The TV Addict’s Take: HD DVD vs. Blu Ray

With the holiday season fast approaching, the one question on everybody’s mind — aside from when is the WGA strike going to end — is what format do I buy: HD DVD or Blu Ray?

This TV Addict’s answer — NEITHER! Or as I more eloquently put it in a recent interview with

“It’s another money grab by the big companies,” says Daniel Malen, self-proclaimed TV addict and founder of the popular TV blog “Sony, Toshiba and whomever else wants to further gouge consumers, get us to throw away our perfectly good DVD players and the thousands I’ve spent on TV on DVD… only to go out and buy the exact same stuff on the new High Def Version.”

Consider this. My good friend and frequent contributer to the site Amrie [of My Take on TV fame] has enough movies and TV shows on DVD to fill a small Albanian village. That’s a lot of hard earned money invested in DVDs [with my apologies to Amrie for reminding her of that!]. Does she really need to start replacing all her perfectly high quality DVDs with High Definition more expensive versions? Do we really need that seventh season of GILMORE GIRLS in HD? [Well, maybe season 3]

This TV Addict’s advice for fellow TV Addict’s everywhere. Skip the format war entirely. Forget HD and Blu Ray. Save your money. Or at the very least, buy yourself a really nice 42″ HD TV. Now there’s money well spent!

The future of video and television is downloadable content [see iTunes or even Amazon UnBox]. Downloadable content won’t require a new $500 DVD player and will offer downloads far more affordable than buying a $30 HD or Blu Ray DVD.

That said, if you’re addicted to technology and simply MUST HAVE the next big thing. Take a look at why HD DVD could win the format war according to

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  • jenny

    your not very well informed are you.

    all your disks are backward compatible and you obviously only buy new disks for shows that you have not got yet.

    for someone who owns a blu-ray the picture quality is unreal and you will never go back to normal tv.

    you really should try thinking before posting in future.

  • Gudlyf

    So why not say the same thing about VHS? I have a ton of movies on VHS, so was I an idiot for getting the same thing on DVD? Don’t regret it for a second, obviously.

    Who’s saying to replace what you already have on DVD anyway? Get a Blu Ray or HD DVD player — one that will also play your older DVDs — and then, as new shows *you don’t already own* come out on the new HD formats, start getting those. Pretty simple really, but you still don’t know what format to move over to … yet.

  • Dear Jenny,

    I’m well aware that you can play all your regular DVD’s on a regular Blu Ray or HD player. My point is that the network’s will invariably release ‘special edition’ seasons with new amazing features on HD and Blu Ray — thus ensuring TV Addicts everywhere will want to replace our old movies with new HD or Blu Ray versions.

    I already own far too many movies on VHS and DVD.

  • Gudlyf… also a valid point. Keep in mind, I’m only offering up my opinion. I don’t think there will be a format winner. HD and Blu Ray fight it out — the only loser is the consumer. I’m betting we’re going to skip over both formats and go straight to downloads. Am I making the right bet? Check back in five years.

  • Gudlyf

    Well, I could also say that I think they’ll move right into brain implants, where you just think of the episode and it appears in your eye sockets. So, how long do we wait, really? 🙂

  • Josh Emerson

    I know a lot of people think so, but I seriously doubt we’re ever going to move to exclusively downloads. For one thing, they need to compress the video a hell of a lot just to make downloading even an option. Right now, Standard Def downloads take anywhere between 300 and 500 MB for a 42 minute show. Hi-Def video is over 1GB, and the size grows even more when you talk about entire seasons and movies. The only way I can see this becoming possible is if they end up discovering a new video format that would be smaller in size.

    Jenny also has it exactly right about not re-buying discs. Unless the show uses tons of special effects, it’s not worth it. We don’t need to re-buy old seasons of The Office in HD. But for newer purchases, it’s awesome. The difference really is outstanding.

