Almost overnight, the fight between HD DVD and Blu-ray turned ugly and became reminiscent of the struggle between VHS and Beta players. Movie studios became concerned. Picking one format or the other could potentially cut their market in half – or worse if they picked the wrong one to back. Not only that, companies that had signed on to build regular DVD players wanted support as well. They didn’t want to be left out in the cold.
Both of the high-definition players are backwards compatible, meaning that regular DVDs will play in them as well. Generally all movies that came out on HD DVD or Blu-ray also came out as a basic DVD release. Therefore, someone who had a high-definition player could choose to buy the basic DVD if it didn’t happen to come out in their particular format.
Of course, that didn’t make the high-definition video aficionados happy. They had their expensive players and they wanted to be able to utilize them. They wanted the high-definition experience at home. They had paid for the privilege.
But the player corporations weren’t going to budge any more. A choice had to clearly be made. For Sony, the choice was simple. They made a Blu-ray player and developed the player technology that drove that particular industry. It would’ve been stupid not to support their product. Therefore, movies put out by Sony studios are going to be on Blu-ray.
After some considerable fence-sitting, Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox decided to throw their support with the Blu-ray format. Since those three studios, at least over the last few years, have had the biggest box office returns, it stands to reason that they will be selling a lot of discs.
Warner Bros. still insists on releasing successful movies on both formats. So far, neither HD DVD nor Blu-ray corporations have been able to persuade the studio to change its mind. The only studio that has remained loyal to the HD DVD format is Universal Studios.
So what are the differences? What are you really getting when you buy a player? Those are questions I had to start answering for my friends.
The HD DVD offers a single-layer capacity of 15GB. If you double that for a dual-layer product, you get 30GB. The Blu-ray single-layer offers 25GB – almost the same amount without doubling up – and the double-layer offers 50GB. Conceivably you could stick two HD DVD format movies on a single disc.