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Will PS3 tip the balance?

14 March 2007
blu-ray

VS

hd-dvd

8

 

9

Everybody’s heard about the Blu-ray and HD-DVD battle. Some have already taken sides. But who’s keeping the score? It’s the latest rumble in the jungle and there are no signs of it slowing down. Both use blue light lasers and support the same video encoding formats such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1. But, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The two camps will have you believe that only one should be the next successor to the hugely successful and lucrative DVD format.

Here are some of the key differences:

 

BLU-RAY
 
HD-DVD

Blu-ray consortium, led by Sony

 

Group of consumer electronics and PC companies, spearheaded by Toshiba. On November 19, 2003, the DVD Forum voted to support HD DVD as the HDTV successor of the standard DVD

Costs more to manufacture. More expensive players

 

Current DVD manufacturing capabilities can be adapted to produce HD DVD. Cheaper players

Higher storage on single and dual layer disc (25 GB, 50 GB). That’s 9 hours of HD content on 50 GB discs

 

15 GB and 30 GB on current single and dual layer disc. Only 5 hours of HD content on 30 GB discs.

Sony PS3

 

Microsoft Xbox 360

Blu-ray Disc content is authored using either a scripting environment for basic content, or a Java-based platform (BD-J) for advanced content.

 

HDi Interactive Format for content creation. Easy transition for web developers based on current tech.

Superior hard coating technology

 

Coating comparable to DVD

Max Video data rate 40.0 Mbit/s

 

Max Video data rate 29.4 Mbit/s

Region coding in specifications

 

Currently not implemented

Stronger movie industry backing with more titles released

 

Fewer exclusive backers, but has the adult porn industry on its side

AACS. Has extra copy protection in the form of BD+ (dynamic DRM) and watermarking.

 

AACS

Optional support for Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD

 

Mandatory support for Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD

Format Wars

March 13, 2007. Hitachi-LG Data Storage reportedly plans to unveil this month the first PC drive that can read Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. The new GGW-H10N is a combination Blu-ray disc burner and reader, and an HD DVD read-only drive. The drive can record up to 50 Gbytes of data, which is more than the market standard, and will cost about $1,200.

March 6, 2007. Slysoft has released AnyDVD HD version 6.1.3.0 which strips HD-DVDs AND Blu-Ray discs of their encryption and region codes.

Feb 26, 2007. Sony BDP-S300 - Japanese consumer electronics maker Sony has said that they are going to launch a cheaper Blu-Ray player in the market. This is expected to help them take on Toshiba and other HD DVD backers in the storage media market.
BD +1

Feb 24, 2007. The official UK charts company indicates that with the support of the Xbox 360 (which can play the HD DVD high definition format discs with an optional drive) HD DVD outsold Blu-ray by a factor of about 4 to 1 in the period leading up to Christmas of last year.
HDDVD +1

Feb 20, 2007. On Saturday, Antiguan developer SlySoft released the first version of AnyDVD HD, a program that allows users to strip HD DVDs of their content protections, including HDCP, and rip the data to a PC's hard drive.
HDDVD +1 or -1? :)

Feb 19, 2007. Doug Carson & Associates (DCA), makers of DVD mastering software, announced today that the first 3X DVD-ROM disc was officially mastered over the weekend, a move that some think will allow HD DVD to become more popular and possibly even win the ongoing "format war" with Blu-ray. The disc is a standard, red-laser DVD disc, but will carry higher-def content on it than standard DVDs and is only playable on HD DVD players. The disc will still support HD DVD's UDF 2.5 file structure as well as AACS copy protection.

