“Which is better in terms of quality, Blu-ray or HD DVD? I’m quite confused by these 2 media types and would like to know which one is better in quality. Please help.”

Blu-ray and HD DVD are the two new competing formats designed as the next step in DVD technology to bring high-definition movie content to HDTVs. Unfortunately, the two formats don't play nicely together. No HD DVD player will be able to play Blu-ray movies and no Blu-ray player will be able to play HD DVD movies. If you really want to go high def, which format should you choose? We can't decide for you, but in this guide, we would like to show you their differences. Just check them below.

Part 1: Blu-ray vs. HD DVD: Which is better?

HD-DVD was designed to be cheaper and more convenient for upgraders from DVD, and many commentators compared them to VHS and Betamax to argue that cheaper and more convenient would win. But this time, the higher-quality format won the battle.

HD DVD vs Blu-ray

Both formats support identical audio and video codecs (compression systems), one of the two critical factors in quality. But Blu-ray wins handedly on the other: bit rate. Its physical disc format has 60% higher capacity than HD DVD (50GB/disc vs 30GB/disc), allowing higher bit rates and therefore better image quality. DVD, for comparison, fits 8.5GB/disc.

1080p HD has six times as many pixels as DVD-quality video, so all other things being equal needs six times the storage capacity (though advances in video compression reduced this by a bit). Blu-ray provided enough capacity for that, and HD-DVD didn’t without increasing the compression rate.

HD DVD further harmed its video quality by encouraging studios to ship movies as hybrid SD/HD discs with a DVD layer for old players and an HD-DVD layer for new players. This provided a single disc that would work for both old and new video players, but each version was limited to just half its full capacity: 15GB for the HD DVD layer and 4.7GB for the DVD layer. This significantly reduced the quality of both versions. Blu-Ray never supported this, and studios have instead shipped two separate discs in the same package for upgraders - each dedicating their full capacities to their respective versions.

The below table shows you the detailed differences between HD DVD vs. Blu-ray

Blu-ray HD DVD

Storage Capacity

25 GB (single layer), 50 GB (double layer), 100/128/200 GB (BDXL)

15 GB (single layer), 30 GB (double layer)

Laser wavelength

405 nm (blue-violet laser)

405 nm (blue-violet laser)

Numerical Aperture



Maximum Bitrate (Raw data)

53.95 Mbit/s

36.55 Mbit/s


MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), and VC-1 HEVC (H.265 )

VC-1, H.264, and MPEG-2

Maximum Bitrate (Audio+Video)

48 Mbit/s

30.24 Mbit/s

Maximum Bitrate (Video)

40 Mbit/s

29.4 Mbit/s


Blu-Ray Disc Java

HDi Interactive Format

Maximum video resolution

1080p High Definition TV, 2160p, 4k Ultra HD

1920×1080 24/25/30p or 50/60i HDTV

Region Code

3 Regions (Optional), Region-free Ultra HD

Region free

Hardcoating of disc



Content protection system

AACS-128bit / BD+


Mandatory video codecs

MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) / VC-1 / MPEG-2

MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) / VC-1 / MPEG-2

Dolby Digital audio codec

Mandatory @ 640 kbit/s


DTS audio codec

Mandatory @ 1.5 Mbit/s


Dolby Digital Plus audio codec

Optional @ 1.7 Mbit/s


DTS-HD High Resolution audio codec

Optional @ 6.0 Mbit/s


Linear PCM audio codec



Dolby TrueHD audio codec & Atmos



DTS-HD Master audio codec & DTS X



Video Playback Time (SD with MPEG2 at 5 Mbit/s)

22.2 hours

13.3 hours

Video Playback Time (HD with MPEG2 at 20 Mbit/s)

5.6 hours

3.3 hours

Video Playback Time (HD with AVC or VC-1 at 13 Mbit/s)

8.5 hours

5.1 hours


Data storage, High-definition video (1080p) High-definition audio, Stereoscopic 3D, PlayStation 3 games, PlayStation 4 games, Xbox One games

High Definition Video (1080i) with some high end players 1080p

Developed by

Blu-ray Disc Association

DVD Forum Toshiba

Block size


4096 bytes

Read mechanism

405 nm diode laser

405 nm laser: 1× @ 36 Mbit/s & 2× @ 72 Mbit/s


120 mm (4.7 in) diameter, 1.2 mm thickness

120 millimetres (4.7 in) diameter, 1.2 mm thickness

Blu-ray later used some of its extra capacity to add support for 3D, something HD DVD would have had a much harder time squeezing in. You could see that Blu-ray is much more superior to HD DVD in video quality.

Part 2: How to convert Blu-ray/HD DVD with Leawo Blu-ray Ripper

Sometimes we need to convert and digitize Blu-ray/HD DVD discs so we can play Blu-ray/DVD discs on portable players or edit Blu-ray/HD DVD movies in various movie editor software tools. In such case, you could use Leawo Blu-ray Ripper to convert both Blu-ray and HD DVD movie files.

