DVD - Blu-ray Disc/HD DVD

Blu-ray Disc/HD DVD

In 2006, two new formats called HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc were released as the successor to DVD. HD DVD competed unsuccessfully with Blu-ray Disc in the format war of 2006–2008. A dual layer HD DVD can store up to 30GB and a dual layer Blu-ray disc can hold up to 50GB.

However, unlike previous format changes, e.g., audio tape to Compact Disc or VHS videotape to DVD, there is no immediate indication that production of the standard DVD will gradually wind down, as they still dominate, with around 75% of video sales and approximately one billion DVD player sales worldwide as of 3 April 2011. In fact, experts claim that the DVD will remain the dominant medium for at least another five years as Blu-ray technology is still in its introductory phase, write and read speeds being poor as well as the fact of necessary hardware being expensive and not readily available.

Consumers initially were also slow to adopt Blu-ray due to the cost. By 2009, 85% of stores were selling Blu-ray Discs. A high-definition television and appropriate connection cables are also required to take advantage of Blu-ray disc. Some analysts suggest that the biggest obstacle to replacing DVD is due to its installed base; a large majority of consumers are satisfied with DVDs. The DVD succeeded because it offered a compelling alternative to VHS. In addition, Blu-ray players and now defunct format HD DVD players are designed to be backward-compatible, allowing older DVDs to be played since the media are physically identical; this differed from the change from vinyl to CD and from tape to DVD, which involved a complete change in physical medium. As of 2012 it is still commonplace for major releases to be issued in "combo pack" format, including both a DVD and a Blu-ray disc (as well as, in many cases, a third disc with an authorized digital copy). Also, some multi-disc sets use Blu-ray for the main feature, but DVDs for supplementary features (examples of this include the Harry Potter "Ultimate Edition" collections, the 2009 re-release of the 1967 The Prisoner TV series, and a 2007 collection related to Blade Runner). Another reason cited (July 2011) for the slower transition to Blu-ray from DVD is the necessity of and confusion over "firmware updates" and needing an internet connection to perform updates.

This situation can be best compared to the changeover from 78 rpm shellac recordings to 45 rpm and 33⅓ rpm vinyl recordings; because the medium used for the earlier format was virtually the same as the latter version (a disc on a turntable, played using a needle), phonographs continued to be built to play obsolete 78s for decades after the format was discontinued. Manufacturers continue to release standard DVD titles as of 2012, and the format remains the preferred one for the release of older television programs and films, with some programs such as Star Trek: The Original Series needing to be re-scanned to produce a high definition version from the original film recordings (certain special effects were also updated in order to be better received in high-definition viewing). In the case of Doctor Who, a series primarily produced on standard definition videotape between 1963 and 1989, BBC Video reportedly intends to continue issuing DVD-format releases of that series until at least November 2013.

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