What Does Blu-Ray Mean and How Does it Affect Movies?

Blu-ray Films Have Enhanced Details and Colors

Traditional DVDs are going the way of VHS tapes and are being replaced by new Blu-ray discs. The new technology is taking over the film and television industry. With the explosion of new Blu-ray titles, many families are making the switch and investing in Blu-ray players.

But is a Blu-ray player really necessary? Below, find out what Blu-ray is, what it has to offer and what to keep in mind when you're shopping for a player.

What Does Blu-ray mean?

Blu-ray is a media format designed to replace the DVD format. Blu-ray uses a different type of laser to read the discs, allowing more data to be stored on a single disc. As Blu-ray can store more data, it can provide a much better picture (Hi-def) than the DVD format as well as better audio.

Will a Blu-ray player still play DVDs?

If you have an extensive DVD collection, don't worry; you don't need to replace your DVDs with Blu-rays. All Blu-ray players can play existing DVDs. Additionally, most Blu-ray players include technology advancements that allow the players to improve the visual playback of existing DVDs.

What do I need to play a Blu-ray disc?

Blu-ray playback can require several pieces of equipment for the best experience. Additionally, certain players may not be capable of playing all of the special features on the new Blu-ray discs.

What is BD-Live?

BD-Live is a service that uses an Internet connection on the Blu-ray player to access additional content, features, and interactivity.

This can include movie discussions, additional video content, and other related content. Not all Blu-ray discs contain BD-Live features. Blu-ray packaging will indicate discs that use the feature.

What do I need to use BD-Live?

BD-Live requires two main components – a Blu-ray player that supports the Profile 2.0 (BD-J 2.0) system and an Internet connection to the player.

Is BD-Live content rated as part of the movie?

Before watching BD-content with your children, it's important to know that the MPAA does not rate any BD-Live content nor is the content regulated. Each company is free to use the format as they please. Companies like Disney have announced plans to use BD-Live on a majority of upcoming titles while some other companies have not announced plans.

Does BD-Live allow chats and other content that could put kids at risk?

On certain Blu-ray discs, kids would be able to chat, much like on Instant Messenger, with friends or send and receive mail. Various community forums are possible. Some studios, like Disney, require a BD-Live account to be set up, but if kids know the account information, they can still access public forums or send and receive messages.

What other features does Blu-ray offer that are not available on DVD?

Blu-ray has more advanced interactivity options than DVD, allowing for elaborate games, educational content, and enhanced video options (like picture-in-picture viewing for commentaries and behind-the-scenes). The movie menu is updated and can be accessed while watching the movie. Also, many Blu-ray discs include a digital copy of the movie that can be used on a portable device like an iPod, PSP, Zune, and so forth.