    I have the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive. The picture quality is amazing, and I got a fantastic deal on it. It came with Heroes: Season One (the complete HD DVD season), two DVDs of my choice (Transformers and Knocked Up if anyone is wondering), and 5 by mail-in rebate. With deals like this and the recent $98 HD DVD player at Wal-Mart, I’m betting on HD right now.

  • Gudlyf… I’m pretty sure Brain Implants are slated for 2010.

  • Call me old fashion and lame but I’m happy with dvd’s and I’m not going to buy HD or BlueRay.
    The extra visual details arnt enough for me to go that way.
    I’ve heard that HD will win this war because BluRay won’t release any porn in their format.
    But ether way I coundnt give a crap really.

  • Tony Rogers

    I agree with the TV Addict.

    What people here don’t seem to get is that there is no reason that downloadable content can’t be in hi def! Hi def doesn’t have anything to do with MEDIA (Blue Ray or HD DVD), it’s about video content complying with the 1080i and 1080p standards. Blue Ray and HD DVD disks are just file storage devices. Once you have the data on your TiVo or PC, it doesn’t matter what media you are using to store the files. Disk space is cheap, so hard drives are fine! I have room on my TiVo for 100 hours of hi def.

    In terms of how to get the video files, so what if it takes an hour to download them from iTunes (to a PC) or Amazon Unbox (to TiVo) via broadband. Even now, with the broadband speed I have, when I buy from Amazon Unbox I can watch hi quality (although not hi def) video right away, as it downloads, on my TiVo. That will be true for hi def in a year.

    TV stations, networks and DVDs are going to go the way of VHS. If you aren’t drowning in dollars save your money. Don’t buy Blu Ray or HD DVD until you can get a player that will play BOTH for $50. It will happen soon enough. You’ll only need the discs so that you can watch hi def in your car.

  • Joe Mama

    Tony Rogers… come on man. Listen to yourself. Look at everything you wrote in your post about downloading movies. Now, tell me, do you want to help your grandmother set that up and maintain it? Do you want to help your in-laws set that up? We’ve got a way to go before that is realistic for the average person. It’ll happen eventually, but in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my awesome HD movies that are already backed up to optical disc and don’t take an hour to download (HD-DVD).

  • Tony Rogers

    Joe Mama Says:

    November 29th, 2007 at 12:09 pm
    “Tony Rogers… come on man. Listen to yourself…”

    You seem to think this is hackery, like downloading from BitComet or something. I can understand that, but it really is simple. Most of our grandmothers already have broadband, and many already have TiVo connected to it (that’s how TiVo works). If they don’t, their 15 year old grandchildren can set it up for them. Downloading from Amazon Unbox takes 15 minutes to set up. It’s no harder than ordering a DVD to be mailed to you. You enter your credit card number, TiVo account number, order, and it shows up on your TiVo’s “now playing” list right away. I was amazed how easy it was. After that you don’t even have to go to Amazon to order the movies and shows–you can do it using your remote, like “On Demand” on cable. This isn’t in the “someday” future, it’s right now.

  • Joe

    a typical hd dvd movie is around 25gb. a newer blu-ray is around 35-40gb. try downloading that on your hard drive and tell me how fast you fill it up. downloadable movies IS the future, just not the near future.

    as for your high def tivo’s. compare that vs a hd dvd/blu-ray movie. the cable hd show you think looks so great is highly compressed and presented in 720p or 1080i. and if you’re lucky you get 5.1 surround sound with no extras. on blu-ray’s you’re getting a much less compressed picture with up to 7.1 uncompressed audio, not to mention the normal extra’s that come with movies.

    hd dvd is not going to win the war because of porn. blu-ray has porn also, thats a nonfactor.

    if you want to know who’s probably going to win, take a look at the sales figures. almost 2:1 in favor of blu-ray. worldwide sales are an even bigger sign of the soon to be winner.

    and if you’d listen to the poster above, waiting for a player to play both formats at 50 bucks, you’ll be waiting for many many years, because i assure you by that time, one of the formats will be gone.

    for those of you who can’t notice a difference between blu-ray/hd dvd vs dvd. you obviously haven’t seen a side by side comparison. its like watching vhs all over again. don’t buy an expensive hd tv and not feed it hd content people. be smart

  • Jast3r Rogu3

    Terrible read. who ever wrote this needs to be put to sleep.
    no offence.

