DVDs, Blu-ray discs and streaming media players are some of the most common ways to watch your favorite shows and movies at home. Even though they share similarities, all formats and players have different capabilities and features. Before making a decision, here are some important factors to consider when deciding between Blu-ray, DVD and streaming.
Tech Showdown: Streaming vs. Blu-ray vs. DVD
Cost of Players
|Moderate to high||Moderate to high||Low to moderate|
Data Storage Capacity
Standard Video Quality
|Up to 4K||1920 x 1080p||720 x 480p|
|Not compatible with any discs||Backward-compatible with DVD discs||Not forward-compatible with Blu-ray discs|
|Always||More prevalent||Less prevalent|
Advantages of Streaming
- No discs required - You don't need to buy expensive discs for each new movie or show you want to watch, which means you also don't have to worry about losing or damaging them.
- 4K streaming - Newer high-definition teleivisions boast crisp 4K pictures, and most new streaming media players are able to live up to that high quality.
- Lots of available titles - With subscriptions to services like Netflix or Hulu, you gain access to a huge catalog of movies and TV shows to watch.
Limitations of Streaming
- Must have internet - These players stream media from the inernet, so they can't be used when a WiFi connection is unavailable.
- Most services require subscription - While you don't pay per movie or show as with discs, most streaming services require a monthly subscription.
Shop all streaming media players
Advantages of Blu-ray
- More Interactive Features - Because of the disc storage capacity, Blu-ray feature films have more space to hold content like special games, interviews or commentary.
- Backward Compatibility - Blu-ray players can all play standard DVDs, so you don’t need to replace your video catalog of older DVD discs. Many current Blu-ray players are also able to upscale DVD content, producing a higher quality image by automatically filling in pixels for a clearer picture.
- Crisp Picture from Anywhere in the Room - Since video quality is higher with Blu-Ray players than DVD players, smaller homes can take advantage of a closer viewing distance from the screen.
Limitations of Blu-ray
- Higher Cost - Because the technology is more recent, the cost of Blu-ray players and discs is generally more expensive than DVD players and discs.
- Fewer Titles Available - Some older movies are only available in older formats, so you might not be able to find all your favorite movies on Blu-ray.
- More Difficult to Set Up - With features like internet and wireless connectivity, Blu-ray players might be more difficult than a standard DVD player to install and integrate with your home entertainment center.
Shop all Blu-ray discs
Advantages of DVDs
- More Affordable - DVD discs and players have been on the market longer than Blu-ray technology, so the older medium has become more affordable over the years.
- More Options Available - Some older movies have not yet been released in the Blu-ray format, but may be widely available in DVD format.
- Listen to Music - Most players allow CD and MP3 playback for an easy way to enjoy music at home.
Limitations of DVDs
- Interactivity - DVD discs have limited interactive capabilities. Most DVD discs feature a Menu from which to select content, but they typically offer few other interactive qualities.
- Storage Capacity - These discs can hold far less data when compared to Blu-ray discs, making them less efficient.
- Placement in Room - Because the image quality of DVDs is lower than Blu-rays, you’d need to sit further away from a screen playing a DVD than a TV playing a Blu-ray for a clear, sharp picture. For homes with less space, TV placement might play a larger role in your format selection.
Shop all DVDs