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Blu Ray Disc - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When was Blu-ray Disc Introduced?
The Blu-ray Disc specification was officially announced in February 2002.
Blu-ray Disc recorders were first launched in Japan in 2003.
The name Blu-ray Disc refers to the blue laser that is used to read from
and record to a Blu-ray Disc. In comparison to a red laser, as used in DVD
and CD, a blue laser allows for a much higher density and hence larger
storage capacity. "Blu" is intentionally spelled without an "e", to allow
for a distinctive registration of the trademark name.
Blu-ray Disc can be shortened down to "BD".
The group of companies that develops the Blu-ray Disc format was initially
called Blu-ray Disc Founders, and it was established in early 2002. In
June 2004, the group was renamed to Blu-ray Disc Association to underline
its intentions to welcome other companies to join the association.
Virtually all major consumer electronics companies plus the world's
leading PC and blank media manufacturers support the Blu-ray Disc format.
Currently, there are over 70 member companies. The members of the boards
include Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG Electronics, Matsushita
(Panasonic), Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TD,
Thomson and Twentieth Century Fox.
As with CD and DVD, Blu-ray Disc media comes in pre-recorded, recordable
and rewritable variants. The pre-recorded disc is called BD ROM, and
usually contains movies or re-issued TV shows in High Definition format.
The recordable disc is called BD R, and can be used for archival of huge
amounts of data or video. The rewritable disc is called BD RE, and offers
the same large capacity in a disc format that allows for repetitive usage.
All three Blu-ray Disc types come in two versions: single layer and double
layer. A double layer disc may hold up to twice the amount of data or
video compared to a single layer disc, and uses two independent layers
placed on one side of the disc to store its information (refer to
"Technical Info" on this web site for more information). A single layer
disc holds up to 25 gigabytes, while a double layer disc holds up to 50
gigabytes of data, without the need to flip the disc.
Although this is not a requirement of the Blu-ray Disc format, it is very
likely that all Blu-ray Disc products will play their DVD and CD
counterpart formats. Compare this to the ability of today's DVD players to
play CDs. Most companies have developed laser components and pickup units
being able to read CD, DVD and BD.
Implementation of DVD or CD recording capability is a manufacturers
option. Currently, some Blu-ray Disc video products allow you to record
DVDs as well. It is expected that most Blu-ray Disc PC drives will support
the recording of CD, DVD and BD.
No. As DVD players use a red laser to read the information from a disc,
they are not capable of reading the very fine pits of a Blu-ray Disc,
which requires a blue laser. Furthermore, DVD-Video players lack the
advanced technology to decode the High Definition picture from a Blu-ray
Over 2 hours of high-definition television (HDTV) on a 25GB disc.
According to the Blu-ray Disc v1.0 specification, 1x speed will require a
36Mbps data transfer rate, which means it will take about 1 hour and 33
minutes to record 25GB. The Blu-ray Disc Association are currently working
on the v2.0 specification, which will support 2x speed to cut the time it
takes to copy content from one disc to another in half. In the future, the
data transfer rate is expected to be raised to 8x or more.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is still in the process of finalizing
the BD-ROM specification, but they have stated that MPEG-4 AVC High
Profile (previously called FRExt) and Microsoft's VC-1 video codec (the
proposed SMPTE standard based on WMV9) will be mandatory. They will also
include MPEG-2 support for playback of HDTV recordings and DVDs. Please
note that this simply means that all Blu-ray players and recorders will
have to support playback of these video codecs, it will still be up to the
movie studios to decide which video codec(s) they use for their releases.
The BDA expects the BD-ROM specification to be finished some time in the
beginning of 2005.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) still hasn't made a final decision
about what audio codecs will be included in the BD-ROM specification, but
according to the BDF technical spokesman Richard Doherty, the included
audio codecs should offer a significant improvement over the audio formats
supported by the current DVD spec. They are currently looking into
advanced audio codecs, including lossless codecs.
No, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) and TDK have successfully developed
a new hard-coating technology dubbed "Durabis" that makes the discs even
more resistant to scratches and fingerprints than existing DVDs, without
requiring a cartridge to protect the discs. This development will enable
manufacturers to downsize PC drives and lower their overall media
Will Blu-ray support playback of DVDs?
What's the difference between Blu-ray and HD-DVD?
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