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Blu-ray Disc (also known as Blu-ray or BD) is an optical disc storage medium. Its main
uses are high-definition video and data storage. The disc has the same physical dimensions as
standard DVDs and CDs.

The name Blu-ray Disc is derived from the blue laser (violet-colored) used to read and write
this type of disc. Because of the wavelength (405 nanometers), substantially more data can be
stored on a Blu-ray Disc than on the DVD format, which uses a red (650 nm) laser. A two-
layer Blu-ray Disc can store 50 gigabytes, almost six times the capacity of a two-layer DVD,
or ten and a half times that of a single-layer DVD.

As compared to the HDVD format, its main competitor, Blu-ray has more information
capacity per layer, 25 instead of 15 gigabytes. Blu-ray dics not only have more
storage capacity than traditional DVDs, but they also offer a new level of interactivity.
Users will be able to connect to the internet and instantly download subtitles and
other interactive movie features.

There are plans for BD-ROM (read only), BD (recordable) and BD-RE (rewritable)
drives for PCS and with the support of the manufacturers, it’s very likely that the
technology will be adopted as the next-generation optical disc format for PC data
storage and replace technologies such as DVD+-R, DVD+-RW, and DVD+-RAM.

Blu-ray Disc (BD) is the next generation optical disc format, currently being standardized by
a large consortium of leading CE, PC, authoring companies and major movie studios. The
BD application format addresses the limitations of DVD-Video by providing a complete user
experience. The high storage capacity guarantees the best quality HD video available to the
consumer. BD standardizes how content publishers can include executable applications on
the disc to realize fully enhanced interactivity.
By using a programming platform like Java, the standard need not define the allowable set of
features, instead it defines the playback platform and disc publishers are free to implement
any features they desire. Furthermore, BD supports seamless integration of Internet content
with disc content, allowing synchronized presentation of updated content from the Internet
with disc content. With this combination of features, highest quality HD video, enhanced
interactivity and Internet connectivity, BD offers consumers a compelling experience.


Blu-ray is a name for a optical disc standard which uses blue-violet laser instead of red laser
used in CDs and in DVDs. This allows manufacturers to store more data using the same
amount of disc surface.

In fact, Blu-ray got its name from the technology, basically the "Blu" is from blue-violet
diode and the "ray" is from optical ray. The "e" was intentionally dropped so that the full
term "Blu-ray" could be registered as a new trademark.

A current, single-sided, standard DVD can hold 4.7 GB (gigabytes) of Information. That's
about the size of an average two-hour, standard-definition movie with a few extra features.
But a high-definition movie, which has a much clearer image (see how Digital Television
Works), takes up about five times more bandwidth and therefore requires a disc with about
five times more storage. As TV sets and movie studios make the move to high definition
consumers are going to need playback systems with a lot more storage capacity.

Blu-ray is the next-generation digital video disc. It can record, store and play back high
definition video and digital audio, as well as computer data.

Videos will be stored on either MPEG-2 (enhanced for new HD), MPEG-4/AVC (High
Profile standard) or on the best of all three, VC-1 (HD standard based on Microsoft's
Windows Media Video (WMV) technology.)
One Blu-Ray disc will hold approximately. 25GB of data (it is compared to 4.36GB on
regular DVD) on one side/layer of the disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc.
BD support many types of audio codecs as well with up to 8 channels of uncompressed

The codecs supported are: Linear PCM (LPCM), Dolby Digital (DD), Dolby Digital Plus
(DD+), Dolby TrueHD, DTS Digital Surround, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS-
HD Master Audio.



Discs store digitally encoded video and audio information in pits spiral grooves that
run from the center of the disc to its edges. A laser reads the other side of these pits the
bumps to play the movie or program that is stored on the DVD. The more data that is
contained on a disc, the smaller and more closely packed the pits must be. The smaller the
pita (and therefore the bumps), the more precise the reading laser must be.

