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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 16:59 GMT
Blu-ray versus HD-DVD

There are two competing formats for the next generation of disk storage, Blu-ray and HD-DVD, but which one will win? BBC Click Online put that question, and others, to representatives from the two camps: Richard Doherty, speaking for Blu-ray, and Vic Harasimow, standing up for HD-DVD.

What are the advantages of your format?

Blu-ray's Richard Doherty
Blu-ray's Richard Doherty
Richard Doherty, Blu-ray:

Blu-ray has significantly more capacity. And not just for pre-recorded but even more capacity for recordability. HD-DVD seems not very interested in recordability.

Vic Harasimow, HD-DVD:

HD-DVD uses the same disc structure as conventional DVD which means only minor modifications are required to this production lines, which means that this production cost is only marginally higher than it is today.

With other formats that use a different disc structure, obviously whole new production lines will have to be made for mass market disc production, which is going to bring the cost up significantly.

Does the movie industry support your format?

Richard Doherty, Blu-ray:

Blu-ray also has some very significant studio backers. Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM, Disney which includes Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Miramax, so we have a significant amount of content from within there as well.

HD-DVD's Vic Harasimow
HD-DVD's Vic Harasimow
Vic Harasimow, HD-DVD:

There have been announcements from three or four major Hollywood studios to say that they will plan to launch about 90 movie titles in HD-DVD within 2005. However, we know this to be a non exclusive deal... They are free to release on any format.

How about support from the games industry?

Richard Doherty, Blu-ray:

Blu-ray discs from day one has always been dedicated to making sure that the experience was an entire level beyond what we have with DVD today. So we have always been focused on advanced interactivity, focused on network connectivity. These have always been part of the Blu-ray format from the beginning... Also we wanted to bring to the forefront the importance of the gaming industry. A multi-billion dollar industry which HD-DVD seems to be not very interested in.

Vic Harasimow, HD-DVD:

There haven't been any official announcements from any gaming companies to say that they will be supporting HD-DVD, but we don't see any reason why they shouldn't in the future.

Can we prevent a format war?

Richard Doherty, Blu-ray:

Certainly a format war is unfortunate, but there is a lot of time left, so nothing is inevitable and we maybe able to fix something up in the next year before we reach product. At the same time it is very difficult for us to imagine what we might give up in a very successful and what we think is a compelling format to try and make a merge.

Vic Harasimow, HD-DVD:

We cannot prevent a format war. Toshiba have obviously gone for a format that has the same disc structure therefore we are trying to keep it as standard as it is today.

When will your format be available worldwide?

Richard Doherty, Blu-ray:

We expect Blu-ray's adoption curve to be early adopters 2006/2007. Start to get more mainstream in 2008/2009 and perhaps around 2010 be a primary deliver format for consumers.

Vic Harasimow, HD-DVD:

We believe that HD-DVD is probably going to be available in the US and Japan towards the end of 2005 and hopefully we should see it in Europe in early 2006.

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0730 . Also BBC World.

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28 Jan 05 |  Click Online
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07 Jan 05 |  Technology
Disney backs Sony DVD technology
09 Dec 04 |  Technology
Film studios snub Sony DVD format
30 Nov 04 |  Business

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