High Definition DVD

The high definition DVD format is one of two high definition formats, the same size as a CD and DVD, that have been introduced into the marketplace, the other one being the BLU-RAY disc. The need for these formats was sparked by the emergence of high definition television.

In order to playback movies in high definition, an optical disc format with a high storage capacity was required. DVDs provide very good movie quality on regular televisions, but suffer when it comes to being shown on high definition televisions. DVDs do not have the storage capacity that is required to store a full high definition movie. In fact, a DVD can only hold 20 minutes of high definition television footage. Also, the recordable DVD and erasable DVD formats do not have enough storage capacity to be able to record high definition programming. Therefore, high definition digital optical disc formats were born.

High Definition DVD Introduction

The HD DVD became available in the spring of 2006, but by the spring of 2008 the format was abandoned by Toshiba, JVC, NEC, Mitsubishi and a number of other companies which supported the format. The reason for this move was essentially a lost format war with the BLU-RAY disc which is not compatible with the HD DVD. Sony and many other manufacturers were part of the BLU-RAY disc group that managed to dominate the market and push the high definition DVD group to fold.

Size and Capacity

An HD DVD disc is the same size as a DVD and of similar construction and similar manufacturing. The main difference is greater storage capacity. A HD DVD with one information layer is in the 15 to 20 GB range, which is about 3 to 4 times greater than a one information layer DVD. The greater storage capacity means that a different laser is required to read the disc. The laser is not red like in DVDs, but rather blue which has a much shorter wavelength (405 nm compared to 650 nm for DVDs and 780 nm for CDs).

Formats

High definition discs were available in the three categories of discs: read-only (HD DVD), write-once (HD DVD-R), and erasable (HD DVD-RW or HD DVD-RAM). Although HD DVD movies discs were readily available, the remaining formats never gained much momentum in the marketplace. Regardless, HD DVD discs are no longer being manufactured and neither is the equipment to read them. Once the current crop of players stops functioning, then the information on these discs will no longer be accessible. Therefore, it is obvious that the high definition DVD is not an option for digital scrapbooking storage. This highlights the importance of proper media selection when deciding what to store your digital memories on.

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