Official Blu-Ray FAQ
BluRay Disc Format official page
Blu-Ray Official Page
DVD FAQ Entries
WMV-HD, Microsoft's Windows Media Video HD format site
WMV-HD unofficial FAQ
I could not find a site dedicated to HD-DVD, which seems to show that the DVD Consortium is simply failing to market the format properly. There isn't any good information I can find about it on the DVD Consortium's site either.
Other formats are: EVD & HVD (could be the same?) that has been established as a Chinese standard, of which I could not find much information not in the DVD FAQ.
Will my DVD collections become unplayable?
No. Even if your current DVD player explodes and no more DVD players are available, the next generation video players will still play them. As noted in the Blu-Ray FAQ, DVD is simply way to populer to ignore when making the next generation players, every company that has announced support for either format has so far announced backward compatibility to the original DVD format.
There is nothing that will require any DVD collector to upgrade or replace their collections. Many compulsive buyers and movie fanatics will still trick themselves into believing they need to replace their entire collections, but it is unnecessary except to get the improved video detail.
Which format will win?
The major media formats of concern to most people are HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Which will "win" depends on many factors, such as studio support, hardware and production costs, as the cost to the consumer and availability of popular movies will be the overiding concerns. It is possible that these formats will be a niche. While it is unlikely that it will follow DVD's adoption rate, if it did, it would still take five years to dominate.
What is currently available?
WMV-HD and D-VHS are currently available. As of Oct 2004, there are about 18 movies availalbe in WMV-HD, and about eighty D-VHS movies. You would need a D-Theater deck to play many of the D-VHS movies (currently $500 or so), or you'd need an HTPC with a minimum of a 2.4GHz or equivalent CPU for playing the 720p version, recommended 3GHz or equivalent CPU for playing the 1080p version, to play WMV-HD movies. So far, it looks like most of the movies supply both 720p and 1080p versions.
EVD / HVD is available on affordable players from Hong Kong but it looks like only Chinese cinema will support for the short term. I have not found a good source of the movies, nor have I found movies availalbe with english subs or an english dub.
What will make the transition to HD?
Anything that is available in completed form on film has a chance. Most theatrical movies has a good chance. Any TV show digitally made for standard definition will not benefit, the same goes for any show edited in or originally recorded onto standard definition video. Obviously, many newer TV shows produced with HD in mind should make the transition.
What is the difference between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD?
Currently the only significant difference appears to be storage capacity, as they both seem to support all the same video and audio standards. While Blu-Ray holds more, it would still cost DVD replicators more to switch. HD-DVD is sized such that switching to HD-DVD supposedly will cost a lot less as it is intended to require only minor changes to existing equipment to convert. The Blu-Ray group claims that a Blu-Ray disc will only cost 10% more than a dual layer DVD.