Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) arrived in the late 90's and went on to become the most successful consumer electronics product in history. As a result, DVD players are almost as common as televisions in modern living rooms.
The introduction of DVD players heralded the move from analogue to digital video. Unlike our old VCRs, DVD players used discs that held digital data rather than raw video. The data stored on DVD discs is encoded in a format called MPEG2, and DVD players will decode that data and then output the resulting video and audio to your television.
One key advantage that DVD players have over old VCR decks is picture quality. Compared to what you'd get from a VHS tape, DVD players are in a completely different league, with far brighter, clearer and sharper image quality.
DVD players can also playback compact discs, so there's no need to have a CD player in your living room - DVD players can do it all. DVD discs can be dual sided and dual layered, but all DVD players can read all types of disc.
What is Blu-ray?
DVD players have been around a while and when HDTVs hit the scene, a new disc standard was needed. Initially, there was a format was between HD DVD players and Blu-ray players. Eventually, Blu-ray won, leaving HD DVD players obsolete. Now that Blu-ray is the only high definition disc available, it's worth investing in a Blu-ray player.
Just like DVD players, Blu-ray players use discs that are filled with digital data. The main difference is that while DVD players use discs that can store up to 9GB of data per side, Blu-ray players use discs that can store up to 50GB of data per side. It's this extra capacity that makes Blu-ray the ideal medium for high definition video and Blu-ray players the ideal partner for an HDTV.
Blu-ray players will pump crystal clear, 1080p movies to your TV, giving you the best possible experience. Blu-ray players will also happily play DVD discs too, so they can act as direct replacements for DVD players. Just like DVD players, Blu-ray players can also playback compact discs, so can be used for music duties as well as video.