Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD Fact vs. Fiction

June 28, 2006

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVDAlright yesterdays post got me a bit fired up, I think it’s time we clear up some myths surrounding the supposed technical superiority of Blu-ray over HD-DVD. Immediately after the initial announcements of Blu-ray and HD-DVD back in 2002, the Blu-ray camp began floating the idea their format was technically superior to HD-DVD.

Well, as with all things consumer electronics, specifications rarely tell the full story. Many companies plan on certain features and functions for their products but whether those specifications actually make their way into the final product is another story.

Granted both formats are still evolving (firmware updates and potential dual layer introductions) and I readily acknowledge what I’m about to layout here only applies to today, however it’s still important to note the distinctions between what was promised and the reality.

Myth: Blu-ray is superior because it supports 1080P and HD-DVD doesn’t

Reality: This myth stems from the players themselves and not the actual disc formats. All HD-DVD’s released to date are encoded at 1080p; Blu-ray and HD-DVD are no more defined by their respective players than the DVD format was. Many of the first DVD players didn’t support DTS, but do you hear anyone claiming that DVD doesn’t support DTS?


No, neither the HD-A1 or HD-XA1 currently support 1080p output, but with Toshiba’s third HD-DVD player/recorder supporting 1080p output, I think its safe to assume that all future HD-DVD players will do the same.

More importantly only a handful of the 1080p displays on the market today accept 1080p input, they take 1080i and internally de-interlace it to 1080p, this is why Toshiba chose to forgo 1080p output on the first two players. It was a simple matter of real-world functionality versus a perceived benefit.

The truth of the matter is the majority of the 1080p capable displays on the market, have the ability to internally de-interlace 1080i video to full 1080p resolution. So 1080p from HD-DVD is technically possible right now.

Myth: Blu-ray supports lossless audio where HD-DVD does not.

Reality: You know, I don’t even really know where this one comes from, but I’ve heard this fallacy floated around by both retail salesmen and supposed authorities alike.

HD-DVD supports Dolby TrueHD (lossless) and DTS-HD, currently the DTS-HD decoding is DTS core (lossy) only. It’s assumed that full DTS-HD (lossless) support is coming by means of a firmware update. Either way, Dolby TrueHD is supported right now, and definitely qualifies as a lossless format.

Myth: Blu-ray has more capacity.

Reality: Follow me carefully here, because the distinction I’m going to make does not rule out the possibility that Blu-ray will indeed, ultimately offer more storage capacity.

While Blu-ray is (theoretically) capable of delivering a dual-layer 25GB disc for a total of 50GB’s, the truth of the matter is, the Blu-ray (movie) titles Sony has shipped thus far are on single layer 25GB discs.

So in reality as of today Wednesday the 28th of June 2006, HD-DVD discs at dual-layer 15GB for a total of 30GB offer more capacity than Blu-ray, I’ll repeat that, as of right now HD-DVD is delivering more capacity than Blu-ray. That kind of flies in the face of everything we’ve heard about Blu-ray thus far huh?

The HD-DVD camp has even reported the development of a 45GB (3-layer) disc. And while I’ll have to take a ‘believe it when I see it’ stance on that one, I’m a lot more likely to believe someone who promised less capacity (It was assumed the first HD-DVD’s would be single layer 15GB) and delivered more, over someone who promised more capacity and delivered less.

Of course Sony could trump all of this by delivering their dual-layer 50GB discs, or even their 4 layer (yes four layers!) 100GB discs, but until it’s on the store shelves and playing in Blu-ray players, you’ll have to forgive me for being less than convinced.

Myth: Blu-ray has better image quality than HD-DVD.

Reality: I’ve yet to find one article, early review or credible observation from a trusted source, that flatly states ‘Blu-ray looks better than HD-DVD’. All the Blu-ray reviews I’ve read thus far all throw in some caveat or disclaimer, that seems to indicate HD-DVD’s performance hasn’t been eclipsed, even if they liked XYZ feature in Blu-ray more.

My own observations (Which I freely admit weren’t with a system I was intimately familiar with) found the exact opposite to be true. So far I’ve viewed, ‘House of Flying Daggers’, ‘Hitch’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ and the Blu-ray demo disc on a 61” 1080p Samsung rear-pro display. Flying Daggers had severe macro-blocking in scenes with single fields of highly saturated colors.

The same thing presented itself in ‘Ultraviolet’ during a close-up of Mila Jovovich’s midriff; I again noticed distinct pixilation as if the subtle changes in skin-tone simply weren’t being rendered. It was as if this section of video just got a wash of color as opposed to the subtle shading I’m used to seeing from HD-DVD.

Hitch on the other hand was just plain bad; I noticed more macro-blocking and shading problems, and less sharpness than the other two titles to boot. It was better than DVD but not better enough to justify the expense.

While the Blu-ray demo disc did indeed have better image quality than the full length Blu-ray movies. I have to assume with the demo disc coming in it at 30 minutes or so, Sony was able to take full advantage of Blu-ray’s bit-rate, whereas they couldn’t with the full length films.

