11 September 2008

Blu-ray FAQ - GENERAL-2

1.What audio codecs will Blu-ray support?

Linear PCM (LPCM) - up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio. (mandatory)
Dolby Digital (DD) - format used for DVDs, 5.1-channel surround sound. (mandatory)
Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) - extension of Dolby Digital, 7.1-channel surround sound. (optional)
Dolby TrueHD - lossless encoding of up to 8 channels of audio. (optional)
DTS Digital Surround - format used for DVDs, 5.1-channel surround sound. (mandatory)
DTS-HD High Resolution Audio - extension of DTS, 7.1-channel surround sound. (optional)
DTS-HD Master Audio - lossless encoding of up to 8 channels of audio. (optional)

Please note that this simply means that Blu-ray players and recorders will have to support
playback of these audio codecs, it will still be up to the movie studios to decide which
audio codec(s) they use for their releases.

2.Will Blu-ray discs require a cartridge?

No, the development of new low cost hard-coating technologies has made the cartridge obsolete.
Blu-ray will instead rely on hard-coating for protection, which when applied will make the discs
even more resistant to scratches and fingerprints than today's DVDs, while still preserving the
same look and feel. Blu-ray also adopts a new error correction system which is more robust and
efficient than the one used for DVDs.

3.Will Blu-ray require an Internet connection?

No, you will not need an Internet connection for basic playback of Blu-ray movies. The Internet
connection will only be needed for value-added features such as downloading new extras, watching recent movie trailers, web browsing, etc. It will also be required to authorize managed copies of Blu-ray movies that can be transferred over a home network.

4.Will Blu-ray down-convert analog outputs?

No, Blu-ray players will not down-convert the analog output signal unless the video contains something called an Image Constraint Token (ICT). This feature is not part of the Blu-ray Disc spec,but of the AACS copy-protection system also adopted by HD-DVD. In the end it will be up to each movie studio to decide if they want to use this "feature" on their releases or not. The good news is that Sony, Disney, Fox, Paramount, MGM and Universal have already stated that they have no intention of using this feature. The other studios, which have yet to announce their plans, will most likely follow suit to avoid getting bad publicity. If any of the studios still decide to use ICT they will have to state this on the cover of their movies, so you should have no problem avoiding these titles.

5.Will Blu-ray support mandatory managed copy?

Yes, mandatory managed copy (MMC) will be part of the Blu-ray format. This feature will enable consumers to make legal copies of their Blu-ray movies that can be transferred over a home network. Please note that "mandatory" refers to the movies having to offer this capability, while it will be up to each hardware manufacturer to decide if they want to support this feature.

6.When will I be able to buy Blu-ray products?

If you live in the US or Canada you can already find Blu-ray players from Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Philips and Pioneer available in stores, as well as a growing selection of Blu-ray movies. We also expect to see Blu-ray players from LG and Sharp, as well as a second-generation Blu-ray player from Samsung introduced in the near future. The first Blu-ray hardware and software should also be available in many European countries now.

7.What will Blu-ray products cost?

As with any new technology the first generation of products will likely be quite expensive due to low production volumes. However, this shouldn't be a problem for long as there is a wide range of Blu-ray related products (players, recorders, drives, writers, media, etc) planned, which should help drive up production volumes and lower overall production costs. Once mass production of components for Blu-ray products begins the prices are expected to fall quickly.

According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, the overall cost of manufacturing Blu-ray Disc media will in the end be no more expensive than producing a DVD. The reduced injection molding costs (one molding machine instead of two, no birefringence problems) offset the additional cost of applying the cover layer and low cost hard-coat, while the techniques used for applying the recording layer remain the same. As production volumes increase the production costs should fall and eventually be comparable to DVDs.