It’s a battle that would have been boring a long time ago if it weren’t for the enthusiasm of the slagging matches between the two. Blu-ray may well be ahead on points, but for everything it has to brag about HD DVD always throws something back.
This time the Sony developed media has caused quite a stir by claiming it will ship products by spring 2006, much earlier than many in the industry predicted. As we all know, the eagerly awaited PlayStation 3 will be the first device to be made available with a Blu-ray drive, but the gap from it to follow up kit was thought to be wider.
25GB single layer and 50GB dual layer discs in read, write and re-writeable formats have also been confirmed for launch. Initial writing speeds will be 2x (yes, we’re going to have to go through the multiplication climb again).
Snapping back like an enthusiastic little puppy, however, is HD DVD. In a speech at the DVD Forum Japan Conference, Toshiba (the main driver behind the format) head Hisashi Yamada said he expects the DVD player compatible discs to abandon region codes.
These have been understandably hated since their introduction with DVDs (rating somewhere between tax inspectors, traffic wardens, estate agents and Sven Goran Eriksson in popularity stakes) and have been a ridiculous and unnecessary hindrance to the expansion of a truly global media. Yamada couldn’t absolutely guarantee the move at this stage, but he could be top of a lot of people’s Christmas card lists if he soon does.
Blu-ray jabs with the left, HD DVD swings with the right. My money is still on the former, but both formats are keeping one another on their toes and that’s good news for everybody.