The standard DVD format has been around for about 15 years, and can be used to store data, videos, and audio information. All of the DVD formats were a vast improvement on the previous VHS standard, and quickly took over as the industry standard for movie sales. The problem with standard DVDs isn’t that they don’t work, it’s just that they don’t offer HD quality picture or sound. (So if you’re not interested in an enhanced picture, crystal clear sounds and true to life colors, you may not be interested in HDTV or Blu-Ray at all.) Why not HD-DVDs instead of Blu-Ray discs? There was an effort to move to HD-DVDs, but they didn’t last a long time before Blu-Ray won over the market on succeeding the old DVD format.
Blu-Ray isn’t an entirely different concept from DVD technology, it’s the same basic idea, made a whole lot better. (Which also results in higher costs, until it isn’t quite so new to the market.) The name ‘Blu-ray’ comes from the use of a blue/blue-violet laser to read the information on the disc. Traditional lasers for DVD players for all previous formats have used red lasers. Part of the reason for the development of this new technology was to allow you to record, rewrite, and play back HD content, along with the ability a vastly increased amount of information per disc. Standard DVDs simply don’t have the capacity to hold full movies in high definition, plus extra content, so you’ll often see multiple discs when you buy a new DVD. The second disc (and sometimes third) offer different formats of the movie, special features, and so on. With the movement to Blu-Ray, all of this could be on a single disc – and be of higher quality. If you have a hi-def (briefly available during the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray competition) or standard DVD player at home, you won’t be able to play Blu-Ray discs. But, Blu-Ray is backward compatible with all types of previous DVDs, so you won’t have to go out and buy an entire new library of DVDs. Still, once you get used to the Blu-Ray experience, you might want to upgrade all your old DVDs. One of the most common complaints about DVDs is they have little to no scratch resistance, and once scratched – they’re annoying at best and useless at worst. Blu-Ray promises better scratch resistance due to a specially designed layer of scratch resistant coating applied to every Blu-Ray disc, to hopefully increase the play life of your discs.
It is expected that at some point, DVDs will be phased out, and Blu-Ray will be the more widely available form of movies. However, as with the phasing out of VHS tapes when DVD’s came on to the scene, this won’t be an overnight transition, and at this point, there is no set date to stop producing and marketing DVDs.