Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Battle of DVD formats: it could be VHS and Betamax all over again

With Christmas less than a week away, the battle for next year's must-have entertainment gizmo has already begun.

Yesterday electronics giant Toshiba released its first high-definition DVD player to rival the much talked about Blu Ray system which offers viewers a higher quality viewing and listening experience compared to ordinary DVD players.

HD-DVD and Blu Ray use a shorter wavelength blue laser to read and write discs, whereas ordinary DVD players use a red laser. The blue laser stores and records information more compactly as well as more precisely, creating a much better picture and sound.

As a result, DVDs of the future will have three to five times the recording capacity and will display images up to five times sharper than traditional DVDs with exceptional sound to match.

Of the two competing formats HD-DVD has a lower storage capacity of 15-20GB, whereas Blu Ray will be able to store 23-27 GB.

Research and development into Blu Ray is being led by Sony which has incorporated the new technology into its Playstation 3 console.

It is also being supported by 12 other major electronic companies and PC manufacturers, however it is costly to make and the price is inevitably passed onto the consumer.

That is where Curry's Belfast sales assistant Tommy Conway thinks this new HD-DVD player will be more popular.

"In terms of what the market needs, the HD-DVD player will do what the customer wants," he says. "When it comes to the discs, Blu Ray has more storage capacity and will be more attractive for customers because of that."

While the systems are still relatively new, Mr Conway said there have been a few inquiries from the public.

"These are generally from people who are already aware of technology and are interested in what products we have. I think once more people become aware of them then I expect we will get more questions," he said.

Although it might be a while before HD-DVD and Blu Ray become the next big thing, Mr Conway said top of this year's Christmas list was the DVD recorder box. "This box is not only a DVD player and recorder but it also features a hard drive - which acts like a Sky Plus box - and a built in freeview box. iPods have also been popular mainly because you can get them in different colours."

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