Summary:

HD image quality is by and large dictated by its bit-rate, MPEG2 is an ancient (in relative terms) video codec. VC-1 is two to three times more efficient than MPEG2, and thus far it seems to be apparent, that Blu-ray’s smaller disc sizes are only exacerbating this inefficiency.

Until Blu-ray either adopts VC-1 as their sole video codec or releases Blu-ray movies on 50GB discs, it’s very unlikely that Blu-ray’s image quality will even match, much less surpass that of HD-DVD’s.

HD-DVD is simply delivering higher bit-rates and overall better image quality, than Blu-ray is capable of with the combination of MPEG2 and 25GB Blu-ray discs.

In theory with 50GB discs Blu-ray could greatly improve its video quality even with MPEG2, but again until it’s on shelves and in players it’s just a theory.

Like I stated earlier, much of this could change with the introduction of dual-layer, 25GB (50GB total) discs from Blu-ray. But this begs the question if Blu-ray part deux only matches and doesn’t surpass HD-DVD in video quality, why the $500 premium?



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blu-ray, HD-DVD


Comments

  • David Woodward

    Looks like Blu-Ray, the ‘better format’ may go the way of Betamax, the other better format.

  • David Woodward

    Looks like Blu-Ray, the ‘better format’ may go the way of Betamax, the other better format.

  • Paul_A/V

    “Nice article, Dont get me wrong, im the biggest proponent of HD DVD there is, but the only limitation HD DVD has right now is the max peak bitrate of 30Mb/s for audio and video. Blu-ray’s is 54Mb/s (which might be needed if Sony stays with Mpeg2 and LPCM audio).”

    Actually the Toshiba player can support an average rate of 30 Mbit/sec:

  • Paul_A/V

    “Nice article, Dont get me wrong, im the biggest proponent of HD DVD there is, but the only limitation HD DVD has right now is the max peak bitrate of 30Mb/s for audio and video. Blu-ray’s is 54Mb/s (which might be needed if Sony stays with Mpeg2 and LPCM audio).”

    Actually the Toshiba player can support an average rate of 30 Mbit/sec:

  • Y. Lavoie

    Great post. It’s nice to read the truth instead of all the FUD coming out of the Blu-ray camp. Let’s be honest, the only reason Blu-ray even exists is because of greed and the PS3.

    Lets start on the greed part. In the past, Sony could charge a premium for their products because they often had superior technology in the product. (e.g. Sony Trinitron CRTs) However lately, they have been force to justify the premium on brand name alone. See http://www.dfcint.com/game_article/may06article.html If Sony had joined the HD-DVD camp, they would have to duke it out with dozens of other manufacturers. To justify their premium prices, Sony needs to develop their own proprietary technology.

    Now the PS3 is what Sony used to lure the Hollywood studios in their camp. They promised the studios that would have an installed base of millions of households with a PS3/Blu-ray machine. That was the carrot they used to bring most of the studios on board. Now with the recent announcement of a $600 price tag for the PS3 and early game developer gripes that the PS3 is very difficult to program because of the Cell processor, Sony’s grand projections don’t look so grand after all. More and more game developers will develop cross-platform games to support their huge development costs and the games on the PS3 will be no better than on the X-Box 360 which is $200 cheaper.

    A previous blogger noted the difficulties with the manufacturing of 50GB dual layer Blu-ray discs which limits the current batch of Blu-ray disks to 25GB. What wasn’t mentioned is that Sony owns over 100 patents on MPEG-2. Although the Blu-ray spec supports VC-1 which is much better quality than MPEG-2, this was a last minute inclusion. Sony’s insistence on using MPEG-2 is probably because they are not interested in losing licensing revenues to Microsoft. Also, notice that almost all of the early Blu-ray discs don’t include any extras. What’s the point? That was a big plus for DVD when it came out and Blu-ray can’t even provide that.

    Unless Sony can start manufacturing 50GB discs soon, then there is really no justification for the format. No mater how you slice it, a 25GB Blu-ray disc is less than a 30GB HD-DVD disc. Given the current costs and difficulties with Blu-ray disc manufacturing and the huge premiums on the early Blu-ray machines, I just can’t see how Sony can win this one. The studios will follow the money and market share and that leads directly to the HD-DVD camp.

  • Y. Lavoie

    Great post. It’s nice to read the truth instead of all the FUD coming out of the Blu-ray camp. Let’s be honest, the only reason Blu-ray even exists is because of greed and the PS3.

    Lets start on the greed part. In the past, Sony could charge a premium for their products because they often had superior technology in the product. (e.g. Sony Trinitron CRTs) However lately, they have been force to justify the premium on brand name alone. See http://www.dfcint.com/game_article/may06article.html If Sony had joined the HD-DVD camp, they would have to duke it out with dozens of other manufacturers. To justify their premium prices, Sony needs to develop their own proprietary technology.

    Now the PS3 is what Sony used to lure the Hollywood studios in their camp. They promised the studios that would have an installed base of millions of households with a PS3/Blu-ray machine. That was the carrot they used to bring most of the studios on board. Now with the recent announcement of a $600 price tag for the PS3 and early game developer gripes that the PS3 is very difficult to program because of the Cell processor, Sony’s grand projections don’t look so grand after all. More and more game developers will develop cross-platform games to support their huge development costs and the games on the PS3 will be no better than on the X-Box 360 which is $200 cheaper.

