Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blu Ray Vs HD DVD

Blu-Ray is the High Definition disc format on offer from Sony. HD-DVD is the format available from Toshiba. Both offer HD quality movies and content of exceptional quality and are incompatible with each other. I'm sure you all have read something about the two formats by now. But I want to introduce you to two factors that seem to be overlooked.

1) The quality of individual discs depend highly on a succesful high quality transfer from the movie studio. Some HD-DVD's and Blu-ray discs look no better than DVD due to poor transfers, and others look absolutely incredible. 2) Compression methods also play a part in a succesful transfer.

The format war has been likened to that of VHS and Betamax. HD-DVD is based off current DVD technology so the manufacturing process is easier and cheaper. The average capacity of HD-DVD disks is 25GB and 50GB for Blu-Ray disc. HD-DVD has also had almost a year distribution head start over Blu-ray, so drawing conclusions from market data will not be comprehensive. How can you compare sales data for one product that has been out for a couple months, with that of another product that has been out for almost a year? One definitive factor is that Blu-Ray has enormous exclusive studio support over HD-DVD. But with the nature of business, this is always subject to change. You can read more indepth about each format by clicking on the logo:

There are so many sides to the argument, but no-one can predict the outcome. Declaring a format "winner" at this point is nothing but mere speculation. Numerous online resources are guilty of this. A major factor in declaring VHS the victor over Betamax was the porn industry siding with VHS because it was cheaper. Many people are putting a lot of emphasis on this. However today, this may not play as big a part due to the accessibility of the internet. Currently Blu-Ray is outselling HD-DVD on amazon 3:1, and the Playstation 3 release has pushed over 1,000,000 blu-ray players into homes across the globe. But as a whole, we cannot draw a conclusion. Only time and definitive conclusions will tell. One thing is becoming more likely though. The trend with technology is pointing more towards the notion that whoever the winner, this may be the last disc based media format we will see.

Update: also check out these two recent posts which have critical supplemental material and information about both formats: "HD movie Quality" and "Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD sales for January 2007." In addition, the HDTV 101: Updates section has ALL these and other recent updates and articles about the format war.