PS3 Blu-ray vs Xbox 360 HD DVD

HD DVD vs Blu-Ray

The classic format war spreads onto the video game console front. It's easy to compare formats these days because the newer Blu-ray movies are much improved over the first few titles. Mission Impossible III , starring everyone's favorite couch-jumper Tom Cruise, acted as our test film and we scrutinized it using both HD DVD via the Xbox 360's add-on player and the Playstation 3's internal Blu-ray drive. Our HDTV was a Sony Wega LCD rear projector with a native resolution of 720p. Unfortunately, 1080p wasn't available for this test.

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Despite the PS3's use of full digital HDMI and Xbox 360's employment of a lesser analog component, the difference was nearly invisible to the human eye.

Audio is always a huge consideration and was also tested with the same double blind scrutiny. However, as expected since both units use digital optical outputs to the same receiver the same DACs would be used. This means the audio was basically the same.

But, which was all-around better? We used MI:III because it would give us everything, from fast moving action that would thoroughly test macroblocking to panoramic cityscapes capable of making or breaking the format's ability to display fine details. Many of the scenes in MI:III take place in bright daylight, so there were no shadows to obscure details nor darkness to expose the LCD's inherent lack of deep black.

The video quality for both formats was more fabulous than a crushed velvet smoking jacket. Quite simply, a viewer could find themselves lost in the details of either picture. The 5.1 soundtrack on both was also incredible and not lacking one bit in comparison to DVD. The only places we noted any loss of detail centered around places where the camera wasn't focused on images in the background. There were a few instances where very bright white surfaces displayed a little bit of noise, but it's unclear whether this was the fault of the playback device or our LCD display. After all, LCD is notorious for its screen door effect. When evaluating a near perfect video format, you have to consider the ultimate (although indeterminable) source of such minor imperfections.

We performed double blind testing over and over and over, and nobody on an unbiased panel of judges could differentiate between the two sources. No point is awarded for this category because no person should be disappointed with the performance from either HD DVD or Blu-ray.

Your Sony PS3 comes with a Blu-ray copy of Talladega Nights. The Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on comes with a copy of Peter Jackson's King Kong. To be blunt, the value of these packages depends on your movie tastes more than visual performance.