(click here for more search options)  Keyword Search:
Create an Account | Already have an account? Log in


People often search for "HD Blu Ray DVD" on the internet, but how many realize that there was actually a format called HD-DVD? Once a contender for the title of DVD-successor, which is now the undisputed claim of the Blu-Ray Disc specification, HD-DVD was a next-generation technology that offered more storage capacities and thus much better audio-visuals. Yet it was comparable in many ways to Blu-Ray Disc (or, one may say, that Blu-Ray was comparable to HD-DVD), such that people often confused one with the other!

Hence search terms like "HD Blu Ray DVD" and thus the continuing confusion, because both are indeed high-definition formats. So even with well over a decade in the market, DVDs can still occasion some confusion for the common consumer of home electronics. Competing formats is nothing new to the DVD, with a challenge emerging within only three years of its debut threatening the very survival of the standard that had been established. It would seem, however, that format wars will now be a thing of the past, given HD-DVD’s recent concession to the Blu-ray Disc. This fourth in a series of articles examining all things DVD will survey the vanquished contender, HD-DVD.

In what would seem to be an inherent characteristic of the DVD, whereby the very acronym seems to occasion competing definitions (cf. “Digital Versatile Disc” versus “Digital Video Disc”), HD-DVD has variously served as the abbreviation for “High-Definition DVD” and “High-Density DVD.” Both labels describe it accurately, however, as it is precisely the high data density possible that makes for the high definition video. With principal backing from consumer electronics giant Toshiba, HD-DVD was planned to have been the successor to the now-standard DVD format. Under relenting pressure from rival Blu-ray Disc, however, it was recently announced that HD-DVD would no longer be supported. Following an already existing string of high profile defections to Blu-ray, Toshiba conceding the market effectively rendered HD-DVD defunct. The HD-DVD Promotion Group was dissolved shortly thereafter.

The HD-DVD Promotion Group had been formed as a consortium of electronics manufacturers and movie studios to provide coordinated advocacy for the format on a global scale. Toshiba Corporation served as the chair, with NEC, Sanyo Electric, and Memory-Tech rounding out the leadership in various capacities. There were sixty-one general members and seventy-two associate members in total.

Toshiba had previously served as the chairman company for the DVD Forum, which had been comprised of industry insiders with a similar mission of promotion and advocacy. But while continuing research into laser technology, Sony developed the Blu-ray format, which caused a deep schism in the industry. Even though today’s Blu-ray Discs seem to be virtually identical to a standard DVD, at the time of their introduction Blu-ray Discs were housed in a protective caddy that posed various problems, many of which involved increased expenses, such as requiring special players that can accept them.

Thus were the seeds sown for dissention in an industry consortium that had been dedicated to the formation and adoption of industry standards, with cliques forming around different formats – the history of which will be related in the next article of this series.