What Is Blue Ray?

What Is Bluray Disc Storage?

“Blue Ray” is what people often called Blue-Ray disc storage, which is simply an optical disc storage technology meant to supercede DVD.

Though the Blu-Ray disc is exactly the same size as CD and DVD discs, Blue Ray stores more information and displays it better. Blue Ray technology is used with high-definition televisions and with the Playstation 3 game system.

Blu-Ray storage is an upgrade from the existing technology, because it allows the disc to store roughly six times the information a standard DVD could store. Data retrieval requires a shorter wavelength ray compared to the DVD laser retrieval. Since the DVD wavelength uses a 650 nanometer red laser and the Bluray wavelength uses a 405 nanometer blue-violet laser to retrieve date, the name “blue ray” was used early on to define the optical disc storage device. This was shortened to Blu-Ray for marketing purposes by Sony.

Blue Ray technology was made possible by the invention of the blue laser diode by Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Blue-Ray marketing was delayed for six years due to a dispute over the blue laser diode’s patent.

Blue Ray or HD?


Eventually, Sony began marketing “blue-ray players” and Toshiba began marketing a competing technology, called High-Definition or “HD DVD Players”. This was similar to the marketing war between Betamax and VHS in the early days of the VCR. Like the battle that VHS won, the two competing systems would not be viable indefinitely, so the Blue-Ray War became a marketing battle for the life of the systems.

Eventually, Toshiba took its DVD HD players off the market, admitting that Blu-Ray Disc Players would be the next stage in storage disc technology development. Toshiba now markets its own version of the Blue-Ray disc player.

The high definition optical disc format war, as it came to be called, appeared to be a format war among equals at first. On the HD DVD side, three of the Big 6 movie studios gave support, along with Microsoft, several big PC firms (including Toshiba) and Wal-Mart. On the Blu-Ray side, 3 major Hollywood studios joined Hitachi, Panasonic, Sharp, Pioneer, Samsung and a number of other companies on the Blu-Ray Disc Foundation.

Blu-Ray sales started strongest, but many predicted the participation of Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Warner Bros. would tip the balance in HD DVD’s favor. Attempts were made to come to an agreement, but the Blu-Ray firms had lost billions on royalty rights on DVD, and they refused to change their technology to suit the compability desires of Microsoft and their personal computer allies.

Many movie production firms and studios adopted both technologies when selling their movies to the public, while Netflix and Blockbuster rented both Blue Ray and HD DVD discs. HD DVD had a cheaper price, though Blue-Ray was considered a better system with one or two add-ons its competitor did not have.

Warner Bros Blue Ray Decision

Eventually, Warner Bros., which has the largest share of the American movie market, decided to discontinue its use of HD DVD discs. This began a wave of defections to the Blu-Ray camp, as Best Buy, Netflix and Blockbuster announced they would use Blu-Ray exclusively. The Warner Brothers decision is seen as the pivotal decision in the format war.

The final strike against HD DVD was the decision by Sony to include a Blu-Ray player in its Playstation 3 console. Microsoft’s XBox game console did not have the ability to play HD DVD discs. This was a major advantage, because PS3 users bought millions of blu-ray discs, while video game rental companies and video rental companies also ordered blue-ray discs by the millions. HD DVD could not compete, and Toshiba announced in 2008 it would take its HD DVD players off the market.

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