I was in Circuit City the other day and they had a beautiful Sony SXRD television set up playing some BluRay content. I thought I was going to be blown away. I wasn't. The disc playing was a demo disc featuring snippets of lots of movies. Each one was somewhat washed out. The edges weren't crisp. It just wasn't that great a picture.
Now, we have the first head-to-head reviews of HD-DVD and BluRay. Three titles are now available for both formats. The results are in. The winner: HD-DVD. HD-DVD had better quality video, better audio, and better interactivity.
Part of this comes from the BluRay camp's choice to use MPEG2 as its format of choice. Each of the formats has three required video codecs: VC1 (standardized Windows Media Video 9), H.264 (also known as MPEG4 AVC), and MPEG2. H.264 appears to be too complex for anything to decode well at this time and neither are using it. The HD-DVD camp is going with VC1 and the BluRay camp with MPEG2. VC1 is a much better codec than MPEG2. It was invented many years after the aging MPEG2 standard. It can store the same data in roughly half of the space. This means that HD-DVD can store a better picture in less space. Also, despite the promises that BluRay would be the higher-capacity format, it presently is not. BluRay is shipping 25-GB single layer discs whereas HD-DVD movies are shipping on double-layer 30-GB discs. Between the codec and the capacity, HD-DVD has space for content that is twice as good or twice as much content that is equal.