This morning I posted a bit about my woes trying to watch a Blu-Ray flick on my PS3 and invited everyone to let me know if they were having issues as well. I received several emails and one in particular asked a question that I think lots of HDTV lovers out there are considering, what format to buy. When you look at HD formats for DVD we have the neigh legendary Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD war raging. Commonly people compare the current format war to the VHS and Betamax war from years ago. That particular format was had VHS winning and Betamax going to pro use only.
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Now the question that was posed to me was this, without considering gaming on the PS3 what format do I think is best for those looking for HD quality DVD video between Blu-Ray and HD DVD. There is a lot to consider in that question. Personally, Blu-Ray has more of the movies I like available, like my aforementioned Bond flick which isn’t on HD DVD. So if I had to choose one format I’d go Blu-ray currently. In my area there are significantly more Blu-Ray movies available than HD DVD. I’m of the opinion that the studios don’t care about the format for the most part (admittedly some studios have a vested interest in one format over the other like Sony). They care about making money by getting their films into the hands of the most buyers possible. To that end I believe we will see more film publishers going to hybrid discs like those Warner Brothers is pitching that have both HD DVD and Blu-Ray on one disc. If that option doesn’t pan out I think more and more hardware manufacturers will begin going to hybrid players that can play either HD DVD or Blu-Ray. One way or the other I can’t help but think that we will see a convergence of the two formats more than we will see one win over the other.The convergence I’m talking about certainly won’t happen overnight, so if you just have to get on the HD bandwagon and you are shopping now for hardware what do you do? Well currently the PS3 for all it’s issues is a good option for a Blu-Ray player. I think once availability starts to improve (honestly they are everywhere now) we will see non gamers buying a PS3 just to watch Blu-Ray films. Sony is certainly working on the pause issue I mentioned before, as irritating as it is and several readers have already mentioned work arounds that might fix the problem until then. If you can find a used Xbox 360 or already own one for an additional $199 you can get the HD DVD player for it. $199 is certainly the cheapest HD DVD player that I know of, granted if you need to wrap in an Xbox 360 Core system it will add another $299.99 to the price of your HD DVD player. At the end of the day if you are trying to decide what HD format to go with all I can say is look for a good deal on hardware and check what movie format is more available in your area. If we see only one format win I’d put my money on Blu-Ray, but I don’t think it’s going to be one format or the other. Am I right? Who Knows, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.