Blu-ray Disc is an ultra-high-density optical disc format
for the storage of digital media, including high-definition
name blu-ray Disc (BD) is derived from
the blue-violet laser it uses to read and write in high definition. A
Blu-ray Disc can store substantially more data than the common DVD format,
because of the shorter wavelength (405 nm) of the blue-violet laser (DVDs
use a 650-nm-wavelength red laser and CDs use an infrared 780 nm laser),
which allows more information to be stored digitally in the same amount of
space. In comparison to HD DVD, which also uses a blue laser, Blu-ray Disc
has more information capacity per layer (currently 25 GB, but test media
is up to 200 GB). Sony has released 50 GB recordable BDs and will soon be
releasing 50GB BD media discs. In August 2006, TDK developed a Blu-ray
Disc with a 200 GB capacity.
Blu-ray Disc is a similar format to PDD, another optical disc format
developed by Sony (which has been available since 2004) but offering
higher data transfer speeds. PDD was not intended for home video use and
was aimed at business data archiving and backup, although currently it is
gaining popularity as an HD video format media and Playstation 3 media.
The UDO format is also aimed for similar purposes. It is currently in a
format war against the HD DVD disc.
Blu-ray Disc standard was jointly developed by a group of consumer
electronics and PC companies called the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). It
is currently competing with the HD DVD format for wide adoption as the
preferred next generation optical standard, similar to the videotape
format war between JVC's VHS and Sony's Betamax. As of 2006, neither the
Blu-ray Disc nor the HD DVD has succeeded in supplanting the present home
video standard, the DVD.
Blu-ray Disc Association unveiled their plans for a May 23, 2006 release
date at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2006. Since then,
Blu-ray Disc was delayed, but eventually shipped in the U.S. on June 20,
Currently available BD-ROM and recordable discs store up to
50 gigabytes (using 2 layers.)
* About 9 hours of high-definition (HD) video can be stored on a 50 GB
* About 23 hours of standard-definition (SD)
video can be stored on a 50 GB disc.
recently announced that they have created a working experimental Blu-ray
Disc capable of holding 200 GB of data on a single side (six 33 GB data
Physical size Single layer capacity Dual layer
capacity Quad layer capacity Sextuple layer capacity
single sided 25GB (23.3GiB) 50 GB (46.6GiB) 100 GB
(93.2GiB) 200 GB (186.4GiB)
12 cm, double sided 50 GB
(46.6GiB) 100 GB (93.2GiB) 200 GB (186.4GiB) N/A
cm, single sided 7.8 GB (7.3GiB) 15.6 GB (14.5GiB) N/A
8 cm, double sided 15.6 GB (14.5GiB) 31.2 GB
(29GiB) N/A N/A
Blu-ray Disc system uses a blue-violet laser operating at a wavelength of
405 nm, similar to the one used for HD DVD, to read and write data.
Conventional DVDs and CDs use red and infrared lasers at 650 nm and 780 nm
the Blu-ray Disc standard places the data recording layer closer to the
surface of the disc, early discs were susceptible to contamination and
scratches and had to be enclosed in plastic caddies for protection. The
consortium worried that such an inconvenience would hurt Blu-ray Disc's
market adoption in the face of the rival HD DVD standard, as HD DVDs place
the data layer farther away from the surface like DVDs. Blu-ray Discs now
use a purpose-developed layer of protective material over the reflective
data backing (i.e. on the label side).
Sony and Panasonic replication methods include proprietary hard-coat
technologies. Sony's rewritable media are sprayed with a scratch-resistant
and antistatic coating.
also announced a way to remedy the problem in January 2004 with the
introduction of a clear polymer coating that gives Blu-ray Discs
substantial scratch resistance. The coating was developed by TDK and is
called 'Durabis'. It allows BDs to be cleaned safely with only a tissue.
