Blu-ray disc, also known as BD or blu-ray, is a format for storing optical disc media. It is generally used for high definition video storage and data storage. This disk looks like any ordinary disk and has the same dimensions.
Blu-ray Disc’s name comes from the blue laser used to read and write this type of disc. It is a combination of the word “blue” meaning blue-violet laser and “beam” meaning optical beam.
Since it has a shorter wavelength of around 405nm, it can store substantially more data than a DVD that uses a red or 650nm laser. To give you more details, a dual-layer Blu-ray disc has the capacity to store 50 GB, which is almost six times the capacity of a similar dual-layer DVD.
The Blu-ray Disc was invented by the Blu-ray Disc Association. It is a group of companies representing computer hardware, consumer electronics, and also involved in film production. There are more than 180 member companies in this association, from all over the world. The current board of directors consists of companies such as Apple Computer, Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment, Dell Inc., Thomson Multimedia, Hewlett Packard Company, Sharp Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., Twentieth Century Fox, LG Electronics Inc, Sony Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Sun Microsystems, Inc Ltd, TDK Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Pioneer Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Walt Disney Pictures.
There was a time when Blu-ray discs competed with the HD DVD format, but soon most of the leading companies announced that they could no longer find buyers for their HD DVD players and recorders. Hence, blu-ray emerged as the clear winner of the format war.
There are many myths regarding this technology as it is comparatively new. In this article we will try to clarify some of them. The first myth is that internet connection is required to support this format. It is absolutely false. No internet connection required for basic playback of blu-ray compatible movies. It will only be needed for additional features like downloading value-added services, browsing the web, watching the latest movie trailers, etc. You’ll also need the internet if you want to authorize managed copies of those blu-ray movies being streamed over your home network.
The second myth concerns down-converting analog outputs. Blu-ray players will not convert analog output signals unless your video contains ICT or Image Constraint Token. Since most movie studios like Sony, Fox, Disney, MGM, Paramount, and Universal don’t use this feature, you won’t have much trouble with this.
Another question is about support for mandatory managed copies. Well, the blu-ray format will have a mandatory managed copy (MMC) to allow customers to make legal and authentic copies of blu-ray movies, which can be easily transferred over the home network.
Since it is a new technology, it is obvious that the first generation products will be somewhat expensive, since there will be low production volumes. But manufacturers are planning a wide range of blu-ray products like players, drives, burners, media, writers, etc. and therefore product volumes are expected to increase soon giving way to lower prices.
It is a general expectation that Blu-ray will soon replace DVD and most of the big movie studios have been very supportive of this format compared to the DVD monopoly. They have already released films in this format and plan to continue with the same. But it’s very likely that DVDs won’t die out completely either. Most likely, these two formats will coexist for some time. That’s why most major consumer electronics brands like Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Samsung, Sharp, Pioneer and LG have introduced products that can read and write CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.