HD-DVD & Blu-ray – No end in sight part 3


With High Definition you have two standard resolutions, both far inproved on the standard definition we are currently used too. 720 and 1080 refers to the number of vertical pixels in the images, you can go into more detail about the specifics of the resolution Like 1080p vs 1080i which talks about how the images are switched but were not going into the kind of depth today.

Most Modern LCD TV’s That are hd ready fit into one of the above categories, usually TVs 32” and under are often 720 compatible and larger TVs are the ones that are usually 1080 compatible, you do pay a premium at the moment for 1080 compatible TV’s.

To give you an idea of how much improved they the spec for a standard DVD resolution is 700 x 540. Standard United Kingdom TV resolution is 540 x 480. So a 720 high resolution movie has just under twice as much detail as an old DVD movie. A 1080 high res movie is around 2.7 times sharper than a 720. The chart below shows it in an easy format.

Format width/height Actual pixels
UK TV(pal) – 768 x 576 – 442,368 pixels
US TV(NTSC) – 720 x 480 – 345,600 pixels
DVD – 720 x 480 – 345,600 pixels
720 – 1020 x 720 – 734,400 pixels
1080 – 1680 x 1080 – 1,814,400 pixels


Dual format is obviously the choice to make if money is no option, you can get a dual format High Def player now and completely ignore the format war. You could have the full choice of movies available on the new formats, and forget about one of the standards becoming obsolete. The two player format gives you the same results for a slightly messier solution and one that requires a TV with a lot of inputs. Finally the dual pc drive option does the same, yet there is so much compliant software and hardware required this is an option to look into maybe one year down the line where all new hardware will be fitted automatically to these standards and the average user won’t even have to know that HDCP and HDMI exists.

At the moment the wise solution for the movie fanatic on a budget especially in certain countries is to stick with DVD and just put the money you want to spend on movie to one side, rent them instead and then buy the High Definition versions later on. In America the prices of players are getting low enough so that you can seriously consider buying both formats. In the United Kingdom its not quite there yet, and the situation is similar in other part of Europe. There is a big demand for High Definition content yet we can’t get into it without limiting our choices. The competition between the two formats should help keep prices competitive but the first low price dual format player is going to be a big hit.