From the the start, the HD DVD camp pushed the line that its technology
was more affordable - HD DVD players would be half the price of Blu-ray
players. On the other hand, the Blu-ray camp claimed superior
technology with higher data storage capabilities. Blue-ray has a
potential storage capacity of 50 GB (25 GB per side) compared with 30
GB for HD DVD (15 GB per side).
Last month, stories proliferated about how Toshiba, which beat the Blu-ray camp to market with an HD DVD player, was being retailed at around US$200 less than the cost of production. Toshiba subsequently denied this, claiming through a manager that the company always sells its products at a profit.
When asked how it would combat Sony's ability to sell its Blu-ray
hardware at a loss in PlayStation 3 because of the games it sells,
Toshiba came up with the argument that it could accomplish much the
same result by licensing its technology and the royalties it would
receive from HD DVD movies.
Now Toshiba, through allies such as Microsoft, is spreading FUD about the Blu-ray technology itself. How's this for a bit of unbiased comment: "Sadly, and it really pains me as a High Definition fan to say this, but what we've got is a case of twice the price for less quality. If this first player and the initial wave of discs are any indication, Blu-ray has not only failed to surpass its less-expensive rival, it has quite a bit of catching up to do."
That was from a supposedly unbiased blogger, who just happens to also be a Microsoft employee. We are so sorry he is pained and we feel it too. (Apology to Joshua Zyber who actually made the above quote at https://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=22593 and is a reviewer and not a Microsoft employee or blogger - we picked up the quote off a Microsoft employee's blog and wrongly attributed it.)
According to Zyber, any advantage that Blu-ray
technology may have over HD DVD in storage capacity has been negated by
Firstly - and this is where the FUD kicks in - Blu-ray is brand new
unlike HD DVD (which is based on DVD) and the technique for dual sided
50 GB discs has not been perfected. Therefore, Blu-ray can really only
offer 25 GB of storage compared with 30 GB from HD DVD.
Secondly, Blu-ray supports a more data hungry standard than HD DVD.
Says Zyber: "HD DVDs have been using Microsoft's VC-1 codec, an advanced compression format capable of squeezing huge amounts of high-resolution video into a limited storage space without visible artifacts. VC-1 doesn't need 50 gb for movie storage; it's proven that even longer movies can fit perfectly well within 30 gb and maintain excellent quality while still including numerous bonus features on the same disc. The Blu-ray discs released so far have (at Sony's insistence) been using the older and less efficient MPEG2 codec (the same format used on regular DVDs), which requires a lot more space to deliver comparable results."
Addressing both of the above issues, which are admittedly valid points, there is not much doubt that 50 GB double side Blu-ray discs will be available before too long. However, the Blu-ray camp can also implement the VC-1 format if it so chooses, although there is nothing to suggest that it will do so.
What is happening here is FUD attack and counter FUD attack. As a result, the best thing for consumers to do is give both highly over priced technologies a wide berth until there is an excuse to buy a high definition player.
Sony at the moment holds an ace up its sleeve with the impending release of PlayStation 3 which will incorporate a Blu-ray player. The question is, can Microsoft afford not to follow suit with Xbox 360?