    A previous blogger noted the difficulties with the manufacturing of 50GB dual layer Blu-ray discs which limits the current batch of Blu-ray disks to 25GB. What wasn’t mentioned is that Sony owns over 100 patents on MPEG-2. Although the Blu-ray spec supports VC-1 which is much better quality than MPEG-2, this was a last minute inclusion. Sony’s insistence on using MPEG-2 is probably because they are not interested in losing licensing revenues to Microsoft. Also, notice that almost all of the early Blu-ray discs don’t include any extras. What’s the point? That was a big plus for DVD when it came out and Blu-ray can’t even provide that.

    Unless Sony can start manufacturing 50GB discs soon, then there is really no justification for the format. No mater how you slice it, a 25GB Blu-ray disc is less than a 30GB HD-DVD disc. Given the current costs and difficulties with Blu-ray disc manufacturing and the huge premiums on the early Blu-ray machines, I just can’t see how Sony can win this one. The studios will follow the money and market share and that leads directly to the HD-DVD camp.

  • B.Greenway

    Tang,

    No Blu-ray partner has shipped a stand-alone recorder (In the United States) much less one capable of recording “my own HD content. Be it TV programming, or video recorded by an HDV camcorder.” So the 50GB recordable discs are still relegated to the PC world for the time being. And unless these recorders are 5C compliant (or similar), I have to wonder what if any real-world HD recording we’ll be doing with them.

    As to your assertion that “45 gig HD-DVD discs, which will only be available as recordable media.” Granted, while the 45GB discs aren’t relevant to today’s players and pre-recorded content, they may very well wind up in future HD-DVD recorders, and as someone who’s already expressed interest in recorders surely you’ll find that relevant.

    As to “I don’t disagree with pointing that out. But it is a little misleading to say that currently HD-DVD is capable of more storage. I wanted to point that out.”

    We can agree to disagree on many things Tang, but the phrase “HD-DVD is capable of more storage” does not appear in my article. I even made the (could easily change with the introduction of the 50GB discs) notation in several different places throughout the article.

    I don’t know how many different ways I can re-word Blu-ray movies aren’t shipping on 50GB discs and currently there aren’t any Blu-ray recorders here in the U.S., so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

    I thought that I was very careful and deliberate to make distinctions based on what’s available (Today) yet many of the comments (on other sites) spiral into speculation and borderline on pure fantasy as to ‘what’s possible’. Listen I love to speculate on the possible as much as the next guy, that’s why I subscribe to Popular Science, but when it comes to home theater I’m much more interested in today.

  • B.Greenway

    Tang,

    No Blu-ray partner has shipped a stand-alone recorder (In the United States) much less one capable of recording “my own HD content. Be it TV programming, or video recorded by an HDV camcorder.” So the 50GB recordable discs are still relegated to the PC world for the time being. And unless these recorders are 5C compliant (or similar), I have to wonder what if any real-world HD recording we’ll be doing with them.

    As to your assertion that “45 gig HD-DVD discs, which will only be available as recordable media.” Granted, while the 45GB discs aren’t relevant to today’s players and pre-recorded content, they may very well wind up in future HD-DVD recorders, and as someone who’s already expressed interest in recorders surely you’ll find that relevant.

    As to “I don’t disagree with pointing that out. But it is a little misleading to say that currently HD-DVD is capable of more storage. I wanted to point that out.”

    We can agree to disagree on many things Tang, but the phrase “HD-DVD is capable of more storage” does not appear in my article. I even made the (could easily change with the introduction of the 50GB discs) notation in several different places throughout the article.

    I don’t know how many different ways I can re-word Blu-ray movies aren’t shipping on 50GB discs and currently there aren’t any Blu-ray recorders here in the U.S., so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

    I thought that I was very careful and deliberate to make distinctions based on what’s available (Today) yet many of the comments (on other sites) spiral into speculation and borderline on pure fantasy as to ‘what’s possible’. Listen I love to speculate on the possible as much as the next guy, that’s why I subscribe to Popular Science, but when it comes to home theater I’m much more interested in today.

  • tang

    Thanks for the follow up.

    My reason for pointing out the existance of dual layer recordables is that, of great interest to me is using blu-ray to record and author my own HD content. Be it TV programming, or video recorded by an HDV camcorder.

    I did not assume that this article was purely limmited to home theatre users who did not use recordable devices or HTPC’s. You do mention 45 gig HD-dvd discs, which will only be available as recordable media.

    I think Sony are guilty of making a lot of misleading and foolish claims to help market their product.

    I don’t disagree with pointing that out. But it is a little misleading to say that currently HD-DVD is capable of more storage. I wanted to point that out.

  • tang

    Thanks for the follow up.

    My reason for pointing out the existance of dual layer recordables is that, of great interest to me is using blu-ray to record and author my own HD content. Be it TV programming, or video recorded by an HDV camcorder.

