Thursday, August 14, 2008
If you've been following the recent TV technology news to any extent, then you probably already know that there's a format war between Sony's Blu-ray high definition DVD format and the rival format from Toshiba which is called HD-DVD. These two formats can both use blue lasers to store and retrieve much larger amounts of data than conventional DVD's even though all three formats take advantage of discs that are the same size. This provides more than enough storage capacity for an entire high definition movie, plus its bonus features, to be stored on one disc. The problem comes from the fact that the two formats aren't compatible, it's generally agreed that only one format can come out on top, and there's a lot of money to be made by whoever has the winning format in the form of royalties.
This has led to a somewhat nasty fight on both sides to get more people interested in one format or the other. For example, Sony put a Blu-ray drive in its new Play Station 3 video game platform so that it could also serve as a Blu-ray player. The idea was that video gaming enthusiasts would buy the Play Station 3 for the video gaming and then buy movies on Blu-ray discs to play on it. Sony has also recently announced that its Blu-ray players will drop in price by the end of the year in an effort to solidify the lead that they already have.
Toshiba has also fought back with some help from Microsoft which has released an external HD-DVD drive for its Xbox 360 video gaming system which will allow it to serve as a high definition DVD player as well. Toshiba has also cut the price on one of its main HD-DVD players in order to preserve the price advantage that HD-DVD players have observed over Blu-ray players all along. For some reason, a supporter of the HD-DVD format also felt that announcing victory in the format war a few months ago would end the format war, but that obviously hasn't come to fruition.
While the format war definitely isn't over, there are a number of things indicating that it might come to an end soon. The price drops of Blu-ray players combined with the fact that Blu-ray discs have been outselling HD-DVD discs by two to one should be an indication that Blu-ray is winning. But the coming announcement of a double feature movie on Blu-ray disc might clinch it.
The fact that a Blu-ray disc can hold enough data to contain two full length movies in High Definition TV format, points out the superior data storage capacity of the Blu-ray format. Basically, Blu-ray discs can store twenty five gigabytes on each side of the disc, while HD-DVD discs can only store about fifteen gigabytes on each side. That's a difference of ten gigabytes per side and a massive twenty gigabytes per disc! Therefore on technological grounds alone Blu-ray should be the winner of the format war.