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Blue Ray vs HD DVDs - is the battle over?

With almost all of the new televisions on sale today being of the High Definition nature, you want what is best to get the greatest viewing experience. HD channels are becoming commonplace, next generation game console games are designed to be played in HD, and new movie releases are wasted without HD. I didn’t think the difference was so great until watching Transformers on a standard television, then seeing it on a high end HD television. The difference was quite clear. You may think that getting the best picture is a matter of what TV you get, but a battle has been quietly raging and has apparently come to a close.

HD DVD versus Blu-Ray. For many this was either irrelevant or an easy choice to make. Both of these discs have the same dimensions of a DVD, and in essence do the same thing; contain data (usually visual) that you can watch via a player. Now HD DVDs were a logical choice for most people as they can be played on a normal DVD player on standard TVs; the picture just won’t be in HD. Most decent DVD players being sold today are HD and when used with a HD television the picture is great. So a transition to HD DVDs was obvious and relatively painless for many people, and this is why HD DVDs were “winning” the battle early on. Even game consoles joined into the battle, with Microsoft’s XBox 360 supporting DVDs and HD DVDs and Sony’s Play Station 3 incorporating a Blu-Ray player directly into the console.

Blu-Ray Discs, while looking the same, are quite a different story. Blu-Rays use a different technique in storing data on the disc. By using a blue laser (although it’s technically violet, I guess Violet-Ray or Purple-Ray didn’t appeal to marketing), that uses a shorter wavelength, more data can be stored on the disc. This means that higher quality (which directly correlates to more data) video and sound is viewed and heard when using a Blu-Ray disc. Of course, you need to buy a Blu-Ray player in order to view them, since standard DVD or HD players just won’t cut it.

When Blu-Ray technology was first put on the market in 2003 it was way more expensive than anything out there. Plus, there were no movies being produced on Blu-Ray discs. This led a majority of people to use HD DVDs, while Blu-Ray disc buyers were more of an “elite” group, if you will. While still more expensive, the Blu-Ray products have dropped in price considerably and most, if any, bugs have been worked out. This has led to major companies, like Toshiba and Warner Bros., dropping HD DVDs and exclusively producing Blu-Ray movies. This has effectively “won the war” for Blu-Ray and it seems that DVDs will be eventually phased out just like VHS was.

For those of you who resist change, however, some good has come of this. HD DVD movie prices are dropping incredibly fast—new releases can be found online for $10, something that I don’t see happening for Blu-Ray for a very long time.


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Author info

Thomas McMahon Thomas McMahon is a student at Albertson's College of Idaho who, when he's not playing some geeky video game or designing some new, award-winning engineering project, plays basketball and tennis. His study interest is engineering.

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