Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray

HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray

HD-DVD (High Definition/Density DVD) and Blu-ray were the two formats that aimed to replace standard DVDs. The inability of the proponents of both sides has sparked a format war that was reminiscent of the VHS vs. Betamax war a few decades ago. The war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray has ended a couple years back, and Blu-ray has emerged victorious. Since then, HD-DVD units and media have gradually disappeared, and movies are no longer released in that format aside from some limited runs.

When it comes to technologies behind HD-DVD and Blu-ray, you’d be surprised to know that the two use the same exact blue laser. The main difference between the two is in how closely they pack the data unto the disc. HD-DVD used the same pitch as standard DVDs, but the much tighter pitch used by Blu-ray meant that the two formats are not compatible. The positive side of having a tighter pitch is the ability to squeeze more data on a single layer. Each layer of an HD-DVD disc can hold 15GB of data while a layer of a Blu-ray disc holds 25GB. A higher data capacity allows Blu-ray discs to hold a lot more content, even hold stereoscopic 3D movies.

Because HD-DVD went with the same pitch as standard DVDs, it is also able to use the same depth for the data layer of 0.6mm. Blu-ray needed a much shallower location at 0.1mm just to allow the laser to pick-up the data. The extremely shallow location of the data layer in Blu-ray discs proved problematic as tiny scratches, which can be tolerated by DVD and HD-DVD, can easily destroy a Blu-ray disc. Although caddies were initially tried to prevent damage, the final solution to the problem was a hard coating technology to protect the disc from inadvertent scratches. Although this meant that Blu-ray discs were more expensive to produce, it seems worthwhile with the increased capacity.

One move that Sony made is to include a Blu-ray player in their Playstation 3 console. It was then a gamble since the format war wasn’t over yet, and it increased the price of the Playstation 3 considerably. It was also a move to push Blu-ray forward as the Playstation’s popularity means that many will buy it regardless of the Blu-ray player and, consequently, buy Blu-ray media since they already have the player.


1.Blu-ray won the format wars, and HD-DVD is now discontinued.
2.Blu-ray has a much higher capacity media than HD-DVD.
3.Blu-ray’s data layer is much closer to the surface than HD-DVD’s.
4.Blu-ray discs are more expensive to manufacture.
5.Blu-ray is included in a gaming console while HD-DVD is not.

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1 Comment

  1. HD DVD was playable on Xbox 360 HD DVD Player that had to be bought seperately. You could NOT play HD DVDs on an Xbox 360, the seperate/ external HD DVD player could only play em. Blu-ray Discs could be played on the PlayStation 3. You didn’t need anything extra.

    Blu-ray Disc is exclusively on PlayStation 3. That’s a reason PlayStation 3 was so expensive at the launch of PlayStation 3. All PlayStation 3 games are on Blu-ray Discs and they’re in 720p HD.

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