HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc Reviews Compared
Mark Wilson over at Gizmodo took the initiative to grab all of the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc review data from HighDefDigest, one of the best HD DVD / Blu-ray Disc movie review websites on the net. HighDefDigest creates detailed reviews on most Blu-ray or HD DVD movie releases. They rate video quality, audio quality, Standard Definition (SD) Extras, High Definition (HD) Extras and include commentary and opinion. Gizmodo snagged data from approximately 300 different HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc movie reviews on HighDefDigest and averaged the ratings for each format.
HD DVD vs Blu-ray Disc Rating Averages
Here are the results of the ratings averages (0-5 points possible).
Average Video Rating HD DVD 3.95
Average Video Rating Blu-ray 3.86
Average Audio Rating Blu-ray 3.88
Average Audio Rating HD DVD 3.73
Average SD Extras Rating HD DVD 2.52
Average SD Extras Rating Blu-ray 1.78
Average HD Extras Rating HD DVD 0.5
Average HD Extras Rating Blu-ray 0.28
Gizmodo then threw out the video ratings average, claiming that a “statistics-savvy” friend had stated that the video average comparison could be statistically irrelevant. The audio rating was also very close, but they didn’t “throw out” that rating. I am curious to know what the “statistics-savvy” friend of Gizmodo actually said about the average video ratings data. I decided to include the video averages in this article because it is still an interesting contrast.
Gizmodos’ take on the review data
Studios are using better audio compression on Blu-ray.
Studios are not getting enough development support for the interactive programming language BD-J, which has led to a lack of disc extras on Blu-ray.
The current HighDef adopter Question: Do you prefer slightly better audio or more features?
Analyzing the video rating averages
A slight win in average video quality is still a win. HD DVD has the advantage in video quality on average, with the currently available released titles. BUT! This could change VERY soon. BD-50 is starting to pick up steam and I expect to see many Blu-ray titles released on dual layer Blu-ray Disc this year, which packs in 50GB worth of storage capacity. With the extra 20GB of storage (Blu-ray DL 50GB vs HD DVD DL 30GB), Blu-ray Discs should have absolutely no problem packing in the highest possible video quality. I’ve also read that some of the initial Blu-ray Disc authoring jobs did not result in the best video, and some of these discs are being redone by some studios to correct for quality problems. Due to these reasons and more, I predict that Blu-ray Disc average video quality will surpass HD DVD average video quality by the end of 2007.
Analyzing the audio rating averages
HD DVD already has a slight disadvantage in the audio arena. I expect this to continue as Blu-ray movie releases transition to DL and continue to maximize the audio quality on each release. I believe that this rating isn’t that big of a deal though because the average values are so close and it is typical for much more consideration to be placed upon video quality, rather than audio quality.
Analyzing the extras rating averages
In the average extras ratings battle, the competition isn’t even close. HD DVD titles are whooping Blu-ray when looking at both Standard Definition and High Definition extras. Again, this is most likely caused by difficulties that the studios are having with the interactive layer of the Blu-ray format, BD-J. Allegedly this has also led to some neutral studios postponing Blu-ray releases, opting to produce HD DVD movies instead where the interactivity and inclusion of extras is a task that actually can be accomplished. This could wind up being a major thorn for the Blu-ray camp, as the fence sitters could opt for HD DVD adoption due to the higher level of interactivity and bonus features on current available HD DVD titles.
All in all, this is only a quick snapshot in time at an early point in the life of both formats. It is also worth mentioning that the HighDefDigest ratings data is completely subjective and is based on OPINION, therefore it can not be considered as an absolute determination of precise quality ratings. Both formats will improve with time as authoring methods are improved and studios become more familiar with each format. If you have any comments or opinion on these ratings, please let me know in the comments section below. If you’d like to check out the sources for this data, visit Gizmodo and HighDefDigest.