What are the Differences Between Blu-Ray and DVD?

Differences Between Blu-Ray and DVD
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Last Updated on September 12, 2020 by Thomas C. Bell

Traditionally, new technology replaces old technology very quickly but this is not the case for DVD and blu-ray. Blu-ray is the latest technology but it seems like both DVD and blu-ray have been sitting side-by-side in the market together since the invention of Blu-ray technology. There are lots of confusion among the general people about the DVD and blu-ray. Many people don’t understand the differences between Blu-ray and DVD; therefore, sometimes they find it difficult to choose between DVD and blu-ray. So in this article, I will discuss the main differences between these 2 media types: storage capacity, laser technology, disc construction, image resolution, player compatibility, and many more.

What is DVD?

DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc. It is a digital optical disc storage format that was first developed in 1995 and released in late 1996. In a DVD you can store any kind of digital data and it is more popular for storing software and other computer files. DVD is also used to store video programs and they can be watched using DVD players. DVDs offer more storage space compared to the compact discs while having the same dimensions. There are three types of DVDs available:

  • Double-sided discs: This type of DVD has two recorded data layers and each layer is accessible from either side of the disc.  
  • Dual-layer discs: This disc type also has a second recorded layer but both the layers are readable from the same side. 
  • DVD-18 discs: This disc type combines the DVD-9 and DVD-10 disc types by containing four recorded data layers and it provides a total nominal capacity of 17.0 GB, with 8.5 GB per side.    

What is Blu-Ray?

Blu-ray is a digital optical disc data storage format where you can store several hours of video in high-definition. It is the 3rd generation of CD. The first two generations are audio CDs and digital video discs (DVDs). Bly-ray supports storing HDTV 720p and 1080p videos. This technology was first introduced on June 20, 2006. Blu-ray is mostly used for video material such as feature films and video games for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. There are few variants available for blu-ray discs. They are:

  • Mini Blu-ray Disc: This is a compact 8-centimeter-diameter blu-ray disc where you can store 7.8 GB of data in its single-layer configuration and in the dual-layer configuration you can store 15.6 GB of data.
  • Blu-ray Disc recordable: This disc format is a combination of two optical disc formats and it can be recorded with an optical disc recorder. Blu-ray Disc recordable can be written to once but the Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable (BD-REs) can be erased and re-recorded multiple times.   
  • BD9: The BD-9 format is used as the cost-effective alternative to the 25/50 GB BD-ROM discs. This type of disc can contain 8.5 GB of Dada on it. 
  • BD5: This is a single layer Blu-ray disc format with a capacity of 4.7 GB. This disc format is mostly used by the individuals for recording high definition content in Blu-ray format onto recordable DVD media. 
  • BDXL: This disc format allows 100 GB and 128 GB write-once discs and 100 GB rewritable discs for commercial applications. BDXL discs are available in two versions: triple-layer (TL) and quadruple layer (QL). 
  • IH-BD: Intra-Hybrid Blu-ray (IH-BD) disc format comes with a 25 GB rewritable layer (BD-RE) and a 25 GB write-once layer (BD-ROM).

Difference Between Blu-Ray and DVD             

Blu-ray discs look exactly the same as DVDs in size and shape but there are noticeable differences available and there is no debate about the fact that Blu-Ray is unequivocally better than the DVDs in every aspect.

Storage Capacity

Blu-ray disc has a large storage capacity; in fact, blu-ray has a lot more storage capacity compared to the DVD. A standard DVD comes with enough storage space to hold a single movie on it. Generally, a DVD holds 4.7 Gigabytes of data. If the movie is more than two hours then you will need two discs to store the movie. You can also use a double layer DVD as it can store around 9GB of Data. On the other hand, a double-layer Blu-ray disc can hold a massive 50 GB of data. So you can easily store four hours of high definition information or 26 hours of standard definition information.     

Laser Technology

Laser technology is used for both DVDs and Blu-ray discs to read the information stored on the disc. The disc spin and the laser reads the data stored on the disc. The difference is; it requires a red laser at 650nm wavelength to read DVDs. When the DVD spins the red laser reads the information encoded on the media and produces an image and sound on your output devices.

Blu-ray disc on the other hand requires a blue laser to read the stored information. The laser wavelengths are shorter for the blu-ray discs compared to the DVDs. A Blu-ray disc requires a blue laser at 405nm wavelength to read the discs. Moreover, the laser requires blu-ray discs that are about two and a half times smaller in diameter than red lasers. So the blue laser allows for closer and more precise reading of information stored on the disc.

Disc Construction

It is very difficult to spot the difference in the disc construction of DVDs and Blu-ray discs in the naked eye. The disc construction looks exactly the same, but the Blu-Ray’s grooves are much closer and thinner because the blue laser can read more precise data. This is the reason why Blu-ray discs can store more data. In fact, the Blu-ray disc can squeeze almost five times as many grooves on to a disc exactly the same size as a DVD. Moreover, Blu-ray disc comes with a protective layer to prevent scratches. This protective layer is also thinner compared to the protective layer of the DVDs.

The grooves of the DVDs need to be wide so that the larger wavelength of the red laser can read the data easily and accurately. This is the reason the DVDs can provide only 4.7 GB storage space on one side. There is also a protective layer available in the DVDs to resist scratching and it is also thicker compared to the protective layer of the blu-ray discs.

Image Resolution

The image resolution is measured by the number of vertical lines times the number of horizontal lines of light in a picture. The image resolution is represented by the number of horizontal lines going across the screen. So 1080p means 1080 horizontal lines are going across the screen. So the higher the number is the more detailed picture you will see. Most of the DVDs have a standard resolution of 480p or 520p. So you won’t get high-definition movie viewing on your DVD. This type of picture quality looks great on a standard TV but if you have a widescreen HDTV then you won’t have a pleasant experience watching movies.

Blu-ray discs are designed for high definition 1080 display. Generally, Blu-ray discs have large disc spaces so it can easily fit an entire HD movie on a single-layer disc. At present, Blu-ray has the best image resolution on the market and this type of picture quality looks great on HDTVs. In fact, blu-ray is made for HD, and you’ll get the best picture thanks to the 1080 HD capability for your Blu-Ray movies.

Player Compatibility

There are differences in player compatibility of DVDs and Blu-ray discs. In standard DVD players, Blu-ray disc won’t play because the red laser used in DVD players is too large to read the tiny grooves in a Blu-ray disc.  However, all the blu-ray players available in the market are backward compatible and can play the standard DVDs. But remember, the image quality of DVDs will be the same as you will see in the DVD players. You won’t get the high definition quality like a Blu-ray disc though the DVD is running in a blu-ray player.

Data Transfer

There is a significant difference between the data transfer rate of DVDs and Blu-ray discs. For a standard DVD, you will get a data transfer rate of 10.08 megabits per second. On the other hand, you will get a data transfer rate of 54 Mbps from a Blu-ray disc. So a Blu-ray disc not only provides large storage space but also ensures the fastest data transfer rate compared to DVDs.

Final Thought

So, it is clear that a Blu-ray disc is a much better option compared to the DVDs in every category. The best thing a blu-ray disc has brought is the higher image resolution and more storage space. If you have anything ask about DVDs or blu-ray disc then leave your query in the comment section. I will get to you soon!

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