Unlike current DVD’s, which use a red laser to read and write data, Blu-ray uses a blue laser
(which is where the format gets its name). A blue laser has a shorter wavelength (405
nanometers) than a red laser (650 nano meters).
The smaller beam focuses more precisely, enabling it to read information recorded in pits
that are not only 0.15 microns long this is more than twice as small as the pits on a DVD.
Plus, Blue-ray has reduced the track pitch from 0.74 microns to 0.32 microns. The smaller
pits, smaller beam and shorter track pitch together enable a single-layer Blu-ray disc to hold
more than 25GB of information about five times the amount of information that can be stores
on a DVD.

Each BIu-ray disc is about the same thickness (1.2 millimeters) as a DVD. But the two types
of discs store data differently. In a DVD, the data is sandwiched between two polycarbonate
layers, each O.6-mm thick. Having a polycarbonate layer on top of the data can cause a
problem called birefringence, in which the substrate layer refracts the laser light into two
separate beams. If the beam is split too widely, the disc cannot be read , if the DVD surface is
not exactly flat, and is therefore not exactly perpendicular to the beam, it can lead to a
problem known as disc tilt, in which the laser beam is distorted. All of these issues lead to a
very involved manufacturing process.
The Blu-ray disc overcomes DVD-reading issues by placing the data on top of a 1.1-mm-
thick polycarbonate layer. Having the data on top prevents birefringence and therefore
prevents readability problems. And, with the recording layer sitting closer to the objective
lens of the reading mechanism, the problem of disc tilt is virtually eliminated. Because the
data is closer to the surface, a hard coating is placed on the outside of the disc to protect it
from scratches and fingerprints.

The design of the Blu-ray discs saves on manufacturing costs. Traditional DVDs are built by
injection molding the two 0.6-mm discs between which the recording layer is sandwiched.
The process must be done very carefully to prevent birefringence.

1. The two discs are molded.

2. The recording layer is added to one of the discs.
3. The two discs are glued together.

Blu-ray discs only do the injection-molding process on a single 1.1-mm disc, which reduces
cost. That savings balances out the cost of adding the protective layer, so the end price is no
more than the price of a regular DVD.
Blu-ray also has a higher data transfer rate -- 36 Mbps (megabits per second) -- than
today's DVDs, which transfer at 10 Mbps. A Blu-ray disc can record 25 GB of material in
just over an hour and a half.


Single Dual
Type layer layer
capacity capacity

12 cm, 25 GB 50 GB High-definition video may be stored on Blu-

single (23.28 (46.56 ray ROM discs with up to 1920x1080 pixel
disc size
sided GiB) GiB) resolution at up to 60 frames per second
interlaced or 24 frames per second progressive

8 cm, 7.8 GB 15.6 GB

Mini disc
single (7.26 (14.53
sided GiB) GiB)
Frame Aspect
Resolution Codec
rate ratio

1920x1080 16:9

1920x1080 23.976- 16:9

59.94-i, AVC /
1440x1080 16:9
50-i SMPTE
VC-1 only

1440x1080 23.976- 16:9
VC-1 only

1280x720 16:9

1280x720 23.976- 16:9

720x480 59.94-i 4:3/16:9

Laser and optics

Blu-ray Disc uses a "blue" (technically violet) laser operating at a wavelength of 405 nm to
read and write data.

Conventional DVDs and CDs use red and near infrared lasers at 650 nm and 780 nm

The blue-violet laser's shorter wavelength makes it possible to store more information on a
12 cm CD/DVD sized disc. The minimum "spot size" on which a laser can be focused is
limited by diffraction, and depends on the wavelength of the light and the numerical aperture
of the lens used to focus it. By decreasing the wavelength, increasing the numerical aperture
from 0.60 to 0.85 and making the cover layer thinner to avoid unwanted optical effects, the
laser beam can be focused to a smaller spot. This allows more information to be stored in the
same area. For Blu-ray Disc, the spot size is 580 nm. In addition to the optical improvements,
Blu-ray Discs feature improvements in data encoding that further increase the capacity.

Hard-coating technology

Because the Blu-ray Disc data layer is closer to the surface of the disc, compared to the DVD
standard, it was at first more vulnerable to scratches. The first discs were housed in cartridges
for protection.