    I did not assume that this article was purely limmited to home theatre users who did not use recordable devices or HTPC’s. You do mention 45 gig HD-dvd discs, which will only be available as recordable media.

    I think Sony are guilty of making a lot of misleading and foolish claims to help market their product.

    I don’t disagree with pointing that out. But it is a little misleading to say that currently HD-DVD is capable of more storage. I wanted to point that out.

  • B.Greenway

    Gowlan,

    Blu-ray’s 50GB disc space was one of their biggest selling points, if “could the reason for the 25Gb be that after encoding the movie that is ALL the space needed” is true doesn’t that make one of their two biggest areas of superiority a moot point?

    As to the VC-1 part of your statement, “MPEG2 was probably used as it already was a standard and thus didn’t require reinvestment in new tools/time. The quick and cheap way to get a disk to market”

    For the life of me I can’t see how or why the ‘technologically superior’ Blu-ray format would ever want preessings (at launch) done quick and cheap. Again why hype up how superior to HD-DVD they are, only to push out mediocre pressings? I mean do “quick and cheap” disc pressings really instill a lot of confidence in you?

  • B.Greenway

    Gowlan,

    Blu-ray’s 50GB disc space was one of their biggest selling points, if “could the reason for the 25Gb be that after encoding the movie that is ALL the space needed” is true doesn’t that make one of their two biggest areas of superiority a moot point?

    As to the VC-1 part of your statement, “MPEG2 was probably used as it already was a standard and thus didn’t require reinvestment in new tools/time. The quick and cheap way to get a disk to market”

    For the life of me I can’t see how or why the ‘technologically superior’ Blu-ray format would ever want preessings (at launch) done quick and cheap. Again why hype up how superior to HD-DVD they are, only to push out mediocre pressings? I mean do “quick and cheap” disc pressings really instill a lot of confidence in you?

  • Benjamin J. Higginbotham

    Good points all, but I think there’s a bigger picture here… At this exact moment in time I would agree with HD-DVD is beating out BluRay in terms of quality, price and performance. However, it appears that BluRay has some longer legs than HD-DVD does from a technology standpoint, and possibly performance.

    CODECS/Quality:
    Basically both formats support the same CODECs, so it’s up to the compression artist to decide what to do. While I’m no huge fan of VC1 (I prefer h.264), both formats support both options. The point is, because a compression artist chose to encode a video file using MPEG 2 as opposed to h.264 does not mean one format is better than the other. It’s stupid to encode as MPEG 2, but it’s not really a format difference that’s an authoring difference. I don’t think it’s fair to knock an entire format because of a couple of poorly encoded discs. I have no doubt that a bad compression artist will come along and screw up an HD-DVD disc some day, possibly soon.

    Disc Size:
    Today HD-DVD is the clear winner, but so what? The technology is still in its infancy and we have no idea who will be the leader here. Sony and the BluRay forum are not going to let dual layer discs just fall by the wayside. Both the Toshiba crowd and the Sony crowd will do everything in their power to get the size and quality of the discs as high as they can. While at the very beginning of the release HD-DVD is ahead, in the long run this will have no bearing on what the technology will actually do. On paper BluRay does have more storage and I fully expect that we will see that storage come to light. When DVDs first came out they were about the quality of VHS tapes, and in some cases were worse than their older cousin the LaserDisc. Today it’s a very different story. Expect the same thing to happen to HD based optical media.

    My only point is that it’s far too early to make quality/judgement calls on any of the HD formats available. This industry is changing on a weekly basis and until it settles down a bit, neither technology is better than the other, they are just playing a game of leapfrog.

    Just my $0.02

  • Benjamin J. Higginbotham

    Good points all, but I think there’s a bigger picture here… At this exact moment in time I would agree with HD-DVD is beating out BluRay in terms of quality, price and performance. However, it appears that BluRay has some longer legs than HD-DVD does from a technology standpoint, and possibly performance.

    CODECS/Quality:
    Basically both formats support the same CODECs, so it’s up to the compression artist to decide what to do. While I’m no huge fan of VC1 (I prefer h.264), both formats support both options. The point is, because a compression artist chose to encode a video file using MPEG 2 as opposed to h.264 does not mean one format is better than the other. It’s stupid to encode as MPEG 2, but it’s not really a format difference that’s an authoring difference. I don’t think it’s fair to knock an entire format because of a couple of poorly encoded discs. I have no doubt that a bad compression artist will come along and screw up an HD-DVD disc some day, possibly soon.

    Disc Size:
    Today HD-DVD is the clear winner, but so what? The technology is still in its infancy and we have no idea who will be the leader here. Sony and the BluRay forum are not going to let dual layer discs just fall by the wayside. Both the Toshiba crowd and the Sony crowd will do everything in their power to get the size and quality of the discs as high as they can. While at the very beginning of the release HD-DVD is ahead, in the long run this will have no bearing on what the technology will actually do. On paper BluRay does have more storage and I fully expect that we will see that storage come to light. When DVDs first came out they were about the quality of VHS tapes, and in some cases were worse than their older cousin the LaserDisc. Today it’s a very different story. Expect the same thing to happen to HD based optical media.

