Blu-ray Discs, New High Capacity Optical Disc Format

PALO ALTO – March 2004 – Blu-ray Disc (BRD) – the next generation of optical discs for storing high-definition movies, photos and other digital content – will have by far the highest capacity of any optical disc storage format ever developed for consumers with disc-making costs that are comparable to those for DVDs as well as other proposed advanced optical disc formats, according to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.(Panasonic), Royal Philips Electronics and Sony Corporation.

The per-disc production cost of Blu-ray Discs will be comparable to current per-disc costs for DVD discs, said the three companies. Even with its five times larger capacity, a single layer Blu-ray (BD-ROM) disc is expected to cost no more than a current Digital Video Disk (DVD) when manufactured at mass volumes.

Blu-ray Disc is supported by The Blu-ray Disc Founders, a group of 13 industry giants in the consumer electronics, personal computer, and media manufacturing sectors and is the first to address the key components necessary to establish the format as a standard including high quality, robustness, security, flexibility and compatibility all at a per-disc cost comparable to current DVDs.

Blu-ray Disc holds up to 25 gigabytes of data or high definition video on a single-layer disc and up to 50 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc. The current DVD disc, holds up to 4.7 gigabytes on single-layer discs and up to 8.5 gigabytes on dual-layer discs.

While production cost is extremely important to commercial content providers, of equal importance are compatibility with current DVD media and protection of digital content from piracy. In response to these concerns, while no blue-laser disc will be readable using a red-laser, combined blue/red drives and other devices will be perfectly feasible resulting in a full backwards compatibility with DVD. Several leading drive manufacturers (including Panasonic and Sony) have already demonstrated drives for consumer products such as video recorders that can read and write both DVD and BD discs.

The format will also offer a robust, comprehensive content protection system, that includes secure AES 128-bit encryption, enhanced production process controls and secure key management in both CE and PC devices.

“Cost savings was one of the major reasons HP and other industry leaders chose to support Blu-ray Disc,” said Maureen Weber, general manager of HP’s Optical Storage Solutions. “The PC business revolves around volume and cost; and, the fact that the lowest cost choice also offers far better quality – as well as a smooth transition plan that is both forward- and backward-looking – is icing on the cake.”

The Blu-ray Disc Founders formed in May 2002 to pursue broad acceptance of the Blu-ray Disc formats. Member companies so far include Dell, Inc.; HP; Hitachi, Ltd.; LG Electronics Inc.; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic); Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Pioneer Corporation; Royal Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corporation; Sony Corporation, TDKCorporation and Thomson. The key applications of Blu-ray Disc, with its huge storage capacity, are recording and playback of high definition video. Blu-ray Disc is also suitable for a variety of applications including PC data storage and is the perfect storage medium to enable digital convergence bridging between PC applications and the living room. The performance of Blu-ray Disc will meet the market demand for the coming High Definition TV world and will offer compelling interactive services for consumers. The website for the Blu-ray Disc Founders is http://www.blu-raydisc-official.org/.