Next Gen Discs: HD DVD or Blu-Ray?

    By now, the high definition format war has raged on for quite a while.  Will we see a winner by the end of this holiday season? If Wal-Mart is any indication, it looks like HD DVD might take the cake. On November 3rd, Wal-Mart is rumored to start selling Toshiba’s A2 HD DVD player for a mere $198. This is a $201 dollar price drop from April of this year when the player went for a hefty $399.

    But is HD DVD really the way to go? Here’s a quick run down on the two formats:

    Format Founders:
    HD DVD: Toshiba
    Blu-Ray: Sony

    Capacity (single layer/dual layer):
    HD DVD: 15GB/30GB
    Blu-Ray: 25GB/50GB

    HD DVD: Less expensive per disc
    Blu-ray: More expensive per disc

    Number of Major Studios Supporting:
    HD DVD: 6
    Blu-Ray: 9

    In the late 1970’s and 80’s, a similar format war was raged between Sony’s VHS and JVC’s Betamax. While Betamax was clearly a better format, VHS eventually won for having a longer recording length (1-hour vs. 3-hours) and being slightly cheaper to produce.  If history repeats itself, HD DVD might win by a landslide and Sony, once again, will be left in the format graveyard.

    As much as I want to wait for a clear winner, $198 does seem quite enticing. In fact, may tech blogs and reviewers seem to agree HD DVD’s picture quality is much superior to Blu-Ray’s despite its smaller capacity. I just need to stop persuading myself. Here’s to hoping not to find myself gawking at Wal-Mart this weekend.


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