The holidays are long over and I bet some of you are enjoying brand new anime you received as gifts. For me, this year meant a leap from watching anime on my tiny computer screen to watching it on a beautiful LCD TV. Along with my new TV, I was also excited to pick up a Blu-Ray player. I was all ready to join the 21st century of video until I forced myself to step back. Are Blu-Rays worth the extra cost? Are they worth buying a disc that I can’t watch on my latop? Or should I keep buying DVDs and risk having to repurchase every series I own again in 10 years when I get tired of the poor video quality?
So far the answer to the Blu-Ray question is no. Blu-ray has higher resolution and the sound is uncompressed, but these technical advantages of Blu-ray are less important than the lack of practical advantages. I bought CDs for practical reasons: they were easier to store, harder to damage and they sounded better. Blu-rays don’t sound better to me. From my couch 10 feet away from the television Blu-rays don’t look better, either. Nor did Funimation add extras to the Blu-ray disc that might not fit on a dvd. For all of Blu-rays technical superiority, in the real world it did not impress me.
Even though I was not impressed by Blu-ray I was aware that my view might not be shared by everyone. So, I conducted the most scientific test at my disposal: the girlfriend test. I let me girlfriend watch an opening scene from East of Eden on both DVD and Blu-ray. In order to prevent the nicer menus of the Blu-ray from influencing her decision I had her close her eyes while I prepared the video. I then disabled the subtitles so the sharper Blu-Ray version wouldn’t give the right answer away either. After watching both video clips my girlfriend thought the clip from the DVD was of higher quality than the clip from the Blu-ray. That result doesn’t speak highly of Blu-Ray’s increased video quality. I’ve attached a Youtube clip below (you’ll have to supply your own girlfriend/boyfriend) so that you can perform a similar test yourself.
Of course, even if the quality is similar, I’m sure some people still want the best that is available. Plus, soon enough the disadvantages of Blu-Ray will go away. Blu-Ray will become standard on Laptops, just as DVD is now. For now though, unless you like nicer menus and sharper subtitles, DVD is not a game changer.