High Definition DVDs, commonly referred to as HD DVDs were introduced to the market in March 2006. They look very similar to the regular DVDs, but offer more memory for storage and better quality audio and video playback. Toshiba was the first to bring HD DVDs and their players out into the market. They had even had success and profits initially. However, the life of these discs in the market was short-lived, due to the rise of the Blu-ray discs. Toshiba finally discontinued the manufacture of the High definition players and drives.
High definition DVDs used laser with shorter wavelength to store data, as this allowed for high density optical storage. Red laser with H.264/MPEG-4AVC compression was used for recording data. The general specifications of these appliances are as follows:
– Storage capacity for pre-recorded playback material:- single layer-15GB, dual layer-30GB, triple layer-51GB
– Home recording HD DVD-R (Rewritable):- single layer-20 GB, dual layer-40 GB.
– Physical dimensions include 12cm and 8cm discs, which are either single or double sided.
– Data transfer rate is 36Mbps at 1x speed and the time taken to transfer at this rate for single layer is 56 mins and for dual layer is 110 mins.
– At 2x speed the data transfer rate is 72Mbps and the time taken to transfer is 28 mins for single layer and 55 mins for dual layer.
– The data layer is always 0.6mm below the surface for protection.
These new players have been made with backward compatibility. Hence, they can play CDs, DVDs as well as High definition DVDs. Almost all recent and popular operating systems, like Windows XP, Windows Vista, Apple’s Mac OS X v10.5 and even the Linux-based ones can work with these players. A number of “soft” players (software) can play content from HD DVD players too.
Microsoft released their drive for the Xbox 360 in November 2006. This gave the Xbox 360 the ability to play high definition content. But, this was discontinued in February 2008, owing to the increasing popularity of Blu-ray players.
Some companies like Samsung and LG even made players which could play both HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs. However, these products failed to click in the market. Computer makers like Acer and HP brought out PCs with integrated Blu-ray and HD DVD drives.
Blu-ray has managed to oust it, despite both having the same kind of audio and video playback quality. This is mainly due to the fact that Blu-ray offers better control, integration with the internet and interactivity. Blu-ray discs also offer more storage space than HD DVDs.
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