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Blu Ray Burning > Blu Ray vs HD DVD > Articles

A Closer look at Blu Ray vs. HD DVD Part 3

Download this entire Blu Ray vs HD DVD Guide


Technology and Manufacturing Process of Blu Ray and HD DVD

It is essential to describe the exact pattern and style of both formats. Blu-ray discs have a tighter track pitch that has the ability to hold more pits than an HD-DVD of equivalent size with a laser of the same wavelength. The tighter track pitch is the result of a single thread of spiral data that continues from the disc all the way out towards the groove. It should be noted that both the formats are using the same type of lasers. The difference lies in the fact that the Blu-ray has different pick up apertures due to a different track pitch. In measurement, the track pitch is equal to 0.65 for HD-DVD and 0.85 for Blu-ray.

This makes both the pickups technically insufficient to become compatible. When you come to the surface layer, the HD-DVD is made up of clear plastic on the data surface. This causes unwanted fingerprints and scratches on the disc. HD-DVD has a thicker surface layer as compared to Blu-ray discs and the difference in thickness measures to 0.5 mm. It also cannot be denied that a smaller aperture is better as it enables the laser to get in focus with the aperture.

Why Blu-ray is more costly?

People who are not equipped with the technical aspects of both the formats are confused why Blu-ray format is the more expensive choice of the two formats.

  • Blu-ray has a thinner surface layer. Even though, there is an advantage in keeping the data layer closer to the surface, it builds up considerably towards the final cost.
  • Blu-ray discs also need a special hard coating to protect the data which lies a mere 0.1 mm beneath. All these features contribute towards the final cost.

In layman’s terms, Blu-ray is capable of storing more data, but proves to be more expensive when compared with its counterpart, HD-DVD.  

Format War and the Kids

Children are interested in the compatibility of video game consoles.

  • An HD-DVD player is compatible only with an Xbox 360, but requires an external accessory. On the other hand, Blu-ray is compatible only with Play Station3.
  • HD-DVD players are more economical starting from $499, which is a lot cheaper than Blu-ray players, starting from a whopping $999 or more.

With this new technology, the consumers will have to spend more than they are on current technology. The retail price of an existing DVD format movie is around $7, while the retail price of an HD-DVD movie ranges from $29 to $40. The wholesale price of a movie on Blu-ray ranges from $18 to $24.

It should also be noted that set top recorders are not available in either of the new formats. However, both are backward compatible with the existing DVD videos. This means you can still enjoy your old format DVD movies on the new players. According to market experts, both of the formats have equal chance of becoming popular in the electronics consumer market.

Both of the technologies are equally good in terms of the managed copy option and eventual high-def at full resolution. The managed copy will make it possible for viewers to view the discs on a portable video device or on a home network. HD-DVD formats do not have any region-coded discs or players at present, but that could change in the near future. This feature is available in the existing Blu-ray formats. Industry watchers feel that the nine-region system honored by DVD needs to be followed by the HD-DVD and Blu-ray format as well.

The movie studios have made it very clear that the video capacity is completely dependent on the type of encoding used. Higher compression leads to more video per gigabyte. The compression rate is higher in the latest MPEG-4 or VC-1 formats. Existing DVDs are encoded with the older MPEG-2 Codec.

Major studios like Sony, Columbia , and Fox are committed to not using any image-constraint flag in the initial stages. The latest movies will be displaying full resolution via component outputs. The existing audio-equipment and A/V receivers are not compatible with Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD surround formats. To make this happen, both Sony and Toshiba will have to make certain changes to their respective players by incorporating built-in decoding and analog audio outputs.

There is also a possibility that the manufacturer and studio support will change with time. Neither of the companies has issued press statements regarding whether or not they are comfortable with that idea. It also needs to be clarified that the early generation Blu-ray and HD-DVD players do not have recording capabilities. You can only play the movie and enjoy it.

The ability to make Blu-ray movies or an HD-DVD movie viewable on a home PC or a portable video device is known as managed copy. This feature has not been practically implemented yet, but is on the planning charts of both the format manufacturers. It is also possible that advanced copy protection techniques such as Macrovision or other related analog outputs could be used by these formats.


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