TDK was the first company to develop a working scratch protection coating for Blu-ray
Discs. It was named Durabis. In addition, both Sony and Panasonic's replication methods
include proprietary hard-coat technologies. Sony's rewritable media are spin-coated with a
scratch-resistant and antistatic coating. Verbatim's recordable and rewritable Blu-ray Disc
discs use their own proprietary hard-coat technology called Scratch Guard.
Recording Speed

Write time for

Data rate Blu-ray Disc
Single Dual
Mbit/s MB/s
Layer Layer

1× 36 4.5 90 180

2× 72 9 45 90

4× 144 18 23 45

6× 216 27 15 30

8×* 288 36 12 23

12×** 432 54 8 15


Will Blu-ray replace previous DVDs? Its manufactures hope so. In the meantime JVC has
developed a Blu-ray /DVD combo disc with an approximate 33.5GB capacity, allowing for
the release of video in both formats on a single disc. But Blu-ray is not alone in the
marketplace. A few other formats are competeting for a share of DVD market.

The other big player is HD_DVD, also called AOD(Advanced Optical Disc), which
DVD and can therefore be manufactured with the same equipment, saving on costs.
The disadvantage is that it can’t match the storage capacity of Blu-ray. A rewritable, single
layer HD_DVD can hold 20 GB of data; a double –layer disc can hold 30 GB(that’s
compared to 27 GB and 50 GB for Blu-ray). The read-only versions hold slightly less
data. Also, HD_DVD doesn’t offer the interactive capabilities of Blu-ray , although it
will probably be less expensive than its competitor.


Blu-ray and HD-DVD are the two major competitors in the market, there are other
contenders, as well. Warner Bros. Pictures has developed its own system, called HD-DVD-
9. This system uses a higher compression rate to put more information (about two
hours of high –definition video) on a standard DVD. Taiwan has created the
Forwarded Versatile Disc(FVD), an upgraded version of today’s DVDs that allows for
more data storage capacity (5.4 GB on a single –sided disc and 9.8 GB on a double-
sided disc). And China has introduced the Enhanced Video Disc (EVD), another high-
definition video disc

There are also professional versions of the Blu laser technology. Sony has developed
XDCAM and ProData (Professional Disc for Data). The former is designed for use by
broadcasters and AV studios. The latter is primarily for commercial data storage (for
example ,backing up servers).

Blu-ray recorders are already available in Japan, where more consumers have access to
HDTV than in the United States. Outside of Japan, once more TV sets come equipped
with a high-definition tuner and more films and television shows are produced in high-
definition ( which is expected to happen by late 2005 or 2006), BIu-ray movies and
TV shows on disc should become widely available. But the format is already available
for home recording, professional recording and data storage.


JVC has developed a Blu-ray/DVD combo disc with an approximate 33.5-GB capacity,
allowing for the release of video in both formats on a single disc. But Blu-ray is not alone in
the marketplace. A few other formats are competing for a share of the DVD market.
The other big player is HD-DVD, also called AOD (Advanced Optical Disc), which was
developed by electronics giants Toshiba and NEC. HD-DVD was actually in the works
before regular DVD, but it didn't begin real development until 2003.

The advantage to HD-DVD is that it uses the same basic format as the traditional DVD and
can therefore be manufactured with the same equipment, saving on costs. HD-DVD
matches the storage capacity of Blu-ray. A rewritable, single-layer HD-DVD can hold 15 GB
of data, a double-layer disc can hold 30 GB, and a triple-layer disc can hold 45 GB (that's
compared to 27 GB and 50 GB for Blu-ray). The read-only versions hold slightly less data.
Also, HD-DVD offers the interactive capabilities of Blu-ray, with HDi

Blu-ray recorders are already available in Japan, where more consumers have access to
HDTV than in the United States. Outside of Japan, once more TV sets come equipped
with a high-definition tuner and more films and television shows are produced in high-
definition ( which is expected to happen by late 2005 or 2006), BIu-ray movies and
TV shows on disc should become widely available. But the format is already available
for home recording, professional recording and data storage.

