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How Do I Hook Up... DVD, HD DVD, or Blu-Ray players?

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DVD: The modern VHS

VHS was great. At least, until DVD. There were others - laser disc, Betamax, etc. - but DVD prevailed. Capable of holding 7.4 GB of data on a double-layer disc, DVD has fullfilled our media capacity needs for over a decade now.

Even computers are no stranger to DVD. Almost every computer sold now contains a DVD player, and most PC games come on DVDs instead of CDs. The media has gotten dirt cheap, and the players as low as $20 at your local electronics store.

As needs for larger capacities continue to arise, we'll see DVD take a back seat to the newer formats like HD DVD and Blu-Ray Disc. But for now, DVD isn't going anywhere, nor is it on the rise of becoming obsolete. VHS managed to hang in until just a few years ago, so its safe to assume DVD still has a ways to go.

If you're interested in learning about the best ways to connect your DVD player, go ahead and check out our article on
>>How To Hook Up A DVD Player.

HD DVD: High Definition DVD

One of the answers to our ever-growing need for expanded storage capacity is HD DVD. It is a new format developed in part by the DVD Forum, an organization responsible for the development of DVD, chaired by Toshiba.

The ability to create a disc with capacities from 15 GB to 50 GB for HD DVD is due to a blue laser used in the manufacturing process. The old red laser used for DVDs is obsolete since the blue laser has a shorter wavelength. This allows for much more data to be packed into smaller spaces, greatly enhancing the capacity of a disc. And with only minimal changes necessary for manufacturing equipment to utilize the new laser, the cost of HD DVD is relatively inexpensive.

HD DVD sports a lot of cool features you won't find on a typical DVD. These include Picture in Picture (like viewing a director's commentary video in the corner of the screen as you watch the movie) and highly interactive films. Some of this interactivity could be like deciding how a character dies in a horror film and then watching it happen.

But what's the real gem about HD DVD? The quality, of course. You get high definition quality video up to 1080p resolution, which currently, is as good as it gets. The difference in picture quality is easy to see next to a regular DVD player. You'll need a high def TV to sport this new technology, which currently, costs under $200 for a brand new Toshiba HD DVD player.

Blu-Ray Disc

Not much needs to be said about Blu-Ray that hasn't already been about HD DVD. Its a rival format (duh) that also puts out up to 1080p, high definition resolution. The big difference? It costs a heck of a lot more than HD DVD!

The reason for this is simple: Sony, the company behind Blu-Ray, decided to go with a different blue laser than HD DVD. It is more expensive and requires new manufacturing techniques to create Blu-Ray discs. Sony went ahead with its design because Blu-Ray discs can hold more data than HD DVDs. You'll get 25 GB on a single layer Blu-Ray disc versus 15 GB on an HD DVD.

And the big reason that Blu-Ray is still a major competitor to HD DVD? You get a Blu-Ray player as part of every PS 3, of course! Anyone who buys a PS 3 gains the ability to play Blu-Ray discs. This is really giving HD DVD a run for its money now that the PS 3 is being produced quickly and sold even faster. Are consumers buying it for the Blu-Ray? Who knows; either way, Sony uses this in its marketing statistics to show just how many Blu-Ray players have been sold (even though a huge chunk of that is from the PS 3).

If you have an actual Blu-Ray player (not a Playstation 3), read all about hooking it up via
>>How To Hook Up A Blu-Ray Player.

Article: HD DVD vs Blu-Ray Disc

Want to know the details of the format war? Check out our article on HD DVD vs Blu-Ray for a complete break down of the battle! >>HD DVD vs Blu-Ray Disc: Who is Better and Who is Winning?

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