4 Reasons I'm Still Buying Blu-Ray Movies in 2024 – Gear Patrol

And you should, too.

At first, it might seem ridiculous to buy a Blu-ray disc. They’re expensive. They take up space. And they’re easily damaged. Add to that, you can stream just about any movie or show that you want so long as you subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, or you’re willing to rent or buy it on-demand from your cable provider.
However, a lot of people are actually still buying Blu-ray discs. And while you might be tempted to think they’re all dinosaurs, you know what? They’re actually onto something … here’s why.
It’s 2023 and most streaming services deliver shows and movies in beautiful 4K. This does not mean that they deliver the same 4K picture as a Blu-Ray, however. Most streaming services can deliver a 4K picture with a video bitrate, which is the amount of data sent to your screen, at between 15 Mbps and 40 Mbps. For example, Netflix maxes out at 17Mbps, while Apple TV+ maxes out at around 41 Mbps. The very best Blu-rays, the 4K Ultra HD versions, can deliver a 4K picture with maximum video bitrate of 128 Mbps. So even though they are technically the same resolution, you get a lot more detail with the Blu-ray.
“The definitive home video versions of my films are the Blu-ray and the 4K versions.”
The other thing with streaming services, it’s a little bit of a mixed back when it comes to their support of various audio and visual technologies, especially for high-dynamic range (like HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HLG) and immersive sound (like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X). This means that if you stream a movie, there’s a good chance that it might not sound or look as good as the director originally intended.
In a recent interview with Konbini while promoting his latest film Oppenheimer, director Christopher Nolan explained doubled down on this. “I think the home video versions of my films, the definitive versions are the Blu-ray and the 4K versions,” Nolan explained. “There’s much less compression. There’s very specific author and we control the color of the picture, the brightness, and all these things. When you stream a film it’s like broadcasting a film. We don’t have much control on how it goes out.”
When streaming a movie, your picture quality is very dependent on your internet. A 4K stream requires a connection that is not only fast in general, but fast when you want to watch your movie. If your home’s internet speed and bandwidth aren’t up to snuff, your video might not be at its highest resolution or it might hit you with a bunch of pauses and load screens while you’re watching. Also, if your internet plan has a data cap, these 4K streams could put a right dent into it.
A Blu-ray disc obviously doesn’t rely on the internet, so its quality is always perfect even if the internet is completely down. The only thing you need to worry about is no scratching the disc (and having a working Blu-ray player).
One of streaming’s biggest advantages is that it allows you to watch a movie or show pretty much anywhere you want and on any device. With physical media like a Blu-ray or a DVD, you’re much more limited, needing both the disc and a media player to play it. A few years ago a bunch of Hollywood studios launched Movies Anywhere, a free movie streaming service (similar to Netflix) that lets you enter a redeem code that comes with a purchased Blu-rays and DVDs, and then you can watch that digital copy whenever you want.
Movies Anywhere also acts as a resting place for the movies and shows you’ve purchased from other streaming services, like iTunes, Amazon Video and Google Play, and aggregate them with the digital copies of your Blu-rays or DVDs so that everything is in one place. Movies Anywhere is a free app that you can download on your iOS or Android devices; it’s also available on most smart TV platforms including Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
But best of all, if you have a physical Blu-ray, you never have to worry about your favorite movies “leaving” the streaming service where you watch them. No matter what happens to the digital rights of your favorite film now or years in the future, you will be able to put your disc in a player and go. It’s a degree of security that the modern streaming world, for all its up-to-the-second convenience, just cannot match.
For the same reasons that people are still buying vinyl, CDs and cassette tapes, they’re also buying Blu-rays and DVDs — it’s the nostalgic experience. There’s nothing quite like taking a disc out of its case, placing it in your media player and hearing (and watching) the technology work. It’s visceral.
When you’re able to hold a physical copy of something, whether that be a Blu-ray or a book, you get more attached to it, too. That sense of ownership helps you form a sort of bond with the material, which is something a digital copy can’t replicate. Whether that’s actually important to you personally may come down to a matter of taste, but you can’t argue that there are plenty of people who appreciate the appeal.
There are some other perks when buying a physical copy of something. With a Blu-ray specifically, you get the booklet and artwork, but you also get access to bonus footage and special features. This often includes a version of the film with the director’s commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes interviews and other stuff that gives you a better idea of what went into making that film. And that stuff is fun!

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