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Can You Play a Blu-Ray on a DVD Player?

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/13/2009

Blu-Ray is a completely different and superior media format than DVD, so a Blu-Ray disc will not work in a standard DVD player. You can, however, play DVD movies in a Blu-Ray player. In this article, we look at the differences in the two media formats.

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    DVD vs. Blu-Ray

    When Blu-Ray made its debut a while back, one of the most common questions about it was if a DVD player could play Blu-Ray movies, and the simple answer is no. Blu-Ray is a totally new format and not backwards-compatible with DVD players. You can, however, play DVD movies in a Blu-Ray player. In this article, I’ll explain the differences between the formats.

    blu-ray I sometimes wish Blu-Ray discs didn’t look so much like a DVD. At first glance, you can hardly tell them apart since they are both the same size and often have the same printing on them. The difference is that the Blu-Ray should have some kind of label denoting it as a Blu-Ray. The disc itself is physically thicker than a DVD, but you’d only be able to tell if you had a Blu-Ray and DVD to compare. On the underside of the disc, a DVD is more silver while a Blu-Ray has more color to it.

    Remember when you made the switch from VHS to DVD and marveled at how much improved the picture and sound was on a DVD? Now Blu-Ray has arrived and making the switch from DVD will yield the same results. Believe it or not, Blu-Ray discs are far superior to DVD in terms of video and sound quality and will really help you get the most out of your HDTV. Once you’ve seen the quality potential in a Blu-Ray movie, you’ll be hard pressed to go back to DVD.

    dvd-logo A regular DVD has the capacity to hold roughly 5-8 gigabytes of data. By comparison, a Blu-Ray holds up to 50 gigabytes of data. Because Blu-Ray has such a higher capacity, it can store digital video files in a much less compressed format, so the picture quality is far superior to DVD. The same principle applies to audio. Any time you take raw audio/video data and compress it down to fit on a disc, you will lose some quality during the compression process. Blu-Ray’s high capacity disc helps minimize that data loss by providing a superior medium for storing the information. The result is sharper images and more image frames for a better visually stimulating experience.

    Unless you have an HDTV, you probably won’t notice a big difference with Blu-Ray. To get the most of Blu-Ray movies and a Blu-Ray disc player, you should get an HDTV that supports a 1080p resolution, which is the highest it can currently go. This high definition resolution, combined with an HDMI cable to connect the Blu-Ray player to the HDTV, yields the very best picture you can see right now.

    If you are a bit reluctant to make the switch to Blu-Ray, just keep in mind that a Blu-Ray player will still play DVD movies, so you don’t have to replace your movie collection unless you just want to. At this time, Blu-Ray movies are a bit more expensive that DVD’s, but as they go up in popularity many enthusiasts believe that DVD will go the way of VHS and Blu-Ray will be the media format of choice – at least until something better comes along, and you know it will.