Blu-ray v. DVD: Quick Tips to Eliminate Confusion

Moira West


There are three parts to creating a video to give to clients:

  1. Input – your images and video. If you have low resolution images, you won’t have a high resolution video. For the best quality videos, we recommend that images are sized to 1024×768 pixels or greater.
  2. Medium – how your client views the video. It could be through the internet, DVD or Blu-ray discs, or by playing files from a USB thumb drive.
  3. Display – what your client uses to view the video, such as TVs, computers, or phone screens.

Let’s assume for the moment that you have good input and you’ve uploaded high resolution images. Let’s also agree that you can’t control exactly how your client views your product. So the only variable to discuss here is the medium you use.

Which Medium Should You Choose?

Many times you can offer a downloadable version of your video through the internet, which allows clients to display your video anywhere they want. Still, maybe you want to offer something concrete as part of a package or as a carrot.

You can also offer clients a USB thumb drive with your video on it. Many TVs and Blu-ray players (not to mention most computers) have USB ports that would allow clients to view your video, which is an easy, inexpensive option to consider.

But let’s say you don’t want to do that either, and you plan to create a DVD or Blu-ray. Now we’ve entered territory requiring a little technical know-how.


How do you decide between DVD and Blu-ray?

Here’s how to choose which one might work best for you.

First of all, DVDs are not high definition. A standard DVD has a 480p resolution, be it blockbuster Hollywood movie about crime-fighting karate penguins or your own Animoto creation. There are programs out there that claim they can take your high definition videos and “collapse” it into a DVD format. No matter what these programs claim, you’ll still have a standard definition video when you’re done. If you want a true high definition disc, you’ll need to create a Blu-ray disc playable on a Blu-ray player. (See chart below.)




Standard Definition
480p (720×480)

High Definition
720p (1280×720) to
1080p (1920×1080)

Equipment needed to burn discs

DVD burner
Blank DVD-R or DVD-RW discs
DVD burning software like Roxio Toast

Blu-ray burner
Blank BDR or BDRE discs
Blu-ray burning software like Roxio Toast

Equipment needed to view discs

DVD or Blu-ray player

Blu-ray player only

The upside to Blu-ray is that it’ll give you a sharper image than DVD can and look fabulous on a high definition TV. The quality of your medium matches the quality of your input and your display device, so your video will look its very best.

So why might you want to use DVDs instead? Well, high definition video requires some specialized equipment. Blu-ray burners and discs are not the same as those used for DVDs. Blu-ray burners aren’t standard on most computers, so you’ll probably have to pay for new equipment. And when you’re done, your client might not have a Blu-ray player to view your high definition video. So as of now, DVDs have the advantage of costing less initially and being more universal than Blu-ray. Blu-ray is gaining ground; however, and you may want to consider the investment, especially if you want the impact of an HD display.

Now you know the difference between Blu-ray and DVD — what’s next? If you know how to create your own DVDs and Blu-rays already, great! Get out there and craft some beautiful videos to put on your discs. If you need a little more support, try out our tips for burning Animoto videos to Blu-ray or DVD.