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What is High-Definition DVD?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
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High-definition DVD is the next great thing in video technology. It promises quality heretofore unseen and resolutions previously unknown to computers and televisions. Unfortunately for nearly everyone involved, it is also the source of a bitter war that might result in casualties on all sides.

High-definition DVD will present images that are crystal-clear in quality, free of pixilation, and colorful in a manner more realistic than ever before seen. The difference between current-definition and high-definition DVD is more noticeable the larger the size of the monitor involved, be it television or computer. The images are inherently digital in nature, requiring no translation, unlike current methods. Additionally, the accompanying sound of high-definition DVD is entirely digital in nature and of a correspondingly superior quality.

High-definition DVD comes in two formats, Blu-ray and HD DVD. Both are supported by major players in the electronics, computers, and movie industries. Both are similar yet different in their approach to data storage.

HD DVD has the support of electronics makers Toshiba, NEC, and Sanyo; computer companies Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Microsoft; and movie studios Paramount, Universal, and Warner Bros. HD DVD players by Toshiba are now available. Among the additions to Microsoft's popular Xbox gaming console is an HD DVD drive. Paramount, Universal, and Warner are already going ahead with plans to release popular movies in the HD DVD format. Blu-ray has the support of movie studios Disney, Fox, MGM, and Sony; video game manufacturers Electronic Arts and Vivendi Universal; computer companies Apple and Dell; and electronics companies Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, and TDK.

HD DVD discs offer less storage than their Blu-ray counterparts. Capacities of HD DVD discs top out at 45GB. Blu-ray discs are projected to have a maximum storage capacity of 100GB, and perhaps even 200GB. The advantage of HD DVD, of course, is that it is available now. Additionally, Blu-ray discs, because they have more storage capacity, will be more expensive initially and possibly for the foreseeable future.

One other feature of high-definition DVD is an added measure of security. Movie studios worried about piracy have elevated levels of concern about high-definition DVD because its visual quality is so much greater. Certain protection measures will be built in to high-definition DVD, such that copying will be either limited or prevented, depending on the model and the source.

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Discussion Comments
By LambsFan — On May 06, 2011

@dented - Yeah, they can take a little longer to load than DVD players. The best rated one in terms of load times seems to be the Samsung BD-P3600. You may want to try that in the future.

By dented — On May 05, 2011

I've noticed that Blu-ray discs seem to take longer to load. Has anyone else had this problem?

By Michelle24 — On May 02, 2011

I thought switching to Blu-ray would be pointless. After all, I figured if I could see my picture, I'm good.

But is HD amazing! It's like having a very clean, well-lit window on the wall.

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