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Blu-ray vs HD-DVD
Next-gen optical disc format wars | Posted by jonchappell on Aug 16th 05 06:20 PM
Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD utilise the same optical disc technology that offers more storage space on a DVD-sized disc. It achieves this by using a blue laser with a smaller wavelength than the traditional red laser used by CD and DVD drives. These discs are designed for HD (High Definition) content which offers cinema-quality movies on a single disc.

Blu-ray was jointly developed by Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson. HD-DVD was jointly developed by Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo, Microsoft and four film studios, namely New Line, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros.

HD-DVD has a standard capacity of 15 GB (single layer DVDs, in comparison,  have a capacity of 4.7 GB), whereas Blu-Ray has a capacity of 25 GB. Dual layer discs double this capacity. Multiple layered discs with capacities of 100-200 GB are currently being researched.

Despite having a lower capacity, many movie studios have backed HD-DVD because its layers are the same thickness as those of standard DVDs. This means that they can be produced with only minor modifications to existing DVD authoring equipment. This cost saving is significant. This is because HD-DVD was specifically designed as a replacement for DVD whereas Blu-ray was originally a camcorder technology.

Blu-ray has some interesting extra features though. All Blu-ray players will have Java support for DVD menus, as opposed to the clunky current method of combining subtitles with short video segments. Blu-ray players may also be able to connect to the internet and download extra subtitle languages, etc, that were not available when the disc was pressed. This may reduce the cost of disc production as manufacturers can produce the disc in English for a quick release and then offer subtitle updates at a later time.

Conclusion
As a consumer, I personally prefer Blu-ray because it offers more storage space and the Java technology is intriguing. HD-DVD seems to benefit the studios more than the consumer. Once the studios have paid the initial amount for new machines, creating Blu-ray discs should not be more expensive than creating HD-DVD discs.

 
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