Another important factor is cost. Just as with most new technologies, Blu-ray equipment
will be pricey at first. In 2003, Sony released its first BIu-ray recorder in Japan with
a price tag of around $3,000. The price is expected to drop as the format gains popularity.
Blu-ray discs may also be initially more expensive than today's DVDs, but once
demand grows and they can be mass-produced, manufacturers say the price will drop
to within 10 percent of the price of current DVDs.
Even when the new video standard begins to replace current technologies, consumers
won't have to throw away their DVDs, but they will need to invest in a new player.
The industry is planning to market backward-compatible drives with both blue and red
lasers, which will be able to play traditional DVDs and CDs as well as Blu-ray discs.



The '''Mini Blu-ray Disc''' (also, Mini-BD and Mini Blu-ray) is a compact 8cm (~3in)
diameter variant of the Blu-ray Disc that can store approximately 7.5 GB of data. It is similar
in concept to the MiniDVD. Recordable (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) versions of Mini
Blu-ray Disc have been developed specifically for compact camcorders and other compact
recording devices.


BD9 and BD5 are lower capacity variants of the Blu-ray Disc that contain Blu-ray
compatible video and audio streams contained on a conventional DVD (650 nm wavelength /
red laser) optical disc. Such discs offer the use of the same advanced compression
technologies available to Blu-ray discs (including H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, VC-1 and MPEG-2)
while using lower cost legacy media. BD9 uses a standard 8152MB DVD9 dual-layer disc
while BD5 uses a standard 4482MB DVD5 single-layer disc.

BD9/BD5 discs can be authored using home computers for private showing using standard
DVD±R recorders. AACS digital rights management is optional. The BD9/BD5 format was
originally proposed by Warner Home Video, as a cost-effective alternative to regular Blu-ray
Discs. It was adopted as part of the BD-ROM basic format, file system, and AV
specifications. BD9/BD5 is similar to 3× DVD for HD DVD.


AVCREC is an official lower capacity variant of the Blu-ray Disc used for storing Blu-ray
Disc compatible content on conventional DVD discs. It is being promoted for use in
camcorders, distribution of short HD broadcast content and other cost-sensitive distribution
needs. It is similar to HD REC for HD DVD.

Note that AVCREC is not the same as AVCHD content stored on DVD. The latter is a media
independent format and is used presently in tapeless camcorders that record onto DVD and
Blu-ray Discs, as well as onto SecureDigital and MemoryStick memory cards. Playing back
AVCHD content on a Blu-ray player may require modification of AVCHD directory
structure, but does not require re-encoding of video files themselves.


Blu-ray Disc recordable refers to two optical disc formats that can be recorded with an
optical disc recorder. BD-R discs can be written to once, whereas BD-RE can be erased and
re-recorded multiple times. The theoretical maximum speed for Blu-ray Discs is about 12x.
Higher speeds of rotation (10,000+ rpm) cause too much wobble for the discs to be read
properly, as with the 20× and 52× respective maximum speeds of DVDs and CDs.

Since September 2007, BD-RE was also available in the smaller 8 cm Mini Blu-ray Disc
diameter size.[92][98]

On September 18, 2007, Pioneer and Mitsubishi co-developed BD-R LTH ("Low to High" in
groove recording), which features an organic dye recording layer that can be manufactured
by modifying existing CD-R and DVD-R production equipment, significantly reducing
manufacturing costs.[99]
In February 2008, Taiyo Yuden, Mitsubishi and Maxell released the first BD-R LTH Discs,
and in March 2008, Sony's PlayStation 3 gained official support for BD-R LTH Discs
with the 2.20 firmware update.

Unlike the previous releases of 120 mm optical discs (i.e. CDs and DVDs), Blu-ray recorders
hit the market almost simultaneously with Blu-ray's debut (at least in Japan).


 Record high-Definition Television without any quality loss.

 Instantly skip to any spot on the disc.

 Record one program while watching another program on the disc.

 Create play list.

 Edit programs records on the disc.

 Automatically search for a empty space on the disc to avoid recording over the

 Access the web to download subtitles and other programs.

 A single-layer Blu-ray disc, which is roughly the same size as a DVD, can hold up to
27 GB of data -- that's more than two hours of high-definition video or about 13
hours of standard video.

