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HDDVD vs. BluRay
Hawk at 10:32AM, Dec. 8, 2007
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I'll admit to being a bit ignorant on the next-gen media formats. I know BluRay holds more information and somebody told me HDDVD has a better framerate. But that's about as far as I can differentiate the two. I'm fairly ambivalent toward the whole switch up from DVDs since I don't see a big need for anything better right now.

Is one of these formats truly better than the other? And is either format worth moving up from DVD?

I kind of think they're a premature jump up when we're inevitably heading toward an age of movies being digitally transmitted and stored. In fact, screwball director Michael Bay thinks Microsoft is paying to sustain HDDVD so that both it and BluRay will fail, opening a window for Microsoft to establish a digitally-distributed standard.

Thoughts from anyone else?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
isukun at 11:30AM, Dec. 8, 2007
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Honestly, as much as I hate Michael Bay, I do think that the future will be digital distribution.

As for the question at hand, though, with any digital storage medium, your differences are going to be pretty minimal apart from the space one provides over the other. As a video format, both only support up to two layers, which gives Blu-Ray the distinct advantage since it's dual layer discs can hold up to 50GB of data while HD-DVD is limited to 30.

When it comes to codecs and video quality, though, the differences tend to be minimal at best. Both support primarily the same media formats for both audio and video. Both support Mpeg-2, H.264 and VC-1, although studios were a little slower to adopt VC-1 on Blu-Ray discs. Greater disc space could conceivably mean greater bit-rates on video on Blu-Ray in the future as well as more movies making use of lossless audio formats. As of now, though, few studios make use of the extra space (the same thing happened with early DVDs).

Read speeds work a bit differently between the two formats. HD-DVD reads much like a regular DVD with access speeds greater on the outer edges of the disc than near the hub. Blu-Ray drives, however, maintain a constant access speed regardless of where on the disc they are reading. This really isn't much of an issue for movie viewers, however as both formats will likely not need high access speeds just to play back video.

Frame rates actually work a little better with the Blu-ray formats. I'm not sure what your friend was thinking of when he said the frame rates were greater on HD-DVD. In fact HD-DVD started out without full 1080p support. It still doesn't have native 24p support while Blu-Ray players do. For movies a higher frame rate doesn't necessarily mean a better picture. Nothing is shot at 60fps and with the exception of video games, you'll be hard pressed to find anything that strays from the 24fps standard. HD-DVD has to up-convert a 24fps signal to a 60fps interlaced output (simple math will tell you why that isn't the best solution), while Blu-Ray players will output a native 24fps progressive scan signal. Newer TVs can get around this, resulting in the exact same output from both formats, but it is still nice to have your player do it for you in case your TV can't.

As far as standards go, both formats seem to support upgradable firmware. While I've seen people claim HD-DVD is more standardized, I have yet to actually NEED to download an update to view a movie, unlike with my HD-DVD drive on the 360 (Heroes Season one had serious issues and several discs would not play without an update). Currently, HD-DVD has no region coding, while Blu-Ray is split between three global regions.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM

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