Why Blu-ray?

Lots of folks are pumped about the Playstation 3 launch. Besides the gaming performance, Blu-ray Disc capability is part of the hype. Sony’s PS3 is one mainstream device that uses Blu-ray’s BD-ROM disc for its optical storage. Dell has been a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association since the early days, and in that time we’ve worked with consumer electronics companies, movie studios, music publishers, and other PC companies, to support Blu-ray as the next-generation follow on to the successful DVD platform.

Why did we do it? Because of the many benefits it provides:

  • More storage capacity than both DVD and HD-DVD—50 GB for a dual-sided disc, compared to 8.5GB for DVD and 30GB for HD-DVD—to handle the huge storage requirements of high-definition movies and interactive content, as well as PC data storage and sharing requirements. This kind of capacity provides enough headroom for years to come.
  • Java-based interactivity and the ability to connect to the Internet and leverage more interactive content.
  • Content protection system that satisfies the major movie studios’ content protection requirements as well as providing flexibility for the consumer. Here’s a link to a PDF white paper on Blu-ray Discs’s content protection.
  • Same form factors as existing CDs and DVDs, allowing for backward compatibility. In fact, most Blu-ray Disc PC drives will support the recording of CD, DVD, and BD.

A hurdle to this transition from DVD is the format battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. How do we hope to avoid that, along with the compatibility problems that plagued the CD and DVD rollouts? By designing Blu-ray Disc from the beginning to meet the requirements of PC and consumer electronics applications. Another strategy: to release all formats—read-only, writable, and rewritable—at the same time. This strategy, along with an industry compatibility program, should help to avoid the compatibility headaches many of us remember all too well. Blu-ray Discs will be readable in any Blu-ray disc drive, whether it’s in a consumer electronics device or a PC.

We’ve supported Blu-ray Disc from the beginning and believe strongly that it’s the right solution for the industry. Blu-ray Disc is a revolutionary optical technology transition and not simply an evolutionary change to an existing format like we see with the competing solution. Time will tell if we’re right, but we believe both the technology benefits and consumer demand indicators show us to be on the right track.

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10 thoughts on “Why Blu-ray?

  1. Isn’t the real question who really cares about optical media anymore?

    the internet is the solution for content distribution for years to come.

    I can’t imagine any reason I’d want to content on a disc format ever again. (and haven’t barely for years)
    blueray RW technology is really the only thing i could find interesting.

  2. Glad to hear you’re supporting Blu-Ray.  I agree that capacity is critical.  HD-DVD may be adequate for movies thanks to MPEG-4, but the more critical point for me on my PC is that Blu-Ray can hold almost twice as much.  This means fewer DVDs when I back up or archive.

  3. Well…the only reason Dell is “supporting” Blu-Ray is because its patent owner Sony has a lot of money to ensure that second largest PC maker Dell supports it.  The first largest, HP, is supporting HD-DVD – the rival and better technology – as is Microsoft the largest software vendor and Intel the largest chip maker…and the list goes on and on.

    HD-DVD is less expensive, more versatile, more compatable, and currently has better video quality.  The discs can be manufactured on the same production lines as standard DVDs since they are similar, opposed to Blu-Ray which requires complete retooling and new DVD machinery at DVD factories. 

    The 1080P issue is moot, now that both formats output 1080P images.  HD-DVD uses a new modern compression type whereas Blu-Ray disc uses a much older high compression which degrades the video and all online reviews show that currently Blu-Ray is nowhere near the higher video quality of HD-DVD.

    Now…a couple of points to bring up regarding Dell’s explantion by Brian above:

     “Why did we do it? Because of the many benefits it provides…Content protection system that satisfies the major movie studios’ content protection requirements as well as providing flexibility for the consumer”

    Not a good argument, since both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD both have equally competent copy protection countermeasures.

    “More storage capacity than both DVD and HD-DVD 50 GB for a dual-sided disc, compared to 8.5GB for DVD and 30GB for HD-DVD—to handle the huge storage requirements of high-definition movies and interactive content, as well as PC data storage and sharing requirements. This kind of capacity provides enough headroom for years to come”

    Again, very misleading.  Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray have multiple layer capacities and the technology is still increasing.  Saying one can hold greater than the other is not arguable at this point since nothing beyond two layers for Blu-Ray and three for HD-DVD are available right now.  Besides…current movies do not even utilze all the space on a HD-DVD, so the rest is wasted and on a Blu-Ray disc, that leaves even more wasted space which is being paid for whether its used or not.

