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Blu-ray BD-R Writer

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This is a Wiki version of this thread: Created By DiGiTaL MoNkEY

General Information

What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray, or BD (short for Blu-ray Disc), is a new optical disc format capable of playing high-definition (HD) video and storing large amounts of data (up to 50 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc). The name Blu-ray is derived from the blue laser, which is used to read and write to Blu-ray discs. Compared to a red laser used to read DVDs, a blue laser allows for a much greater density of data to be stored on a disc. The developers of Blu-ray, The Blu-ray Disc Association, hope to make Blu-ray the next standard for consumer video playback, ultimately replacing DVDs.

Where does the name "Blu-ray" come from?

The name Blu-ray is derived from the blue-violet laser, which is used to read and write Blu-ray discs. DVDs and CDs, on the other hand, use a red laser to read and write discs. The shorter wavelength of a blue-violet laser is one of the factors that enables more data to be written in the same amount of space versus a red laser.

What are the advantages of Blu-ray?

There are two major advantages of Blu-ray over previous media such as CD and DVD. Blu-ray will allow playback of HD video providing a much greater display of clarity, sharpness, and detail on modern high-definition televisions than was ever possible from DVD media. Blu-ray will also provide the ability to store large amounts of data, much more than was previously possible on a CD or DVD.

Who developed the Blu-ray Disc format?

Blu-ray is backed by the Blu-ray Disc Association which has over 170 members, consisting of a number of leading electronic manufactures as well as movie and television production studios. Companies included are Apple, DELL, Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, TDK, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers and more. To see the entire list of supporters, visit

Where will Blu-ray discs be primarily used?

Blu-ray disc media will be used much like DVD discs are used today. Hollywood films and television shows will be distributed on Blu-ray discs providing HD quality video. Consumers will also be able to use other types of Blu-ray discs to record video, store data, and play music.

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 catalogue titles every month.

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

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 up-scaling 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.

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 colours 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.

What kind of equipment will I need to play back BD movies?

The first thing you will need is a BD capable player. No existing DVD player will be able to read a BD, and there is no software or hardware upgrade that can be performed to enable BD playback. Buying a new player is, therefore, the only choice if you want BD playback.

To get the best out of Blu-ray, you’ll will need a TV that is not only "HD Ready", but a TV that can fully resolve and display 1080p (720p and 1080i is fine). Your HD display should also have HDMI or DVI input that supports HDCP , as otherwise you may have issues getting the max resolution possible out of VGA or component connections but that is dependent on the HDTV you have.

If you try and connect you’re blu-ray player with a HDMI or DVI connection that does not support HDCP you may get a blank screen and the movie will not play at all. You can still play Blu-ray movies with a Component & VGA connection but your tv may not allow you to use the maximum resolution available for the content.

What Blu-ray Movies are Available Now?

EzyDVD has a nice selection of Blu-ray Movies that are available in Australia. This is the best source at the moment for Australia. Click Here For Listing

What Blu-ray Movies are Coming Soon?

From EzyDVD a listing Blu-ray movies "Coming Soon" to Australia Click Here

If you want to know what's coming out in the rest of the world, High-Def Digest has a massive listing of Blu-Ray titles.

Current Listing Of Released Blu-ray Content (Non Australian) Future Release Dates for Blu-ray Content (Non Australian)

Audio/Video Codec's

What video codec's will Blu-ray support?

  • MPEG-2 - Enhanced for HD, also used for playback of DVDs and HDTV recordings.
  • MPEG-4 AVC - Part of the MPEG-4 standard also known as H.264 (High Profile and Main Profile).
  • SMPTE VC-1 - A Standard based on Microsoft's Windows Media Video (WMV) technology.

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

What audio codec's 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)

It will still be up to the movie studios to decide which audio codec(s) they use for their releases.

Players & Profiles

What Profiles Are there? Why should I care?

Since Blu-Ray was released earlier than expected not all its features were finalised. Profile 2.0 is the final profile with a complete set of features, to be able to use all the special features (bonus material) for future movie releases its best to find a player that complies to this final specification. More details in the profile comparisons below.

Comparison, Profile 1.0 vs. Profile 1.1

There are several different hardware requirements , but it basically boils down to picture-in-picture functionality. All Blu-ray players up until this point have been Profile 1.0 and have lacked the secondary video and audio decoders necessary to play a smaller video in the corner while also playing the main high-def movie in the background. With the notable exception of the PlayStation 3, Profile 1.0 players cannot be upgraded via firmware to become Profile 1.1 players.

Because Profile 1.0 players lacked this functionality, movie studios have understandably not included picture-in-picture functionality on any current Blu-ray disc. According to High-Def Digest, Fox has announced that it will release its first Profile 1.1-enabled disc, Sunshine, in the first quarter of 2008. And as more Profile 1.1 players become available, we expect more Profile 1.1 discs to be released.

Comparison, Profile 1.1 vs. Profile 2.0

Despite Profile 1.1 also being known as Final Standard Profile, there's actually still another Blu-ray specification, Profile 2.0, also known as BD-Live. The major difference between profiles 1.1 and 2.0 is that Profile 2.0 requires the player has an Internet connection. Although some current Blu-ray players have an Ethernet port, these are strictly for firmware updates and can't be used to access downloadable content.

