Blu-Ray DVD Player Review: Should We Give It The Green Light Now?

by Millie Kay G. on November 13, 2008

A Blu-ray DVD player review: some pros and cons of the Blu-ray.

Blu-Ray DVD Player

Lately, I can’t help noticing all the bargains on electronics, especially the Blu-ray players. After the Blu-ray format won out against the HD DVD format earlier this year, I didn’t pick up a Blu-ray player because of all the advice that said the prices would fall. EngadgetHD took a recent look at prices and noted that the prices have been falling, and we can expect to see more competitive pricing around the holidays. However, we’re still debating about the switch to Blu-ray in our household.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Blu-Ray DVD Player

The Advantages

High definition means awesome pictures.

Why would I want a Blu-ray, anyway? First off, the high definition format means better pictures. Spend time in an electronics department at a big box store and you’re probably going to notice the difference in clarity. If you want your movie experiences to be as close to perfect as possible, then you might appreciate the way the movie studios are reissuing their titles for high definition.

Good deals are out there.

If you’re looking to upgrade from your old DVD player, you can find a standalone Blu-ray player for as low as $199. Check out CNET’s review of a Panasonic player. Or check out Gizmodo — they’ve scooped out some deals rumored to be available on Black Friday: for low prices, I might have to get up early!

There are players that can do anything.

Do you prefer to own a player that does more than show movies? Then pick up a Playstation 3. Mine lets me play games, lets me view my pictures and plays music. In addition, I can browse the internet and help medical researchers with the Folding@home project. Even my standard definition DVDs look better using the PS3. While we can’t afford to load up on another two PS3s for the rest of the house, picking up a used or refurbished one might be an option for us in the future (yes, we are gaming and electronics freaks ;) ).

Blu-ray movies will give you a little extra.

Even if you aren’t quite ready to buy a player now, I find it helpful to keep an eye on the movie prices. While I won’t replace my entire movie collection, I’m interested in the bonus features that come with many Blu-ray movies. For example, the larger disc size means we get more behind the scenes bonuses like documentaries, extra footage and interviews.

Not to mention, some of the Blu-ray movies like The Dark Knight are packaged with a digital copy of the movie so you can watch a standard definition version on your PC or a portable media player. Some useful sites that monitor new releases to Blu-ray include PS3 Fanboy and Amazon’s Blu-ray Store. Those sites also let visitors know about what’s on sale. With some patience, it might be possible for you to score a favorite movie for up to 50% off.

I like to rent more movies than I buy, so it’s cool that I’m noticing more Blu-ray movies at the local Blockbuster and its online store. Netflix rents out Blu-ray titles as well, for a dollar a month in addition to your membership fee.

The Downside

It’s still an expense.

On the other hand, some members of my family don’t see the need for another new Blu-ray player at the moment. Why? Because we still have our trusty Playstation 2’s that we’re using as DVD players, and the catalog of movies on Blu-ray is still growing (and hasn’t saturated yet). Checking around, I haven’t found the anime titles we’d want on Blu-ray as of yet (where are you, Trigun and Fullmetal Alchemist?). There’s no need to rush out and buy a player if you’ve got a working alternative, especially if you’ve decided to keep to a tight budget, and prefer to sidestep the used or refurbished players out there.

There’s copy protection.

Over at CrunchGear, some of the commentators mentioned several other reasons not to go the Blu-ray route. If you don’t like the copy-protection of Digital Rights Management (DRM), then you won’t like Blu-ray.

There are cheaper alternatives.

Also, more people are finding things to watch online via sites like iTunes and Hulu. Rather than rebuilding a movie collection with physical media, some of us find it easier to drop movies onto our hard drives. Or we can stream media with gear like the VUDU Box, which has HD offerings in its catalog.

Not for kids’ play.

If you have small children in the household, you’ll sympathize with the pain I’ve felt in trying to resurrect DVDs tossed about by the younger set. I wouldn’t feel safe leaving a more expensive Disney Blu-ray DVD by itself.

You’ll be inclined to buy supporting electronics.

Finally, don’t forget that you’ll need a high definition TV to get the most out of your Blu-ray player. As I’m not ready to add another few hundred dollars to my entertainment budget right now, this may be the deal breaker for my household.

What about you? Will you be seeking out a Blu-ray player soon? Here’s where you can pick one up.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aya @ Thrive November 14, 2008 at 10:25 am

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of movies and I’m sure that blu-ray is going to do amazing things in the future. Still, I’m not a electronics junkie and don’t run straight to the new stuff no matter how attractive the features are, partly because its expensive and partly because I wait it out until there’s more info about it. In terms of blu-ray, it might just be that I don’t know enough about it. Still, what I do know about it is, like you say, it’s more stuff but it’s more money. I’m happy with my dvd player from the middle ages that doesn’t even record as long as it’s working. I simply wonder if we should even be considering replacing our old dvd players, especially since dvds are still being sold and blu-ray has a limited collection, if they don’t have to be yet. I’m sure there are a bunch of people hoping to get their hands on blu-ray players when the holidays come along, but they should really consider your pros and cons list!

2 Lisa Badalamenti November 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm

I’m not a electronics junkie and don’t run straight to the new stuff no matter how attractive the features are, partly because its expensive and partly because I wait it out until there’s more info about it. In terms of blu-ray, it might just be that I don’t know enough about it. Still, what I do know about it is, like you say, it’s more stuff but it’s more money.

3 Treasures By Brenda November 15, 2008 at 7:22 am

I like the way you have broken this down into a pros and cons list and have added a link to your page to one that I have written about some of the top quality blu-ray discs available. You can see my page at Top 10 Blu-ray Movies or Discs. I have also created pages about Disney movies and another about Christmas movies on blu-ray.

Brenda

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