    There are other things I could go on about, but most everything is posted al over the web.  There is however one last thing: The proprietary Sony products like Blu-Ray that have always flopped.  Here are Sony’s past proprietary failures:

    Betamax – failed and abandoned

    UMD discs for PSP – failing as no one studio is producing them 

    Memory Stick – failed, only Sony uses them – other manufactures use standard CF and SD cards

    MiniDisc – failed

    Rootkit Copy Protected CDs – failed (plus got sued big time)

    Sony Connect (iTunes rival) – is failing

    Atrac (audio compression algorithm) – failed

    …I could go on and on, but I won’t, since most educated consumers know Blu-Ray isn’t currently the best technology. Things may change, but given Sony’s less than stellar track record…I doubt it.

    I assume still Sony’s Blu-Ray may find itself into Dell’s computers and laptops, but if it does, I guess it will be another failure for Sony and Dell just like those 4.2 million explodig Sony batteries Dell used in their laptops. 😉

  4. Does Dell have a timeline as to when they will offer a Blue-ray reader/writer in a Dell PC?

    Blue-ray RW disks could replace some of the smaller tape backup systems that people use like the TR40 and DDS4.


  5. More quotes from the same article:

    “Despite the less-than-perfect movies currently available, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two formats on the overwhelming majority of displays.”

    “But worse for us, most Hollywood studios are adamant about supporting only one standard (generally Blu-ray), which means that they won’t release films in both formats.”

    “Pricing is another nonissue. The Toshiba players cost about half as much as most Blu-ray players, but the company is reported to have artificially lowered the price to several hundred dollars below cost. Ultimately, we expect to see minimal price differences between Blu-ray and HD DVD.”

    The jury is still out, it will be consumer demand that rules and finally decides if Blu-Ray, HD-DVD or some other high capacity format wins, but companies have to make a decision and go.

    If you sit on the fence too long, you will not be a player in the market.

  6. Steven, techme… just to note.. Sony’s authoring tool for Blu-Ray media content that had been provided to studios originally did not support VC1 encoding, which is what HD-DVD uses.  Blu–Ray has the option of using mpeg2 or VC1.  Now, studios are able to use VC1 encoding with Blu-Ray movies, and there is no discernable difference in picture quality, other than that which may be caused by any imigae processing in the playback device itself.

    A few movies have been released on Blu-Ray using the newer VC1 encoding and they’re indistinguishable from their HD-DVD counterparts.

    Now, when more sets on the market support 1080p, moreplayers do as well, and Sony moves Blu-Ray storage capacity for encoded video up to 50GB or more.. Blu-Ray will be the clear visual quality leader. 

    Not to mention, Blu-Ray stores more data per disk, had a swifter path to larger storage capacity, and unlike HD-DVD, is already being geared towards 100GB disks.. granted.. we won’t see those for awhile.

    So, the only real issue holding Blu-Ray back, despite HD-DVD’s tenuous early start in the market.. is the price point. Eventually Sony will realize they have to be competitive and they’ll have to provide affordable and competitivly priced recorders/players/media.

    I’m pretty sure Dell sees the long term Sony strategy and benefits and these are also reasons they chose Blu-Ray to support.

    Sony’s playing the same game with their PS3’s.. getting them into the market now.. getting the manufacturing glitches and other issues out of the way.. getting production ramped up so they can reduce production costs.. and knowing they’ll have a great gaming system in another 18 months.. when nex gen games are added to their already vast ps2/ps1 library. Sony like to play long term strategy. Now if only they’d stop looking so far ahead that they can’t see their customers here and now.

    Now, I just wish The Fifth Element would get re-released using the VC1 encoding on Blu-Ray media. The first time around it was encoded with less effecient mpeg2/

    Welp, off I go back to playing Wii Sports.

  7. I should stop posting when I’m tired. It seems I don’t bother to spell or grammar check at those times. I wonder if that makes my input any less valuable. (scratches head)

    My Wii awaits… oh, darn, still the middle of the workday.



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