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.

About the Author: Brian Zucker