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Audio – Video

High Definition TV and BluRay



HDTV 2009
Sony 40" LCD
Sony 32" LCD
Samsung 40" LED
Panasonic 65"

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Surround Sound over HDMI
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2009 saw the introduction of Internet-capable HDTVs and also Internet-capable Blu-ray Players with Wi-Fi.

Bluray and HDTV

Blu-ray Players -
Sony BDP-N460 Network Blu-ray Disc player
Samsung BD-P4600 Blu-ray Disc player

Learn about BD-LIVE
Blu-ray Basics

How do I get High Definition?

To get High Definition, you need
1) a High Definition source and you need
2) a High Definition TV (HDTV).

The High Definition (HD) source can come from
1) your local cable TV company,
2) a national satellite TV provider,
3) a local HD TV broadcast or
4) an optical disc such as a Bluray movie disc.

Another source is the internet.

Why do I need an HDTV, not just a standard TV?

High Definition video is defined as video with at least 720 lines of resolution or more. A standard analog TV cannot display more than about 500 lines of resolution otherwise known as standard definition (SD). By moving to an HDTV, you can get 720, or with many HDTVs, 1080 lines of video resolution. This is going to give you a sharper picture with more detail and the display technologies on today's HDTVs give you better color and contrast.

DVD vs. Bluray

Just as standard analog TV does not support HD video, neither does DVD. DVD is also standard definition (SD). Bluray disc on the otherhand, can contain movies in 1080p video resolution. In fact Bluray discs currently offer the highest video resolution commercially available (1080p). By contrast, cable and satellite providers as well as over-the-air broadcasters offer 720p or 1080i resolution. Bluray also exceeds DVD in the audio arena, carrying up to 7.1 channel sound compared to DVD's 5.1. Bluray also has the added capability for enhanced menus, bonus content and interactivity using the internet.

DVD and Blu-ray comparison
Feature DVD Blu-ray
Maximum resolutions 480p (SD) 720p, 1080i, 1080p (HD)
Disc capacity 4.7GB (single layer)
8.5GB (dual layer)
25GB (single layer)
50GB (dual layer)
Video capacity (per dual-layer disc) SD: approximately 3 hours SD: approximately 23 hours
HD: 8.5 or 5.6 hours, depending on encoding method
Compatible video game consoles PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360 PlayStation 3
Player prices $35 to $100 $250+ for Profile 2.0 players
$299 for PlayStation 3
Movie prices $5 to $14 $20 to $40
Number of titles available 90,000 1,000
Set-top recorders available in U.S. Yes No
Copy protection/digital rights management Macrovision, CSS AACS, ICT, BD+, BD-ROM Mark
Region-coded discs and players Yes Yes
Internet connectivity No Yes
HD Audio available No Yes

If you use Bluray disc as your HD source, you will need a Bluray player. You can play your DVDs on a Bluray player but you cannot play a Bluray disc on a DVD player.

Bluray Players : Blu-ray player profiles

Much of the confusion about Blu-ray has been due to Blu-ray player "profiles." Every BD player falls into one of three profile categories, which roughly describes how the player handles (or doesn't handle) special features. When Blu-ray was first introduced, the Blu-ray Association did not initially require all players to support all of the format's advanced functionality. In consequence, Profile 1.0 and Profile 1.1 Blu-ray players can't play back some of the bonus content found on newer Blu-ray Discs.

Profile 1.0: This guarantees the player can play back Blu-ray movies. Profile 1.0 players can also access standard audio commentary tracks and the typical kinds of special features you'd find on a regular DVD. Profile 1.0 players are fading away fast.

Profile 1.1: Profile 1.1 adds picture-in-picture functionality, also known as BonusView. This is usually a video of a director giving commentary or other behind-the-scenes footage that plays in a small corner while the main movie plays in the background. Profile 1.1 players are dated and will be replaced by newer 2.0 players.

blu ray player profile 2.0

Profile 2.0: The latest, and supposedly last, Blu-ray profile enables playback of "BD-Live" features. BD-Live refers to any content that needs to be downloaded from the Internet, which means you'll need to connect your Blu-ray player to your home network (typically via an Ethernet cable) to enjoy these features. BD-Live features generally consist of additional deleted scenes or outtakes, games and quizzes, trailers, pop-up text commentaries, and message boards. New Bluray players sold in 2009 and beyond from major brand names like Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Denon etc. should be Profile 2.0 players.

What do I need for Bluray?

1) an HDTV, preferably an HDTV with 1080p capability, also known as "FULL HD".
2) a Blu-ray Player
3) a Blu-ray disc

Blu-ray brings three major improvements over DVD: better image quality, better sound quality, and more special features. All three are made possible by the larger storage capacity of Blu-ray, which is capable of storing 50GB of information on a single Blu-ray Disc, compared with DVDs, which can hold about 8GB.

Blu-ray's maximum resolution is 1,920 x 1,080 (1080p), while DVD is limited to 720 x 480 (480p). Beyond resolution, Blu-ray also uses better video-compression methods, resulting in more contrast and richer colors. If you like the way HD from your cable or satellite provider looks, Blu-ray looks even better. It's the highest-quality video format available today.

Where does Bluray need to improve?

1) Cost of Movies - Currently $20 to $40 is far too high compared to DVD.
2) Number of Titles - DVD currently has far more movies available than Bluray. DVD outnumbers Bluray movies 90 to 1.
3) Bluray set-top recorders should be available in the U.S.

Frequently asked questions

If my HDTV is only 720p capable, can I still play a Bluray movie on it?
YES, your HDTV will scale down the video resolution if needed to fit the "native resolution" of your HDTV.

If I get "digital cable" does that mean I have High Def?
You must have digital cable in order to get High Def, however, not all channels are High Def. In fact some channels are only analog and others are only standard def. Check with your provider to find out which channels you get are actually in HD.

If I have a DVD player with video up-conversion via HDMI won't I get HD video on my HDTV?
No. Your DVD will look better but it will not look like true HD. You need Bluray.

Will disc based movies such as those on Bluray disc be obsolete soon? Shouldn't I just download or stream HD movies from Vudu, Netflix etc. over the internet?

Bluray based movies should have the advantage for the next five years, or until 2014. After that high-speed internet service should be fast enough to provide HD video on demand to consumers without lag times or other shortcomings often seen today. Then there is always the possibility that a better disc based technology will be developed in the next five years such as 3-D which may prove more popular with consumers. There are a multitude of factors regarding this topic such as ownership of the video and transportability of the video, not to mention hardware and other resources. Both video platforms will coexist for a long time and consumers will be free to choose what works best for them.

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Blu-ray and HDTV
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Sony HDTV 32 inch S5100 2009
Sony HDTV 40 inch S5100 2009
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