Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
I saw a movie on Blu-ray for the first time at a friend's house and I was surprised by how much better it looked than DVD. Prices on players now start at around $300. Should I jump into the format?
While $300 is relatively affordable, it’s still quadruple the price of a decent standard-def DVD player. Blu-ray is definitely worth this higher cost if you have the right TV setup. If you don’t, you may not notice the spike in quality.
To appreciate the high-definition images, you need an HDTV with at least a 42-inch screen -- and you’ll really see the benefit if your TV’s 50 inches or larger. But you won’t see any improvement if you hook your Blu-ray player up wrong, so make sure to use a component-video, or preferably, an HDMI connection (don’t even think about using those yellow composite cables).
One advantage of Blu-ray -- and high-def in general -- is that you can sit closer to the screen than you could with older, analog TVs -- at least when you’re watching stuff in high-def. Sitting at a distance about twice the screen size will do the trick (example: a bit more than eight feet from a 50-inch TV).
For surround sound, you’ll want an A/V receiver than can either accept or decode Dolby TrueHD, which will give you way better sound than the Dolby Digital from DVD.
So, to sum up: If you have good TV and sound system, Blu-ray can blow DVD away.