Super-duper high definition movies
If you haven't heard of Blu-ray, don't worry - you soon will. It's the highest end DVD player on the market today, and unlike some of the outlandishly expensive, unsupported, and poorly marketed devices in the past, the Blu-ray is receiving impressive support in its early moments of life. It's going to be the talk of the tech town for some time, and might just be the perfect gift for a (really, really good) hubby.
The two companies most responsible for Blu-ray's growing popularity are Sony and Philips, both long time and well-recognized manufacturers in the tech industry. When taken together they produce just about anything from walkmans to light bulbs, so with their continued vigilance, the Blu-ray is likely to have a considerable lifespan and subsequent following.
So, what's the big deal?
The excitement over Blu-ray exists because - until now - you simply haven't been getting the most out of your High Definition Television (HDTV). Most HDTVs are built to support anything from 480i to 720p to 1080i and even 1080p. For those unfamiliar, those numbers express the number of lines visible within a television screen. 720p and up is considered high definition, and most standard DVD players, even those that are progressive scan, cannot reach such heights.
That's where Blu-ray steps in. The "Blu-ray" name is derived from the blue-violet laser utilized within the player. That laser is used to read and write to the disc, and the methodology ensures that those storing data can cram oh-so-much more content onto a movie medium. Because Blu-ray effectively uses a shorter wavelength for writing to the disc, it can hold far more data than the standard DVD format.
Just how much can be stored?
Many of the first Blu-ray discs were 25 and 50 GB, meaning they can store significantly more than any other format ever seen before. The important thing to know about Blu-ray, however, is that there is room to actually upscale this size, and discs in the future could be 200 GB. That's a whole lot of room - you could fit a season or even the entire series of Seinfeld episodes on a solitary disc.
In the next few pages we'll take a closer look at the pros and cons of investing in the still-new Blu-ray technology.