The Lightning Strike
Evolution of EntertainmentThursday, March 05, 2009 By William Campbell
The bass shakes every part of your body. The energy of the crowd is extraordinary, and when it’s over, a rock concert can be a life changing experience. This is the experience of watching a Blu-Ray disc on a high definition television. "I got the Led Zeppelin concert Blu-Ray and I could not believe how amazing it was," junior Dalton Steele said. "It was like being at the concert when I turned on surround sound." Home entertainment was not always as exhilarating. The first television broadcast on black and white televisions dates back to 1940 when there was one channel that was mostly for news. Just a decade later, in the 1950s, the color television was created, followed by the broadcast of cable television and the VCR in the ‘70s. DVDs and HDTVs then hit the scene in the late ‘90s and permanently changed home entertainment. Finally, in 2006, Blu-Ray discs were released, changing home entertainment from just watching television to becoming part of the show. The superiority of Blu-ray discs is clear on the basis of memory alone. While a DVD has 4.7 GB of memory, a blu-ray disc has between 27 and 54 GB, depending on the amount of layers in the disc. That is comparable to the difference between a flash drive and an XBOX 360 hard drive, respectively. In addition, while DVD players use a red laser to read discs, Blu-Ray players, as evidenced by the name, use a blue laser. Lasers read spiral grooves in the disc called pits, which store audio and video information. Because blue light has a shorter wave length than red light, Blu-Rays can read more pits in less amounts of time than DVDs, allowing for high definition picture and sound quality. Blu-Rays alone cannot achieve the ultimate home theater experience. An HDTV completes the package with an undeniably superior picture. Watching Blu-Rays without an HDTV is similar to looking at a painting in the dark. The most common type of HDTV is an LCD, or liquid crystal display. Plasma televisions were the original HDTV but were quickly taken over by LCDs because LCDs last longer and give a better picture. The home entertainment industry was once again transformed this month on Feb. 17 when cable television was converted from analog to digital. What this means is that cable subscribers who rely on antennas and "bunny ears" to get their television signal need a conversion box.