For the second time this year, Xbox Live's Larry Hryb a.k.a. Major Nelson has a high definition expert, actually two, appear on his podcast to extol the virtues of HD DVD. However this time, unlike during the interview with Tyler the HDTV expert on 1080p back in February, Blu-ray and HD DVD are both available and on store shelves at the moment. The two experts appearing this week include Amir M., who many of you are already familiar with due to his frequent posts on AVSForum, and Kevin Collins, both work on Microsoft's efforts promoting iHD, VC-1 and HD DVD.

If you're familiar with Microsoft's stated reasoning for supporting HD DVD instead of remaining neutral or supporting Blu-ray there won't be a lot of new info here, but probably enough to make a listen worthwhile. Be warned that if you're a Blu-ray fanboy this isn't exactly the equal-time special, if you're expecting the Blu-ray side of things to be presented you'll need to look elsewhere. However being biased towards the HD DVD side (not mentioning reported issues with HD DVD players and promoting recent firmware upgrades as a benefit and not a side effect of rushing to launch for example) doesn't mean they aren't telling the truth. Their main points are clear, 30GB dual-layer HD DVD over 25GB single-layer Blu-ray, VC-1 HD DVD releases over MPEG-2 Blu-ray releases and already available iHD-enhanced titles over potentially limited BD-J support in current players.
Kevin is especially proud of HD DVD's interactive features and mandatory player requirement of persistent storage, which he believes will result in more studios supporting added functionality such as bookmarking, content downloads etc. on HD DVD as opposed to Blu-ray. They also touch on the subjects of compromise and studio support, they don't expect a compromise, or for either format to go away in the next few years, and that more movie studios will support HD DVD as time goes on. They also think that despite being outnumbered by number of studios, HD DVD will still have many quality titles available from the studios already supporting the format. Amir minimized the differences in transfer rate in the specifications and their potential effect on gaming, and the Xbox 360 vs. Playstation 3 debate.

Of course this doesn't mean they're totally biased, unlike the earlier podcast these guys are movie buffs instead of gamers and both have huge high-def setups at home. In Amir's case, the much-loved Sony VPL-VW100 Ruby projector and a Samsung 1080p plasma with Xbox 360 plugged into a standalone video scaler fill his living room (we have got to get that guy in the HD Beat flickr group) while Kevin has a 100-inch projected image but mentions watching HD DVDs on his 21-inch laptop.

On the whole it is, as one would expect, a very positive outlook on HD DVD with a decidedly pessimistic view on the Blu-ray camp. How you feel about their comments is probably going to be decided on who you favored prior to listening, although I couldn't pick out anything stated as fact that was false as I was listening. At the moment, with more movies, interactive content and higher capacity discs actually available on store shelves they are enjoying some measure of advantage over Blu-ray and definitely feel vindicated as a result. Still the Blu-ray juggernaut is only just beginning to get moving and all of those things could be reversed in a few months.

[Thanks to all who sent this in]

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Major Nelson's podcast on HD DVD vs. Blu-ray