When the 21st century’s Format War started a few years back over who’s bluish laser beam was more awesome, it was a matter of reading the specifications to know who I would be backing.


  • Based on current DVDs
  • Stores 15 GB single layer, or 30 GB dual layer
  • Cheaper of the two


  • From what I could tell, created because Sony et al didn’t want to pay the DVD Forum any licensing fees (laff)
  • Stores 25 GB single layer, or 50 GB dual layer
  • layer scaling = capability to continuously add layers as technology improves

Obviously, Blu-ray was a no-brainer. I still can’t understand the arguments that HD-DVD backers would throw against me. All they had was the better price, for an inferior technology. Well of course HD-DVD is going to cost less; it’s not as good as Blu-ray, I would scoff. Of course that’s not the real reason (that being the cost of manufacturing is lower), but I enjoyed watching their eyes bulge with rage. But seriously, why on earth would anyone even consider HD-DVD without its lower cost?

Over the past couple days, Reuters has been reporting that Toshiba considering finally gutting the gasping fish that is HD-DVD, in light of Best Buy, Netflix, and Walmart (the big Kahuna) switching to exclusively stock Blu-Ray. Toshiba, who is the primary member of the DVD Alliance/Forum (whatever) that’s backing HD-DVD has been watching their exclusive studio counts dropping as well. I recall that it was big news this summer that “Transformers” was going to be released only on HD-DVD and the HD-DVD folks crowed like they had discovered penicillin. A few months from now, they’ll be lucky to get Paris Hilton’s “The Simple Life” box set released in their format.

However, I think I know what the main reason was that the dominoes started falling against HD-DVD: studios dropping out because of copy protection issues and Blu-ray’s more-secure encryption methods. Now, if you’re the kind of person who takes in interest in illegality, you’d have been backing HD-DVD because it uses the AACS (Content Scramble System) encryption method that DVDs use – which has been completely broken (Dumb idea, but DVD and HD-DVD are made by the same people after all). But Blu-ray, however, uses a new scalable dynamic encryption that will (should? heh) really slow down decryption/pirating of content. Here’s the link to my source, check out pages 2 and 4 under “Security” for what I’ve spoken about. Good for studios, bad for pirates = just one more reason why Blu-ray was the favored child.

So that’s pretty much it. Although Toshiba hasn’t released a formal statement yet, it’s almost assured that they will be soon. Amusingly, Microsoft backed HD-DVD early for some reason, and released a now-useless HD-DVD add-on drive for their Xbox 360 console system. Whoops! Hopefully everyone who bought those can get a refund/exchange when Microsoft quietly releases the Blu-ray drive.

In closing, I leave you with a hilarious video that a friend showed me (It’s from the German film Der Untergang). See? I made it all the way to the end of the article before allowing you to invoke Godwin’s Law.