Why the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray Battle Doesn’t Matter
Some quick background, and I’ll try not to get too technical: The movie you currently rent or buy from Blockbuster, NetFlix, or the library on DVD is at a resolution of 720x 480. (U.S. NTSC) If you have a standard TV, DVD’s look very good because the capabilities of your TV closely matches the resolution and frame rate of the DVD. If you own a High Definition TV (HDTV), DVD’s look ok, but the HDTV is much more capable and the content is just not there on the DVD.
HD-DVD and Blu-ray are two high definition formats for a “disc”. (The “disc” is the important part for me to make my point). Each format is similar (Blu-ray has a slightly higher capacity) but they provide content for your HDTV at resolutions to match. (1920 x 1080) These two formats are incompatible with each other and are backed by different manufacturers and thus the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray battle has emerged. Many people are debating which is better, how much they will cost, and who will win.
Neither will win.
Sony, the creators of Blu-ray, are going to make Blu-ray a viable option with their Playstation 3 strategy. Simply, the Playstation 3 will be a high end game console to compete with Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft xBox 360 and also double as a Blu-ray player. The cost is expensive for a game console, $500+; but stand alone Blu-ray players will likely be $1000+.
HD-DVD will be a viable option as well, simply because it is already on the market and available. HD-DVD players are available at $500, and content is also available. I can see the growing list on my NetFlix account.
The war will fade to the background.
It doesn’t matter because the “disc” will become obsolete. High definition content is going to be stored in flash memory, network storage, and streamed over the your cable, satellite and Internet connection. It already is. Who cares about the “disc”. I have a DVR/DVD-burner and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve burned content to DVD. It’s a pain. I watch everything off of the DVR. If I wanted to keep a TV show, or show it on another device, I’d much rather copy the video file with a computer over a network. People will be watching high definition TV live, or recording to a high definition DVR, or streaming the content “on-demand” and renting “discs” will be no more.
Windows Media Center, the Mac-Mini, and Vista will continue to change how we use our home theater. Yes, I will likely have either a HD-DVD or Blu-ray player in my home someday, but it will be a secondary feature for the primary purpose of the device. It will be in the DVR, or the drive in my Media Center. Hollywood is going to slow this revolution down to stop movie pirates, but things will change.