Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi

Larry Dent is the owner of Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi.

These articles were written for the Islander Weekly.

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Larry's Tech Talk

HooRay for BluRay!!

In case you didn’t notice, Hollywood is and has been a huge influence in our lives. And how those guys have delivered their audio/video productions to the public has been an amazing evolution. Going way back, if you wanted to see a movie you went to the theater. Then television brought an in-home experience (to some extent) in black and white. Hey, my Dad watched Gunsmoke the day I was born. I’m talkin’ Marshall Matt Dillon baby!! Color television was invented and then the Video Cassette Recorder. Cable and Satellite gave us HBO and Pay Per View.

The VCR became one of the fastest selling consumer devices ever, starting out with prices around $1000 (remember the Sony Beta-max?). That price didn’t last long, and now you couldn’t give a VCR away. Video stores appeared on the scene. The pessimists said it would be the end of the movie making business. But, actually it was a boom in entertainment revenues. A few movie theaters are still around, but not like back in the day. And now video stores are disappearing fast, i.e. Kent Island Blockbuster.

The DVD player (that’s short for Digital Video Disc) improved on the VCR’s video capabilities. And the audio was better too, with on-board surround sound processing. You might still be using yours. Then like everything in electronics, another one bites the dust.

Blu-discs look very similar to their predecessor (the DVD). But, the major technical difference is a BluRay disc holds around 20 gigabytes, while the DVD maxed out at 6 gigabytes. We all know more is better, but what can 20 Gigabytes do for us? Basically it can squeeze the highest definition digital video and audio onto the same size disc as a DVD…… I get it, 20 vs.6, that’s easy enough to figure out.

OK Larry, but you already said that video stores were disappearing and streaming movies via the internet will become the norm. Why should I buy another disc player? Great question! And here’s your answer(s). First, BluRay players are downward compatible, meaning they will play standard DVDs and CDs. Your existing collection can be played from a BluRay player. Secondly, most BluRay players can connect to the Internet. So, if your slightly older TV is not net-workable, a BluRay player can be used to download Netflix, Pandora, Rhapsody, and other services without upgrading your other components. And yes, it integrates easily with your home’s audio/video system. The third answer to your question, it will actually upconvert your DVDs to make a better video image. I think of DVDs as mid-def, and BluRay discs as Hi-Def. A BluRay player will upconvert your DVDs to true Hi-Definition (automatically).

But how much will this technology cost?? And when I hear the word “network”, I get nervous. OH-KAY! (remember Alvin and the chipmunks?) One question at a time… can buy an excellent BluRay player for under $200. And as for connecting to your home’s network, no worries. A blind-folded teenager could do it! (What is it with the young people and their intuitive abilities with today’s technology?) Anyway, I call it “Plug and Pray”! But in reality, it is almost always Plug and Play! If your network is up, the BluRay should connect.

And, one more major detail. Everyone expects BluRay players to deliver outstanding, razor sharp video, and they do. But honestly, my big attraction is the AUDIO! BluRay players sound AWESOME! But more on that later.

So, Hoo-Ray for Hollywood! And Hoo-Ray for BluRay!