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DVD vs Blu-ray: The Difference Between DVD and Blu-ray

Difference between DVD and Blu-ray

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:31 am

If you’re already satisfied with your collection of DVDs and DVD player, you may be wondering what the buzz is about Blu-ray?

You may want to know what the differences are between DVD and Blu-ray.

To understand the difference let’s delve into how the Blu-ray format came about to displace DVD.

Blu-ray History

Professor Shuji Nakamura of the UCSB (UC Santa Barbara) College of Engineering is regarded as the Father of Blu-ray. He was responsible for the creation and development of the blue laser diode which made Blu-ray technology possible.

Sony and Pioneer supported the work and came up with Blu-ray prototypes as early as 2000. Then in 2002, the Blu-ray Disc Founders formed. The Blu-ray project got underway.

The main idea was to  create a format for the recording and distribution of high-definition video. Also, for the storage of a sizeable amount of data.

It was important that Blu-ray retained the form factors of CDs and DVDs to ensure backward compatibility.

Blu-ray Disc Founders became Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) in In 2005.
The Association finalized the physical specifications of Blu-ray.

By 2006, the BD-ROM specifications were approved and Blu-ray players hit the market.

The delay allowed HD DVD players to emerge months earlier.

Disc Size

Blu-ray is part of the compact disc (CD) technology. It’s the third generation of this versatile technology after audio CD and DVD.

The three formats share one thing in common – disc size.

Digital data is stored in a plastic disc measuring 120 millimetres or 4.75 inches in diameter.

Storage Space

The difference between DVD and Blu-ray is also evident when it comes to storage space.

A single layer DVD offers 4.7GB of storage space and a dual-layer DVD, 8.5GB.

A Blu-ray disc, on the other hand, provides 25GB of space over a single-layer disc and 50GB over a dual-layer disc.

This additional storage space allows it to store HD video with superior quality audio.

Now, you may be wondering, how is it possible to cram so much additional data when the disc size remains the size.

Well. the amount of data stored doesn’t depend on the disc size. It depends on the laser wavelength, as will be explained below.

Laser Type

A notable difference between DVD and Blu-ray is the laser type used.

A DVD is read by a DVD player using a red laser beam.

Blu-ray is read using a blue laser, as its name (blu) suggests.

The name Blu highlights the blue-violet laser that reads the Blu-ray disc.

This color laser is what sets Blu-ray apart from CDs and DVDs. It is what allows Blu-ray discs to store about ten times the data amount compared to DVDs.

DVD has a laser wavelength of 650 nanometers (nm) ( A nanometer is one-millionth of a millimetre). CD has a laser wavelength of 780 nm.

Blu-ray has a laser wavelength of 405 nm. This lower wavelength allows it to display higher quality images.

Blu-ray also has a closer or tighter track pitch. This means more information can be written and read on it.

Data Transfer

DVD supports a data transfer rate of 10.08 Mbps (Megabits per second) for video and 11Mbps for data.

Blu-ray, on the other hand, has a data transfer rate of 54Mbps for video and 36Mbps for data.

Visual Difference Between and DVD and Blu-ray

DVD has a resolution of 576 horizontal lines. Standard Blu-ray can support up to 1080 horizontal lines.

Can You Play Blu-ray on a DVD Player?

The main difference between DVD and Blu-ray when it comes to playback is you can’t play Blu-ray on a DVD player.

On the other hand, you can play a DVD on a Blu-ray player. Blu-ray players are backwards compatible.

Whether you choose to buy a new player or a Blu-ray player is up to you.

DVD players are much cheaper than Blu-ray players.

If you have a huge collection of DVDs and don’t foresee viewing them on Blu-ray, opt for DVD players.

Check out the Best DVD Players and Best Blu-ray Players.


Blu-ray Disc Association

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