An In-Depth Look at HD DVD

Xbox360Since the HD DVD add-on to the Xbox 360 is a pretty new innovation, Microsoft is pretty sure that it will take a while for it to pick up. But just to encourage Xbox users (and probably non-users, as well), the Xbox team tried to explain HD DVD. As they said, “Understanding just what HD DVD offers and how it relates to Xbox 360 is the key to appreciating the kind of quantum leap forward the add-on provides.”

They did give credit to Sony’s initiative in providing an alternate HD format in Blu-ray, but Microsoft insists that HD DVD is still the run-away winner for the consumers. First off, since the HD DVD comes from the same organization (DVD Forum) that created the DVD format for storing movies, games, and PC data, it can playback all current DVDs. And Microsoft assures that the advantages don’t end there.

According to them, the 480 progressive scan image of today’s DVD format may be impressive but it pales in quality with the advent of HDTVs. HD DVD, however, will deliver video and audio quality that exceeds that of existing DVDs. With video resolutions of up to six times more the resolution of current DVDs and digital multi-channel, HD DVD will look and sound good on HDTVs.

More of the article after the jump.

Xbox360Since the HD DVD add-on to the Xbox 360 is a pretty new innovation, Microsoft is pretty sure that it will take a while for it to pick up. But just to encourage Xbox users (and probably non-users, as well), the Xbox team tried to explain HD DVD. As they said, “Understanding just what HD DVD offers and how it relates to Xbox 360 is the key to appreciating the kind of quantum leap forward the add-on provides.”

They did give credit to Sony’s initiative in providing an alternate HD format in Blu-ray, but Microsoft insists that HD DVD is still the run-away winner for the consumers. First off, since the HD DVD comes from the same organization (DVD Forum) that created the DVD format for storing movies, games, and PC data, it can playback all current DVDs. And Microsoft assures that the advantages don’t end there.

According to them, the 480 progressive scan image of today’s DVD format may be impressive but it pales in quality with the advent of HDTVs. HD DVD, however, will deliver video and audio quality that exceeds that of existing DVDs. With video resolutions of up to six times more the resolution of current DVDs and digital multi-channel, HD DVD will look and sound good on HDTVs.

Blu-ray vs. HD DVDNow Blu-ray may also offer video and audio qualities at par with that of HD DVDS but as Director of Global Marketing for Xbox Albert Penello pointed out, “[The] major difference is going to be price, and all the leading indicators point to HD DVD winning.”

While the Blu-ray players are expected to release at the price of $ 1,500, HD DVD players sell for as low $500. And with HD DVD offering ‘twin discs’ that offer both the HD DVD and DVD versions on the same disc, consumers are finding an easy and affordable way of building their movie collection without having to worry if the discs will work well with their current TV and players.

Also, it’s not only the consumers that will benefit from HD DVDs, but the manufacturers as well. Upgrading facilities to produce HD DVD discs and licensing fees for HD DVD interactivity are cheaper compared to those of Blu-ray’s. And these of course, leads back to lower prices for HD DVDs.

It seems like the CE and PC industry is indeed leaning more towards HD DVD. LG, Acer, Fujitsu, and Siemens have decided to support the said format for their products. Meanwhile, the release of consumer Blu-ray players of Sony, Samsung, and Pioneer have all been delayed. Even the putting-off of Sony Playstation 3’s debut was blamed on Blu-ray problems.

Leading Hollywood and international studios (i.e. Paramount, Warner Brothers, Universal, and Studio Canal) also seem to support Microsoft’s prediction that HD DVDs are the next in-thing. By the end of the year, it is expected that 150-200 titles will be available for HD DVD. As Penello mentioned, “The momentum is with HD DVD. Eventually, we feel all the studios will support HD DVD, perhaps not exclusively. But the studios are too savvy to leave money on the table.”

With all the advantages pointing to HD DVD, Microsoft is hoping that the new accessory, which will connect to the Xbox 360 with a USB cable, will be a success. The company also assures that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player will be a bargain purchase. “Stay tuned [for the pricing]. We decided to save that good news for another day, but we’re clearly out to make this an affordable option for Xbox 360 owners,” says Penello.

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