A popular way to protect your original DVDs is to burn copies, and keep the originals safely tucked away. Blu-Ray is the new HD media standard, and I’m wondering if it’s practical to continue this practice.
In order to do this you’re going to need a blu-ray burner. Blu-Ray is not incredibly new, as far as technology goes. It’s been around for a couple years. It only recently won the war against HD DVD though, so it’s just starting to take advantage of having access to the full market share. As such, the price of a blu-ray disc burner is quite high when compared to a dvd burner. Most computers even come equipped with DVD burners as a standard, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a Blu-Ray burner as a standard option on any computer. A cheaper option to back up your media would be to get a Blu-Ray DVD burner that reads both DVDs and Blu-Ray, and burns DVDs. This is not ideal, since you will lose much of the HD quality when burning to DVD, but at least you will have a backup should something occur to your disc.
Your options are also limited if you want to burn Blu-Ray Discs. You can’t simply buy a Blu-Ray player/burner for your TV or home theater. The best option you’ll find right now is a usb blu-ray burner. That’s really not that bad, because more and more of us are running our home theaters and entertainment systems through a computer. This can be inconvenient though, compared to the ease of popping a DVD into its player, along with a blank disc, and letting it copy over. In order to burn your Blu-Ray disc, you first have to rip it to your computer, and then burn it. It’s as difficult as it was to burn a DVD 10 years ago.
With memory at the prices they are these days, it’s more cost effective to rip the DVDs to a large hard drive. A blu-ray file size is often less than 50 GBs, and it seems the average is somewhere in the 25-30GB range. You can get a 4TB hard drive from Tiger direct for less than $600 bucks. That will hold 80-160 movies, and costs less than a Blu-Ray burner and media combined. The cost of purchasing the blu-ray discs alone is as much as, if not more than that hard drive. You have to jump through some hoops to rip those blu-ray discs, but it’s easier and cheaper to leave them on a hard drive than burning them.
One final nail in the blu-ray burning coffin is the expense of the media. A spindle of 25 discs can cost well over $100 dollars, and up into the 2-300 dollar territory. Added to the cost of the DVD burner to begin with, and the time required to rip and burn the discs really makes the whole process cost prohibitive.
It’s my opinion that as of today, it is simply impractical to incorporate a blu-ray burner into your home cinema. We expect the prices to come down to a reasonable price, and technology to catch up to where it’s at with DVDs. When that happens, investing in blu-ray replication may be in order, but right now, it’s just not worth it.