Blu-ray vs VOD
Online movie downloading is on the rise, with just a click sites such as Netflix and Hulu allow users to stream their favourite movies onto a laptop or tablet for a subscription fee. Some commentators warn that internet downloads could do to Blu-ray what DVDs did to VHS, overtaking them and rendering the format obsolete. However film viewers are still holding on to optical discs and they don’t appear to be going anywhere just yet as they allow users to utilise their HD TVs and watch movies in their full cinematic glory.
Blu-ray: quality is key
With many film viewers wanting to replicate the cinema in their own living room, quality is top priority for any film-viewing experience. High definition movies on Blu-ray are still the number one option for those wanting to watch the latest film in all its splendour. .
VOD: no limits
Downloading, however, means you aren’t just restricted to the living room, or even to the laptop. Movies can be streamed to tablets and mobile devices, meaning you can watch the latest blockbuster wherever you want, wi-fi permitting. And with wireless adapters now available allowing you to connect your tablet or laptop to your TV, you’re no longer restricted to that postage stamp that is your laptop screen.
Blu-ray: no buffering
Need I say more? The bane of every internet user. It always happens at the worst time. A moment of suspense is stopped in its tracks, completely killing the viewing experience. Poor internet connection and slow download can be infuriating. Lose the connection, lose the movie. Thankfully that’s something you don’t need to worry about with Blu-ray players. #firstworldproblems
VOD: instant access
With our demanding consumer culture we often expect instant access and immediate satisfaction. Buying a Blu-ray requires effort many of us modern folk tend to avoid – whether that’s physically going to the store and picking one up or even ordering it online and waiting for delivery. Movie downloads mean you don’t have to go anywhere, allowing you to stream that movie from the comfort of your armchair, or bed, or toilet, or wherever you see fit!
The beauty of downloading is that you can play by your own rules: streaming on demand or downloading and saving for later to watch again and again. Not to mention all that space you save not having those colossal complete series Blur-ray box sets dominating your bookshelf – instead they are all readily accessible on your laptop.
Blu-ray: the ritual
For many, Movie Night is like a ritual. You unsheathe the Blu-ray from the plastic and slot it in, sit back on the sofa, rip open that bumper bag of M&Ms, fiddle with the start menu for a bit, then lie back and let yourself get taken in for a while. Lights off, no distractions. We relish the ritual of it all, the satisfaction of tearing into the plastic cover of a brand spanking new Blu-ray, the whirr of a Blu-ray player starting up and the feel of the movie there in your hands.
The Blu-ray is an aesthetic pleasure, it’s for similar reasons we still hold onto printed books, despite the alternative offered by Kindle. The greatest honour for any die-hard fan is to own the “collector’s edition”, the ultimate Blu-ray cover, the box set to rule them all, a limited edition artisan case to show you are a true movie fan.
VOD: put your money where your mouse is
Although you’d expect to fork out for a limited edition box set, Blu-rays themselves and the set-up required can still be quite expensive, especially for new releases. Most online movie download sites offer monthly subscription, allowing you access to their entire library for a small fee. To download or stream new releases is still far cheaper than buying the Blu-ray, paying only for the movies you want.
However, Blu-rays can be resold at a later date, meaning you can get a little of your money back, unlike downloads. Also, if you download a movie onto your hard drive and for some reason it is lost or corrupted, as so often happens, you have to pay again for another download.
No clear winner
It seems the battle between Blu-ray and VOD will rage for some time. But the Blu-ray doesn’t show any sign of conceding any time soon, with Blu-ray players still ensuring better reliability and quality than streamed movies. Only time, and internet connection speeds, will tell. But the Blu-ray isn’t going anywhere just yet.
The editorial unit