Universal Studios pans Blu-Ray

Written by Brett Thomas

September 18, 2006 | 15:38

Companies: #blu-ray #sony

Another day, another story on the war that rages on in hopes to win a spot in your living room. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are nowhere near done butting heads, but a studio exec is stating who he views the clear winner is. Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, has chosen HD-DVD "hands down," as he puts it.

"Look at the blogs, look at the reviews by the early adopters and even look at the mainstream media – HD DVD has maintained its first-to-market advantage and delivered on the promises of providing the best high definition image and sound quality at the best value for consumers today," he said. And if you look very far at all, you'll see he's right on the money.

Of course, it may not be a very fair comparison. The first Blu-Ray titles that were tested showed visible artifacts and problems due to the poor nature of the MPEG-2 compression they used. This was in a surprisingly stark contrast to the VC1 compression used on HD-DVDs, which produces considerably better image quality. That's not a problem of the media, though, and the next set of Blu-Ray movies that were released now feature the VC1 compression.

So, since video quality should be (and is, according to Hi-def Digest) similar between the two formats now, why would Kornblau think that HD-DVD is superior? The answer is in his own words - first-to-market advantage. In the US, HD-DVD has considerably better market penetration, and unfortunately Blu-Ray keeps tripping over its own feet as it tries to get noticed by the public. $1,000 players and a weak PS3 launch are expected to hinder the format further, while Microsoft's HD-DVD player for the XBox 360 will be expected to put that format in many people's living rooms for the holiday season.

If Universal sticks to this and decides to primarily or exclusively back HD-DVD, could it spell further disaster for the already sinking ship that is Blu-Ray? More importantly, does anyone even care much at this point? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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