Blu-Ray Technology

Since 1997, DVD has been the #1 top selling format for home entertainment, crushing VHS with in a five year time frame. But technology is forever changing and it’s only a matter of time before DVD’s go the way of VHS. With two new formats (High Definition-DVD and Blu-ray) on the horizon, which one will win the race? Both formats use blue laser technology, which has a shorter wavelength than red (DVD), allowing it to read the smaller digital data “spots” packed a lot more densely onto a standard-size disc. In other words, they hold a lot more memory than your standard DVD’s. “The comparison chart shows that HD-DVD and Blu-ray disks will be pretty similar. Both should be able to fit a high definition movie onto one side of one disk, and both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players will play old DVD movies.”(Boutin, Paul) it’s still too early to call the race with both technologies about a year away, but my money is on Blu-ray.

HD-DVD is more user friendly in terms of its name, with the title holding a name closer to DVD. (Carnoy, David) “Toshiba, NEC, and a couple of other upstarts will be pushing for HD-DVD.” HD-DVD is capable of holding 30GB or a full-length high-definition movie, plus extras, on a prerecorded double-layer disc (compare that to today’s limit of 9GB for standard double-layer DVDs). Plus the cost of making a HD-DVD is on par with the cost of today’s DVD’s, making it a smoother transition for the big companies to deal with. Toshiba expects to start commercial sales of HD-DVD players and recorders in the final three months of 2005, with players to cost under $1000. Though under a thousand dollars, they wont be anywhere near the cost of today’s DVD players which retail for around a hundred dollars.

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Panasonic, Samsung, Dell, HP, Philips and other notables back blu-ray’s captain, Sony. Blu-rays technology will go up to 50GB at launch, and Sony is reportedly working on a quad-layer 100GB disc (again check the chart for other facts on theses formats). This means technologically Blu-ray will have the advantage on that perspective. Not only that but, “Sony is coming out with PlayStation 3, which uses Blu-ray, sometime this year. This means there is going to be a huge market for this technology right off the bat.”(Willis, Chris) Blu-ray players are also scheduled for release later in the year, also retailing for under a thousand dollars.
The biggest reason to side with Blu- ray is technologically, it has the biggest edge over HD-DVD. It offers 30 percent more capacity and is also designed for recording high-def video. Rewritable Blu-ray-RW discs, with similar features to Panasonic’s current DVD-RAM discs, can play back content while recording to the disc at the same time. Not only that but Sony owns Columbia Pictures and recently bought MGM, which gives it a leg up on releasing movies. So in other words if you want to watch your James Bond movies in HD-DVD it’s not going to happen. I’m a huge James Bond fan; and while that’s not the biggest concern, it’s definitely one for me and other James bond fans out there.
There’s only one real difference between these next-generation DVDs and today’s models: storage capacity. The best format, then, is simply the one with the most possible storage space. By all accounts, that’s Blu-ray. And yes it’s still too early to predict the future; but Blu-ray has just too many big named companies backing it. HD-DVD obviously has big companies too, there just not in the same ballpark as Sony and the PlayStation 3. So If I were you, I would save my DVD’s for now; but in the near future I recommend your money on Blu-ray. Expect the next wave of technology wars to come to our shores in late 2005 or early 2006 and for it to really heat up with the launch of the PlayStation 3.
WORKS CITED
1)http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-8900_7-5600201-1.html By David Carnoy
Executive editor, CNET
(December 7, 2004)
2)http://slate.msn.com/id/2110495/ By Paul Boutin
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004, at 11:16 AM PT
3)http://www.paisano-online.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/02/22/421bd294ef62e?in_archive=1 By Chris Willis Staff writer February 22, 2005