Blu-ray also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is an optical disc storage medium the same size as a CD or DVD. The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video, as well as storing large amounts of data. Blu-ray offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold from 25GB on a single-layer disc to 150GB on a quadruple-layer disc. Blu-ray Discs are associated with a set of multimedia formats which allow for the video and audio to be stored with greater definition than on DVD and give the consumer an unprecedented HD experience.
While current optical disc technologies rely on a red laser to read and write data, Blu-ray uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser, which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space.
Future prospects of Blu-ray Discs
Blu-ray is currently supported by about 200 of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has support from all Hollywood studios and countless smaller studios. Many studios have committed vast amounts of their libraries to re-release in this higher quality format.
Features of Blu-ray Discs
Blu-ray Disc Video use MPEG transport streams, allowing multiple video programs to be stored in the same file and played back simultaneously with a “picture-in-picture” effect.
BD-Live requires the Blu-ray Disc player to have an Internet connection to access Internet-based content. BD-Live features have included Internet chats, scheduled chats with the director, Internet games, downloadable featurettes, downloadable quizzes, and downloadable movie trailers.
Blu-ray equipment is required to implement the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) system to encrypt the data sent by players to rendering devices through physical connections. This is aimed at preventing the copying of copyrighted content as it travels across cables.
BD+ is a small virtual machine embedded in authorized players, which allows content providers to include executable programs on Blu-ray Discs. Such programs can:
- examine the host environment to see if the player has been tampered with. Every licensed playback device manufacturer must provide the BD+ licensing authority with memory footprints that identify their devices.
- verify that the player’s keys have not been changed.
- execute native code, possibly to patch an otherwise insecure system.
- transform the audio and video output. Parts of the content will not be viewable without letting the BD+ program unscramble it.
If a playback device manufacturer finds that its devices have been hacked, it can potentially release BD+ code that detects and circumvents the vulnerability. These programs can then be included in all new content releases. The specifications of the BD+ virtual machine are available only to licensed device manufacturers.
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