Crazy People in Down Under
Pakistani Equilibrium

Why Blu?

A reader asks:

Can you expand on this a little? I'm interested to know why you prefer Blu-ray.


In one word: Capacity.

Currently dual-layer HD-DVDs top out at 30 GB whereas dual-layer Blu-ray discs can store 50 GB. This leads to two, likely, advantages for Blu-ray.

1. Better Quality for Movies

Blu-ray can use a higher data rate for video and audio on its discs which should theoretically result in better quality. Of course, most people might not be able to tell the difference because (a) they don't have the top-notch video and audio setup (b) it's just tough to judge the quality at that level.

Even if Blu-ray manufacturers decide to use the exact same data rate as HD-DVD, they then have space left over for more extras: a DTS-HD track in addition to the Dolby Digital already present, a foreign language audio track, more interviews, documentaries, etc.

So far for every two HD-DVD movies sold, the Blu-ray camp has cashed on three.

2. Excellent for Data Storage

The information that I've gathered over the years -- school documents, photos, music, movie trailers, ebooks, numerous software programs (all free and legal, I think) -- can fit on a single 50 GB Blu-ray disc. I can backup and transport my "core system" in just one disc!

News from less than three months ago:

Hitachi has developed a prototype four layer Blu-Ray disc capable of holding 100GB of data.

Hitachi is claiming that current Blu-ray players need only a firmware update to play these monsters. With such an advance Blu-ray movies can be packed with even more goodies.

It's a win-win.

One might ask: Why are some companies even bothering with HD-DVD?

The production cost for HD-DVD players and the discs themselves is lower than the Blu-ray side. The cheapest HD-DVD player goes for under $100 whereas the least pricey Blu-ray player is still around $300.

I think that Blu-ray is a better format than HD-DVD. Though, I'll be content if any one of them loses and dies out by summer 2009. I want to buy one optical drive for my computer setup then and I want it to be reasonably future-proof.


Cafe Alpha

Actually that's 50 GB for double layer blue ray disks.

We can't be sure that double layer recordables will ever come out.

They can make double layer rewritable DVD's but never came out with them because there wasn't enough market to be worth it (and all of the existing players would need upgrades or at least firmware).

Of course we don't know if double layer recordable HD dvds will come out either.

Isaac Schrödinger

"We can't be sure that double layer recordables will ever come out."

Isn't this a recordable, single side, double layer, 50 GB Blu-ray disc that's on sale? It just has a long two week waiting time.

David Boxenhorn



It's all fun and games until your extremely-dense optical media gets a hair's width scratch.

I can't say that 50GB optical media really impresses me much, since it is so easy to be rendered useless. Now, if you want something that is cool, Isaac, check out the first wave of solid state hard drives that are being included in high end laptops. Pure rugged flash memory, baby. Faster than most normal laptop hard drives, run on less than half the electricity, and don't generate as much heat as regular laptop hard drives. As a side bonus, you also get another device with no moving parts in your laptop.

I'd gladly take a 32GB SSD in my laptop over a Blu-Ray drive.

Isaac Schrödinger

David Boxenhorn: You're welcome.

MikeT: SSD are a welcome addition to the storage market. The only problem is that they are very pricey.

A Western Digital 500 GB drive costs $0.20 per GB. The price for a 32 GB SSD is around $550 which comes out to a whopping $17.2 per GB.

I like its numbers on speed. Booting time for Windows and the load up times for a heavy duty program like Photoshop are slashed. But I'll wait till the price comes down to $2 per GB.

Vincent Mesecher

Blu-Ray is the future. The quality is way better than normal DVDs and the price is reasonable. I'll wait for a 1TB solid state drive before I buy one. That will save me a lot of pain.

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