Although streaming subscription services like Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video have gained huge traction in the past few years, there are still several good reasons to have your own disc player. While physical media does not hold dominance in the market anymore, it is not outdated. There are still many people who have not hopped on the streaming media bandwagon yet, including cinephiles who are looking for a true viewing experience with superior quality and extras that you typically do not find on streaming services (like director’s commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes etc.).
Neo-Online discusses the different reasons why buying a Blu-ray player can still be a worthy investment today.
What Is Blu-Ray?
In the first half of the 2000s, HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs competed for market supremacy, with the latter eventually emerging as the clear winner. They have a storage capacity of about 25 GB (5 times more than that of DVDs), and can support high-definition videos (720p and 1080p) and even ultra high-definition resolution videos (2160p).
All Blu-ray players are designed to be backward compatible; they can not only play Blu-ray discs, but your DVD and CD collections as well. They have video upscaling capability, meaning they can boost the image quality of a DVD as well (even though, of course, it still won’t look as sharp as an actual Blu-ray disc).
Blu-ray players can work on virtually any TV that was made after 2004 (with only a few exceptions). Some of these also include screen mirroring, which allows you to share any audio or video from a compatible smart device to your TV and sound system. In addition, some Blu-ray players also provide CD-to-USB ripping, which enables you to copy music from a CD to a USB flash drive. Other common features include the analog audio playback, two HDMI outputs, built-in WiFi, among others.
The higher the price of a Blu-ray player, the more features you get, including added connection options, increased internet streaming options and improved video processing.
Reasons to Buy a Blu-Ray Player
Blu-Ray offers superior quality
A Blu-ray player supports uncompressed 4k video and multichannel, uncompressed audio — which is actually higher quality than that of a streaming service. Even though platforms like Netflix and Amazon are now heading towards 4k, they still have to compress the audio and video to prevent buffering and lagging. In addition, any disruptions in your internet connection can also result in compressed content when streaming.
For movie and TV enthusiasts especially, who value an immersive experience without getting constrained by internet and streaming speeds, there is no better option than Blu-ray players in terms of quality.
Some content cannot be streamed
The streaming business model does not often permit having rare films or shows. Even when old titles are being offered, they are eventually removed after a period of time. This is because these platforms have signed contracts with media corporations — if there is not a sizable audience for an underrated art-house film, they are not willing to pay the high cost of streaming it, nor will the studios agree to give rights to the movie at a cheap price.
This makes Blu-ray more reliable — you can find more content, and having a physical copy removes the risk of losing access to a movie/show just because its licence has expired.
Blu-ray discs are only getting cheaper with time
As the history of physical media has proved, consumers and retailers give up their collection of old media in favour of the new. This means huge sales and discounts. Hence, the prices of Blu-ray discs will continue to decrease over time — making them a cheaper option than digital licences and downloads.
The Bottom Line
While streaming services undoubtedly offer many benefits, they are not as reliable and robust as high-quality Blu-ray discs. Apart from quality differences, access to digital content can disappear anytime, and physical media gives you the chance to have actual ‘ownership’ of your favourite movies/shows. Plus, the idea of having your own library allows you to appreciate it all the more; streaming services only provide a quick service, not an experience.
Hence, a Blu-ray player still holds significance today. If you are on a budget, you can find several good second-hand options instead. Also, it is likely that you might even have a Blu-ray player already — gaming consoles like PS3, PS4 and Xbox One all are capable of playing Blu-ray discs. Thus, you do not need to spend on a brand new player to enjoy a Blu-ray experience.