Thinking of buying Blu-ray? Go on, just do it!

I finally got round to replacing my DVD player with a Blu-ray player this weekend, and boy has it been a revelation. Yes, of course I've seen numerous demonstrations of Blu-ray in our test rooms at work, but there's nothing quite like having one in your own home to appreciate the difference.

I'm still grinning from ear to ear after watching Casino Royale last night. Naturally the picture was fabulous, but what really blew me away was the soundtrack.

Looking out of the window right now it's pouring with rain – what a shame! Means I'll just have to stay in and watch 3:10 to Yuma. Can't wait. Oh, and then there's Batman Begins as well. Looks like I'm in for a Sunday afternoon film fest.

Even my existing DVD collection looks better thanks to the player's video upscaling capabilities, and bearing in mind I was previously using a none-too-shabby Arcam DV79, that's no mean achievement.

So, as many of you on our Forums keep asking, is the upgrade to Blu-ray really worth it? You bet! What really convinced me was Clare Newsome's review of the re-mastered James Bond films Dr. No and From Russia With Love, posted here. Once I'd read that, I knew I just had to upgrade.

But in case you think urging you all to upgrade in the middle of a credit crunch is, well, a bit irresponsible, here's the thing. Our five-star Sony BDP-S350 is now available for around £170. That's amazing, considering we've only recently tested it at £230.

And we've seen Yamaha's Award-winning Yamaha DSP-AX763 (normally £400) for as little as £299.

So it seems there may be a silver lining to the credit crunch cloud after all. As retailers struggle more and more to entice customers into their stores, it's going to get very, very competitive out there. Which can only be good news for you, the buyer.

If you need a little more help in deciding which Blu-ray player to buy, then look out for the What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Ultimate Guide to Blu-ray which we'll be publishing next Friday, October 31st.

It's packed with reviews of all the latest Blu-ray players, plus the kit you need to add surround sound, the best TVs to go with your player and our Top 50 Best Buy Blu-ray films.

What's more, we've got three stunning £4000 Blu-ray systems to give away in the Ultimate Guide competition. Full details will appear on next week.

Who knows, you could even win the ultimate home cinema upgrade for free! Right, I'm off downstairs to put the telly back on.

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.