I have avoided getting a Blu-ray player for years.
Why I Avoided Blu-ray All These Years
Almost a decade ago, I bought a laptop that just happened to have a Blu-Ray player in it and someone loaned me the first Despicable Me film on a Blu-ray disc, so I played it. Given the small screen size, the only thing I really noticed was that it loaded really slowly.
But there was another reason I preferred DVDs over Blu-Ray discs: DVD Shrink. My preference is to put a disc on a hard drive and then just put the disc in my cabinet. I hate having to find any particular disc.
Digital Copies Don’t Cut It — Yet, at Least
I know: I can get digital copies. And as soon as digital copies come with all the extra features that the discs do, I’ll switch. But they don’t.
(Regardless, this is very important: don’t steal films. I could hardly give a jellybean for the lost revenue of Hollywood. But especially now, psychotronic filmmakers can only make films if we all buy them and don’t make or download illegal copies.)
As a result of this, Blu-ray was not a technology that I was keen on.
What Got Me Interested in Blu-ray
But I was at our only remaining video store (and the only one that was ever good), Video Droid. They were playing some film I don’t care for too much (which is unusual, because they have good taste). And I noticed that it looked particularly good on their enormous screen. So I asked the clerk, “Is that Blu-ray?” And she said, “Sure. The players are the same price as DVD players.”
That got me thinking.
There had been a little problem I’ve been running into recently: films on Blu-ray discs are often cheaper than films on DVD. And sometimes, you can only get things on Blu-Ray.
For example, Something Weird Video released The Blood Trilogy on Blu-ray (it says multi-format, but it isn’t — typical Amazon). That’s Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!, and Color Me Blood Red on a single disc! And when I bought it, it was only $9.99!
Well, that was it! I needed to buy a Blu-ray player. So I went over to Amazon and bought a refurbished Blu-ray player for just $36.99.
My Personal Blu-ray Problems
It turned out to be a bit more complicated for me than I had hoped. I had a monitor with a VGA and two HDMI inputs. So I figured there would be no problem. There was — but just one.
My monitor was so old that it didn’t have speakers in it. So I could watch Blu-rays, but I couldn’t hear them. So I bought a better monitor, with sound, for half the price I paid for my old monitor.
I was happier than a psychotronic film fanatic with The Blood Trilogy on Blu-ray and nothing to do all Memorial Day.
The great surprise is that even on my little 20", the picture quality is notably better. The sound is not as good as it could be, but sound on the films I most watch is usually the lowest quality aspect.
If You Can, You Should Get a Blu-ray Player
If you are poor, well, you’re poor. But if you aren’t, it’s time to trade in your old DVD player for a Blu-ray player. (Make sure it also plays DVDs, because sometimes — very rarely — they won’t, given it does require an extra laser.) It gives you more options.
And if you buy as few as a dozen films on disc per year, you will likely make your money back within too long. For example, right now, a new release of Bubba Ho-Tep on Blu-ray is available for half-the price of the original DVD. And it has a number of new extras, including a commentary track with Joe R Lansdale, who wrote the original short story. The price difference is well over half the cost of my new Blu-ray player.
DVD Is King — For Now
But yes, you can buy used copies. I’ve just had problems with used discs. People treat them like hell and they often skip or won’t play at all. And there is no point sending them back, because if you purchased a disc used, it’s because it was cheap. Are you really going to spend all that time and effort to send it back just to net $2.00?
DVDs are still king. And for the time being, you can often get very good deals on used copies. Used Blu-ray discs are still unacceptably expensive, but that will change.
I don’t care what the format is. My main problem with VHS is that almost all films were panned and scanned (the edges were cut off on anything other than films shot in 4/3 aspect ratio). Also: very rarely did they have any extras. Otherwise, whatever. You still need a VCR!
The Future Is Blu-ray
But I’m afraid Blu-ray is the future. And it’s reached the point where it will often save you money or allow you to get a film that you couldn’t otherwise.
A Blu-ray player is a good investment. And if you need to replace a DVD player, there’s no question: get a Blu-ray player.
 Be very careful if you try to download DVD Shrink. Most sites are just scams. You can spend hours trying to find the link to the program and only be taken to every other site imaginable offering you every kind of software imaginable.
The last release is version 126.96.36.199, although the install program will just say 3.2. Even Wikipedia, as I write this, lists a scam site for DVD Shrink. It is free software. If someone is trying to sell it to you, it is a scam. They will likely take your money and there is no assurance you will even get the software.
The link I provided is good as of the day this was published (27 May 2018). There is a simple link to “Download DVD Shrink 3.2.” If that page has become spam, use the Archive.org link on The Wayback Machine.
Note that DVD Shrink stopped development back in 2004 for legal reasons. So there is no point paying to “support” its development. Also, there are discs it won’t work on. What’s more, it’s use is illegal in some countries. It shouldn’t be. People don’t outlaw garden rakes just because you could commit a crime with them. But this is typical of the power that Hollywood has and our totally out of control copyright system.