Blu-Ray Technology essay

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Blu-Ray Technology

"It [technology] has surely reduced the world to a global village, greatly reducing distances between people and nations" (How Does Technology . . ., 2009, ¶ 1).


During June 2006, even though only total of 24 Blu-ray movies were available at that time, stores advertised and sold the first Blu-ray DVD player, Samsung's BD-P1000, for $1,000. In the article, "Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? A format battle rages for supremacy over the new generation of high-definition DVD Players," Johnson (2006) explains that "Blu-ray was jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association, a group of the world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer, and media manufacturers" (Johnson, 2006, p. 82). Its future, albeit, as well as the future of HD DVD, the contemporary contender for next generation digital video players appeared unclear, Consequently, electronics manufacturers waged fierce battles in their war to determine whether the Blu-ray or HD-DVD format would the win dominate the market.

In addition to Samsung, supporters of the Blu-ray included Apple, Dell, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Sharp, and Sony. Along with Toshiba, Microsoft, NEC, and Sanyo backed the HD-DVD Toshiba. Johnson (2006) reported that both Blu-ray or HD-DVD offered " high-resolution pictures and sensational sound, along with pop-up onscreen menus, picture-in-a-picture features, and the ability to change languages or scenes" (p. 82). During 2006, Blu-ray offered an enhanced scene search function HD-DVD did not provide; implementing a clickable menu of the actors and scenes as well as the scenes in which they appeared. A significant selling point for HD-DVD during 2006, however, gave Toshiba a different kind of edge in the war to attract buyers when it released a pair of HD-DVD players: The HD-A1 ($499) and the HD-XA1 ($799); prices relatively higher than standard DVD players, nevertheless, significantly less than expensive than Samsung's Blu-ray version.

Competing and incompatible aptly describe Blu-ray and HD DVD, two recently invented high-definition video storage and playback formats technological inventions that have historically battled for completion; each stoically remaining incompatible with the other. In the article, "Digital Video Update: YouTube, Flash, High-Definition," Godwin-Jones, (2007) assert that during 2007, even though players for both formats for Blu-ray and HD DVD had officially been released, consumers did not rush to purchase them for two reasons. One: The initial costs related to each format proved expensive. Two: Consumers determined to wait and see whether Blu-ray or DVD would win the "war" as they battled to convince customers their format constituted the best buy. The Blu-ray Disc, also known as Blu-ray or BD, consists of dimensions identical to a standard CD or DVD. In the article, "Comdex computer course kit: Windows Vista with Microsoft Office 2007, Gupta (2008) points out that primary uses for Blu-ray include high-resolution video and pictures and storing massive volume of data. "A dual layer Blu-ray Disc can store 50 GB, almost six times the capacity of a dual layer DVD" (Gupta, p. 15). Benefits of both Blu-ray and HD-DVD are that they possess larger storage capacity and higher quality video than DVD. The interactive programming which both formats offer constitutes another feature language professionals of the high definition video formats find particularly appealing. Godwin-Jones, (2007) explains:

Blu-ray uses Blu-ray Java Interactivity (BD-J), while HD DVD features iHD. iHD offers a shallower learning curve than BD-J, as it combines fairly well-known technologies, namely CSS, JavaScript and XML. BD-J represents an easier transition for Java programmers; it also provides more options for customization through a full-fledged programming environment. Its use also allows programs to run on any Blu-ray player, whether it is a drive on a computer, in a game console, or in a stand-alone player. (Godwin-Jones, 2007, High-definition video archives Section, ¶ 2)

