- Options when shopping for high-definition discs.Tsuneo Yamashita/Photodisc/Getty Images
Blu-ray is one of the latest formats for storing high-definition content. Because of the high demand of today's digital videos, audios and games, consumers would need a higher capacity for discs to store all the needed information. Blu-ray can store up to 50 gigabytes of data. Because of this capacity, movies come in a higher resolution and up to 7.1 channels of high quality audio. More data can also fit on the recordable Blu-ray discs without the need for higher compression of files. For whatever reason, whether price, compatibility or higher capacity demands, people want alternatives to using Blu-ray discs.
- The high-definition DVD format was one of the closest competitions of Blu-ray when it was introduced. It uses the same dimensions as the normal DVD but can hold 15 gigabytes of data for a single layer and a total of 30 gigabytes for double layer discs. The rewritable version of HD DVD can store 20 gigabytes of data on one side, which totals 40 gigabytes for both sides. A combination disc is also available that uses both the conventional DVD-9 and a dual layer HD DVD. Although there are still units available, Toshiba, the principal supporter of HD DVD no longer produces the item nor its drives since it lost the HD optical disc format war with Blu-ray.
- CBHD stands for China Blue High-definition Disc, which is based on the now defunct HD DVD. The CBHD has a capacity of up to 30 gigabytes on one side which totals 60 gigabytes for double sided discs. The Chinese government backed it in hopes of cutting back from royalty costs of using storage technologies that are developed from other countries. The retail price is also lower than that of Blu-ray, which makes it a close competition. In terms of being a medium for high definition movies, Hollywood studios approve of a cheaper format for the movies to counter piracy. CBHD is still not as available as Blu-ray discs but it is rapidly gaining approval from markets and consumers.
- While normal Blu-ray discs can hold up to 50 gigabytes of data, the new BDXL format of Blu-ray more than doubles this capacity to 128 gigabytes. This new version uses 3 to 4 layers of recordable surface. 100 and 128 gigabyte discs are available for single writing while 100 gigabyte discs are available for rewritable discs. BDXL was first made available to professional enterprises that need large storage for archiving confidential data, digital images, and videos. However, individual consumers can also expect BDXL available for retail, especially to areas where Blu-ray recorders have reached high sales and acceptance. One of the drawbacks is that it would require an entirely new reader, but future readers are now being engineered to read both BD and BDXL formats.