The coating is said to successfully resist 'wire wool scrubbing' according
to Samsung Optical technical manager Chas Kalsi. It is not clear, however,
whether discs will use the Durabis coating or if the use of the coating
will prove too expensive.
announced in July 2006 that their Blu-ray Disc recordable and rewritable
discs would incorporate their hard-coat ScratchGuard technology which
protects against scratches, abrasion, fingerprints, and traces of
are compression schemes that can be used to store audio and video
information on a disc. The BD-ROM specification places requirements on
both hardware decoders (players) and the movie-software (content).
video, ISO MPEG-2, H.264/AVC, and SMPTE VC-1 are player-mandatory. (This
means all BD-ROM players must be capable of decoding all three video
codecs.) MPEG-2 video allows decoder backward compatibility for DVDs.
H.264, sometimes called MPEG-4 part 10, is a more recent video codec. VC-1
is a competing MPEG-4 derivative codec proposed by Microsoft (based on
Microsoft's previous work in Windows Media 9). BD-ROM titles with video
must store video using one of the three mandatory codecs (multiple codecs
on a single title are legal).
versions of Sony's Blu-ray Disc-authoring software only included support
for MPEG-2 video, so the initial Blu-ray Discs were forced to use MPEG-2
rather than the newer codecs, VC-1 and H.264. An upgrade was subsequently
released supporting the newer compression methods so the second wave of
Blu-ray Disc titles were able to make use of this. The choice of codecs
affects disc cost (due to related licensing/royalty payments) as well as
program capacity. The two more advanced video codecs can typically achieve
twice the video runtime of MPEG-2. When using MPEG-2, quality
considerations would limit the publisher to around two hours of
high-definition content on a single-layer (25 GB) BD-ROM.
audio, BD-ROM players are required to support Dolby Digital AC-3, DTS, and
linear PCM (up to 7.1 channels). Dolby Digital Plus, and lossless formats
Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD are player optional. BD-ROM titles must use one of
mandatory audiotracks for the primary soundtrack (linear PCM 5.1, Dolby
Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1.). A secondary audiotrack, if present, may use any
of the mandatory or optional codecs. For lossless audio in movies in the
PCM, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD formats, Blu-ray Discs support encoding in up
to 24-bit/192 kHz for up to six channels, or up to eight channels of up to
24-bit/96 kHz encoding. For reference, even new big-budget Hollywood
films are mastered in only 24-bit/48 kHz, with 16-bit/48 kHz being common
for ordinary films.
users recording digital television broadcasts, the Blu-ray Disc's baseline
datarate of 36 Mbit/s is more than adequate to record high-definition
broadcasts. Support for new codecs will evolve as they are encapsulated by
broadcasters into their MPEG-2 transport streams, and consumer set-top
boxes capable of decoding them are rolled out. For Blu-ray Disc movies the
maximum transfer rate is 54 Mbit/s (1.5x) for the combined audio and video
payload, of which a maximum of 40 Mbit/s can be dedicated to video data.
This compares favorably to the maximum of 36.55 Mbit/s in HD-DVD movies
for audio and video data.
the 2005 JavaOne trade show, it was announced that Sun Microsystems' Java
cross-platform software environment would be included in all Blu-ray Disc
players as a mandatory part of the standard. Java will be used to
implement interactive menus on Blu-ray Discs, as opposed to the method
used on DVD video discs, which uses pre-rendered MPEG segments and
selectable subtitle pictures, which is considerably more primitive and
less seamless. Java creator James Gosling, at the conference, suggested
that the inclusion of a Java virtual machine as well as network
connectivity in BD devices will allow updates to Blu-ray Discs via the
Internet, adding content such as additional subtitle languages and
promotional features that are not included on the disc at pressing time.
This Java Version will be called BD-J and will be a subset of the Globally
Executable MHP (GEM) standard. GEM is the world-wide version of the
Multimedia Home Platform standard.
is some concern about the cost of implementing and licensing the
Multimedia Home Platform standard. The first generation Blu-ray players
are only required to implement a subset of the Java layer, and are not
required to support certain features such as Picture-in-Picture,
persistent storage, or network connections.
Blu-ray movie region codes are different from the DVD region codes.
The following are the region codes for Blu-ray discs
Region code -> Area
America, Central America, South America, Korea, Japan and South East
B/2 Europe, Greenland, French territories,
Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
China, Russia, Central and South Asia.