  • Greg

    Sorry, but where we are heading in the even near future is acutally co-existence between downloads and the prominent HD format (Blu Ray)/

    Why co-existence? First, DL technology won’t accomodate the massive capacities required by 1080p and loseless or uncompressed audio for a long time. Also, There is a natural need to “own” stuff. Mark my work, if we move to a all DL/Streaming, portals will have won and we’ll be taxed for anything we’ll want to see.

    Sorry again, but I want to own my deluxe set of Close Encounter of the third Kind with collector booklet, and be able to watch it anywhere I want, and lend it to a friend if I want.

    Portable DLs and Tivos /DVRs of course have their place, but VoD is nothing new, and it will not replace being able to shop for your fav. movie, or gift one.

    Last, who said you had to re-buy your DVDs? Both formats can play DVDs, and then you can buy the latest movies in Blu Ray, no problem !

    DL only = the future by Apple and M$ (my nightmare)
    DL/ Streaming + Blu Ray HD = consumers win

  • This whole thing is a repeat of the CD vs. music download argument 10 years ago. Now I wouldn’t even consider buying one of the plastic things. They just take up space, get lost, etc. Most of mine aren’t even in their case anymore. I never even use them–all my music is on my PC, and I put it on my MP3 player if I want to take it with me. CDs are still around, but most people are heading the same way as me. It’ll be the same thing with video downloads and video disc media.

    Right now high def video takes a monsterous amount of space. So does music on CDs. Now we fit it a thousand songs on our MP3 players, and don’t even think about it. Video compression gets better every year, and disk space gets cheaper. Can you imagine having a high def video player loaded with shows and movies that you can carry with you? I can.

    Right now I get my TiVo HD content from my cable company, and it is 1080i, not 1080p, has 5.1 sound instead of 7.1, is more heavily compressed, and you rarely get any extras with the movies. The 8 GB/hr it uses is less than the 10-15 GB/hr on hi def discs (right?), but it still give me a stellar picture, and I can store around 100 hours on my 750 GB High Def TiVo, the rough equivalent of 50 movies or more than 100 TV shows. The ability to have that large a short-term library, in very good (although not excellent) quality video, is good enough for me, for now. I do miss the DVD extras, but I’m hardly feeling deprived, and neither would most other consumers. We will get better quality and extras with downloads down the road. This will take some time, but it won’t be long.

    A big factor is that disc media doesn’t feed people’s appetites for immediate access to TV programming, and streaming video and video downloads do, so most people will want TiVo/Unbox setups like I’m talking about anyway. That’s what is getting streaming and downloaded video going right now, not movies. Once they’ve got the setup, why not use it for movies as well?

    Regarding people’s compulsion for ownership, I agree that’s a big factor, and it’s enough on its own to keep hi def disc media around, just as it’s kept CDs around. I have suffered from the ownership ailment in the past, and as a result my apartment is absolutely overflowing with CDs and DVDs. In my last place I covered 2 walls with shelves, floor to ceiling, to accommodate them, but now I’ve got a smaller place so I had to leave most of my CDs in moving boxes. I don’t even miss them though, so I’ve gotten the cure on that one. I’m happy to continue buying more and more disk space for my music, and deleting movies and shows after I watch them, and I think most other consumers will feel the same way once they see this all played out. Look how many people are happy with Blockbuster, Netflix, pay-per-view and on-demand. I think the direction things are moving is pretty clear.

  • I apologize for being so verbose!