Thursday, 4 January 2007

Are you HD-DVD ready?

HD DVD and Blue Ray DVD seem to be the future of home entertainment as they promise true interactive high-definition video, with possibility of bookmarking, zooming, menu customising your HD-DVD titles, and this also thank to HD-DVD high storage a faster technology.
Blue Ray, also known as Blue-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blue-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world's leading consumer electronics. This format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc.
While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on red laser which has a wavelength of 650nm (red laser) the new format uses a much shorter wavelengths 405nm (a blue-violet laser) - hence the name Blue-ray. This makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision and therefore data can be written more tightly and consequently stored in less space.

Basic HD DVD has a single-layer capacity of 15 GB and a dual-layer capacity of 30 GB. There is also a double-sided hybrid format which can contain standard DVD-Video format video on one side, playable in regular DVD players, and HD DVD video on the other side for playback in high definition on HD DVD players. The HD DVD format also can be applied to current red laser DVDs in 5, 9, 15 and 18 GB capacities which offers a lower-cost option for distributors. HD DVD supports several file systems, like ISO 9660 and Universal Disk Format (UDF). Currently, all HD DVD titles use UDF version 2.5 as the file system, the same one used for Blue-ray releases. The HD DVD format supports a wide variety of resolutions, from low-resolution CIF and SDTV, all video resolutions supported by the DVD-Video standard.
Meanwhile other technologies could allow a less shocking transition to the new HD technology for people with DVD drives.
  • HD/DVD-9 discs is based on a new compression method for red-laser discs. This new method allows high definition data to be stored on discs that can be read by conventional DVD drives. Solutions are already available which allow storage of 8.4GB worth of high-definition data on read only double-layer discs.
  • In addition another standard - Versatile Multi-layer Disc (VMD) - discs use red-laser technology, but have as may layers that a single MVD disc could reach up to 100GB capacity. Most likely 20 to 30GB MVD discs ought toi be marketed quite soon. Moreover MVD discs use the EVS HD standard which is the only HD standard in China. VMD discs will be much easier to manufacture and VMD drives are standard drives with a modified decoder part.
However, from the hardware standpoint there are several compatibility issues as to the media reader/player which obviously must be capable of reading any of these new formats. A remarkably powerful processor, a high resolution HDCP compliant monitor that can play the Blue-ray or HD DVD title and a high performance graphic card supporting High Definition Content Protection seem all necessary. To this purpose CyberLink BD/HD DVD Advisor has prepared a self-diagnostic tool designed to help users in identifying the capabilities of their system for playing high-definition movies.
CyberLink BD/HD DVD Advisor is still a Beta, I recommend that you contact your hardware specialist to verify the outcome of this check and assist you with upgrading your system.

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