On the heels of Blu-ray officially winning the HD disc format war, Walt Disney Studios comes to Cool Springs Galleria through March 1 with its Magical Blu-ray Disc Tour, sponsored by Panasonic Plasma. I checked it out this morning at the media reception.
Sorry, Toshiba, but I always preferred the idea of Blu-ray Disc (BD) over HD DVD, which is just a way of squeezing more out of the old red laser technology. The blue (technically violet) laser of Blu-ray has a shorter wavelength and allows more information to be put on a disc without all the extreme compression required to get HD out of DVD tech. I think they're both just a stopgap between disc entertainment and purely downloadable entertainment, but the Blu-ray picture is incredible—and we're still a few years off from the ideal of streaming HD studio catalogs.
If you haven't experienced the eye-candy beauty of Blu-ray on a gorgeous HDTV, the Disney display is the perfect opportunity to see Jack Sparrow and Disney's second-favorite rodent Ratatouille in their full HD splendor. The friendly technicians on hand can answer any questions, and you can literally just play around with the extreme-content format. Blu-ray is being sold not only as a machine that will play movies—yes, your old DVDs will work, just not as pretty as BDs—but also as a new platform that eventually will allow you to chat with others watching the same thing or connect online to buy products used in the movie.
Personally, I don't plan on buying a standalone Blu-ray player for my home theater. Eventually, I'll most likely get a media PC with a Blu-ray drive. The ideal candidate for a solo Blu-ray player is someone who likes to own movies and watch them over and over again or a gamer who wants a PlayStation 3 (which uses a Blu-ray drive and can play BDs). Now that Blu-ray has come out on top, expect prices to drop slowly throughout the year as we work our way to the next holiday season, when you won't be able to escape the phrase "Have a Blu Christmas!"