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Blu-Ray Disc Players For Beginners

January 12th, 2010

blu-ray-disc.jpgIf you’ve recently shopped for DVDs to watch, you may have come across the term ‘Blu-ray’. Blu-ray discs are one of the latest technological sensations (not to be confused with ‘bluetooth’, which is a mobile phone technology). Blu-ray gets its name from the blue laser that reads this kind of disc. The big advantage of Blu-ray is that it can store a lot more data than the conventional DVD.

DVDs and the like are known as optical discs. The quest to develop better quality optical discs focused on the way they are read by machines. DVDs and CDs use a red or near-infrared laser beam. Blu-ray uses a violet (blue) laser beam with a shorter wavelength. That allows a great deal more information to be written to the disc. The key difference is that a blue laser can be focused on a much smaller point on the disc’s surface. The result is that a Blu-ray disc (BD for short) can store six to ten times more data than ordinary DVDs: as much as 50 gigabytes.

The race to reach the next level in optical discs involved a format battle between manufacturing giants, reminiscent of the VHS v. Betamax war over video formats. Toshiba’s competitor product, the HD disc (high definition) finally lost out to Blu-ray technology. The factor that is widely believed to have tipped the balance was Sony’s decision to include a Blu-ray player in the Playstation 3.

The big movie studios were releasing films in both formats but there could only be one ultimate winner. Twentieth Century Fox went for the Blu-ray technology because it had better anti-copying protection. It was only a matter of time before Toshiba gave in and stopped producing its HD product. Microsoft had backed HD but with its demise have opted to supply their Xbox customers by means of digital downloads.

If you don’t have a Playstation, why would you want a Blu-ray player? There’s no doubt that it has already caught on, even though the technology is still evolving. It is the format of the future for movies and games, with over a thousand film titles currently available – a number that can only grow exponentially. Think about how much music you can store on a 50 gigabyte disc! But beware: you will need a Blu-ray player if you don’t have a Playstation. At present, Blu-ray burners are in their infancy, with the first generation just hitting the market. Note also that like DVDs, Blu-ray discs are region-coded.

Blu-ray is not just the next big thing – it’s the big thing now. We’ve come a long way since tape and there are more technological thrills (such as discs with even more layers than currently exist) in the pipeline.

This article on Blu-Ray disc players was supplied to us by “Solo” from Constant Content.

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