, then you’ve probably already made compromises on picture quality. As long as the video doesn’t pause to buffer, we tend to ignore any lapses in quality.
The Bottom Line
Here at Glitterati Lobotomy, the first priority is enjoying the movies you like and keeping your mind open to movies and filmmakers you’re not already familiar with.
We don’t think that there has to be some minimum buy-in to start enjoying movies.
If you think that buying a Blu-Ray player will encourage you to watch and enjoy more movies, then by all means, you should go ahead and make the upgrade.
But if you don’t care all that much about picture or sound quality and you just want to watch more movies, then all you really need is a computer.
That’s it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not a real cinephile until you’ve set yourself up with a 4K screen and a 5.1 surround sound system.
If the question instead is whether you should have a DVD or Blu-Ray player in addition to your streaming tech, then there’s definitely an argument to be made for having a player on hand, just in case you want to start collecting physical media.
Maybe 20 years from now, there will be a streaming add-on that ensures the highest possible quality. But for now, if you decide to watch DVD-quality movies rather than Blu-Rays, you’re really not missing out on that much.
So if you’re just now getting into movies as a hobby, focus on what you’d like to watch, rather than what you’ll be watching it on.
That’s all for this one. Thanks for reading. If you’d like to be magically transported to a different article, just click here.