Feb 15, 2007. In Australia Blu-Ray as a high definition DVD format has galloped into an early lead by having JB HiFi, one of the major chains of home electronic stores (72 in all), state that it would only stock Blu-Ray and will definitely not stock the opposing HD-DVD.
BD +1

Feb 15, 2007. Sharp Corporation introduces into the Japanese market the BD-HP1 Blu-ray Disc Player, which has a Hybrid Recording function that works with the AQUOS LCD TV*2 iLink connection to allow recording of high-definition programs on Blu-ray Disc (BD-RE)*3, an industry first.
Draw

Feb 9, 2007. Panasonic Corp of North America, will establish a Panasonic Hollywood Blu-ray testing center (PHBTC) within the existing facilities of Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory and start testing services now. The new Panasonic testing center, PHBTC, meets this industry's need and is expected to accelerate the release of BD-Video titles by the motion picture industry.
BD +1

Feb 6, 2007. The Blu-ray camp wins another small victory in the next generation format war. According to EngadgetHD, Blu-ray now has 159 movie titles available, while the HD DVD format is totaling up with one less, at 158 movie titles.
BD +1

Feb 2, 2007. HD DVD PC drives (burners) have experienced repeatedly delays arriving in the consumer market. On the other side of the fence, Blu-ray PC drives (burners) have been available for quite some time now. The LG GBW-H10N Blu-ray burner is already here, boasting speeds of up to 4x for BD-R burning, while the HD DVD-R burners are still operating at a measly 1x.
BD +1

Feb 2, 2007. Early forecasts suggest that the consumer is siding with Blu-Ray. The Nielsen VideoScan tracking data has come in and it shows that Blu-Ray movies are outselling HD-DVD by over a 2:1 margin; in fact, closer to 3:1. With nearly 2 million PS3s in the hands of customers, it's also quite clear that the reason for the success of the medium is largely due to the console.
BD +1

Jan 27, 2007 Sound & Vision, the world's largest entertainment magazine, has selected Toshiba's HD-XA1 HD DVD player to receive its prestigious Product of the Year Award, recognizing it as the most outstanding consumer electronics product of 2006.
HDDVD +1

Jan 26, 2007. Movie studio Universal, which exclusively supports the HD DVD disc format, said late Thursday that it planned to release more than 100 titles in HD DVD during 2007. It also said that 90 percent of its titles released during the year would be in "combo disc" format, which contains the DVD version of the movie on one side and the HD DVD format on the other.
HDDVD +1

Jan 26, 2007 the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) Licensing Authority confirmed that the encryption on high-definition DVDs (Bluray and HDDVD) has been bypassed. Several HD movies can now be downloaded from the internet.
BD -1 HDDVD -1

Jan 24, 2007. Gleeful geeks say they have managed to take down the DRM wall and get to grips with the AACS encryption, just as they did on Tosh’s HD format. However, they’re yet to breach the inner sanctum of BD+ copy protection.

Jan 23, 2007. At an interview with Andy Parsons, promotion chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association he pointed out that Blu-ray is backed by Sony, Fox, Disney, Lionsgate, MGM and Buena Vista --= HD DVD is supported by Universal and segments of the porn industry. Warner Bros. is supporting both formats.
BD +1

Jan 19, 2007. HD DVD players may enter a much more affordable market towards the end of this year, with some manufacturers claiming that we could see sub-$500 units. Most of it is speculation, driven by lowered cost for components like chipsets as time goes on, and a reduction in units coming off the line dead. It isn't too far off, given that some players can now be had for $600, such as from Toshiba. Blu-ray is still a bit more expensive, which may gave HD DVD a boost, since cost is hugely important for most home consumers.
HDDVD +1

Jan 14, 2007. New Medium Enterprises provides the world's first Low-Cost true High Definition medium solution utilizing today's Red Laser Technology and existing DVD industrial infrastructure. HD VMD boasts the capacity of HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, but uses existing DVD technology, making for much lower costs. The catch: None of the major studios have signed on yet. Another company jumping into the fray.
Draw

Jan 2007. AVN Adult Entertainment Expo. There Joone, founder of the company Digital Playground and director of extremely popular HD porn movies, declared that his company would from next week on be publishing movies on HD DVD on a regular basis.
HDDVD +1

Jan 10, 2007 LG Favors Blu Ray! - LG BH100 hybrid player won't let you use the highly touted HD-DVD interactive features. The HDDVD forum refuses to endorse it. Entered the market without a splash and will now probably be another historical footnote.
Draw

Jan 8, 2007. Samsung announced their second generation Blu-ray player BD-P1200 and is expected to retail for $799 and will be available by March 2007. One of the BD-P1200 player's key features is its Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) processor, which is a powerful unit similar to those used by Hollywood production studios. With its HQV processor, the BD-P1200 player offers true 1080i to 1080p HD de-interlacing, so it can deliver the best HD images possible even from non-Blu-ray formats.
BD +1

