Sunday, May 15, 2011
Blu-rays. Beautiful high-defintion movies and TV shows for our viewing pleasure. Excellent 25GB or 50GB (if it's double layer) storage capacity, just enough to store 7.1 Dolby TruHD audio. Requires a Blu-Ray player and an HDMI TV (or monitor) to enjoy its content.
But do we actually need Blu-Ray discs to enjoy HD content?
If you're like thousands of others, you probably downloaded the occasional HD movie through other...more unconventional means. And you might have been surprised to realize that a 3 hour 1080p movie with 5.1 FLAC was only maybe 7GB online.
How was that possible? How can a 3 hour 1080p movie with 5.1 surround sound actually fit into 7GB? That is enough to fit into a double layer DVD by the way. And yes, formats like AVCHD (wikipedia it) exist that allow you to burn HD content on a DVD disc and play it on compatible AVCHD players, like the PS3.
Oh, maybe it's compressed so you won't truly experience the actual HD quality in these movies available online. It is nowhere as near the quality as those on a regular 25GB Blu-Ray disc, correct? But if it's 5.1 FLAC, then it has the original audio quality as the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. However, it is true that the 1080p HD content was reencoded to a smaller file size, but can you actually tell the difference? In fact, some encoders (especially in the anime fansub world) are actually able to improve the original video quality that came with the Blu-Ray. A 19GB m2ts encoded into a 7GB 1080p 5.1 FLAC file.
So do we really need Blu-Ray, or is it just a technology that has so many unused capabilities. I'll end this by mentioning that HD video games are already available for the Xbox on a format other than Blu-ray, a simple double layer DVD.