In 2010, one could purchase a Blu-ray player for approximately pounds 200 in England or for approximately $319.86 in the United States. Online, one could purchase this player for as little as pounds 90. One could buy a DVD player for pounds 90 or $143.97. In the newspaper article, "Blu-Ray to the future; format makes the most of new releases," Fulton (2010), purports that similar to DVD, Blu-ray constitutes an optical disc. The blu-ray, however, stores 10 times more data than the DVD and reflects resolution six times higher than that of DVD. This in turn gives the viewer better color, detail, and sound quality; in addition to a number of other extra perks. Two years prior to the official release of Blu-ray, a monthly newsletter published by Home networks (2004), predicted that Blu-ray would become the preferred choice for its type technology in the future. The name, Blu-ray, the article explained, relates to the blue lasers that transmit the signals. These rays proved to possess more storage power than the red rays carrying DVD transmissions. According to Blu-ray FAQ (2011), reportedly the world's largest Blu-ray dedicated site as well as one of the largest online home theater sites, the underlying technology of Blu-ray, utilizing a blue-violet laser to read and write data, gave Blu-ray its name. As a combination of "Blue' (blue-violet laser) and 'Ray' (optical ray). . ., [according] to the Blu-ray Disc Association the spelling of 'Blu-ray' is not a mistake, the character 'e' was intentionally left out so the term could be registered as a trademark" (Blu-ray FAQ, Section 1.2). The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers; currently with more than 180 member companies from throughout the world developed the Blu-ray Disc format. Table 1 portrays the differences between Blu-ray and DVD.

Table 1. Comparison of the Parameters of Blu-ray and DVD (Blu-ray FAQ, Section 2.4).




Storage capacity

25 GB (single-layer)

50 GB (dual-layer)

4.7GB (single-layer)

8.5GB (dual-layer)

Laser wavelength

405 nm (blue laser)

650 nm (red laser)

Numerical aperture (NA)



Disc diameter

Disc thickness



Protection layer

Hard coating





Track pitch



Data transfer rate (data)

Data transfer rate (video/audio)

36.0Mbps (1x)

54.0Mbps (1.5x)

11.08Mbps (1x)

10.08Mbps (<1x)

Video resolution (max)

Video bit rate (max)

1920 x 1080 (1080p)


720 x 480/720 x 576 (480i/576i)


Video codecs





Audio codecs

Linear PCM

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital Plus

Dolby TrueHD

DTS Digital Surround


Linear PCM

Dolby Digital

DTS Digital Surround




How Blu-ray Works

In the information published from the seminar, "Blu-Ray Disc," Ahlawat (2011) explains that the Blu-ray Discs include pits, which comprise spiral grooves extending from the center of the disc to its edges. Bumps constitute the other sides of these edges. The track pitch depicts the distance connecting the two tracks (of pits) on the surface of the disc. The Blu-ray Disc stores digitally encoded data in pits. In addition:

Discs store encoded video and audio information in pits - spiral grooves that run from the center of the disc to the edges.

A laser reads the other sides of these pits to play the movie or program that is stored on the disc.

The more data that is contained on a disc, the smaller and more closely packed the pits must be.

The smaller beam focuses more precisely, enabling it to read information recorded in pits that are only 0.15 microns long. (Ahlawat, 2011, p. 19)

Figure 1 compares the optical disc data layer and density comparison diagram of the CD, the DVD, HD-DVD, and the Blu-ray Disc.

Figure 1. Optical Disc Data Layer and Density Comparison Diagram (Blu-ray Disc, 2006, p. 5).

Fulton (2010) emphasizes that although the transition from DVD to Blu-ray may not appear as dramatic or as massive as the differences noted in the conversion from video tape to DVD -- the distinction does exist. Colors appear more vibrant and sounds like explosions and gunfire in vibrate with life. Blu-ray also reportedly simulates 3D. As those producing Blu-ray as well as other comparable media formats continue to develop competing and incompatible products, the war to win customers in the market place will continue. Technology like Blu-ray will continue to figuratively broadcast that and also literal wars; reducing the world to a global village, at times reducing some of distance separating people and nations. At other times, however, the distance relived in this media format may separate people and nations even more.

II: Impact of Blu-ray Technology

"Technology has a tremendous influence on society in that

it affects every aspect of people's social existence;

from the way we communicate with each other to the way we carry out monetary transactions to the ferocity with which we wage wars"

(How Does Technology . . ., 2009, ¶ 1).

In Los Angeles, California on December 30, 1956, the CBS evening news broadcasted their news production, Douglas Edwards and the News, utilizing the Videotape Recorder (VTR), at that time, a new technology in the broadcasting industry. In the book, Communications & multimedia technology, Andrews (2008) explains: "The VTR allowed networks to broadcast their news at any time that they wanted. . . . [All] news broadcai1s were live to this point"…[continue]

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