Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade...

After several weeks of watching prices, I finally went ahead and picked up The Dark Knight on Blu-Ray today for $10 at Target.  Now, I already own the movie on DVD, but ten bones seemed like enough of a justifable reason to upgrade to a higher-resolution Blu-Ray version.

Since getting a Blu-Ray player earlier this year as an anniversary gift, I've been trying to decide which of the movies in my existing DVD collection are worth the upgrade to Blu-Ray, which of them aren't, and how much I'm willing to spend on the ones that are.  Yeah, I know, really important stuff to worry about, right?  All that trivial stuff about the economy, wars being fought overseas or upcoming elections...Meh. 

So as I attempt to tackle these pressing issues to mankind, it seems the movies I want to upgrade the most fall into two categories -- recent big-budget epics and all-time favorite classics.  Specifically, I'm focusing on recent films like The Dark Knight, which was beautifully crafted and made to be seen in a sharper resolution than standard DVD, or classics like Superman (1978), which was made long before the digital age but ranks among my personal favorites.

Once I've decided about whether I want to upgrade the film, the question then becomes What price am I willing to pay to upgrade a movie I already own?  For the sake of keeping myself in check budgetwise, I've imposed a $10 limit on buying Blu-Rays that are already available for purchase.  This means I check the ads for Best Buy and Target on a weekly basis looking for sales or cuts in regular prices until I find one of the movies I want at that $10 price or below.  Sometimes, though, a movie arrives on Blu-Ray for the first time, possibly remastered for an even better picture, but it may be quite some time before it goes down to the $10 level.  If it's something I really want to upgrade, I'll scout around for the cheapest available price or hold off in the hopes that someone will get it for me for my birthday or Christmas.

So these are my methods of madness.  If anyone else finds themselves in similar situations and has their own criteria for upgrading, I'd love to know how you handle this sort of thing.


  1. I've yet to purchase a Blu-Ray system yet. Haven't really gotten around to it. That, and I've wondered if the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray was really all that significant. Granted, I've never actually seen a film on Blu-Ray.

    Tell me, Charles...what are the best reasons to make the upgrade to Blu-Ray?

  2. Michael, the single best reason to make the upgrade to Blu-Ray is the increasing store shelf space for Blu-Rays vs. the shrinking shelf space for DVDs. Over the past month alone, I've noticed that Target, Best Buy and Meijer's superstores here in Columbus have added an entire lane or more for Blu-Ray shelf space at the expense of the DVD shelf space. I expect within the next year that Blu-Ray will become the dominant tangible home video product.

    The obvious next reason is the upgrade in picture and sound quality, but you should invest in a decent HD widescreen television because Blu-Ray on a standard television is pointless. It also depends on the type of movies or programs. Movies and TV filmed over the past few years were made with high-def detail in mind and will justify the Blu-Ray purchase. The older the content, the poorer the picture quality unless you see something like "digitally remastered for Blu-Ray," such as the upcoming BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy Blu-Ray set.

    Also, animation made with Blu-Ray releases in mind, such as the recent SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE and JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS, really pop on Blu-Ray with bolder colors and sharper lines. PIXAR films, especially recent ones, look terrific on Blu-Ray and I'm definitely picking up THE INCREDIBLES when it arrives early next year.

    My recommendation is to go to a nearby Best Buy or Target and just study the various Blu-Ray/HD TV displays for a while without buying anything. You should be able to judge for yourself if the upgrade is warranted, but Lori and I are pretty well convinced that our gradual shift to Blu-Ray was the right one.

    Hope this helps!