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Blu-ray vs HD DVD: What’s best for me?

With Blu-ray and HD DVD fighting for the title as the number one high definition video format, this causes a problem for the consumer. Which format provides the better features? Which format has the better movies? These are just some of the questions that many people will be asking themselves when looking at these two new successors to DVD.

In an attempt to answer some of these questions, PSU.com provides a look at what each format has to offer, and what our thoughts and predictions are for the future.

When looking at the hardware provided in both these formats, people should know that the average high definition movie without compression takes up 22GB of storage. This is without the extra features, multiple languages, and multiple audio soundtracks – just the movie itself. Moving onto multiple discs can increase the manufacturing cost and so as the size of movies continues to creep up – with its higher potential storage capacity – Blu-ray has a clear advantage starting with a single layer 25GB disc to the 50GB dual-layer (250GB Blu-ray disc is being prototyped). Then you have HD DVD starting out with single layer 15GB discs up to dual layer 30GB (51GB triple layer being tested).

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Sources: Blu-ray.com, Blu-raydisc.com, HD DVD Wiki

Consumers must look at what movies are best for them and their family. Since some studios have decided to be exclusive to one format, this is one of the toughest choices people must make when deciding their next gen format. If you enjoy movies by Pixar (Cars, The Incredibles, Ratatouille), Disney (Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, Sleeping Beauty), Sony (Spider-man, Resident Evil, Surf’s Up), or 20th Century Fox (Die Hard, Star Wars, Ice Age) than Blu-ray should be your format of choice.

However, if you are interested in movies by Dreamworks (Shrek, Old School, The Ring), Paramount (Transformers, Mission Impossible, Star Trek), or Universal (King Kong, Jurassic Park, The Mummy) than you should look at going with HD DVD. Click here for a full list of Blu-ray releases, and here for HD DVD.

It is also worth noting that you can find some of the movies by Paramount (Sleepy Hollow, Italian Job, Disturbia) and Dreamworks (Blades of Glory) on Blu-ray, as it was until just recently that they moved exclusively to HD DVD. Rumors suggest that Microsoft was behind the move, as Paramount and Dreamworks were offered $150 million from the HD DVD camp to become exclusive. Their deal with the HD DVD camp expires sometime in January of 2009, and the deal excludes any films by Steven Speilburg (Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds).

What are our predictions for the future? Well, in our honest opinion your best bet is Blu-ray, simply because more studios and manufactures support it. Also the fact that the PlayStation 3 offers Blu-ray support as standard provides a much needed user base to create higher sales for the industry. With a few studios (such as Warner) still undecided, having a larger install base and higher sales will increase the chance of the publisher moving to one format.

If you like to rent your movies instead of purchase them, the industry is already seeing a turn towards Blu-ray as Blockbuster, a major movie rental store, has announced that they will become Blu-ray exclusive. Also, stores like Target and Woolworths have also stated that they will only sell Blu-ray players and movies.

As the format war continues, we are starting to see that Blu-ray is slowly coming out on top. Industry analysts such as Understanding & Solutions have predicted that Blu-ray will become the winner as "58% of the of the high-def market comes from Blu-ray-exclusive business." Another company, known as Nielsen VideoScan, has also produced data which supports that Blu-ray is leading the market, showing for the year of 2007, Blu-ray holds 65% of high definition movie sales.

The decision, however, ultimately falls down to you, the consumer. What features interest you most? What movies are you more partial to buy? Just keep in mind the information we provided, and hope that one format emerges as the accepted universal high definition format soon, as it’ll make your decision much easier (not to mention cheaper)

If you already own a Blu-ray player, whether it’s a stand-alone or a PlayStation 3, or are thinking of picking one up this holiday season be sure to check out our PSU’s Holiday Buyers Guide for Blu-ray. It should help you in deciding which movies are best to pick up this Christmas.