Disc has an experimental digital rights management (DRM) feature called
BD+ which allows for dynamically changing keys for the cryptographic
protections involved. Should the keys currently in use be 'cracked' or
leaked, manufacturers can update them and build them into all subsequent
discs, preventing a single key discovery from permanently breaking the
entire scheme. Blu-ray Disc also mandates a Mandatory Managed Copy system,
which allows users to copy content a limited number of times, but
requiring registration with the content provider to acquire the keys
needed; this feature was originally requested by HP . The lack of a
dynamic encryption model is what has made DeCSS a disaster from the
industry's perspective: once CSS was cracked, all DVDs from then on were
open to unauthorized decryption (commonly known as 'ripping'). However
this controversial technology, together with Self-Protecting Digital
Content (SPDC), can allow players judged 'bad' to be effectively disabled,
preventing their use by their purchaser or subsequent owners.
Blu-ray Disc Association also agreed to add a form of digital watermarking
technology to the discs. Under the name 'ROM-Mark', this technology will
be built into all ROM-producing devices, and requires a specially licensed
piece of hardware to insert the ROM-mark into the media during
replication. All Blu-ray Disc playback devices must check for the mark.
Through licensing of the special hardware element, the BDA believes that
it can eliminate the possibility of mass producing BD-ROMs without
addition, Blu-ray Disc players must follow AACS guidelines pertaining to
outputs over non-encrypted interfaces. This is set by a flag called the
Image Constraint Token (ICT), which would restrict the output-resolution
without HDCP to 960×540. The decision to set the flag to restrict output
('down-convert') is left up to the content provider. According to CED
Magazine, Sony/MGM and Disney currently have no plans to down-convert, and
Fox is opposed to it as well. Warner Pictures is a proponent of the ICT,
and it is expected that Paramount will also implement it. Other studios
releasing Blu-ray Disc content have not yet commented on whether or not
they will use down-conversion. AACS guidelines require that any title that
implements the ICT must clearly state so on the packaging.
it is not compulsory for manufacturers, the Blu-ray Disc Association
recommends that Blu-ray Disc drives should be capable of reading DVDs for
backward compatibility. For instance, Samsung's first Blu-ray Disc drive
can read and write CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs.
has developed a three layer technology that allows putting both
standard-definition DVD data and HD data on a BD/DVD combo disc. If
successfully commercialized, this would enable the consumer to purchase a
disc which could be played on current DVD players, and reveal its HD
version when played on a new BD player. This hybrid disc does not appear
to be ready for production and no titles have been announced that would
utilize this disc structure.
recorders and game consoles
first Blu-ray Disc recorder was demoed by Sony on March 3, 2003, and was
introduced to the Japanese market in April that year. On September 1,
2003, JVC and Samsung Electronics announced Blu-ray Disc-based products at
IFA in Berlin, Germany. Both indicated that their products would be on the
market in 2005.
June 2004 Panasonic became the second manufacturer to launch a Blu-ray
Disc recorder to the Japanese market. Launching in July the DMR-E700BD was
one of the first few units to support writing to existing DVD formats, and
to single-side dual-layer Blu-ray Discs with a maximum capacity of 50
gigabytes. The launch price of the recorder was $2780 USD, with 50 GB disc
costing around $69 USD and the 25 GB disc costing around $32 USD.
has announced that the PlayStation 3 will be shipped with a 2x Blu-ray
Disc drive, likely read-only as is the case with most game console optical
drives. According to Sony's press releases, it will support DVD (8x), CD
(24x), and SACD (2x) formats in addition to BD-ROM, BD-R, and BD-RE. The
Japanese release date for PS3 is on November 11, 2006. The release date of
the PS3 in North America has been announced for November 17, 2006, and
everywhere else in March, 2007. Sony also announced in March 2006 their
first consumer Blu-ray Disc player the BDP-S1, would be available in
stores by July 2006.
January 4, 2006, at the Consumer Electronics Show Samsung and Philips
announced their first Blu-ray Disc consumer products to the U.S. market.
