HD DVD and Blu-ray Compared Using Identical Source Material

Illustration for article titled HD DVD and Blu-ray Compared Using Identical Source Material

Until earlier this week, there was no way to directly compare a Blu-ray disk to its competitor on HD DVD using identical source material. But then Warner Home Video released Training Day, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Rumor Has It... on Blu-ray, making them the first movies available on both formats, allowing a direct comparison of the quality of each. Surprisingly, there were noticeable differences.


Details after the jump.

[Graphic courtesy Sci Fi Tech]

High Def Digest reviewer Peter M. Bracke gave the definitive nod to the HD DVD:

"In our first head-to-head comparison, we found the HD DVD to be superior. The unfortunate cropping of the Blu-ray image, coupled with more noticeable compression artifacts and an overall darker cast, can't compete with the more consistently pleasing presentation of the HD DVD ... I must say, our first Blu-ray versus HD DVD comparisons continue to yield surprises. I wasn't expecting to see much difference in video quality between the two formats with 'Rumor Has It...', yet the two discs did bear noticeable differences, with the HD DVD boasting better detail and a more film-like look."

Bracke used the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player and a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD player for the comparison, and said the Blu-ray version had more compression artifacts in the single-layer Training Day disc, was less bright, and was cropped on the sides, giving HD DVD the nod for superior picture quality. In the dual-layer Kiss Kiss Bang Bang disc, it was harder to tell the difference between the two formats, although the reviewer still gave a nod to HD DVD quality, as he did with the third title, Rumor Has It. So, round 1 goes to HD DVD.

Blu-ray versus HD DVD: First Head-to-Head Comparisons


Pedro S

Even SONY PICTURES STUDIO is using MPEG-2 for their Blu Ray discs for the foreseeable future. They are using MPEG-2 for purely financial reasons. Since DVDs are already encoded in this, it is a fairly simple process to "port" these over to Blue-Ray, vs a full re-encoding with new technology. There is also a likely license cost that is significantly less for MPEG-2.

If anything, when given the option of MPEG2 vs. VC1, it seems that companies are opting for the more economical MPEG-2.

All of this talk about "bias-this and bias that" is counterproductive. The reviewers simply did a straight-up "which one looks better", the fact that one used one type of compression and the other used another is irrelevant. What matters is which one looks better if you went and bought both off the street.