As a professional Blu-ray media converter software tool, Leawo Blu-ray Ripper could convert Blu-ray/DVD disc, folder and ISO image files to digital video files in various formats. It could decrypt, rip and convert Blu-ray to MP4, Blu-ray to AVI, BDMV to MKV, Blu-ray to WMV, etc., and extract audio off Blu-ray/DVD to save in MP3, AAC, FLAC, etc. What’s more, it could rip and convert Blu-ray to 4K video, 1080P video, 720P video and regular video according to your personal needs. With advanced disc decryption technologies, Leawo Blu-ray Ripper could help you remove the AACS, BD+ and the latest MKB protection upon Blu-ray discs, and convert CSS-DVD discs with ease. It’s a perfect tool to help you convert Blu-ray/HD DVD discs.

  • Leawo Blu-ray Ripper
  • Leawo Blu-ray Ripper

    ☉ Decrypt and rip Blu-ray/DVD discs with disc protection and region code
    ☉ Convert Blu-ray/DVD to MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, FLV, and other 180+ HD/SD formats
    ☉ Convert Blu-ray/DVD main movie to videos for space saving
    ☉ Convert 2D Blu-ray/DVD movies to 3D movies with 6 different 3D effects
    ☉ Fast conversion with NVIDIA CUDA, AMD APP and Intel Quick Sync acceleration technologies

The below guide would show you how to convert Blu-ray/DVD discs with Leawo Blu-ray Ripper in detail. At first, download and install Leawo Blu-ray Ripper on your computer. (Mac users should download the Leawo Blu-ray Ripper for Mac) Meanwhile, insert source Blu-ray/HD DVD disc into the disc drive that’s connected to your computer for converting.

Note: Leawo Blu-ray Ripper is a module built in Leawo Prof. Media.

Step 1: Enter Blu-ray Ripper module

Launch Leawo Prof. Media and then click “Convert” button on the sub-menu or “Blu-ray Ripper” button in the middle to enter the “Blu-ray Ripper” module.

HD DVD vs Blu-ray

Step 2: Add source Blu-ray/DVD disc

Under the “Convert” module, click on “Add UHD/Blu-ray/DVD” button and then choose “Add from CD-ROM” option to add source Blu-ray/DVD disc from your disc drive.

HD DVD vs Blu-ray


1. Leawo Blu-ray Ripper offers 3 Blu-ray/DVD loading modes: Full Movie, Main Movie and Custom Mode. Full Movie allows you to import all titles, and Main Movie only imports the longest title by default but allows you to switch, while under Custom Mode you could freely choose any title(s) for loading. Choose the one according to your needs and load source Blu-ray movies.

2. You could play back loaded Blu-ray movie files, select subtitles and audio tracks, edit loaded Blu-ray/DVD movie titles, etc.

Step 3: Set output format

Click the “Output Profile:” button and then on the drop-down panel click “Change” option to enter the “Profile” window. Choose output format from either “Format” or “Device” group according to your device, like MP4 Video from “Format > Common Video” group.

HD DVD vs Blu-ray

You could adjust video and audio parameters of output files to make sure the output files meet your media or player exactly, including video bit rate, aspect ratio, resolution, audio codec, sample rate, audio bit rate, audio channel, etc. To do these, just click the “Edit” option on the drop-down panel of the “Output Profile:”.

HD DVD vs Blu-ray

Step 4: Set directory and start converting Blu-ray/DVD disc

On the main interface, click the “Convert” in green on the sub-menu and then set output directory in the “Save to” box to save output video file. After that, hit the “Convert” button at the bottom to start converting Blu-ray/DVD disc.

HD DVD vs Blu-ray

It should be noted that the Blu-ray disc protection removal happens in the background, requiring no human interfere. But you need to make sure your computer Internet is well connected. Wait for the conversion to complete then. When the conversion completes, the Blu-ray disc protection would be successfully removed and you will get digital video files from source Blu-ray disc for smooth playback.

Part 3: Best software to play HD DVD/Blu-ray with ease

Blu-ray and HD DVD discs are not recognized by all media players. Windows Media Player won’t play back Blu-ray discs since most Blu-ray discs are copy protected. Therefore, you need a professional Blu-ray media player to help you play Blu-ray/HD DVD discs on your computer. Leawo Free Blu-ray Player is the best software to play HD DVD/Blu-ray with ease, regardless of Blu-ray disc protections like AACS and BD+.

Leawo Blu-ray Player could play back Blu-ray movies in disc, BDMV folder and ISO image files, and DVD movies in disc, folder and ISO image file as well, no matter your Blu-ray/DVD discs are copy protected or not. Also, the region-free feature makes it able to play back Blu-ray/DVD discs movie files regardless of your Blu-ray movie region restrictions. With Leawo Blu-ray Player, you could:

Here is a video guide on how to use Leawo Free Blu-ray Player:

Part 4: Conclusion

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs are quite common in our digital entertainment. Nowadays, Blu-ray has become the dominant media in HD movie watching. From this page, you should have learned the differences between HD DVD vs. Blu-ray, and know which is better in quality. Meanwhile, you could use Leawo Blu-ray Ripper to convert Blu-ray/HD DVD discs to digital video files, and Leawo Free Blu-ray Player to play back various Blu-ray/HD DVD discs on your computer.