Blu-ray or HD DVD players Which format should I buy?
If you're wondering whether to get either a Blu-ray or HD DVD player your decision is about to get a lot easier. As of late 2-16 a report from Reuters states that Toshiba is done with HD DVD. UPDATE 2-19-08 - It's OFFICIAL - This morning Toshiba announced that they will no longer produce HD DVD players. As they are the major hardware manufacturer this is the final nail in HD DVD's coffin. Read on below for events leading to their decision.
As the HD DVD death knell is being heard by many -- there are still some die-hards that are sticking by the Toshiba backed format -- apparently Toshiba is no longer among those ranks. With the latest news of three major media distribution players -- Netflix, Wal-Mart and Best Buy -- dropping the HD DVD format, Blu-ray backers are thumping their chests in apparent victory. And although the Fat Lady hasn't sung yet - the forthcoming official announcement from Toshiba will be the final cue for her performance. I guess the question now is what happens with all of the unsold stock of HD DVD players and movies? Can anyone say "Fire Sale"?
Out of respect for Toshiba's valiant effort I'll leave this page - "Blu-ray or HD DVD" in place as a 'memorial' to the battle. RIP HD DVD - "we barely knew ye".
The yardstick by which many judge the rival high definition formats is the availability of movies for the particular format. Some motion picture studios are only releasing their films in one or the other variety. Warner Brothers is the latest to go strictly Blu-ray.
Another weighing factor in the format war is number of units sold wherein Blu-ray holds the advantage over HD DVD with over a half-million more units currently sold -- although a lot of the Blu-ray units are PS3s and reportedly only around 20% of PS3 owners use their boxes for viewing movies.
Picture quality for either format depends largely upon the quality of the film transfer. I've seen some (but admittedly not many) regular DVDs that could compare to some high definition titles. Blu-ray boasts a storage capacity of 50 gigs compared to HD DVD's 30 gig current limit. There are plans for a 51 gig HD DVD disc in the works and also talks of a 100 gig Blu-ray disc on the horizon. A nod goes clearly in the favor of Blu-ray discs in the current available storage capacity area which allows for uncompressed audio to accompany the large chunk of disc storage needed for HD media.
There are a couple of hybrid, dual format players available - that number could be increasing very soon and will be welcomed by all confused about what format to buy. The latest dual format player is now available from LG. Check out my take on the new LG BH200.
For now I recommend you either get an upscaling DVD player or dive in with which format you personally believe will win in the end -- if there ever is actually an end to the battle. Right now -- if I personally had to make a choice of only having either a Blu-ray or HD DVD -- I'd buy a Blu-ray player due to the current greater storage capacity which allows for clearer uncompressed audio and longer movies on one disc -- but it would indeed be better to have both or a hybrid if your budget allows. :)