The real question is who wins? there.
HD-DVD could have won with better marketing and eventually, the arrival of the versions containing more storage room, where even the improvements on the BR laser wouldn't have made much of a difference.
Badmouth gave their latest word on the battle's outcome.
So, globally, BR has more space and a faster reading tech (on maximum speed), which only matters for computers. Mere movie players would gain nothing out of this.
But games charging faster, eventually, would be a reality with BR. However, that's the amount of data which can be read by the player. This says nothing of the speed which this data can be treated at. If the streaming will be limited by the machine's power, the gain of this extra speed is less clear.
In terms of costs, HD-DVD was a no-brainer. It would always be cheaper than a Blu-Ray player, and the recent success of the BR player on the PS3s was largely due to the price being slashed and the machine sold on a much more favourable battlefield, that of pure BR players.
The other elements which didn't end in a tie were the region coding, the DRM (Digital Rights Management) protections and interactive features.
On all of them, the customer would have been at a comfortable advantage with HD-DVD, while Blu-Ray favours studios and publishers.
Let them put out DRM free and region coding free versions of the BR, and then it really gets cool for us.
I mean, we're supposed to be living on the same planet, like so many ads say. Well, I guess dividing people is still the rage within salarymen circles.
Of course, we'll have to get used to console builders telling us that import is baaaaad, because, I suppose, in other places such as Japan, for example, safety standards are much inferior to those of Europe.
The bit on the interactive features is, I think, a problem which is very negligible and easily corrected.
The analysis on future-proofing is obviously short termed, and this matters little to all of us, because those two standards are supposed to stay there for a long time.
So, the real point that matters is that HD-DVD was clearly cheaper. BR is better on the amount of data read and storage space, which is relevant, though not necessarily correctly exploited or even fully exploitable in a near future, but BR is hampered by protections which only favour the industry holders, and not the consumers.
There's also the problem of hybrid players and reading DVDs on Blu-Ray players.
HD-DVD was held alive by the strong push provided by certain giants, notably Microsoft, but even them, when checking their calculators, they knew a while ago that the Blu-Ray was just one of those golden valleys where you just have to bend to fill your pockets with coins.
However, in terms of production costs, here are interesting numbers.
What we see is that for roughly equivalent storage capacities (instead of looking at numbers sorted by quantity of layers), the Blu-Ray discs are slightly cheaper to produce, which from a consumer standpoint, would mean slightly cheaper BR products than HD-DVD ones (but this does not include fees, which are apparently still higher for the HD-DVD), which is good for me, because all I care right now is my wallet, no Microsoft's, Toshiba's, Sony's or else.
But the differences, which are noticed, are also due to the fact that comparisons are made between the HD-DVD Dual Layer 30 Gb, and the Blu-Ray Single Layer 25 Gb.
The missing 5 Gb would easily explain the slightly more expensive total production price of HD-DVDs, and when we look at the ratios of dolar per unit of storage, the HD-DVDs do remain cheaper to produce than Blu-Rays. However, the trouble is that there are no HD-DVDs at 25 Gb, so on the final products, while the HD-DVDs needs to jump to a dual layer format to compete with the BR and offer a similar quantity of room, they end providing a bit too much room, which makes the HD-DVD less interesting, since still slightly more expensive as a single disc.
I'd gladly embrace the Blu-Ray if it could be made without all those protections, which hardly make anything different than what we had in the 90s, and are just all the better for hampering honest people from playing the discs on their own home equipment, as it happened with the extra BD+ layer.
They keep saying they want to democratize technologies, fluidify exchanges at a worldwide scale, but the DRMs are all the more screw ups in this fantasy painting, and hardly look convincing either in terms of security.
Actually, I think I'd wish both formats to die. No more HD-DVD. No more Blu-Ray. You say tera-disc? Huh, who needs even more useless space right now (or any close future)?