It’s probably best to wait during HD format war
If you're like a lot of Hawaii people, you've recently purchased a "high definition" TV. You're also most likely using your new screen to watch DVDs. However, while they look great on an HD TV monitor, you're not getting the full benefit of the dazzling 720 or 1080 lines of resolution format of your set. The next logical step is to buy a DVD player (either an HD DVD or Blu-Ray) that will take advantage of your HD TV.
Well ... not so fast.
Whereas both technologies can deliver true HD video quality, the jury is still out as to which will become the industry standard. Just like in the old days when Sony Betamax vied with VHS, Blu-Ray and HD DVD are duking it out on the showroom floors of electronic outlets across America.
Not even the studios that produce the movies know which side to take. CNET points out that if you want to watch "The Fifth Element" (Sony Pictures), you'll need a Blu-Ray model, but if you want to see "Serenity" (Universal) you'll need an HD DVD player.
So which one is best to buy -- or should you just wait?
» First off, technically the features and capabilities of both formats are very similar. Both provide sparkling HD clarity, better-sounding audio tracks and the ability to play your current DVDs at double the resolution.
» What about price? HD DVD boxes are generally less expensive than Blu-Rays--usually to the tune of $100-200.
» What about compatibility with other technologies?
Microsoft Xbox 360 users can buy a $180 adaptor that will read HD DVDs, whereas the Sony Playstation 3 can play Blu-Ray discs without any tweaking. A new HD DVD or Blu-Ray disc player will work with an old analog TV, but you're not going to notice much of a difference unless you use it along with a new HD TV.
» What about cables? You can use the old fashioned red, white and yellow composite cables to connect to your new player, but to leverage the enhanced video and audio capabilities you'll want to buy an HDMI (High Definition Multi Media Interface), which can carry the most current display and sound signals. If you haven't already bought a TV for optimal performance, consider getting a 1080p native resolution HDTV.
» What about the sound system? If you want a true movie-like experience with "surround sound," you'll want to make sure that your player is compatible with your stereo system. That means you'll need at minimum a 5.1 speaker system.
With all that said, what should you buy?
At this point I think it's a better idea to play it conservative and just wait until the dust settles. The standards war will eventually settle and prices will surely drop.