Jan 2007 At CES, Warner Home Video made a splash with its announcement of the company's Total High-Def disc, a disc that will put an HD DVD-formatted movie on one side and a Blu-ray version on the other. It’s like getting the referee to join in the brawl. Greedy Warner.
Draw

Jan 5, 2007. At CES, LG Electronics (LGE) announced the LG BH100 hybrid Blu-ray and HD DVD standalone set-top player to become available in Q1 of 2007 at a retail price of $1,199 (US). No detailed specifications for the player have been release, other than it will feature 1080p and DTS-HD audio.
Draw

Jan 2007. Toshiba Corp., the main driving force behind the HD DVD format in the consumer electronics field, announced at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show advanced HD DVD media that expands capacity to 51GB. Toshiba hopes to approve the new disc and, possibly, start commercial shipments already this year.
HDDVD +1

Jan 2007. Sony admits to "overreaching" on PlayStation3's Blu-ray production, resulting in Europe launch delays.
HDDVD +1

Nov 2006. Microsoft has also released an add-on HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 which attaches to the console via USB 2.0 cable. The drive was released at the end of November 2006 at 199.99 USD and was sold out in both online and retail stores. As of January 2007 it has sold more than 100,000 units.
HDDVD +1

June 2006. Samsung introduced the first Blu-ray DiscTM (BD) player (model: BD-P1000) to the U.S. market. Reviews uncovered HDMI problems with certain displays and initial Blu-ray movie transfers were poor in quality.
HDDVD +1

April 18, 2006. Toshiba released the first HD DVD players for the USA, the Toshiba HD-A1 and Toshiba HD-XA1. Both players sold out within days of their release. They utilize an Intel Pentium 4 processor and contain 1 GB of RAM; the drive mechanism is also an ATA HD DVD drive.
HDDVD +1

April 13, 2006. Panasonic announced its first Blu-ray Disc player for the U.S. market, the DMP-BD10 would be shipping together in late 2006 along with their first commercially available plasma 1080p HDTVs.
BD +1

Note: I allocate points when I feel like it, but generally one camp gets a point for having good news or something bad happens to the other camp.


Questions/Comments

Lyris says: 03/03/2007 - 18:38

Nice stuff guys, but one thing to change on the HD DVD side re region coding:

>> Originally not implemented, but region lockout in progress as requested by movie studios.

I was talking to the Microsoft guys in London just before Christmas and I can tell you from a good source that region coding on HD DVD is highly unlikely to happen. The talks to implement it have apparently "lost steam".
Colin Tang says: 03/04/2007 - 12:54

Thank you Lyris for pointing that out. I'll check up on it.

Begs the question, how are movie studios going to stagger cinema releases worldwide if they don't have region coding?
Lyris says: 03/12/2007 - 14:25

I think they're trying to phase that out perhaps. The threat of online downloads is perhaps why we don't have to wait 6-12 months for US films over here anymore.
Bruno says: 04/11/2007 - 13:00

"Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE)'s blockbuster Bond title,

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/pr_sony_032707.html

"Casino Royale, released March 13 on Blu-ray Disc, has hit the 100,000 units shipped mark and is setting records at retail for greatest number of high-definition copies sold in one day,"


"Since the November launch of Playstation 3, sales of Blu-ray titles have risen exponentially - a more than 700 percent increase."

BD +1
Dave says: 04/12/2007 - 08:23

i nearly bought the James Bond film and I cant stand them. There is nothing else on offer, people (like me) who have a HD tv and a PS3 want to see what the movies look like and if there really is a noticable difference.

I wonder if a third type of disk will become available and these two formats will fade away. They both look like rush jobs to me and the fact that the copy protection has already been cracked will really be pissing the manufacturers/retailers off.

Of cource sales of blu-ray disks have risen exponentially since the sales of the PS3, you would have to be mad to have bought the sammy player at 1000 prior to the PS3. Also, Casino Royale has been given away for free to people who have purchased a PS3 and registered it which might have helped a bit (got the email from Sony shortly after considering to buy it).

Dave.