Blu-ray... what is it? - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:07 PM
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Default Blu-ray... what is it?

What is Blu-ray?
Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD) is the name of a next-generation optical disc format. The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting[*]and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. For more general information about Blu-ray, please see our What is Blu-ray? section.

Who developed Blu-ray?
The Blu-ray Disc format was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers, with more than 170 member companies from all over the world. The Board of Directors currently consists of:
  • Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Dell Inc.
  • Hewlett Packard Company
  • Hitachi, Ltd.
  • LG Electronics Inc.
  • Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
  • Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
  • Pioneer Corporation
  • Royal Philips Electronics
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Sharp Corporation
  • Sony Corporation
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.
  • TDK Corporation
  • Thomson Multimedia
  • Twentieth Century Fox
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment
How much data can you fit on a Blu-ray disc?
A single-layer disc can hold 25GB.
A dual-layer disc can hold 50GB.

To ensure that the Blu-ray Disc format is easily extendable (future-proof) it also includes support for multi-layer discs, which should allow the storage capacity to be increased to 100GB-200GB (25GB per layer) in the future simply by adding more layers to the discs.

How fast can you read/write data on a Blu-ray disc?
According to the Blu-ray Disc specification, 1x speed is defined as 36Mbps. However, as BD-ROM movies will require a 54Mbps data transfer rate the minimum speed we're expecting to see is 2x (72Mbps). Blu-ray also has the potential for much higher speeds, as a result of the larger numerical aperture (NA) adopted by Blu-ray Disc. The large NA value effectively means that Blu-ray will require less recording power and lower disc rotation speed than DVD and HD-DVD to achieve the same data transfer rate. While the media itself limited the recording speed in the past, the only limiting factor for Blu-ray is the capacity of the hardware. If we assume a maximum disc rotation speed of 10,000 RPM, then 12x at the outer diameter should be possible (about 400Mbps). This is why the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) already has plans to raise the speed to 8x (288Mbps) or more in the future.

What video codecs will Blu-ray support? *See footnote*
  • MPEG-2 - enhanced for HD, also used for playback of DVDs and HDTV recordings.
  • MPEG-4 AVC - part of the MPEG-4 standard also known as H.264 (High Profile and Main Profile).
  • SMPTE VC-1 - standard based on Microsoft's Windows Media Video (WMV) technology.

What audio codecs will Blu-ray support? *See footnote*
  • Linear PCM (LPCM) - offers up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio.
  • Dolby Digital (DD) - format used for DVDs also known as AC3, offers 5.1-channel surround sound.
  • Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) - extension of DD, offers increased bitrates and 7.1-channel surround sound.
  • Dolby TrueHD - extension of MLP Lossless, offers lossless encoding of up to 8 channels of audio.
  • DTS Digital Surround - format used for DVDs, offers 5.1-channel surround sound.
  • DTS-HD - extension of DTS, offers increased bitrates and up to 8 channels of audio.
*Please note that this simply means that all Blu-ray players and recorders will have to support playback of these video and audio codecs, it will still be up to the movie studios to decide which codec(s) they use for their releases.*

Is Blu-ray the same thing as HD-DVD?
No, HD-DVD (previously known as AOD) is the name of a competing next-generation optical disc format developed by Toshiba and NEC. The format is quite different from Blu-ray, but also relies heavily on blue-laser technology to achieve a higher storage capacity. The format is being developed within the DVD Forum as a possible successor to the current DVD technology.

What home theater style players are currently available?
As of 2/1/2007 the following players are available:(most information obtained from

What PC players and recorders are currently available?
As of 10/31/2006 The following Blu-ray disc players and recorders are available: Sony's PWU-100A desktop drive, Samsung's SH-B022 desktop drive, Panasonic's SW-5582 desktop drive, Pioneer's BDR-101A desktop drive, Plextor's PX-B900A desktop drive, Primera's Bravo XR-Blu Blu-ray duplicator, Philips' SPD7000 TripleWriter desktop drive, LG's GBW-H10N desktop drive, BenQ's BW1000 desktop drive, the drive inside the Sony VAIO AR190G Notebook and the drive inside the Sony VAIO VGC-RC310G desktop.

Additional information can be found HERE.

*Do you have updates for this FAQ? Post a note in our "Feedback" forum in the "Update for FAQ" and we will make the changes.*

Last edited by JU1CYFRU1T; 02-01-2007 at 01:48 PM.
Old 11-05-2006, 12:10 PM
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