    My only point is that it’s far too early to make quality/judgement calls on any of the HD formats available. This industry is changing on a weekly basis and until it settles down a bit, neither technology is better than the other, they are just playing a game of leapfrog.

    Just my $0.02

  • Bob Brose

    There seems to be a lot of misinformation about manufacturing HDDVD and BluRay. First of all the reason Sony has not shipped dual layer is because there are not any in-line manufacturing lines capable of making them with any yield. If there was you would see them shipping the disc.

    Recordable disc are made differently. Multiple layer BlueRay recordable will be easier to manufacture but to manufacture pre-recorded BluRay due to the first layer is only .1mm you can not mold this layer on a .1mm layer disc. You have to mold a substrate of acrylic, metalicize and then separate the layer off.

    You need to know that HD DVD is made the same way DVD is made. Two .6mm disc bonded together. A HDDVD line can make DVD. The only difference is your stamper has smaller pits and the final inspection is more critical for HD DVD. You mold two disc. The information-a spiral of bumps like a bar code-is molded into the two disc. You put a reflective layer on the surface with the bumps. The reflective layer on the first disc is thin layer of silver and it is like a two way mirror. The other layer is aluminum. The two reflective surface discs are glued together and the player can focus on one layer or through the bonding material to the other.

    So making a dual layer HDDVD is the same as making a dual layer dvd9. There are many replicators of DVD Like me that already have HDDVD lines, but only use them for DVD manufacturing. But BlueRay Dual layer manufacturing of pre-recorded disc is state of the art. My definition of state of the art. It’s so new it does not work.

  • Bob Brose

    There seems to be a lot of misinformation about manufacturing HDDVD and BluRay. First of all the reason Sony has not shipped dual layer is because there are not any in-line manufacturing lines capable of making them with any yield. If there was you would see them shipping the disc.

    Recordable disc are made differently. Multiple layer BlueRay recordable will be easier to manufacture but to manufacture pre-recorded BluRay due to the first layer is only .1mm you can not mold this layer on a .1mm layer disc. You have to mold a substrate of acrylic, metalicize and then separate the layer off.

    You need to know that HD DVD is made the same way DVD is made. Two .6mm disc bonded together. A HDDVD line can make DVD. The only difference is your stamper has smaller pits and the final inspection is more critical for HD DVD. You mold two disc. The information-a spiral of bumps like a bar code-is molded into the two disc. You put a reflective layer on the surface with the bumps. The reflective layer on the first disc is thin layer of silver and it is like a two way mirror. The other layer is aluminum. The two reflective surface discs are glued together and the player can focus on one layer or through the bonding material to the other.

    So making a dual layer HDDVD is the same as making a dual layer dvd9. There are many replicators of DVD Like me that already have HDDVD lines, but only use them for DVD manufacturing. But BlueRay Dual layer manufacturing of pre-recorded disc is state of the art. My definition of state of the art. It’s so new it does not work.

  • gowlan

    Or could the reason for the 25Gb be that after encoding the movie that is ALL the space needed. Thus going to a 50Gb disk would just cost more and not gain anything. This reminds me of the early PS2 days; the only games using the DVD format were ones woried about copying. Most publishers stuck with CD because it was far cheaper and provided the space needed. As for the quality difference this is a matter of the codec (MPEG2 vs VC-1) VC-1 is far better that MPEG2. MPEG2 was probally used as it already was a standard and thus didn’t require reinvestment in new tools/time. The quick and cheap way to get a disk to market

  • gowlan

    Or could the reason for the 25Gb be that after encoding the movie that is ALL the space needed. Thus going to a 50Gb disk would just cost more and not gain anything. This reminds me of the early PS2 days; the only games using the DVD format were ones woried about copying. Most publishers stuck with CD because it was far cheaper and provided the space needed. As for the quality difference this is a matter of the codec (MPEG2 vs VC-1) VC-1 is far better that MPEG2. MPEG2 was probally used as it already was a standard and thus didn’t require reinvestment in new tools/time. The quick and cheap way to get a disk to market

  • Dave

    B., this is just a thought–but, I wonder if maybe the reason they haven’t been producing dual-layer movies is because they can’t do so without significantly increasing the cost of production. If so, it might indicate that this first batch of BD movies is designed to make the Blu-Ray media format appear to be cost-competitive with HD-DVD releases.

  • Dave

    B., this is just a thought–but, I wonder if maybe the reason they haven’t been producing dual-layer movies is because they can’t do so without significantly increasing the cost of production. If so, it might indicate that this first batch of BD movies is designed to make the Blu-Ray media format appear to be cost-competitive with HD-DVD releases.

  • B.Greenway

    Tang, (and others)

    As this sites primary focus is home theater, I thought it would be obvious that any comment about Blu-ray’s disc size would pertain to stand alone consumer (movie) players and the pre-recorded content for those players.

    I now realize I shouldn’t have made that assumption. So let me clearly state, thus far the pre-recorded movies shipped to retailers aren’t on the highly touted 50GB discs. I’m a little confused as to how the existence of rewritable 50GB (we’re talking about players not recorders here after all) changes the fact that they weren’t used on the first batch of movies.

