Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Holiday Guide 2007: Day Two: Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD

So you have someone in the family that is a movie fanatic and you are looking to buy the next generation of movie playback devices because let's face it, the DVD player you've had for 2 years is just "so 2005." So now the question is: "Which kind of player do I buy: Blu-Ray or HD DVD? What's the difference?"

Here's your answer:

Blu-Ray: Price: $300 & up

- Blu-Ray is the offspring of the Sony Corporation and is basically the next step in data storage. In response to developing the next generation of data storage after DVD's, Sony developed a technology that used the reading of data through a blue laser instead of red laser like those on DVD players. By doing this, they were able to put more data in the same size disc because of basic physics revolving around the color spectrum. Enough with the science chat. The Blu-Ray discs hold a lot of information on the same size disc as a DVD or CD but because of an increase in production costs for the technology, the price to develop the discs increased. With this in mind, some of the major film studios have moved away from this technology for financial reasons causing support for the next format.

HD DVD: Price: Cheaper than Blu-Ray

- HD DVD is the offspring of Toshiba in response to Sony's development of the Blu-Ray. Basically, it was created to bring in more money for Toshiba and not allow Sony a monopoly in the next generation of movie playback. The technology is virtually the same as Blue-Ray but the discs themselves do not hold the same amount of data which brings in the controversy similar to that of Beta vs. VHS. Blu-Ray discs hold more data and can theoretically adapt to the ever growing realm of high definition. HD DVD, in comparison, holds less than half of what a Blu-Ray disc holds but it is gaining more support from the major film corporations due to alliances between Toshiba-based companies and the film industry.

Overall approach: This is basically the return of Beta vs VHS. There is no safe purchase this year when it comes to the next generation of movie playback devices because no one knows which format is going to become the standard. Sony's strong backing in the gaming industry mixed with some support in the film industry has kept the Blue-Ray disc alive. However, HD DVD has just gained the support of the majority of major film corporations in the past several months which has caused a greater divide for which will survive: Blu-Ray or HD DVD.

Both players and discs cost more than the standard DVD player and discs and make it hard to justify which will be the dominate format this year. Personally, I'm in support of Blu-Ray due to it's integration into the Playstation 3 (a personal desire for this Christmas) but there is no way of telling.

To prevent relapse of that $400 Beta player people have sitting in their basement (Mom and Dad), my suggestion for Blu-Ray vs HD DVD: DON'T BUY EITHER THIS CHRISTMAS! There are too many variables this Christmas and without a standard, eventually one group will win and the supporters of the losers will be sitting at home with a bunch of useless hardware. Wait a year and see what happens in regards to the battle between the two technologies.

*If you want to read more about the technology, check out Engadget's synopsis of the technology.

Tomorrow's Gift Guide Topic: MP3 players

Have a great day!

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