Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD comparision

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 4, 2006
Updated • May 10, 2013
Music and Video

Do you know about the differences between Blue-Ray and HD-DVD? I mean, the real differences, not the technical mumbo jumbo that has no meaning in real life. With the releases of Training Day, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Rumor has it on Blue-Ray and HD-DVD the guys at High Def Digest were able to compare the two formats directly. All three reviews analyze the video and audio quality, the depth of supplemental content, the overall ease of use and menu navigation.

One would think that the video and audio quality would be close to each other and that differences can only be seen in navigation and supplemental content. Apparently this is not the case: The video quality of the HD-DVD versions of all three movies is superior to the Blue-Ray discs. The Blue-Ray disks miss the Dolby Digital-Plus tracks which are provided on the HD-DVD disks as well. The tester also criticized the disk navigation on two of three Blue-Ray disks.

Training Day:

In our first head-to-head comparison, we found the HD DVD to be superior. The unfortunate cropping of the Blue-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. Also a strike against the Blue-ray version is that both the Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital-Plus soundtracks have been dropped in favor of plain old Dolby Digital, and even the disc's menu navigation is more clunky and with less interactive functionality. Certainly, this Blu-ray release delivers fine video quality in its own right, but the format's backers will need to step it up if they are going to win the hearts and minds of early adopters over HD DVD.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang:

With our second Blue-ray versus HD DVD battle on 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' we again declare victory (although by a smaller margin) to the HD DVD version. Most of the same problems we found with 'Training Day' on Blue-ray -- namely the picture cropping (though it is likely a player issue) and darker cast -- reappear again here. The absence of HD DVD's Dolby Digital-Plus tracks on Blue-ray is problematic, and I still find Blu-ray's clunky menu navigation quite irritating. Though with 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' Blue-ray has proven it can deliver moments of stunning high-def as good as HD DVD, it is still not delivering that level of quality as consistently. Very close with this one, but still no cigar.

Rumor has it..

I must say, our first Blue-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. And Warner has again dropped the Dolby Digital-Plus option from the Blue-ray version. However, the Blue-ray is a good $5 cheaper than the pricey $39.95 list price the studio is charging for the HD DVD/DVD combo version, so at least Blue-ray has that going for it. But even with its higher list price, in this reviewers opinion, the HD DVD release delivers overall better bang for the buck.

You have probably already noticed that Blu-Ray has won the format war. HD-DVD is no more, and Blu-Ray as it stands right now is the only HD format on disc available in stores worldwide.


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