HD DVD vs. Blu-ray: LeaderSpeak

Bob Chapek President, Buena Vista Home Entertainment Because of his position at Buena Vista, which is responsible for the home-video products for the various Walt Disney companies, Bob Chapek has been a tireless advocate for Blu-ray Disc. He believes strongly that the format's greater capacity, interactivity, and copy-protection technology will put it in the better position to succeed the DVD.

Why should S&V's readers be excited about Blu-ray? It's great that you're approaching the interview from that standpoint, because it's going to be the consumer who decides whether HD DVD or Blu-ray survives. And that very same consumer is the source of our bullishness for Blu-ray, which we believe will be the clear eventual winner of this format scuffle.

Blu-ray Disc will give you an unparalleled experience, largely afforded by the capacity it provides. Soon you won't need to choose between widescreen and pan-and-scan, because the standard-definition pan-and-scan and high-def widescreen signals are on one disc. And while a lot of your readers might not be interested in it, there are still people who want standard pan-and-scan for the 13-inch TVs in their kids' rooms. So Blu-ray offers high-def widescreen, standard-def pan-and-scan, 7.1-channel lossless audio, interactivity the likes of which we've never seen on a movie disc before, and Internet connectivity - an experience that outdoes DVD in so many ways that until you see and experience it, you can't comprehend it.

You've been very outspoken about the need for 50-gigabtye Blu-ray discs, but only 25-GB discs will be ready for the launch. Are bigger discs still a priority? Absolutely. To fully exploit all the technology available on the Blu-ray side, it's going to take all that capacity. Some of the things we have in development right now from an interactivity standpoint are going to chew up a lot of space.

Can you give some examples of that interactivity? In perhaps its most mundane incarnation, we'll have picture-in-picture, which means you can have several things going on at once. You have not only the movie rolling, but you have options tracking at the same time inside PIP windows. Interactivity also lets you take different segments of the program and put them in whatever order you prefer. And it gives you a gaming ability - which I'm very excited about, because we've tried to utilize the relatively limited ability to have games on DVDs, and it's resulted in a lot of stops, starts, and pauses. Blu-ray's greater processing time results in more fluid game play. So, not only can you have a lot on a disc, but the speed at which it's accessed - the twitch factor - should be very good, which is also why it makes a great platform for PlayStation 3.

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