Blu-ray Success Depends on Industry Support11 Mar, 2008 By: Blu-ray Staff
As the battle between Blu-ray and DVD for home media dominance heats up, many are downplaying the significance either format will have in the future of distributed media. The looming threat of digital downloads now hangs over Blu-ray, much as it had initially done over DVD, causing the film industry and home theater enthusiasts alike to hesitate in their adoption of the high-def format.
The single greatest advantage Blu-ray has over both DVD and digital downloads is quality. For the first time in home media history, video and audio quality has surpassed that of most local cinemas. DVD will never look as good, no matter how sophisticated the upconversion technology, and digital downloads are severely limited by the infrastructure they rely upon for distribution. Blu-ray is the only way for consumers to experience movies as they were meant to be seen and heard.
The promise that digital distribution will eventually catch up with physical media has always existed, but Blu-ray has breathed new life into disc-based distribution. In order to match the quality of even a modest Blu-ray release, either Internet providers will be forced to double and triple their bandwidth, or consumers must be convinced that waiting hours for a movie to download is more convenient than placing a disc inside a machine.
Another approach, utilized most recently by Apple for its iTunes movie rental service, is to severely limit the video and audio quality in order to decrease distribution times. This, while feasible, is more of a “good enough” solution, and we doubt you will see any sane home theater enthusiast championing mediocrity as the future of movie distribution.
In order for Blu-ray to be successful, the industry as a whole must raise awareness of the greater picture and sound quality offered by the format. When consumers witness the striking difference between Blu-ray and other home media options, they generally recognize the benefits. If we don't unite behind Blu-ray, and continue to stall consumer adoption, we may find ourselves stuck in a situation where the “good enough” solution just isn't good enough.