Blu-ray logoYou’ve probably heard the word Blu-ray mentioned, maybe read about the ‘HD-DVD v Blu-ray’ format war, or perhaps own a Playstation 3 and want to play the latest movies on it. But what is a Blu-ray player, and what difference will it make to your movie viewing experience?

From a home cinema perspective, a Blu-ray player is similar to a normal DVD player, except that it will play high definition Blu-ray discs which are capable of a much higher quality than a standard definition DVD.

Known as Blu-ray or BD, the discs need a dedicated Blu-ray player (or a Playstation 3) to play the format, and High Definition television or home cinema projector to get the full benefit.

What it means to you is that the movie will be at its maximum picture quality and you should get a vastly improved home cinema experience. If you are a real home cinema buff, you will be also be able to take advantage of the improved lossless sound formats in the form of DTS-HD Master and Dolby TrueHD.

Blu-ray players can also play standard DVD’s so they can replace an existing DVD player rather than be an addition to it.

BD LIVEBlu-ray has a few different specifications, known as ‘profiles’ which provide additional features to the standard capabilities. The latest profile is called ‘BD Live’ or ‘Profile 2’ and is capable of accessing online content such as additional movie clips and interactive content.
Blu-ray players with the original ‘Profile 1’ have largely been replaced now, but ‘Profile 1.1’ players are still sold although increasingly less.

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