    As to the TDK DVD 50GB BD-RE (Rewritable) itself, that’s interesting and noteworthy, I have to wonder though if those discs are ready for production, why not use that extra 25GB’s for the movies? Isn’t it mission critical to put the best foot forward for Blu-ray’s launch? If Blu-ray’s original assertion that 30GB’s wouldn’t be enough for HD movies, then surely 25GB’s isn’t enough, right?

    As to the “they (comments) seem biased towards disproving the idea that Blu-ray is any better than HD-DVD” I fully admit to being biased, I’m biased for a quick and decisive end to all of this nonsense, If Blu-ray can bring that to fruition, then I’ll throw my hat in their ring and never look back.

    I won’t however do so, on the back of the truth. The 50GB capacity was a big selling point for Blu-ray. Pointing out that the first batch of Blu-ray titles shipped on 25GB discs, doesn’t seem the least bit “biased” in my opinion. If Toshiba had failed to deliver the 15GB’s they promised, I assure you I would have been all over that, oddly enough they shipped on 30GB discs, but that’s neither here nor there.

    No where in my article did I assert that Blu-ray was incapable of VC-1, for example I stated “Until Blu-ray either adopts VC-1 as their sole video codec” plainly illustrates that I’m aware Blu-ray is capable of VC-1 support. The truth of the matter is (sadly) the first batch of discs simply don’t utilize it.

    The truth here is that both companies have laid out a road-map for bringing pre-recorded HD content to consumers, but so far that road-map took a detour somewhere off reality street. I’ve seen missteps from both camps. (some minor, some seemingly major)

    I’ve changed the bit about the 45GB discs nearing production, to “reported the development of a 45GB (3-layer) disc”, simple case of memory less accurate than written text.

    I’ve also clarified that the first movies, were shipped on 25GB discs, again I thought the fact this was a home theater site would have drawn that logical conclusion for the reader.

    Also, I want to thank everyone for the kind comments. I have to admit I’m somewhat surprised by the response to all of this.

  • B.Greenway

    Tang, (and others)

    As this sites primary focus is home theater, I thought it would be obvious that any comment about Blu-ray’s disc size would pertain to stand alone consumer (movie) players and the pre-recorded content for those players.

    I now realize I shouldn’t have made that assumption. So let me clearly state, thus far the pre-recorded movies shipped to retailers aren’t on the highly touted 50GB discs. I’m a little confused as to how the existence of rewritable 50GB (we’re talking about players not recorders here after all) changes the fact that they weren’t used on the first batch of movies.

    As to the TDK DVD 50GB BD-RE (Rewritable) itself, that’s interesting and noteworthy, I have to wonder though if those discs are ready for production, why not use that extra 25GB’s for the movies? Isn’t it mission critical to put the best foot forward for Blu-ray’s launch? If Blu-ray’s original assertion that 30GB’s wouldn’t be enough for HD movies, then surely 25GB’s isn’t enough, right?

    As to the “they (comments) seem biased towards disproving the idea that Blu-ray is any better than HD-DVD” I fully admit to being biased, I’m biased for a quick and decisive end to all of this nonsense, If Blu-ray can bring that to fruition, then I’ll throw my hat in their ring and never look back.

    I won’t however do so, on the back of the truth. The 50GB capacity was a big selling point for Blu-ray. Pointing out that the first batch of Blu-ray titles shipped on 25GB discs, doesn’t seem the least bit “biased” in my opinion. If Toshiba had failed to deliver the 15GB’s they promised, I assure you I would have been all over that, oddly enough they shipped on 30GB discs, but that’s neither here nor there.

    No where in my article did I assert that Blu-ray was incapable of VC-1, for example I stated “Until Blu-ray either adopts VC-1 as their sole video codec” plainly illustrates that I’m aware Blu-ray is capable of VC-1 support. The truth of the matter is (sadly) the first batch of discs simply don’t utilize it.

    The truth here is that both companies have laid out a road-map for bringing pre-recorded HD content to consumers, but so far that road-map took a detour somewhere off reality street. I’ve seen missteps from both camps. (some minor, some seemingly major)

    I’ve changed the bit about the 45GB discs nearing production, to “reported the development of a 45GB (3-layer) disc”, simple case of memory less accurate than written text.

    I’ve also clarified that the first movies, were shipped on 25GB discs, again I thought the fact this was a home theater site would have drawn that logical conclusion for the reader.

    Also, I want to thank everyone for the kind comments. I have to admit I’m somewhat surprised by the response to all of this.

  • multilingual

    Interesting article.

    One of the more factual I have seen posted onthe web. I would make a few corrections:

    in your “blueray supports 1080p” section, you may want to point out that the Toshiba and Samsung players use EXACTLY the same broadcom chipset which is limited to 1080i. Toshiba decided to another digital step to the process (deinterlace) to get an output of 1080p. EVERY 1080p set on the planet already has a built in 1080p deinterlacer, most of them will be of superior quality to the one built into the samsung.

    Thus, the only difference is WHERE the deinterlacing happens – at the video projector, or within the player

  • multilingual

    Interesting article.

