Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hi-Def Jam Up

Even as high definition televisions continue to increase in popularity, a bitter fight is taking place in the area of hi-def DVD's. The struggle is between HD DVD and Blu-Ray. In some ways, the competition is similar to the Beta/VHS battles of the 1980's. Two rival formats, completely incompatible, backed by different manufacturers.

One very important, however, difference has been 20 years ago, movies were always in BOTH Beta and VHS. For the most part, that has not been the case with the current DVD fight. Studios generally aligned themselves with only one of the two formats. For example, if you wanted the recent Simpsons Movie in hi-def, it was only available on Blu-Ray. That means if you have an HD DVD player, you were crap out of luck.

The only ways around this dilemma are to either buy TWO different DVD players, or purchase one of the few units that can handle both discs. Either alternative is expensive.

One of the few studios that had been an exception to this insanity was Warner Brothers. They had been releasing their movies in BOTH HD DVD and Blu-Ray.

That's now changing, however, with the announcement by Warner Brothers that in the future, their hi-def releases will only be available on Blu-Ray. It's the fifth disc producer to go exclusively with Sony's system. Only two are sticking with Toshiba's HD DVD. So while Sony's Beta system may have lost the earlier conflict, it now looks like they may win this one.

Personally, of the two rivals I've always preferred Blu-Ray. And the reason has nothing to do with the specs, or the lines of resolution, or that indecipherable 1080 crap, or the choice of movies. It's simply that the term "Blu-Ray" sounds w-a-a-a-y cooler than "HD DVD."

Nothing beats an educated consumer, eh?

0 thoughtful ramblings: