What is Blu-ray? This may be a silly question for hi def aficionados, but hang in there. You might learn a thing or two. For those of you who haven’t heard of Blu-ray, or have heard of it but don’t really know what it is, here is a quick synopsis.
Blu-ray, formally called Blu-ray Disc, was developed by Sony to increase image resolution and audio clarity in DVD media. A Blu-ray disc can hold more than 5 times the amount of data that a standard DVD can hold. Hence, the capacity for higher resolution movies, extras, and features such as live menus.
Blu-ray Disc resolution is 1080p native. That means that it has 1920(horizontal) x 1080(vertical) progressive (P) lines of resolution. Resolution is a fairly basic concept to understand. More lines = more resolution = sharper image. 1080p as explained above, is the highest hi def format at this point in time that is available to consumers.
Other hi def resolutions include 1920 x 1080i and 1280 x 720p. These are formats that most HDTVs are built upon, and television is broadcast in. For an explanation on the differences between these formats, visit this hi def reference page.
Audio has been improved from the standard DVD (5.1) to include 7.1 channels of high definition surround sound and 32 streams of audio.
Blu-ray discs are loaded with interactive features like live menus. So instead of having to interrupt your movie, menus can load while the movie is playing. This allows easy access to jump chapters, replay scenes, and turn on and off movie commentaries. Blu-ray Disc players are also internet capable, giving you live access to updates and live events built around the Blu-ray Disc content.
Blu-ray Discs, along with HD DVD, use a blue-violet laser to burn the content onto the disc. The improved blue-violet laser technology allows for finer lines of data to be burned in, therefore expanding the disc capacity to hold larger files. Standard DVDs are burned with red lasers, which have a larger light spot area, and therefore not as dense as blue-violet lasers.
Sony is not the only company to release a high definition disc. Toshiba, the company that developed the standard DVD format that is currently in everyone’s home, has also developed its own high definition disc. Their disc is called HD DVD, and while its storage capacity is not quite as large, these discs are able to hold plenty of features
Later this week, What is HD DVD?