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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
My name is Jess Stratton and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. This week, I thought I would do something a bit different and fun and do a rapid fire answer session about Blu-Ray Technology. If you are thinking about upgrading your DVD player but haven't yet, I love my movies in a good home theater environment, so I wanted to share my experiences with Blu-Ray. I chose to do this as a Monday Productivity Pointer because I get asked these questions enough times to tell me that there's still some confusion out there. So, hopefully, I can help everybody learn at least something new that they didn't know about it today.
So here we go. The first question is what is Blu-ray and how is it different than DVD? When DVD came out as a new technology, it originally stood for Digital Video Disc, as the movies that were stored on it where all digital, versus the analog capabilities of VHS. I'm sure you can remember when you put in a DVD for the first time and marveled as the FBI and Interpol warning appeared on the screen with no little white fuzzy dots running along the bottom of the screen. It was completely digital. Flash forward some years and now we have Blu-ray discs.
The disc looks the same physically, however, the storage capabilities are much, much greater than that of a DVD and that's the main difference. The bottom line is that a single Blu-ray disc can hold so much more information. Because of that, instead of being plain old digital in standard definition, now we get very high definition play back and audio. Also, the name Blu-ray, actually, derives from the fact that the actual laser used to read back the disk is in fact blue, rather than the traditional red laser from a DVD.
The second question I get asked a lot, is will I notice a difference right away? And the first answer is, it depends on the Blu-ray. Certain movies, absolutely, look better than others. While others will still appear to be a little bit more pixelated. But I can tell you one thing, if you really want to truly see what Blu-ray is doing for you, watch a few Blu-ray movies and then put a DVD back on. This is how you can be your most objective about what it's doing for your eyes. Also, if you're watching an action movie on Blu-ray, you'll probably notice right away that certain action scenes, like fight sequences, are nicely smoothed out.
Sometimes it's hard to see what's going on because it's so fast and blurry and you'll notice that these are a lot more clear and you can very easily see all the action. Lets talk about audio for a second. A key element that tends to be forgotten is that Blu-ray isn't just about exceptional video, it's also about exceptional audio. Remember, because Blu-ray can store incredible amounts of data on a single disk, that means that there's plenty more room on that disk for audio encoding. So you'll find options like DTS audio, true HD and full 7.1 surround sound included on that disc.
What about DVDs? Can you still use a DVD in a Blu-ray player? Absolutely. You can still use any DVD you already own in your Blu-ray player. In fact, it's going to upscale the quality of the DVD a little bit. So even your old DVDs will look a bit better. You can give away your old DVD player but keep your old DVD's and you'll be just fine. However, it's not backwards compatible though, you can't put a Blu-ray disc in a DVD player. Finally, what's the best way to connect a Blu-ray player to an HD TV? If your HD TV supports something called HDMI, that's the one that you want to pick.
Another common selector, if there's no HDMI, is component cable but an HDMI cable will provide the top video and audio quality in one cable, which is very convenient and it will make your home theatre experience absolutely fantastic.
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