11 September 2008

Blu-ray FAQ - Blu-ray vs DVD

1.Will Blu-ray replace DVDs?

Yes, that's the expectation. The Blu-ray format has received broad support from the major movie studios as a successor to today's DVD format. In fact, seven of the eight major movie studios (Disney, Fox, Warner, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate and MGM) have released titles in the Blu-ray format. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month. For more information about Blu-ray movies, check out our Blu-ray movies section which offers information about new and upcoming Blu-ray releases, as well as what movies are currently available in the Blu-ray format.

However, the two formats (Blu-ray and DVD) will most likely co-exist for quite some time until HDTVs become more widespread.

2.Will Blu-ray be backwards compatible with DVD?

Yes, several leading consumer electronics companies (including Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Pioneer, Sharp and LG) have already demonstrated products that can read/write CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs using a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical head, so you don't have to worry about your existing DVD collection becoming obsolete. In fact, most of the Blu-ray players coming out will support upscaling of DVDs to 1080p/1080i, so your existing DVD collection will look even better than before. While it's up to each manufacturer to decide if they want to make their products backwards compatible with DVD, the format is far too popular to not be supported. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) expects every Blu-ray Disc device to be backward compatible with DVDs.

3.Why should I upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray?

The simple answer is HDTV. If you've ever seen high-definition (HD) video on an HDTV, then you know just how incredibly sharp the picture is and how vivid the colors are. In fact, HD offers five times the amount of detail compared to standard-definition (SD). The problem with today's DVDs is that they only support SD and don't have the necessary storage capacity to satisfy the needs of HD. That's where Blu-ray comes in, it offers up to 50GB of storage capacity and enables playback, recording and rewriting of HD in all of the HD resolutions including 1080p. The format also supports high-definition audio formats and lossless audio.

In addition to the greater video and audio quality, the extra storage capacity also means there will be plenty of room for additional content and special features. This combined with the new BD-J interactivity layer adopted by Blu-ray will bring the menus, graphics and special features to a whole new level. For example, you will be able to bring up the menu system as an overlay without stopping the movie, and you could have the director of the movie on the screen explaining the shooting of a scene while the scene is playing in the background. The advanced interactivity combined with the networking features of Blu-ray will also allow content producers to support new innovative features such as downloading extras, updating content via the web, and watching live broadcasts of special events.

Thanks to the greatly enhanced HD video and audio quality as well as the advanced interactivity and networking features, Blu-ray represents a huge leap forward in the DVD viewing experience and will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

4.What is the difference between Blu-ray and DVD?


Storage capacity 25GB (single-layer)
50GB (dual-layer)
4.7GB (single-layer)
8.5GB (dual-layer)
Laser wavelength 405nm (blue laser) 650nm (red laser)
Numerical aperture (NA) 0.85 0.60
Disc diameter
Disc thickness
Protection layer
Hard coating
Track pitch
Data transfer rate (data)
Data transfer rate (video/audio)
36.0Mbps (1x)
54.0Mbps (1.5x)
11.08Mbps (1x)
10.08Mbps (<1x)>
Video resolution (max)
Video bit rate (max)
1920×1080 (1080p)
720×480/720×576 (480i/576i)
Video codecs MPEG-2
Audio codecs Linear PCM
Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby TrueHD
DTS Digital Surround
Linear PCM
Dolby Digital
DTS Digital Surround

5.Will Blu-ray replace VCRs?

Yes, as VCRs don't support recording of HDTV programming consumers will soon need to replace them. Blu-ray recorders combined with hard drives offer a very flexible alternative for those that want to record HDTV. While HD-DVRs already allow consumers to record HDTV, the amount of HDTV programming that can be recorded and archived is limited by the size of the hard drive. Blu-ray recorders will offer a solution to this problem as they allow consumers to record the video to Blu-ray discs and then free up the hard drive. This should make them popular among people that want to archive a lot of their HDTV recordings. The Blu-ray recorders will also offer a lot of compelling new features not possible with a traditional VCR:

# Random access - instantly jump to any place on the disc
# Searching - quickly browse and preview recorded programs in real-time
# Create playlists - change the order of recorded programs and edit recorded video
# Simultaneous recording and playback of video (enables Time slip/Chasing playback)
# Automatically find an empty space to avoid recording over programs
# Improved picture - ability to record high-definition television (HDTV)
# Improved sound - ability to record surround sound (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc)

6.What about Blu-ray for PCs?

There are plans for BD-ROM (read-only), BD-R (recordable) and BD-RE (rewritable) drives for PCs, and with the support of the worlds two largest PC manufacturers, HP and Dell, it's very likely that the technology will be adopted as the next-generation optical disc format for PC data storage and replace technologies such as DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM.