Blu-ray Disc Goes Home

You've just set up a slick, new 42-inch plasma HDTV and you're ready to record your favorite shows in all their high-definition glory. But there's a problem: Today's DVD recorders can't handle HD content or the super-sized video files the content requires. Next-generation recorders that will be able to record more on a disc are unlikely to be on sale widely until the end of 2005 at the earliest. And when they get there, you'll find two competing--and incompatible--formats: Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD.

Blu-ray Disc has broader backing among big-name consumer electronics and PC companies, but HD-DVD, a standard from Toshiba and NEC, has gained some momentum in Japan. The sole commonality between the two formats is that both use a blue-laser to increase disc capacity and record high-definition video (as opposed to standard DVD's red-laser).

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