HD-DVD versus Blu-ray

HD-DVD versus Blu-ray

For a period of time, there was stiff competition between the High Definition/Density Digital Versatile Disc commonly known as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. HD DVD were produced by Toshiba Corporation which has its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Toshiba is a diversified conglomerate which produces a variety of products such as household appliances, power systems, consumer electronics, social infrastructure products, medical equipment, industrial systems, and other products. The company started operations in 1938 following a merger between Tokyo Denki and Shibaura Seisaku-sho (Owsinski, 2007). In 1978, the company became formerly known as Toshiba Corporation. The company first developed the HD DVD technology in 2005, and was discontinued in 2008 following a loss of its share of the market to Blu-ray Disc format. Toshiba voluntarily withdrew the HD DVD discs after the Blu-ray Disc became the preferred choice of movie and music makers (Owsinski, 2007).

On the other hand, Blu-ray Disc is a technology produced and promoted by Sony, which is also a Japanese electronics conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo. Sony’s range of products include electronics products for consumers and professionals, entertainment products, gaming, financial services, and other products. Sony was formed in 1946 as an electronics shop. In 1958, Sony was adopted as the name of the company. The first prototypes of the Blu-ray disc format were developed in 2000 by Sony Corporation, then known as the Blue Disc. In 2002, the name was officially changed to Blu-ray Disc. In 2003, Sony produced and marketed the first commercial units of the Blu-ray discs in Japan.

Benefits and drawbacks of the formats

Both the HD-DVD disc and the Blu-ray Disc has various advantages and disadvantages to users. HD-DVD discs have a high resolution for both audio and video. HD-DVD discs have a storage and data rate capacity which makes them capable of providing users with different resolutions including a high quality resolution. The discs are cheap to produce. This is because they are based on the DVD format which is relatively inexpensive to make, including the hardware components and the software. HD.DVD can be programed easily compared to Blu-ray Discs. This is because the HD-DVD technology was based on DVD technology which had already been proven. The operating system was also not new; hence it was easy to adjust to the HD-DVD technology. Lastly, HD-DVD discs provide additional features that cannot be found on other disc formats. These features include network accessibility, persistent storage, secondary codecs and good interactivity (Owsinski, 2007).

On the flip side, HD-DVD disc formats have been discontinued from the market. The format received less support from the film industry. Toshiba greatly relied on Warner Bros. Film Company to market its disc formats. By the end of 2007, Warner Bros. rescinded its use of the HD-DVD, bringing sales volume down. Other film companies used Blu-ray Disc. Computer companies also failed to adopt HD-DVD technology. HD-DVD has a lower storage capacity compared to Blu-ray Disc, with a capacity of 15 GB and 25 GB respectively (Owsinski, 2007). In terms of capacity, Blu-ray was thus the disc format of choice. HD-DVD may not offer room for extended movies, commentaries, or addition of special features. HD-DVD discs have a lower bandwidth compared to Blu-ray. The lower bandwidth of the HD-DVD discs means that they have lower quality compared to Blu-ray.

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The Blu-ray Disc format has a number of benefits compared to HD-DVD formats. Blu-ray technology uses blue lasers with a shorter wavelength giving room for more storage of data. More storage enables the format to store high definition videos which can be up to 200 megabytes per minute. Blu-ray technology commands thee industry backing with majority of the film companies opting for Blu-ray technology to HD-DVD. This significantly contributed to the rise of Blu-ray Disc format. Blu-ray discs offer high interactivity (Owsinski, 2007). For instance, users can be able to download subtitles and other movie features from the internet. Blu-ray discs enable users to reorder or edit programs stored on them. Users can also be able to create playlists and to skip to any specific spot on the disc. Blu-ray discs have an encryption system that helps prevent copyright infringement and video piracy. This is an important feature especially in the film and music industry. Lastly, Blu-ray technology is fully compatible with DVDs and CDs in terms of reading and writing.

Nonetheless, Blu-ray technology also has some disadvantages. Blu-ray technology utilizes a new disc structure unlike HD-DVD technology. The new disc structure created the need for new manufacturing technologies or processes. This increased the production costs of Blu-ray discs. It is difficult to program Blu-ray discs owing to the Java script language used in their programming. Blu-ray discs thus require much longer time to produce which makes them relatively expensive to HD-DVD discs (Kumar & Krishnaiah, 2013).

From the above analysis, it is clear that Blu-ray was the superior choice technology in disc formats. The major benefit with Blu-ray discs was that they could hold more data – almost twice the one held by HD-DVD discs, with the Blu-ray double layer discs holding up to 50 GB data. With the advent of HD TV recording and introduction of high definition TV sets into the market, there was need to shift into the production of HD films and videos which were in line with consumers’ tastes and preferences. This necessitated the need for storage facilities that could hold high-resolution data. The only key advantage of the HD-DVD discs over the Blu-ray ones was that they could be produced using the existing technology. Thus with time, companies would still be able to acquire new technologies and produce the Blu-ray discs.

Processing hardware requirements for both HD-DVD and Blu-ray

Common high definition TV programs are delivered in the specification of 720p. This is in the range of (1280 x 720) and a bit rate of about 10 megabytes per second. High resolution is usually achieved at a progressive resolution of 1080p and a bit rate of 20 megabytes per second (Johnson, Crawford, & Armbrust, 2007). In order to read such high resolution, the CPU must at least be a duo core with a processor of about 2GHz. Blu-ray discs and HD DVD discs are also similar in that in both require video compression. However in most cases, compression applied is often light as there is enough space for majority of the videos. The data transfer capability in both cases is above 36 megabytes per second, with Blu-ray going up to 48 megabytes per second. Both are compatible with VC1 encoding, MPEG2 and MPEG4 video specifications (Yu, 2010).

There are some differences in processing hardware requirements. HD-DVD players must have Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD, uncompressed PCM, and standard DTS & Dolby Digital. On the other hand, Blu-ray players are required to have DTS, Dolby Digital, uncompressed PCM, while other formats remain optional. The HD—DVD format has interactivity with HDi interactive format, while Blu-ray has interactivity with Blu-ray disc java (Yu, 2010).


Johnson, M. R., Crawford, C. G., & Armbrust, C. M. (2007). High definition DVD handbook:      Producing for HD DVD and Blu-Ray disc. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kumar, T. R.,  & Krishnaiah, R. V. (2013). Optical Disk with Blu-Ray Technology. International             Journal of Computer Engineering and Applications, 3(2): 1-10.

Owsinski, B. (2007). The mastering engineer’s handbook: The audio mastering handbook.           Boston: Thomson Course Technology PTR.

Yu, F. (2010). Three-dimensional model analysis and processing. Berlin [etc.: Springer