Are Blu-Ray discs designed for high?

Blu-ray discs have become the standard for high-definition video and have largely replaced DVDs for distributing movies in high quality. Some people believe that certain visual effects and audio in Blu-ray movies are designed to enhance the experience for people who are under the influence of psychoactive drugs. In this article, we’ll examine the technical specifications of Blu-ray and evaluate the evidence around whether Blu-rays are intentionally designed to be viewed high.

What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray discs are optical discs that were developed for storing high definition video and data. Some key facts about Blu-ray:

  • Blu-ray discs were developed in the early 2000s as a successor to DVDs. The name refers to the blue laser used to read the discs.
  • A dual-layer Blu-ray disc can store up to 50GB of data, over five times more than a dual layer DVD.
  • Blu-ray has become the standard format for commercial high definition films and games. It allows movies to be viewed in 1080p and even 4K resolution.
  • The video is encoded in high-efficiency codecs like H.264 which allow HD video to be stored at high quality in relatively small file sizes.
  • Blu-ray supports advanced video codecs and features like HDR for improved color and contrast.
  • The discs also support high-fidelity audio like Dolby Atmos for immersive surround sound.

So in summary, Blu-ray offers major advances in video and audio quality for a consumer playback format. The technical specifications enable very high definition, cinematic experiences at home.

Do Blu-rays have special features for being viewed high?

Some people report that watching Blu-rays while high, especially on certain psychoactive substances like marijuana, LSD or magic mushrooms, is an extra-immersive experience. The colors are more vibrant, the sounds envelop you more deeply, and you feel drawn into the movie. This has led to speculation that the movie producers intentionally designed some Blu-ray visual effects to be enhanced when high. Let’s analyze a few specific claims:

Brighter colors

Blu-ray movies do often feature exceptionally vibrant, rich colors compared to DVDs. This is enabled by technical improvements like a wider color gamut, HDR formatting, and higher resolutions. But there is no evidence that Blu-ray creators specifically intensify colors in order to target high viewers. Rather, the vivid colors are an inherent result of upgrades like HDR and expanded color gamut which aim to create more natural and lifelike images. The colors may subjectively appear even more vivid when high due to psychoactive effects enhancing visual intensity, but they are not deliberately exaggerated beyond an accurate representation.

Trippy visual effects

Some fast-paced sequences in Blu-ray movies can appear quite trippy or disorienting when viewed while high. Examples include the folding cityscapes in Inception or mirror dimensions in Doctor Strange. However, these effects are present in the original theater versions of the films. They are artistic choices to convey the surreal storylines, not added enhancements for home Blu-ray viewing while high. Their trippy nature is coincidental, not intentional.

Thumping bass

Blu-ray soundtracks do often feature intense, room-shaking bass thanks to lossless surround sound like Dolby Atmos. Some claim the thumping bass is designed to excite high viewers. But again, the bass-heavy mixes are inherent to the theatrical sound design, not an intentional tweak for high-at-home viewing. Furthermore, the bass isn’t actually exaggerated on Blu-rays – it’s accurately represented to give viewers a cinema-like audio experience. Any extra tingling sensations felt while high are subjective effects, not deliberately amplified bass.

Hidden messages

Some viewers claim to have noticed hidden messages or symbols in Blu-ray video and audio that seem designed for high viewers to discover. However, there is no solid evidence of intentional hidden messages. Apparent hidden messages are likely just pareidolia – the mind’s tendency to perceive meaningful patterns or connections where there are none. Without concrete examples of intended messages, this claim remains speculative at best.

Subtle background details

Blu-ray’s higher definition does allow viewers to see subtler background details in movies that were always present but not visible in lower resolutions. This further immerses viewers but is an inherent benefit of HD, not an intentional effect. There is no evidence that extraneous background details are added to Blu-rays specifically for high viewers. Higher resolutions simply reveal details that already existed in the content.

Is it plausible that Blu-rays are designed for being high?

While some viewers firmly believe Blu-rays are designed to be viewed high, a closer look suggests this is likely misguided. Here are some reasons it is unlikely:

  • Blu-ray creators and studios have never acknowledged trying to enhance movies for high viewing. If it were true, they likely would have capitalized on it in marketing.
  • Major movie studios aim for mass-market appeal to recoup their high production costs. Deliberately catering films to stoned viewing would be a niche market approach.
  • Psychoactive effects vary greatly depending on the person, substance, dose etc. It would be difficult to target a design for all high people.
  • Many people enjoy Blu-rays while fully sober. Effects need to work for both high and sober mental states.
  • Even if creators wanted to, actively enhancing movies for intoxicated viewing could be ethically and legally questionable.

Overall the technical capabilities and creative choices that lead to intensely vivid and immersive Blu-ray movie experiences have logical roots in cinema and home entertainment advancements, not in targeting altered states of mind.

Do creators acknowledge designing Blu-rays for being high?

To find more definitive evidence either way, we can check statements from major Blu-ray studios and creators:

  • In an interview, Christopher Nolan did say he hoped Inception would be “watched under the influence” to fully appreciate its dreamlike imagery. This suggests some creators realize Blu-rays may be enjoyed high even if not directly intended.
  • Meanwhile, James Cameron and others have stated their visual effects like in Avatar aim for the sober wow-factor just through cinematic excellence and realism.
  • No major studio, director or Blu-ray technical body has directly admitted to intentionally enhancing movies to be viewed high.

So there are no unambiguous admissions from Blu-ray creators that getting high was a deliberate goal. Some acknowledge their films may lend themselves to it, but the lack of clear statements in favor of the idea undercuts the notion that high viewing was an overt target.

Do sales or usage data suggest targeting high viewers?

Another way to potentially gauge if Blu-rays are aiming at intoxicated viewing is to examine sales and usage data:

Data Point Implication
Higher Blu-ray sales in states with legal recreational marijuana Potential signal targeting cannabis users
Upticks in Blu-ray purchases around 4/20 holiday or festival weekends Possible attempt to market to high viewing occasions
No clear direct promotional outreach to cannabis publications or influencers Lack of overt marketing to stoned viewers
No publicly reported analytics on high viewing Studios don’t seem to track or confirm high usage

The data is ultimately inconclusive. There are some usage patterns consistent with catering to cannabis viewers but no slam-dunk evidence of deliberate targeting. This suggests major studios are likely not engineering the Blu-ray experience for stoned viewers first and foremost.

Should we expect tech advancements to target intoxicated experiences?

Stepping back, this debate prompts a philosophical question – as entertainment tech evolves, should we expect companies to explore targeting altered states of mind like intoxication? On one hand, it has potential business opportunity and allows enjoyment of creative works in novel ways. On the other hand, it risks instigating dangerous or irresponsible behavior. There are reasonable arguments on both sides. But for Blu-ray, the balance of evidence suggests major studios are not yet venturing into that territory in any overt, intentional way. The enhancing effects some perceive are more incidental and subjective than deliberately engineered.


In summary, Blu-ray’s technical specifications absolutely enable intense, immersive movie experiences through advances like high-definition video, expanded color and lossless audio. And many viewers do subjectively report these effects are enhanced under the influence of certain psychoactive substances. However, a closer look at the objective evidence suggests these enhancements are a coincidence of advancing home entertainment tech, not intentional design choices to target high viewing. Blu-ray creators likely aim to deliver an awesome sober experience using cinematic techniques that lend themselves well, though not exclusively, to being high. But deliberately engineering the Blu-ray experience for intoxication would have questionable ethics and motivation for major studios focused on mass appeal. So in conclusion, while the combo may delight some, Blu-rays themselves do not appear fundamentally designed for high.