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Get Burned in the Latest Format War? Make Red just like Blu

by February 25, 2008
Heres to Michael Bay, who singlehandedly created Blu-ray and won the format war.  (Image via Gizmodo)

Here's to Michael Bay, who singlehandedly created Blu-ray and won the format war. (Image via Gizmodo)

Rearrange the identical 1080p content only readable on an HD-DVD player and convert it into 1080p content readable on a Blu-ray player.

It is bad enough that a transition from SD/480i prerecorded content is asking consumers to shell out more money for the same movies in HD/1080p, but at least there is an improvement in video and audio quality for the additional cost.  But because the movie studios and the hardware manufacturers couldn’t all agree, they split up and offered two incompatible containers, Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, which provide the same HD/1080p movies, and then pulled the plug on one container format after passing some cash around amongst themselves.

Are consumers now expected to shell out again, this time for identical quality, just because they can no longer buy the compatible player to read an identical audio/video encoded video?

Well, some of the more creative technical types are calling BS.

The answer for those consumers who bought into the losing format: before turning all those HD DVDs into coasters, Gizmodo is reporting about a Wired Wiki that shows how to convert those old HD DVDs into fancy new Blu-ray Discs.

Using various free and retail software tools, one can pull the data off an HD DVD to a computer and convert it from an HD DVD file system to a Blu-ray file system and burn it back to a Blu-ray disc.  It’s just not an easy task thanks to the movie industry, which has taken great pains to attempt to force every consumer to re-buy what they already own.

HD DVD is dead.  Long live HD DVD!

By converting your movies into a more enduring format, you can ensure your movie collection survives the death of the machine that plays them.

The process is simple in principle but excruciating in practice, thanks to the complexity of the technology, the myriad of applications needed and the predations of an industry that doesn’t want you format-shifting at all.

Wired How to Wiki: Convert Your HD DVDs to Blu-Ray

Basically, one has to rip the HD DVD to a hard drive, demultiplex the HD DVD file system, tweak the audio and video using software consistent with the recording codec to fit it on a 25 GB BD, re-multiplex the data into the BD file system, and finally burn away.  The Wired Wiki provides suggestions and links to all the required software, including free alternatives to commercial products.

Considering the price of BD burners and blank media, it might be wiser to just get a big hard drive and leave the HD DVD content there for a software player to decode or just bite the bullet and repurchase the movies on Blu-ray.

With an HD DVD ROM, a Blu-ray burner, blank Blu-ray media, an Internet connection, and a great deal of stubbornness, one can embark on the journey from the land of Red to the land of Blu to watch the same damn movie encodes on the victorious player.

But, if your time is worth money, you just might be better off grabbing some new movies or signing up for Netflix.

About the author:
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Professionally, David engineers building structures. He is also a musician and audio enthusiast. David gives his perspective about loudspeakers and complex audio topics from his mechanical engineering and HAA Certified Level I training.

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