The Blu Revolution

Blu RayThe product line of information storage devices just became more interesting with the announcement of the Blu Ray Discs – and the timing couldn’t have been better. With the home PC storage expanding into terabytes, the DVD is failing to meet customer demands. This is where Blu Ray discs, with their huge capacity to store data, seem almost God sent.

The disc is very aptly named after the technology it uses. Blu Ray technology uses a blue-violet laser to burn its data on a Disc. Blue light has a lower wavelength and hence can contort a massive amount of data on a regular sized disc. The higher wavelength of the Red laser which is used to burn current CDs and DVDs is not as accurate and hence the term “Scratched Discs” is thrown around liberally. The Blu ray captures more than 25 GB on a single layered disc and 50 GB on a double. This essentially means that the disc has 6.5 times the capacity of a dual layered DVD.

Why does the BD player have an edge over today’s conventional memory scheme? The answer lies in Persistent Memory Storage, wherein all information is stored in the ROM; and losing power does not clear your PC’s memory.

The BD-ROM defines four profiles of Blu-Disc players.

Profile 1 is the regular ROMs which will be released at the end of September. These ROMs need 64 kb of persistent memory and uses book marks and other preference storage. This is the grace day period device and is the beta version.

Profile 1.1 has a video and audio decoder bringing it at par with the latest HD-DVD and has increased the persistent memory to 256 MB.

Profile 2 or BD-Live connects the ROM across a network and also increases the persistent memory size to a maximum capacity of 1 GB.

Profile 3 (audio only) is meant for an audio-only player and does not require video decoding.

Blu Ray is Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA)’s reply to Toshiba’s very adventurous venture called the HD DVD or High Definition DVD. The BDA has on its board heavy weights like Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson.

Sun Microsystems has also jumped onto the BD bandwagon and JVC has successfully developed three layered technology that allows putting both standard-definition DVD data and HD data on a BD/DVD combo. If this is effectively commercialized, it 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 BD has reigned in almost all major movie studios (Disney, Fox, Warner, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate and MGM), and now your favorite movies and music will be released on BD along with the standard DVD.

The BD is slowly but surely turning out to be an unstoppable juggernaut. The only possible roadblock could be ineffective marketing with consumers being unaware of how much this technology can make a difference.

Patanjali Pahwa