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DVDs, we hardly knew ya....

So, will you archive your data with Blu-ray or with HD-DVD disks?

Decision time grows nigh. Sony Electronics announced it will start shipping VAIO desktop computers with Blu-ray disc drives this summer.

Blu-ray disks are similar to DVD or CD disks, though can hold more information because the pits on the disk (which encode the information) can be more more-closely spaced together, thanks to recently-developed shorter wavelength lasers that can read these pits. (Fun science fact: The shorter wavelength is blue in color, hence the name 'Blu-ray.' The lasers in CD readers were in red wavelength).

In any case, Blu-ray disks can store 25 GB per disk, or 50 GB on a dual-layer disk. Sony's writable disks will start at about $20 per disk and $48 per disk for dual layer.Sony will also start shipping a Blu-ray player for Blu-ray and DVD movies as well.

Before your place your order for that $2,300 VAIO, keep in mind that Blu-ray is competing for universal acceptance with another next-generation optical disk storage format, HD DVD (short for High Definition DVD). Manufacturers have been pitching the HD DVD mostly as a high-definition replacement for movie DVDs, but at least one company, Toshiba Corp. has talked about releasing a HD-DVD writer. HD DVD disks will hold about 15 GB per side (PDF) , according to a spec sheet from the DVD Forum.

Watch the movie space closely, even if you don't care one whit about the home movie market. Thus far, Hollywood has remained undecided about whether to use Blu-ray or HD DVD. But chances are whatever movie format consumers gravitate towards (if they abandon from their DVD players at all) might well determine the dominant format for cheap optical storage as well.

This is just our speculation of course, but have you actually tried to buy a Betamax blank tape recently?

Posted by Joab Jackson

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Mar 17, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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