May 21, 2004 12:03 PM PDT

Blu-ray group looks for wider support

A group promoting blue-laser optical discs as the next DVD format plans to open its ranks to wider membership, looking for added opportunities for the technology.

The Blu-ray Disc Founders group is re-incorporating and forming the Blu-ray Disc Association, it announced earlier this week. The consortium said it will invite companies from a wider range of industries to play a part in the development of the emerging DVD format.

The original group of 13 companies consisted of consumer electronics, PC and storage makers: Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Mitsubishi Electric, Pioneer, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson Multimedia.

"We recognized the need for a broader input and strategic help from players such as content providers, studios and software makers," said Maureen Weber, a general manager at HP and member of Blu-ray Disc Founders. "We're responding to criticism that we needed to be more inclusive."

Weber added that a group separate from the Blu-ray Disc Association will collect royalties and licensing fees. The terms of those fees and who will gather them are still being determined.

The Blu-ray backers aim to make the technology the widest-used format for high-definition optical storage, in hopes of capitalizing on the growing use of digital content, and as high-definition television begins to take off. Membership applications to the new association will be available in the summer, and the first meeting of the re-formed group is planned for the fall.

In the interim, the Founders group plans to host a conference in southern California. The June conference will showcase Blu-ray features now in development, such as content protection and interactive applications.

Another industry association, which includes Toshiba and NEC among its members, has been working on a competing disc technology, now called HD-DVD. That technology claims to be compatible with current DVD standards.

The Blu-ray Disc format uses blue-laser light and is considered a potential successor to today's red-laser DVD technology. Blu-ray Disc technology allows up to 27GB of storage on a single-sided disc, compared with 4.7GB on current DVDs.

A rewritable disc with a dual layer on the same side that holds up to 50GB of data is being developed by the group. In addition, read-only (BD-ROM) and record-only (BD-R) formats are expected to be available in the summer.

Products using the BD-ROM and BD-R formats are set for release in the second half of 2005. The rewritable Blu-ray format has been available since February of last year.

4 comments

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No backwards compatibility!?!?
The only reason these companies want this standard to win out is so that we can all run down the store and buy not only new hardware but all new software for it as well.

Well, I have news for them, it will be a cold day in hell before I do that. If they want blue-ray that is fine, make it backwards compatible or they can cram it.

Robert
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my thoughts on the subject
I'm more interested in the advancement of storage than the backwards compatability. I have a strack of cd writers at my home, all were great deals. Now it's all about DVD writers. They can take the place of my cd writers. So I find myself only caring to have one shared DVD writer. I also share a 80 gig and a 120 gig hard drive on my home network. That keeps all my videos and other captured material that takes up large amounts of space. I still find myself deleting.

My point is a 50gig rewritable disc or even a 27gig recordable would definitely be useful. That is a decent size relative to my hard drive space and as long as the medium is stable for a good few years, it could be even more robust than my hard drive (they seem to die every few years).

CD writing was never useful for me. They didn't hold a lot of information, half the time reading an old disk would not work, and managing the ridiculous stack of CDs and finding what I was looking in a reasonable amount of time rarely worked out. CD writers was more of a toy than anything else. Especially now that they are cheap and everyone can just make a CD to share information quickly. Uploading to a webspace or using a usb flash drive is much more useful and it doesn't entail cradling an odd-sized disk.

A standard for a smaller disk that worked with CD readers and writers would have done well. Pocket-sized is always the way to go. People are willing to pay for convenience.

Blu-ray disks will serve its purpose well. Now what I would like is a blu-ray disk recorder that could encode the video on the fly to a divx or similar format. A 50gig rewritable disc could hold over 100 hours of video with pretty decent quality.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
No backwards compatibility!?!?
The only reason these companies want this standard to win out is so that we can all run down the store and buy not only new hardware but all new software for it as well.

Well, I have news for them, it will be a cold day in hell before I do that. If they want blue-ray that is fine, make it backwards compatible or they can cram it.

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
my thoughts on the subject
I'm more interested in the advancement of storage than the backwards compatability. I have a strack of cd writers at my home, all were great deals. Now it's all about DVD writers. They can take the place of my cd writers. So I find myself only caring to have one shared DVD writer. I also share a 80 gig and a 120 gig hard drive on my home network. That keeps all my videos and other captured material that takes up large amounts of space. I still find myself deleting.

My point is a 50gig rewritable disc or even a 27gig recordable would definitely be useful. That is a decent size relative to my hard drive space and as long as the medium is stable for a good few years, it could be even more robust than my hard drive (they seem to die every few years).

CD writing was never useful for me. They didn't hold a lot of information, half the time reading an old disk would not work, and managing the ridiculous stack of CDs and finding what I was looking in a reasonable amount of time rarely worked out. CD writers was more of a toy than anything else. Especially now that they are cheap and everyone can just make a CD to share information quickly. Uploading to a webspace or using a usb flash drive is much more useful and it doesn't entail cradling an odd-sized disk.

A standard for a smaller disk that worked with CD readers and writers would have done well. Pocket-sized is always the way to go. People are willing to pay for convenience.

Blu-ray disks will serve its purpose well. Now what I would like is a blu-ray disk recorder that could encode the video on the fly to a divx or similar format. A 50gig rewritable disc could hold over 100 hours of video with pretty decent quality.
Posted by (2 comments )
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