HD-DVD and Blu-ray Technology: The Future of DVD

Dennis Faas's picture

On Friday, March 31st, Toshiba released the first-ever high-definition DVD (HD-DVD) player to Japanese consumers. The company said the new units would sell for an equivalent of $936 USD. (Source: digital-lifestyles.info) Toshiba plans to release units in the US later this month with a cost of approximately $799, depending on features.

HD-DVD is the next generation DVD format that stores data at greater densities needed for high-definition movies and television. There are two kinds of HD-DVD's: a 15GB single-layer disc, and the 30GB dual-layer with twice the capacity. In comparison, conventional DVD's can store up to 9GB of information (dual-layer).

Similar to HD-DVD and in following with the VHS vs. Beta war, Samsung plans to launch their proprietary Blu-ray DVD player June 25, 2006. (Source: tgDaily.com) The Blu-ray technology, which will also store high definition media, is backed by Sony and Panasonic.

In comparison to HD-DVD, the Blu-ray format can store 25GB (single layer) and 50GB (dual layer). And to ensure that the Blu-ray discs will extend well into the future, there will be support for additional layers. These additional layers will allow the storage capacity to be increased up to 200GB or more.

How HD-DVD and Blu-ray Technology Works

Like a CD, a DVD stores information as a series of pits and lands burned into the surface of the disc. A red laser reads the information and interprets it accordingly.

In contrast, the new DVD formats use a blue-violet laser. The wavelength for a blue laser is shorter than the red laser (405 nanometers compared to 650 nanometers). Simply put, the pits burned into the disc are smaller and in closer proximity, allowing more information to be stored on a single disc.

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