Samsung launched the first Blu-ray Disc player for the U.S. market, the
BD-P1000, retailing for $1000 USD and sporting HDMI output with backward
support for most of today's standard DVD formats (DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD-R,
DVD+RW, and DVD+R), while Philips launched the BDP-9000 player. Both
players were expected to arrive in stores sometime in 2nd and 3rd quarters
April 13, 2006, Panasonic announced their first Blu-ray player for the
U.S. market, the DMP-BD10 would be shipping together in late 2006 along
with their first commercially available plasma 1080p HDTVs.
September 13, 2006, Panasonic announced a Blu-ray Disc (BD) recorder
capable of playing back BD discs. The Blu-ray DIGA DMR-BW200 and DMR-BR100
can record high-definition imagery on BD-RE rewritable discs and dub from
the built-in hard-disk drive.
October 18, 2006, VidaBox announced the first Dual HD player / media
center capable of playing back both Blu-ray Disc (BD) & HD DVD Disc
formats. The VidaBox MAX and VidaBox LUX can have both drives upgraded to
play both high-definition formats up to their native 1080p resolutions at
Originally, Blu-ray Disc drives in
production could only transfer approximately 36 Mbit/s (54 Mbit/s required
for BD-ROM), but 2x speed drives with a 72 Mbit/s transfer rate are now
available. Rates of 8x (288 Mbit/s) or more are planned for the
Hewlett Packard has announced plans to sell Blu-ray
Disc-equipped desktop PCs and laptops. In December 2005, HP announced that
they would also be supporting the rival HD DVD technology. Philips was
scheduled to debut a Blu-ray computer drive in the second half of 2005,
but it was also delayed. On March 10, 2005 Apple Computer joined the
Blu-ray Disc Association.
July 2005, information was leaked about an upcoming Pioneer Blu-ray Disc
drive; the OEM BDR 101A. On December 27, 2005, Pioneer formally announced
the drive which was released in the late second quarter of 2006. The drive
writes at 2x on BD-R and BD-RE, 8x on DVD+R and DVD-R, and 4x on DVD-RW
heads allowing the reading of CDs/DVDs/Blu-ray Discs have already been
developed and are expected to be included after first release of
DVD/Blu-ray Disc-only drives.
Panasonic Blu-ray Disc SW-5582 is the first drive to support all three
January 4, 2006, at the Consumer Electronics Show Philips announced its
SPD7000 Triplewriter Blu-ray Disc internal drive for the PC and Blu-ray
Disc BD-R/BD-RE media discs would be available in 2nd quarter of
March 2006 Sony announced a Blu-ray Disc player, a VAIO desktop PC with a
Blu-ray Disc recorder, and a Blu-ray Disc internal PC drive would be
released in the summer of 2006.
April 2006 Panasonic said it would be releasing a Blu-ray Disc internal PC
drive in the summer, the LF-MB121JD, priced at $850 USD. The new drive
would be able to comprehensively read and/or write 13 BD / DVD / CD
formats, which includes both BD-R/RE formats. It will read both 25 GB and
50 GB dual layer discs and write to them at 2x speeds.
of June 2006 Sony sold the first commercially available VAIO AR laptop and
RC desktop PCs with a built in Blu-ray Disc recorder.
June 2006 LiteOn announced their first internal Blu-ray Disc drive LH-2B1S
would be released August 2006 for the UK market. Also in June Plextor
announced their first internal 2x Blu-ray drive PX-B900A would be released
in 3rd quarter of 2006.
July 2006 BenQ announced they will be selling a Blu-ray Disc device for
the Europe, China and Taiwan markets.
first after-market Blu-ray Disc drive is announced in July 2006 with
shipment due in August.
August 2006 LiteOn announced their first triple-laser internal Blu-ray
Disc drive for the U.S. market would be available in 3rd quarter of
The Blu-ray Disc has gained a large amount of
support in the corporate world, with companies like Apple Computer, Dell,
and Panasonic supporting it.
Wikipedia information about
Blu-ray Disc. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License . It uses material
from the Wikipedia article 'Blu-ray Disc'
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