Is high-definition all it’s cracked up to be? Not on many Blu-ray movies as it turns out. Despite the routine claims that Blu-ray delivers ‘the maximum HD experience’ some barely look better than their DVD counterparts.
Blu-ray is the gold standard of high-definition home viewing. Better resolution means more pixels, more detail, better colour and more natural pictures than anything broadcast in HD.
And it’s certainly streets ahead of poor old standard definition DVD. Right? Well as it turns out, rather than replying with a resounding ‘yes’, it’s more of a ‘well yes, hmm maybe, err not really’ depending on which Blu-ray movie you happen to buy.
Blu-ray test gives mixed results
In a recent Which? investigation, we uncovered a real gulf between the best and the worst. It should make everyone think twice about shelling out.
Don’t get me wrong. Blu-ray can look fantastic. New movies produced since the format launched in 2006 are optimized for HD and transfer brilliantly to Blu-ray. And there’s plenty of older movies worth the cover price too.
Zulu, Wizard of Oz and From Russia with Love are classic movies that span the decades, but still manage to look like they could have been filmed yesterday (though the 60s fashion sensibilities in Bond could give it away).
Yet, if you’re a movie fan like me and feel the urge to ‘upgrade’ some of the classics from your collection, you’ll be in for a shock. There are some real stinkers that put the format to shame. Ghostbusters, Die Hard and The Graduate are shocking examples of Blu-rays that offer little more than the DVD versions – other than over-saturated colour and an inflated cover price.
How can we pick out the good ones?
Andrew Vandervell has already bemoaned the lack of HD broadcast content for those without the deep pockets for Sky+HD, so I’m aware that this isn’t what HD TV owners want to hear. But don’t despair. When they get it right, the studios do deliver. Zulu really does look like a different film on Blu-ray – the colour and detail is simply magnificent.
But how can you pick out a gem from the duds? Unfortunately, you can’t tell from the packaging. Most discs are routinely labeled ‘full-HD quality’, and there are no industry plans for any ‘mastered from the original source’ logos on the horizon.
So what’s your experience of Blu-rays? Do you have any in your collection that look no better than DVDs, or do you have a bunch that live up to the high-definition hype?