What Do I need to know about Blu-ray & Hi-Def?

What equipment do I need to watch my Blu-ray video at home?

To enjoy your Blu-ray video at its fullest quality, you will need an HD-capable television and a Blu-ray player.  Keep in mind that not all Blu-ray players on the market support recordable BD-R media (yet).  Be sure to test your wedding video in a player before you buy it.

You can also enjoy your Blu-ray video in a BD-ROM drive connected to your computer's HD monitor with the appropriate software and system requirements.  Please visit http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/ for more details.

Your video will also be burned onto standard DVD media for you to enjoy in your regular DVD player for the time being if that is all you have.  Then you can enjoy your HD video down the road once you're ready to upgrade to the necessary equipment.

What Is High Definition?

High Definition (HD) is the highest level of picture quality available, offering increased image resolution and detail. With more than twice the pixels (or lines) of resolution than Digital Video (DV) offers, Hi-Def must be screened on a HDTV (High Definition TV) for viewers to appreciate the difference in quality. High Definition Video (HDV) is shot at 1080 pixels, while Standard Definition uses 480 pixels.

Can You Say That In English?

The easiest way to understand Hi-Def is to think of widescreen movies, the inspiration for HDV in the first place. You're at the megaplex watching a film on a widescreen, or rectangular-shaped screen. At home, if you have a traditional standard television set, you're watching a movie or show on a box, or square-shaped screen, therefore missing out on the extra action that takes place on the sides (because it has been clipped or "letterboxed" to fit the square shape). If you have a HDTV (the newer rectangular shaped TV), often when you view shows or movies, they are letterboxed (clipped with black on the sides) because they have not been shot in High Definition Video yet. One reason why movies at the theater are so much more captivating is because the screen occupies a greater field of view, especially peripherally, making you feel like you are actually there, experiencing the action.

What Are The Pros of High Definition Video?

Quite simply, clarity and detail. The resolution is outstanding and breathtaking, like looking through a window. The average resolution for VHS is 240 pixels, DVD is 430 pixels, Standard Television is 480 pixels, with HDTV surpassing them all at 1080 pixels. It is the best.

What Are The Cons of High Definition Video?

From a pure visual and aesthetic perspective, there are no cons. However, the equipment is still relatively more expensive for studios and consumers to acquire, even though it is becoming more and more affordable by the day. But because of this extra cost, many videographers have not yet adopted the new technology and do not yet know how to use the new equipment, as the HD cameras are far more advanced so there is a slight learning curve involved. Those who have, may not have mastered it yet. For instance, if a videographer isn't that familiar with the technology yet, it can be harder for him/her to shoot in low light, but with proper and good lighting conditions, you can see significantly more detail from HD video than is possible from Standard Definition. Also, weddings shot with HDV cameras are normally distributed as traditional video on standard DVDs at this time, since Blu-ray players are just recently becoming more available and affordable.

So Why Should You Consider It?

Essentially, because you may be future-proofing your wedding video. Imagine watching your parents' wedding video now. Do you even still have a VCR to play a VHS tape? Just as this format has all but become obsolete, Standard Definition might someday be as well. Those of us lucky enough to be getting married right now have landed in this awkward in-between technology phase. Many videography studios are starting to offer Hi-Def but many still aren't. If you have your wedding video shot in Standard Definition, you won't be able to take advantage of the higher resolution and detail, but a videographer may be easier to find.  Ultimately, the decision is yours - and now that we've given you the skinny, you can make the best choice for you.