Blu-ray seems beta, but it will win


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.

7 Responses to “Blu-ray seems beta, but it will win”

  1. jok Says:

    I bought into Blu-Ray because of the quantity item. As for the war in general, I am not too concerned who wins, as I knew from the beginning I would buy a second unit in a few years, if one or the other format is dead, then I have a very expensive (and slow-booting) DVD player that plays a few museum piece DVDs, but 2 years of HD enjoyment under my belt.

  2. iainb Says:

    Denon does not have confidence in either format at the moment. They are waiting for a victor in the format war to emerge.

    Long term storage should be handled by hard drives. They are cheap and getting larger all the time. How long is it going to take me to burn a 200GB BR disc?

  3. rae Says:

    So where do I store the backup of my 750 GB drive? :-P

  4. iainb Says:

    On another 750 GB drive.

  5. iainb Says:

    From The Tech Report;

    “Engineers at Seagate have successfully achieved a storage density of 421 Gbits per square inch for the purpose of a magnetic recording demonstration, the company has announced. This density, which is over three times greater than that of Seagate’s latest Barracuda 7200.10 hard drives, was achieved using a perpendicular recording head and thermally-stable recording media built with current production equipment.

    With that much data crammed per square inch of platter space, Seagate reckons it can hit capacities of almost 2.5TB with desktop hard drives, 500GB with notebook hard drives, and 275GB with iPod-size 1″ and 1.8” hard drives. Seagate says its demo proves that it can scale current technology “for the foreseeable future without major technology changes or capital additions.” That said, the company is already looking for ways to continue boosting platter densities once current perpendicular recording tech reaches its peak, which is likely to happen in four to five years.”

  6. rae Says:

    This is why I wasn’t all that impressed with your 160 GB laptop drive tonight, Iain! Wake me up when you hit 250 GB at LEAST!

  7. Iain Says:

    It is the same old story over and over again. We buy what we can and lust after what we cannot.

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