Blue-Ray vs. HD DVD.
July 27, 2007 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Blue-Ray vs. HD DVD. Do we have a winner?

I'm pretty sure the answer is "no," but I've had a good HDTV for about six months now and I'm itching to get an HD player, but am afraid of getting burned.

I have an XBox 360, and am thinking of getting the HD drive. But if the Blue Ray is going to be triumphant, then... not.
posted by papercake to Technology (19 answers total)
Response by poster: (Truthfully, what really has got me wanting an HD player is the announcement of the Blade Runner DVDs coming out in December.)
posted by papercake at 7:13 AM on July 27, 2007

The way I see it, I don't think there's gonna be a clear winner for a while. People simply aren't them in enough of a volume to necessitate just one format as the standard. Since the HD DVD capability is more accessible to you, go for it. It's not like it'll stop working if they announce Blu-Ray as the winner which I don't think would happen for years if ever.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Blu-Ray + HD DVD combo drives become the standard, the same way most CD players can play CD-R, CD+R and CD+-R.
posted by junesix at 7:27 AM on July 27, 2007

No winner yet, but Target has announced that they will only carry Blu-Ray players during this holiday shopping season. Also, the largest studios with the most successful new content this decade (Sony, Fox, Disney) are Blu-ray exclusive.

The suspense is killing me, mostly because I staked my job on Blu-ray's success.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:33 AM on July 27, 2007

Look at it this way. You'll have a clearly defined winner in 2-3 years when Walmart is selling 200-250 dollar 37" HDTVs and sub 150 dollar high-def dvd players.

If you buy the wrong format in the meantime you're still getting about 2-3 years worth of high-def content. The xbox360 player is 200 dollars. If you dont buy any media, just rent, its just 200 dollars spent over the course of 2-3 years. That's not a bad deal for some hddvd eyecandy.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:34 AM on July 27, 2007

I wouldn't be surprised if the Blu-Ray + HD DVD combo drives become the standard, the same way most CD players can play CD-R, CD+R and CD+-R.

Nor would I. People keep comparing this to VHS/Betamax. But this time the formats are, to the consumer, physically compatible. So I'd say this solution is almost inevitable.
posted by ascullion at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2007

We got the XBox add on and we're quite happy. We rent movies from Netflix and don't stress.
posted by k8t at 7:44 AM on July 27, 2007

I read somewhere (the link escapes me at the moment, sorry), that the consortium behind Blu-Ray would not allow the format to be used for pr0n.

If you look at the history of technology, the pr0n industry has proven a kingmaker in a few instances of competing technologies, and those formats where it had no content available withered and died.

I say damn Target's decision, HD-DVD will be the winner.
posted by rocketman at 7:49 AM on July 27, 2007

Here is article that was published today on this very topic.
posted by mmascolino at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2007

I read somewhere (the link escapes me at the moment, sorry), that the consortium behind Blu-Ray would not allow the format to be used for pr0n.

That was a rumour, but false.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2007

Yeah, my take is that neither is going to kill the other immediately, and if one does 'win out', we're talking about modern consumer electronics that will be at a manageable price, and relatively long-lived media. If you go HD, and in 3 years everything is Blu-Ray, just buy a Blu-Ray then. Most all HDTV's have enough inputs you could run both.

Part of the VHS/Beta war was that both were still fairly expensive, and the media was expensive. The format war was fought when a pre-recorded VHS tape cost ~$100 (in early 80's dollars). We've already seen hiDef disc players go from over a grand to less than $250 (Circuit City has a Toshiba right now for $240), and discs are already approaching the $20 each mark.
posted by pupdog at 7:57 AM on July 27, 2007

Combo player on the horizon.

I'd say wait until it comes out.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2007

Oh, and in case you don't want to click the link, it's a Gizmodo article about a Samsung combo drive, the BD-UP5000, that will ship in the fourth quarter (yay Christmas presents).

It will be priced ~ $1000, but is fairly high end and actually supports the full standard of both formats. If that is too pricey for you (almost as much as buying two seperate players), I'd agree with getting the XBOX 360 drive; even if it peters out like minidiscs you'll still have a good couple of years enjoyment out of it.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 8:08 AM on July 27, 2007

For now, get the XBOX360 HD-DVD addon. This article points out that they just dropped the price to $179, and I think they have some promotion where you can pick five free movies from a list of twenty.

In terms of the format war, I also believe it's not going to end anytime soon (if ever). The release of dual-format isn't helping matters really; I think for a long time to come there will be consumers who will have a collection of movies of both formats.
posted by booticon at 9:01 AM on July 27, 2007

There are combo players already available. That one is pretty expensive, but I also remember when a new DVD player was $800.

There's too much money on both sides of the equation, so I think it's very likely that most players you buy at some indeterminate point in the future will be able to play both kinds of discs. Interestingly, though - that LG combo player doesn't play CDs.

I have some more commentary on the general state of HD home theater here.

On a 37" screen, I'm not sure you'll notice a huge difference between properly uscaled standard DVDs and HD discs. On a 97" projector screen, there's a noticeable difference, although upscaled DVDs still look VERY VERY good. If you're sufficiently worried, you might want to just get an upscaing DVD player instead. The Philips DVP5960 (720p or 1080i) or Philips DVP5982 (1080p) are both good choices at about $65. Note that they do not have TOSlink outputs, so if your HT setup can't do HDMI for audio, you'll have to use the RCA digital out or get an HDMI switcher/splitter that will separate the digital audio stream for you.
posted by Caviar at 9:07 AM on July 27, 2007

Response by poster: I have an Oppo upscaling dvd player, which I do like. But there is a noticeable difference between watching an upscaled dvd and seeing HD content via cable (40" HDTV).

I imagine I probably will get the XBox360 DVD add-on. I saw they'd lowered the price, but all the dvds they're giving away are crap.
posted by papercake at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2007

I work in the industry, and as much as my company wants Blu-Ray to succeed, I think we are a ways off from a winner.

I'm waiting for a reasonable combo player this Christmas, if it doesn't arrive, I'd likely go with Blu-Ray, simply due to the wider selection of titles and the likelihood that it will win in a few years.

HD-DVD has a huge job of changing the minds of the studios aligned with Blu-Ray. Content is king and most of them have gone with Blu-Ray.

If Walmart ever decides to kick one format out, it's game over. They are simply too dominant in disc sales for a format not sold by them to succeed in the long term.

If I were you, the HD-DVD drive for under $200 is a steal. Go for it and enjoy the show. Otherwise, you'll be waiting a while for a clear winner.
posted by Argyle at 9:13 AM on July 27, 2007

I'm waiting this one out. My TV's are ancient curvy-screened 29"ers, my DVD players are $20 off-brand clunkers, and my DVD's are pirated $1 discs that come in plastic wrap. Living in a developing country makes this choice a lot easier (what HD-DVD or Blu-Ray am I gonna buy when you can't even purchase a disc for it?), and I guess what I'd tell you is that if you can put up with it, just hunker down with old dependable technology and save the eye candy for when it's widely available. I mean, the goal is to watch movies, right? Follow the content.
posted by saysthis at 1:13 PM on July 27, 2007

Go with LG, they have a combo player

If you do think Blu-Ray is going to win, go buy a PS3. Cheapest Blu-ray player available and in a maybe a year PS3 should be doing good too
posted by radsqd at 3:03 PM on July 29, 2007

I don't think either will beat DVD in sells for years. I have the XBox 360 HDDVD player attached to a 32" LCD HDTV via VGA connector and I can't tell very much of a difference between HDDVD and DVD :|.
posted by nickerbocker at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2007

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