Sony aims to establish its Blu-ray technology as the successor to the DVD, but is fighting against Toshiba’s rival HD DVD format. The stage is now set for one of the toughest marketplace struggles since VHS and Betmax vied for dominance of the videotape industry in the 1980s.
The success of DVD was due to a single format that offered better quality and greater convenience than the VHS format that it replaced. This time, both formats (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) support similar features.
Blu-ray discs offer capacities of up to 50GB compared with HD DVD’s 30GB. But Blu-ray is a revolutionary format that is more difficult and expensive to produce than HD DVD discs, which can be produced using modified DVD equipment.
Major supporters of Blu-ray include co-developer Philips and IT companies Dell and Hewlett Packard (HP). All the major Hollywood studios except Universal have announced plans to release movies on the format.
Both Blu-ray and HD DVD players are expected to be in shelves in Europe in time for Christmas.