The following is my current impression of the status of HD formats at this moment.
There have been some comparisons of picture quality (PQ) made between HD-DVD and Blu-ray, and the latter often comes up short.
One factor is the codec used.
For some reason, the Blu-ray movies being released are mostly encoded with MPEG-2, rather than the two-generations-better VC-1.
Apparently there is encoding software coming out that runs on a PC in near realtime.
I wonder – since HD-DVD uses CV-1 as well, why can’t they encode it once for both formats?
Are there internal “HD-DVD” teams and “Blu-ray” teams at the various studios?
I really hope not.
The other factor is hardware bugs.
There have been some issues, although they may be fixed by a firmware update.
Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of one being released.
Now, despite all these issues with Blu-ray, it is still my pick as the eventual victor, for the exact same reason VHS beat beta: quantity.
Beta could only hold 60 minutes of video, while VHS offered 2 hours, or 6 hours if you didn’t mind crappy quality.
It’s not quite the same for Blu-ray: even at HD-DVD’s minimal 15 Gig size for a one-sided, single-layer disc, there is plenty of room for a good-quality HD movie.
However, these discs will also be used to store data on computers, and with Blu-ray being demonstrated at 200 GB (using 6 layers of 33 GB each), HD-DVD doesn’t even come close.
With our 750 GB hard disks in our computers, we need this for long-term shelf storage.
I really think it’s that simple.
Because Blu-ray and HD-DVD certainly don’t differ in any meaningful way when it comes to HD playback quality.