    One of the more factual I have seen posted onthe web. I would make a few corrections:

    in your “blueray supports 1080p” section, you may want to point out that the Toshiba and Samsung players use EXACTLY the same broadcom chipset which is limited to 1080i. Toshiba decided to another digital step to the process (deinterlace) to get an output of 1080p. EVERY 1080p set on the planet already has a built in 1080p deinterlacer, most of them will be of superior quality to the one built into the samsung.

    Thus, the only difference is WHERE the deinterlacing happens – at the video projector, or within the player

  • Chest Rockwell

    Great review man. It is especially important that you mentioned the FACT that Blu Ray has not delievered on its promise of Dual Layer 50 gig disks. The problems they’ve had on this concept should be more than enough to scare away every movie studio and supporter.

    Of course if Sony does hook up with VC-1 then you’ve got room for a 3 hour movie on 25 BD disks and all would be well. But what about those 50 giggers?

  • Chest Rockwell

    Great review man. It is especially important that you mentioned the FACT that Blu Ray has not delievered on its promise of Dual Layer 50 gig disks. The problems they’ve had on this concept should be more than enough to scare away every movie studio and supporter.

    Of course if Sony does hook up with VC-1 then you’ve got room for a 3 hour movie on 25 BD disks and all would be well. But what about those 50 giggers?

  • WiFiSpy

    Nice article, Dont get me wrong, im the biggest proponent of HD DVD there is, but the only limitation HD DVD has right now is the max peak bitrate of 30Mb/s for audio and video. Blu-ray’s is 54Mb/s (which might be needed if Sony stays with Mpeg2 and LPCM audio).

  • WiFiSpy

    Nice article, Dont get me wrong, im the biggest proponent of HD DVD there is, but the only limitation HD DVD has right now is the max peak bitrate of 30Mb/s for audio and video. Blu-ray’s is 54Mb/s (which might be needed if Sony stays with Mpeg2 and LPCM audio).

  • cassiusdrow

    HD DVD’s triple layer (45GB) discs and Blu-ray’s 4 layer (100GB) discs will only be for computer data from everything I have seen. Pre-recorded movie discs will only support single and double layer discs in either format. So the bottom line for home theater purposes is Blu-ray with 25GB/50GB and HD DVD with 15GB/30GB.

  • cassiusdrow

    HD DVD’s triple layer (45GB) discs and Blu-ray’s 4 layer (100GB) discs will only be for computer data from everything I have seen. Pre-recorded movie discs will only support single and double layer discs in either format. So the bottom line for home theater purposes is Blu-ray with 25GB/50GB and HD DVD with 15GB/30GB.

  • Ben Hobbs

    As someone also in the A/V industry I’m non too pleased with this sort of disinformation that Sony is regularly announcing.

    I’ve yet to see Toshiba state any sort of nonsense in the same way that Sony are becoming quickly renowned for.

    You can call it marketing if you like but to me its just spin, which is just going to confuse the customer in the end.

    I’m starting to hope that HD DVD does win the format wars, I mean at least they went out of their way to make the players affordable, were out first and still currently have the lead on picture quality. Which BTW is definitely the reason for the Sony Blu-Ray delay, it simply HAS to be better than Toshiba’s primary effort into HD.

  • Ben Hobbs

    As someone also in the A/V industry I’m non too pleased with this sort of disinformation that Sony is regularly announcing.

    I’ve yet to see Toshiba state any sort of nonsense in the same way that Sony are becoming quickly renowned for.

    You can call it marketing if you like but to me its just spin, which is just going to confuse the customer in the end.

    I’m starting to hope that HD DVD does win the format wars, I mean at least they went out of their way to make the players affordable, were out first and still currently have the lead on picture quality. Which BTW is definitely the reason for the Sony Blu-Ray delay, it simply HAS to be better than Toshiba’s primary effort into HD.

  • O. Tang

    This is all totally on the nose. And these are good facts to clear. However, they seem biased towards disproving the idea that Blu-ray is any better than HD-DVD.

    You should also mention that blu-ray is not limited to mpeg-2. While it is sad that Sony only delivers mpeg2 authoring tools, Panasonic has begun shipping their blu-ray authoring tools which allow for mpeg4 and h.264

    And while no movies have shipped that are dual layer.You can already buy dual layer BR discs from TDK for you BR burner. So they are hardly a myth or rumor.

    http://cdrsavings.stores.yahoo.net/tdkbd-re50-1.html

  • O. Tang

    This is all totally on the nose. And these are good facts to clear. However, they seem biased towards disproving the idea that Blu-ray is any better than HD-DVD.

    You should also mention that blu-ray is not limited to mpeg-2. While it is sad that Sony only delivers mpeg2 authoring tools, Panasonic has begun shipping their blu-ray authoring tools which allow for mpeg4 and h.264

    And while no movies have shipped that are dual layer.You can already buy dual layer BR discs from TDK for you BR burner. So they are hardly a myth or rumor.

    http://cdrsavings.stores.yahoo.net/tdkbd-re50-1.html

  • Adam Griffith

    Preach on, brother.

