Hey everyone. I've been lurking in this post and felt like it was time for me to get a few things off my chest about the state of these hi-def formats and to address some of the misinformation being spread about the consoles or add fuel to the fire, however you see it is fine.
My setup is not great but I'm pretty proud of it. I purchased a Samsung HPR4272 plasma tv last year and got both the XBOX 360 and the PS3 at launch(well two weeks after).
I work in the VG industry and have a vested as well as personal interest in seeing both of these consoles do well (although I'm partial to the PS3 since it's my newest toy). I'll try to shed some unbiased light on the situation with the consoles and how that relates to HD-DVD vs Blu-ray.
First and foremost, the PS3 and the 360 are both awesome machines and will serve their owners well. As far as the hardware and the manufacturers' commitments to making these consoles the centerpiece of your Entertainment Center go they are leaps and bounds above their predecessors. Software is just starting to come into its own, which is why the Wii can even come out right now.
Contrary to the information that is being spread around here, the 360 is not kicking the PS3's ass. In reality, these two are both being bested by the Wii - an almost perfect parallel to the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD vs SD-DVD race that is currently going on. When the XBOX 360 launched in 2005, with no "next-gen" competition, it sold only 607,000 units
in North America. The PS3 has been estimated to sell 750,000 units
in North America in about the same time period and in the midst of a 3-way race no less.
Yes, it is possible to find PS3s on store shelves now. Please, please keep mentioning this. Most consumers aren't thinking of it in the same way that the Blu-ray/HD-DVD proponents are. They remember last year and feel like they won't have a chance to get a PS3 until March and don't want to needlessly go into a store "yet again" only to be treated like an idiot for inquiring about its availability. I also think that it is going over some peoples' heads that Sony was able to turn less than 200,000 available units at launch into 750,000 in a month and a half with supply still coming in every 1-2 weeks.
Unfortunately for Sony I wouldn't recommend the PS3 just yet to anyone that does not have or is not planning on purchasing an HDTV as large or larger than 50" or one that can accept 1080p inputs. The 360 games are looking better and better but have a lot less going on than the PS3 Games (RFOM or MotorStorm particularly). At screen sizes under 50" (and without 1080p), it's hard to say that one looks better than the other and the large number of dynamic objects as well as higher resolutions aren't as impressive. With the price factor, the larger community, and larger game selection the 360 is a no brainer for most HDTV owners. However as Sony's exclusives come into play, I'm sure it won't be as cut and dry in the future.
This problem also carries itself over to HD movies. Without 1080p or a large screen, there is not a big enough jump between a current movie on Blu-ray and a good upconverted DVD (this is not to say that new releases won't increase the gap). The same can be said for HD-DVD on the 360. I'm not sure if everyone here is an AV enthusiast, but I can tell you that more than half of my office was annoyed that most of the movies will "feature" black bars because the 16:9 aspect ratio of HDTVs does not match up with the aspect ratios the movies were recorded in. I foresee it taking some time to get most of America used to only using 2/3 of their 27"-36" TV when watching a movie.
Something else I thought should be mentioned is that M$ is definitely in the HD-DVD camp, but they are beholden only to themselves
. They may be offering an HD-DVD drive, but they care more about their digital download service where they charge their subscribers for downloading SD and HD movies. So, while people may want to include the HD-DVD drive as an HD-DVD player keep in mind that it really was just another bulletpoint for them to match up with the PS3. They want people to download movies they don't want them to buy/rent hard copies of them.