Opinion: Blu-ray or HD DVD -- neither, thanks

Most consumers won't even be affected by the outcome of the format skirmish

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While HD DVD is standardized, Blu-ray is Sony's proprietary format and Sony and Blu-ray's supporters haven't settled on a single standard, meaning some future features will not be backward compatable to older machines. In contrast, anything can be downloaded to a hard drive or flash drive. And if you're one of those who simply must have a DVD collection, buy a DVD player that's been upgraded to hi-def, which costs about half as much as a Blu-ray player. According to Putnam, there's no noticeable difference between viewing an upgraded DVD player when you're sitting 6 to 12 feet away from a hi-def television that's 46 inches or smaller and a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player. He recommends OPPO's DV-980H, which offers 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p output. You can buy one for $170 retail.

Does all this mean Blu-ray and HD DVD will be snuffed out? Not at all. High-capacity optical disc formats are ideal for storing archive data, and that's likely where they'll wind up -- in the enterprise, storing massive amounts of data as a form of removable media that can offer both decades of storage and relatively quick data access through an optical disc library.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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