    I agree with you on all points. And I’m not anti-BD, just pro-High-Def…and if you’re the latter and objectively viewing the situation – then BD is just not cutting it. I’m not sure if I would even be appreciative of what BD currently offers even if I didn’t have the greatness of HD-DVD to compare it to. But since we all do, it’s been apparent to me and many other objective reviewers out there that BD has a lot of catching-up to do.

    I think it’s sad that they’ll have to re-release all of their first batch of movies to be able to truly please their target audience.

    And all the serious delays, the MPEG2 issues, the lack of any firm movie release dates by studios other than Sony, the lack of CD playback, lack of dual layer – are downright depressing.

    What’s worse is that Sony doesn’t seem to be on track to rectify these issues with any degree of certainty or swiftness. BD DL yields are still horrible at last report. MPEG2 seems to be their codec of choice and none other. I mean what the hell?

    Would I be so wrong as to predict that if these problems aren’t solved by the end of Xmas then HD DVD will have effectively begun to turn the tide? I’d have to say that any high-def fan not on HD DVD’s side at that point, if the Sony problems remain, must be officially insane/brainwashed.

    At this stage, depending on your point of view, -Sony and BD have either seriously shaken your confidence or just straight-up hopped on board a sinking ship. Either way, I think few of us will trust much, if anything, that Sony now claims or announces – and that even fewer of us, will be content to ignore HD DVD while Sony fumbles to get it’s act together.

    Sony needs to make some changes now to avoid their level of perceived weaknesses continuing to grow. Not later. Not October. Not for the PS3/Xmas. HD DVD seems like it may have a bit of a drought of highly-desired titles for the next 2 months or so. Sony/BD needs to strike during this time with everything they’ve got. By the end of summer, going into the Xmax season – HD DVD will almost certainly already have the Matrix, Batman Begins, and a bunch of other day-and-date new releases. If not King Kong and several other blockbusters.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen. On the one hand, most of the “do they deliver/impress” odds lay firmly now with HD DVD. On the other, there’s a certain amount of crazy unpredictablity that the whole war seems to exist in. The practical man in me says “HD DVD” is the answer and god-bless it but the cautious man in me knows that Sony will work harder than hell to live up to the hype before it’s too late.

    I think it’s obvious to me and many others that round 1 of the battle has gone to HD DVD as it has come out swinging while BD has stumbled out punch-drunk. However, this could be round 1 of a ten round bout. HD DVD has gone from under-dog to looking like Apollo Creed from all angles…but everyone knows that the reserves of strength that the BD camp has are enormous…will the stage a Rocky-like come-back before it’s too late?

  • Adam Griffith

    Preach on, brother.

    I agree with you on all points. And I’m not anti-BD, just pro-High-Def…and if you’re the latter and objectively viewing the situation – then BD is just not cutting it. I’m not sure if I would even be appreciative of what BD currently offers even if I didn’t have the greatness of HD-DVD to compare it to. But since we all do, it’s been apparent to me and many other objective reviewers out there that BD has a lot of catching-up to do.

    I think it’s sad that they’ll have to re-release all of their first batch of movies to be able to truly please their target audience.

    And all the serious delays, the MPEG2 issues, the lack of any firm movie release dates by studios other than Sony, the lack of CD playback, lack of dual layer – are downright depressing.

    What’s worse is that Sony doesn’t seem to be on track to rectify these issues with any degree of certainty or swiftness. BD DL yields are still horrible at last report. MPEG2 seems to be their codec of choice and none other. I mean what the hell?

    Would I be so wrong as to predict that if these problems aren’t solved by the end of Xmas then HD DVD will have effectively begun to turn the tide? I’d have to say that any high-def fan not on HD DVD’s side at that point, if the Sony problems remain, must be officially insane/brainwashed.

    At this stage, depending on your point of view, -Sony and BD have either seriously shaken your confidence or just straight-up hopped on board a sinking ship. Either way, I think few of us will trust much, if anything, that Sony now claims or announces – and that even fewer of us, will be content to ignore HD DVD while Sony fumbles to get it’s act together.

    Sony needs to make some changes now to avoid their level of perceived weaknesses continuing to grow. Not later. Not October. Not for the PS3/Xmas. HD DVD seems like it may have a bit of a drought of highly-desired titles for the next 2 months or so. Sony/BD needs to strike during this time with everything they’ve got. By the end of summer, going into the Xmax season – HD DVD will almost certainly already have the Matrix, Batman Begins, and a bunch of other day-and-date new releases. If not King Kong and several other blockbusters.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen. On the one hand, most of the “do they deliver/impress” odds lay firmly now with HD DVD. On the other, there’s a certain amount of crazy unpredictablity that the whole war seems to exist in. The practical man in me says “HD DVD” is the answer and god-bless it but the cautious man in me knows that Sony will work harder than hell to live up to the hype before it’s too late.

    I think it’s obvious to me and many others that round 1 of the battle has gone to HD DVD as it has come out swinging while BD has stumbled out punch-drunk. However, this could be round 1 of a ten round bout. HD DVD has gone from under-dog to looking like Apollo Creed from all angles…but everyone knows that the reserves of strength that the BD camp has are enormous…will the stage a Rocky-like come-back before it’s too late?