Saturday, January 07, 2006

Product Roundup - Blu-ray and HD DVD

I thought I’d do a series of roundups of some of the vast number of new products being debuted at CES in Las Vegas in categories. For those who don’t know, CES is basically the trade show for the Consumer Electronics industry, and any company worth their salt is there, showing off their brand new products and attempting to predict what the ‘next big thing’ will be.

HD DVD and Blu-ray
These are the two new DVD formats that will be released during 2006. The industry looks set for a format war, similar to that seen between VHS and Betamax all those years ago. Ringleaders of the HD DVD camp are Toshiba, and significantly Microsoft is also backing the new format. Toshiba have been showing of their new HD DVD players, the HD-A1 and the HD-XA1, below.

They look set for release in the US in March 2006, but no word yet on release dates for Europe. Toshiba also released a new laptop in their Qosmio line equipped with HD DVD drive. Microsoft have announced a few days ago that they will be shipping an external HD DVD drive for their Xbox 360, although not whether they will be supplying games in the new format.

The backers of Blu-ray at CES include Sony, Pioneer and Samsung. We have known for some time that Sony will be including a Blu-ray drive in their Playstation 3 console, due for release at some point this year. This will no doubt have been one of the reasons for Microsoft deciding to produce their external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360, to avoid being surpassed by their competitor. Both Pioneer and Samsung have introduced their Blu-ray players. Pioneer’s is called the BDP-HD1, and they are also producing a burner, the BRD-101A. Samsung’s BD-P1000, pictured below (picture from will offer backwards compatibility with many of today’s DVD formats, which is a significant advantage.

With both sides so seemingly well balanced, with potentially very strong products on both sides and big backers, this format war could go on for some time.

No comments: