Thursday, November 02, 2006

Blu Ray Demo

I have seen the future of home entertainment and its name is Blu Ray. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Blu Ray is one of the two new formats that are set to replace DVD, probably completely by the end of the decade. The other format vying for the consumer’s hearts and minds (and don’t forget wallets) is HD-DVD. Estentially both formats are high definition ‘DVD’ type discs the difference being far superior picture quality and the ability of the discs to contain much more information that we are currently used to. The big players are currently squaring off against each other in a battle, which will remind older readers of the fight between the VHS and Betamax video formats back at the beginning of the early 1980’s.

This correspondent attended a demonstration of the capability of the Blur Ray format last week in the Irish Film Institute and boy was it impressive. Sony had flown in a number of their tech experts from Germany and the US to regal us with how wonderful their format is. Personally I could have done without the seemingly unending lecture from one of the European engineers on how the format was developed but otherwise it was a very instructive morning. I can’t comment on how Blu Ray compares to HD-DVD (purely as I have not seem the other format in action) but if it’s on a par with Blu Ray, and I believe it is, then the forthcoming battle in the high street retailers should be interesting. The biggest single difference between the two formats is that Blu Ray discs can hold 50 GB as opposed to 30 with HD-DVD. However I understand that the first generation of HD-DVD players will be cheaper. How much so is unclear at present.

Ultimately the victor in the forthcoming war to take over our living rooms i.e. the company that sells the most units of it’s home player, will be the one that has the greater number of the big studios suplying them with movies. If you have the right titles then surely you will sell more players. Oh, and for those of you wondering what will happen your existing DVD collections, rest assured. Both formats will play CD and DVD. If you’re interested in upgrading to this system you should seem them turning up in shops windows any day now, just in time for Christmas, natch. Be warned however don’t expect to get much change from €1,500. Will it be worth it? You tell me.

P.S. A wee note to the first person to buy a player in either format. Drop us a line here at IrishDev and we’ll be around to yours with a six-pack and a pizza. What do you drink?

Since this piece was written it seems that the arrival of Blu Ray has run into problems. The player, which has been plagued with problems ranging from software glitches to parts shortages, has seen numerous delays this year. The official Sony website posted a notice over the weekend that the "targeted availability" of the player will be "on or about December 4, 2006."

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