 A double-layer Blu-ray disc can store up to 50 GB, enough to hold about 4.5
hours of high-definition video or more than 20 hours of standard video. And there are
even plans in the works to develop a disc with twice that amount of storage.

The first BIu-Ray recorder was unveiled by Sony and was introduced to the Japanese market.
JVC and Samsung Electronics announced Blu-ray based products at IFA in Berlin, Germany.
Sony has announced that the PlayStation 3 will be shipped with a Blu-Ray drive, but possibly
just a read-only one. Sony's machine will also support BD-ROM pre-recorded media, which
are expected to be available in early 2006.


Blu-ray drives currently in production can transfer approximately 36 Mbit/s (54 Mbit/s for
BD-ROM), but 2x speed prototypes with a 108 Mbit/s transfer rate are in development. Rates
of 8x or more are planned for the future.

Hewlett Packard has announced plans to sell Blu-ray-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

Although the Blu-ray Disc specification has been finalized, engineers continue working to
advance the technology. Quad-layer (100 GB) discs have been demonstrated on a drive with
modified optics (TDK version) and standard unaltered optics

("Hitachi used a standard drive.") Hitachi stated that such a disc could be used to store 7
hours of 32 Mbit/s video (HDTV) or 3.5 hours of 64 Mbit/s video (Cinema 4K). In August
2006, TDK announced that they have created a working experimental Blu-ray Disc capable
of holding 200 GB of data on a single side, using six 33 GB data layers.
Also behind closed doors at CES 2007, Ritek revealed that they had successfully developed a
High Definition optical disc process that extends the disc capacity to 10 layers. That
increases the capacity of the discs to 250 GB. However, they noted that the major obstacle is
that current reader and writer technology does not support the additional layers.

JVC has developed a three-layer technology that allows putting both standard-definition
DVD data and HD data on a BD/DVD combo. 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.The first 'hybrid' Blu-Ray/DVD
combo is announced to be released February 18. The Japanese optical disc manufacturer
Infinity has announced this. 'Code Blue' will feature four hybrid discs, which feature a single
Blu-ray layer (25GB) and two DVD layers (9 GB) on the same side of the disc.

In January 2007, Hitachi showcased a 100 GB Blu-ray Disc, which consists of four layers
containing 25 GB each.Unlike TDK and Panasonic's 100 GB discs, they claim this disc is
readable on standard Blu-ray Disc drives that are currently in circulation, and it is believed
that a firmware update is the only requirement to make it readable to current players and

In December 2008, Pioneer Corporation unveiled a 400 GB Blu-ray disc, which contains 16
data layers, 25 GB each, and will be compatible with current players after a firmware update.
A planned launch is in the 2009-2010 time frame for ROM and 2010-2013 for rewritable
discs. Ongoing development is under way to create a 1 TB Blu-ray disc as soon as 2013.

At CES 2009 Panasonic unveiled the DMP-B15, the first portable Blu-ray Disc player and
Sharp showed off the LC-BD60U and LC-BD80U series, the first LCD HDTVs with
integrated Blu-ray players.

As of April 2008, a joint licensing agreement for Blu-ray Disc has not yet been finalized.A
joint licensing agreement would make it easier for companies to get a license for Blu-ray
Disc without having to go to each individual company that owns a Blu-ray Disc patent. For
this reason a joint licensing agreement was eventually made for DVD by the DVD6C
Licensing Agency
Blu-ray disc has been a consistent road map to emerging disc technologies. Blue-ray
can store up to 54 GB, enough to hold about 4.5 hours of high -definition video or
more than 20 hours of standard video. And there are even plans in the works to
develop a disc with twice that amount of storage.

It’s very likely that the technology will be adopted as the next generation optical disc
format for PC data storage and replace technologies such as DVD+-R, DVD+-RW,
and DVD-RAM.

1. Complete Guide to Digital Audio By—Chris Middleton.

2. The Digital Bits Insider Guide to DVD By—Bill Hunt

3. DVD Demystified By – Jim Taylor


1. www.howstuffworks.com

2. www.blue-ray.com