Blu-ray V.S DVD

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Group Members

Jacky Cheng, Selest Haberstock, Abdullahi Ajala, Trai Pham

Issue

Blu-ray VS. DVD. Does Blu-ray live up to expectations as the next generation of media formats?

Executive Summary

The objective of this project was to compare Blu-ray V.S. DVD technology, as well as, examine if Blu-ray lives up to expectations as the next generation of media formats. The distinction between the old and new formats must be clear to truly call Blu-ray a success.

Blu-ray is the name of optical disk format meant to replace DVD. It was created by the Blu-Ray Disk Association (BDA), through the joint effort of various entertainment and technology companies. It was the first optical disk format to utilize a blue-violet laser (405nm) for store information. This element allow for increased storage capacity, as the shorter wavelength of the laser allows information to be stored in less space.

The examination of the optical disk format will be done through a comparison. In the comparison, we have covered the unique existence of Blu-ray through research into its technical aspects. In addition, we have also researched into Blu-ray's greatest advantages such as quality and media piracy prevention, as well as, disadvantages such as the cost and the competition from other media innovations.

Based on this comparison and research, we see that there is support to conclude that Blu-ray has lived up to the expectations of it.

Back of a Blu-ray Disk

Technical Features of Blu-ray

1) Blu-ray has support for MPEG-2, H.264/MPEG-4, AVC, and VC-1 video encoding.

2) The audio codec that Blu-ray supports includes the following:

  • LPCM
  • DD
  • DD+
  • Dolby TrueHD
  • DTS Digital Surround
  • DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
  • DTS-HD Master Audio.

3) Blu-ray offers the same disk formats as conventional CDs and DVDs including ROM/R/RW.

4) Due to the supported formats and large capacity, Blu-ray disks can be used for data storage, play high-definition video and audio.

5) The format offers a capacity of 25GB per layer. Currently, only single and dual layer optical disks are available. With this increased capacity Blu-ray is capable of storing up to 9 hrs of high-definition video or 23 hours of standard-definition video.

6) The Blu-ray format has an extremely high potential for growth. Technology and entertainment industries have shown strong support for Blu-ray. The number of member companies of the Blu-ray Disk Association (BDA) has reached over 180 and its Board of Directors includes companies such as:

  • Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Pioneer Corporation
  • Royal Philips Electronics
  • Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
  • Sharp Corporation
  • Sony Corporation
  • Twentieth Century Fox
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment

7) The read mechanism of Blue-ray is a 405 nm wavelength laser:

  • 1× at 36 Megabit/s (4.5 Mbyte/s)
  • 2× at 72 Megabit/s (9 Mbyte/s)
  • 4× at 144 Mbit/s (18 Mbyte/s)
  • 6× at 216 Mbit/s (27 Mbyte/s)
  • 8× at 288 Mbit/s (36 Mbyte/s)
  • 12× at 432 Mbit/s (54 Mbyte/s)

Advantages

Video Quality

The improvements in video quality of Blu-ray technology should be evident. It allows for up to 1080p (1920x1080) video resolution, which represents 1080 sequential lines of resolution to be displayed on a television. This results in the most detailed images commercially available. However, resolution isn't the only factor that contributes to image quality. Factors such as color accuracy, contrast ratio, brightness, maximum viewing angle, and whether the image is interlaced or progressive, all contribute to quality of the picture. As a result of these factors, Blu-ray technology has raised the bar on video quality but these same factors create new issues. The difference in quality of the video is best viewed on a TV with higher resolution. Although there are differences due to recording studios, when a Blu-ray disk is viewed on a lower resolution TV (such as those that were designed for DVDs) there may only be a marginal difference in observable quality.

DVD V.S. Blu-ray Video Quality Comparison

Audio Quality

The potential of Blu-ray audio quality is extremely high, as it allows for the use of uncompressed audio known as lossless. The quality of Lossless audio is resembles that of the original studio master. The use of it was made possible by the increased storage capabilities due to the usage of short wavelength lasers (405nm) for encoding, as file sizes resulting from lossless encoding are many times larger than that of other encoding methods. However, this does not mean all Blu-ray discs will provide superior audio quality as the technology also supports the lower quality audio seen on DVDs. Although the technology supports lossless encoding and has the capability for high quality audio, it is still up to the recording studio to decide what the audio quality of the final product will be.

