Bluray vs HD-DVD: Is The War is Over?

By Mike on 1:09 pm

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Probably the most talked about piece of consumer technology for 2007 was the new high definition video formats: Sony's Blu-ray Disc (aka BD) and Toshiba's HD-DVD. This week, Warner Bros. made an announcement, they would be switching to Blu-ray exclusively. That same day, the people behind HD-DVD announced they were canceling a cocktail party at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The importance of this? The purpose of the party was to showcase the future of HD-DVD. The fact that it was canceled shows that they are no longer optimistic.

The two formats have been competing with each other since they were first released in the summer of 2006. Sony, as always produced its own proprietary high definition format. The question long lingered whether Blu-ray would be the next Betamax. For those who don't remember, Beta was Sony's ill fated attempt to produce its own VCR. While Beta was superior in terms of picture quality, tape length was too short to the point where many feature films could not fit on a single cassette. Marketing of the device was also poor. Sony has learned from its past failure. BD is the technically superior format. Unlike Beta, it can hold a lot more data than its competitor and it is capable of higher bit rates. Sony has also aggressively marketed BD. The drive was also included in the Playstation 3 console, which would get it into homes quicker.
HD-DVD on the other hand has barely been marketed at all. It's primary advantage though is that it's region free, meaning films from any country can be played on it. This makes it attractive for fans of foreign films and anime. However, this is a really small market but this feature does make it more consumer friendly.

If you're in the market for an HD player right now, Blu-Ray definitely looks to be your best bet. The powers that be at the studios have dictated that this is what they wanted. Of course we all know that they ultimately decide who wins, not the consumer. However, I'd still say to hold off on buying an HD player until all this settles down. To quote a famous movie character (who I hope will appear in HD one day soon) "always in motion the future is." HD-DVD may still have a wild card.

This month's reader poll deals with how you watch HD movies. Do you watch them on a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player? Do you watch them on regular network TV or specialty stations like TMN and HBO? Do you watch them through pay-per-view or video on demand services offered by your cable or satellite provider? This month's poll allows you to select multiple answers.

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