Can I Play an HD-DVD on a Blu-ray Disc Player or Vice-Versa?

Examples of Movies on the HD-DVD Disc Format. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to


Can I Play a Blu-ray Disc on an HD-DVD player or Vice-Versa?


HD-DVD was once a competitor format to Blu-ray (primarily backed by Toshiba) that was introduced to consumers in 2006, but was officially discontinued in 2008  However, there are HD-DVD players still in use and both players and movies are sold and traded in the secondary market.

For those that own, or run across, HD-DVD players and/or discs, it is important to note that the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats are incompatible.

You cannot play an HD-DVD in a Blu-ray Disc format player nor can you play a Blu-ray Disc on an HD-DVD format player.

Although both formats do have a lot in common, such as the ability to provide up to 1080p video resolution output and are compatible with most Dolby and DTS surround sound formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, as well as Uncompressed PCM, the reason you cannot play an HD-DVD in Blu-ray Disc player, or vice versa, is primarily due to differences in actual physical disc structure.

The discs used in both formats are the same physical size, but an HD-DVD has a 15GB per layer storage capacity, while a Blu-ray Disc has a 25 GB per layer storage capacity. In addition, there are variations on how the audio and video information is placed and read within the physical characteristics of each disc format.

On the other hand, if you own one of the few specially designed Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD combo players that were made (no longer in production) by LG (LG BH100/BH200) or Samsung (BD-UP5000), these players had/have the ability to play both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs.

As a note of trivia, Warner Bros actually developed a disc that was Blu-ray on one side and HD-DVD on the other, with the idea of releasing movies in both formats on a single disc, but the effort was not adopted by either the Blu-ray or HD-DVD backers, so was never realized as a product.

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