Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD: HD Disc format wars 101 ~ Pinoy Reviews

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD: HD Disc format wars 101

Remember Betamax? When I was a kid, I remember my family owning one and whenever we were renting movies in video stores, I always thought why are there a lot more movies available in VHS than in Betamax? That was like in the 1990s. Apparently, in the US, Betamax was already phased out. Both formats were eventually replaced with DVD which is the single standard that major electronics manufacturers agreed on.

What about VCD? Contrary to what most people believe, here in the Philippines anyways, there was no format war between VCD and DVD. VCD was only popular here in the Philippines and the rest of developing Asian countries due to its price compared with DVDs. VCD is only video recorded on a standard CD and movie studios in the US and Europe never released titles in VCD format, only their local counterparts in Asia.

Now, there's a successor to DVD, the High Definition Disc standard, however, unlike DVD which has only one standard, High Definition discs comes in two standards: Blu-ray and HD DVD. So now, we have another format war. Both standards were announced in 2006 and all throughout 2007, there was still no clear winner amongst the two.

The major difference between Blu-ray and HD DVD is the recording capacity, current Blu-ray discs has 25 GB capacity vs. the 15 GB capacity of HD DVD. Both formats are incompatible with each other and requires different players, however, some manufacturers like LG and Samsung have players out in the market that can play both formats, however, it is extremely expensive.

Based on my recent scour of appliance stores here in the Philippines, I haven't seen too many HD DVD players, I've only seen one in a gadget store and I think it has a price of around 30,000 pesos. Stand alone Blu-ray players on the other hand are non-existent here, however, the Sony Playstation 3 can play Blu-ray discs and PS3 units are currently being sold under P20,000 in eBay.

So who will emerge as the winner? Well, with the recent announcement from Warner Bros. that they will be supporting Blu-ray, movie titles that will be available to Blu-ray will increase versus that of HD DVD, tipping the scales in favor of Blu-ray.

However, some still doesn't believe that the HD format wars is over and Sony should not rest easy. If they have learned anything during the video tape format wars, they should stay vigilant and keep abreast with what consumers really want.


Comparison of high definition optical disc formats
Video Tape Format War


Difference between Core Duo and Core 2 Duo