The Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD battle rages on

When it comes to the Betamax-vs-VHF-like battle raging between the two next generation DVD formats, it initially seemed clear that Blu-Ray would win. It had wider industry support and seemed to be a superior technology. When the products actually started coming to market, HD-DVD took a surprise lead. Not only did it have the least expensive player ($499 vs $999 for Blu-Ray), but the quality was consistently higher.

How a few factors are emerging which may once again tip the balance toward Blu-Ray. Most importantly, a more affordable player will be arriving in November in the form of the Sony Playstation 3. Priced at $499 on the low-end (20GB drive and no WiFi) and $599 on the high end (60GB drive and WiFi), this will be a relatively low cost Blu-Ray player that also happens to play video games.

The other factor is the use of the superior VC1 codec (a codec is a compressor that allows video to be stored in a more efficient format). Initially, only HD-DVD used VC1, but now the Blu-Ray folks have caught on. Word on the street as that the latest Blu-Ray discs look just as good as their HD-DVD counterparts.

If the PS3 is a success, Blu-Ray will have a distinct advantage over the competition, but at $499 for the entry-level version of a video game player, that is still a big “if”.

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