Piracy Deterrence

Blu-ray disk technology possesses the most comprehensive Digital Rights Management (DRM) ever utilized on a disk format. It includes BD+, a Blu-ray-specific enhancement for content protection renewability, Advanced Access Content System (AACS), and ROM Mark, a measure unique to Blu-ray Disc to guard against piracy.

  • BD+ is a programmable enhancement, unique to blu-ray players. It is a virtual machine in the Blu-ray player made to execute programs to verify security. BD+ is activated only when the security system code is found to be under attack and allows producers to dynamically update the code that is under attack by hackers.
  • Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is an encryption on the disk that restricts access to the content. However, it has been subject to successful attempts by hackers to decrypt the disks forcing the producer to constantly change the encryption on newer disks.
  • ROM Mark is a precaution to specifically guard against the reproduction of Blu-ray disk content. It is data stored separate from the other content on the disk by special hardware available only to manufacturers. Optical disks that do not contain this data will not function on a Blu-ray player.

An inherent feature of Blu-ray disks that deter piracy is simply the file size. With the capability of reaching 50GB of storage on a dual layered disk, if the security features were to be bypassed, the large size of the files may deter individuals from spending the time to download the files.

Disadvantages

Cost

The cost of commercial Blu-ray products is currently one of the format’s largest disadvantages. Being a newer technology it is no surprise that the cost of Blu-ray products is greater than those of other formats. The typical Blu-ray player costs over $200 and titles can cost up to $25.

Competition

Blu-ray disk technology currently faces 2 unique challenges, the world economic crisis and legally offered online videos. The current economic recession has consumers cutting back on spending. As a result, the high cost of Blu-ray disks and players make the technology less attractive to consumers in the current situation. Many individuals are leaning towards the cheaper alternatives such as DVDs for their videos in an effort to scale back spending during the downturn. Entertainment companies have begun to move towards making many of their video titles available online. This new trend in the entertainment industry may become a threat to Blu-ray. In combination with the current economic crisis, some consumers may opt for this cheaper and far more convenient method to meet their video needs. Although largely dependent on the connection speed, the videos are available on demand; there is no need to purchase a new player or to buy new titles. The massive popularity of websites such as Youtube suggests that many consumers are satisfied with exchanging quality for convenience.

DVD Vs. Blu-ray Comparison

In a comparison between the 2 formats there are certain points that stand out such as cost. Cost of the limited number of movie titles and the Blu-ray player can be many time higher than those of DVD titles and players. However, the Blu-ray format offers higher quality video, audio, special features. This may justify the greater cost of using or purchasing a Blu-ray title because these features make owning the title more attractive. By virtue of being the older and prevalent format, DVDs possess more than 90,000 available titles by 2009; in comparison Blu-ray only had roughly 1,000 available titles by this time. However with such strong support of the technology and entertainment industries, Blu-ray technology has the potential to quickly close this gap.

Blu-ray V.S. DVD Comparison Chart

Conclusion

Based on the our research, we have concluded that Blu-ray does live up to the expectations of it to be the next generation of media formats. It has strong advantages to consumers over older formats such as enhanced video/audio quality due to the use of a 405nm blue-violet laser for encoding, as well as, piracy deterrence from the large file sizes and various security measures on both the optical disks and players. The formats greatest disadvantages, cost and competition, can be solved given time. As producers acquire more efficient methods of creating disks and players, the cost to consumers will fall. In addition, although the format faces unique challenges in the current world economy, this will also pass with time and the product will appear more attractive to consumers.

We feel that our objective to evaluate whether or not Blu-ray lived up to the expectations of it were accomplished.

References

Blu-ray FAQ. (n.d). Retrieved April 2, 2009, from Blu-ray Web site: http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/

Cnet. (n.d). Blu-ray vs. DVD. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from Cnet Reviews Web site: http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6463_7-6462511-2.htm

King, Sharyn. (2008, October 16). Blue-ray disadvantages. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from Manolith Web site: http://www.manolith.com/2008/10/16/blu-ray-disadvantages/

Samsung Electronics. (2006, October 31). Blu-ray/DVD Technical Specification Comparison Chart. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from PC Authority Web site: http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/67506,bluray--dvd-technical-specification-comparison-chart.aspx

Stokes, Brenda. (2008, August 5th). Blu-ray destined to decline?. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from SlashGear Web site: http://www.slashgear.com/blu-ray-destined-to-decline-0513446/