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What does the future have in store for Home-Entertainment systems?
The future of home entertainment is currently quite unclear. Many people are happy with DVDs, still amazed at the quality improvement over VHS videos, but the early adopters, as ever, are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next generation of players and formats. Unfortunately, since the invention of DVD, there has been a split in the industry, and there are two rival formats set to battle it out to be the successor to DVD: HD-DVD and Blu-ray.
HD-DVD is the official successor to DVD from the DVD Forum, the group of companies that came up with the original DVD standard. The HD part stands for ‘high density’, like in HDTV, and indicates higher-capacity discs with much better picture quality.
Blu-ray, on the other hand, is supported by a group of breakaway companies led by Sony, the inventors of the format. It is named after the blue laser it uses to read discs, allowing more data to be written on the disc than with normal red laser formats. Sony hopes that the inclusion of Blu-ray in its Playstation 3 video game console will jump-start the format, as it will mean that many people already have a Blu-ray player right there in their home before they’ve even heard about HD-DVD.
Industry insiders and enthusiasts are split on the merits of the format: many feel that Sony must have lost its mind, as including a Blu-ray player in the Playstation 3 will jack the price up, while others are excited to be getting the player so quickly and at a reasonable price. Many believe that HD-DVD will eventually win out, however, simply because of its greater number of supporters.
So what should you do? Historically, markets will only support one video format – so one of these is destined to be the next VHS, and one is going to be the next Betamax. As anyone who bought a Betamax player can tell you, the best thing to do is to wait and see who wins before you buy anything from the next generation of formats.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of