Wednesday, September 28, 2005

OPINION: Blu-ray or HD-DVD

The epic battle of good versus evil is only eclipsed by the epic battle between good and good. Two new technologies, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are both determined to be the next video standard. Part of the problem is that the entertainment industry is totally split on the issue with major heavyweights of the industry on each side. Recently, Microsoft and Intel have taken sides. In terms of single layer capacity, HD-DVD has 15GB compared with Blu-Ray at 25GB. Additionally, Blu-Ray is also more expensive to mass produce. A main concern of consumers seems to be the DVD compatibility issue, but both sides have said they will offer video content in DVD format on one side and their format on the other.

The war to become the next big standard is reminiscent of the VHS-Beta war of the 70s and 80s. Some important lessons we can learn from the past, are that the best technology won't necessarily prevail, and that production costs are a significant factor. Both of these reasons point away from Blu-ray but it doesn't matter anyway. Other than the ability to record HD-TV, there is no other driving force for adopting a new disc technology. HD-TV has a few more years before it is widely accepted, and current DVDs are so cheap to produce that they will be used in place of a higher standard for years. HD-DVD is only 3 times the size of current DVDs, which isn't big enough for people to make the move. When it comes down to it though, there is one trick that VHS and Betamax could never do: Offer a disc with HD-TV on one side and Blu-ray on the other.

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