Should I wait for Profile 1.1 or 2.0?

Profile 1.1 players certainly don't make older Profile 1.0 players obsolete. While movie enthusiasts lust over special features and commentary tracks, many people are completely uninterested in investing even more time in a movie. If you already have a Profile 1.0 player, it should be able to play all the new Profile 1.1 discs without a problem -- you just won't be access to some of the special features. On the other hand, if you don't have a Blu-ray player yet and you have an interest in special features, then you'll need to wait for new Profile 1.1 players to become available in Australia -- Panasonic has just released a player called the DMP-BD30 in the States, but local availability is as-yet unknown.

The same logic applies to Profile 2.0 -- you don't need to wait unless you want to be able to access the Internet-enabled features on the new discs. If you're still nervous about your Blu-ray player becoming obsolete, the best bet is to go with a PlayStation 3.

The Best Player On the Market At The Moment?

Currently the best Blu-ray player in terms of price and future proofing is the Playstation 3 console. It may have some limitations with some advanced audio codec’s (see link below), if this is a issue you may want to look at some other players. Click here for a listing of features other Blu-ray Players compared to the Playstation 3.

The reasons why the Playstation 3 is favoured as the most popular Blu-ray player at the moment, that supports the final profile (2.0) and DTS-MA (via PCM), it also is the fastest loading Blu-ray player on the market and good multimedia capabilities as well as gaming it’s hard to pass up.

Update --DiGiTaL MoNkEY 7 December 2008 (EST)

Two new players (well priced) have been released over the past couple of months:

Sony BDP S350 Blu-ray Player

Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray Player

Both players are the cheapest models from each company, but both support BD-Live (Profile 2.0) and are almost identical to more expensive brothers.

Digital Connections

What is HDMI?

For information on HDMI, see

What is HDCP?

For information on HDCP, see

What is AACS?

Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is a standard for content distribution and digital rights management, intended to restrict access to and copying of the next generation of optical discs and DVDs. The specification was publicly released in April 2005 and the standard has been adopted as the access restriction scheme for Blu-ray Disc (BD).

If you’re looking for more specific details to what can do please check the wiki entry

What connections can I use?

When playing content from your blu-ray player these are the options you have:

  • HDMI = 1080p Output (Connection needs to be HDCP Certified)
  • DVI = 1080p Output (Connection needs to be HDCP Certified)
  • VGA = 1080p Output (Nothing needed, a flaw in the AACS System)*
  • Component = 1080i Output (Nothing Needed, AACS Restricts 1080P from Blu-ray media)
  • Please note, some HDTV only accept 1080i over VGA and not 1080p. I know some Sony Bravia LCD's have this issue.

Region Coding

Are There Region free Blu-ray movies?

Yes there is quite a few, it’s also expected that at least 85% or more Blu-ray released in 2008 will be region free. Below is a site that has a listing of what movies are region free. The listing is very accurate, but its best to confirm the region from the business you are buying from.

Can I Play Other Regions In My Blu-ray Player?

At the moment all Blu-ray Players are locked to the region from the country they’ve been purchased from. In the future there may be manufactures making region free players.

What Region codes are there for Blu-ray?

Region A Includes:

  • North America, Central America, South America, Japan, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.

Region B Includes:

  • Most of Europe, Greenland, French territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, plus all of Oceania.

Region C Includes:

  • India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mainland China, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Central, and South Asia.

PC Playback & Recording

Will Blu-ray be available for making my own discs?

Yes. Similar to DVD and CD formats, Blu-ray offers recordable and rewriteable variants called, BD-R and BD-RE, in addition to the pre-recorded format, BD-ROM.

BD-R is like CD-R or DVD±R. It can be burned only one time. BD-RE is rewriteable, just like CD-RW and DVD±RW. All types of information can be written to these two formats making them suitable for any type of data storage including video.

In addition, there is a 4th BD format called the Hybrid Disc. The Hybrid Disc is a single sided, triple layer disc which can hold 25 GB Blu-ray content and 8.5 GB standard def content all on one side of a disc. A 50 GB Blu-ray and 8.5 GB hybrid disc is currently in the works.

How Much Does a Blu-Ray ROM Costs?

You can buy a Blu-ray drive for your PC for under the $200 mark. All the players seen on the market also have all the features a DVD Burner has plus the added functionality of Blu-ray playback. Personally recommend the Pioneer BDC-S02 at the moment, great drive and a good price.

How Much Does a Blu-Ray Burner/Writer Cost?

You can pick-up a Blu-Ray burner/writer for under the $400 mark without much effort needed ; It burns DVD's as well. Personally recommend the Pioneer BDR-S02 at the moment, great drive and a good price.

How Much Does Blank Blu-Ray Media Cost?

Currently the costs are a bit high, but expect prices to fall over time as the format is more widely adopted. A 25GB Blu-ray disc can be purchased for $18 and a 50GB Blu-ray disc is available for $47 currently.

What do I need to playback Blu-Ray movies on my PC?

You need a Blu-Ray drive, you also need a HDCP compatible video card (Digital Connection), you need to use either a HDMI or DVI connection (both need to support HDCP). You also need to make sure that the display/monitor support HDCP otherwise the video won't play at full resolution or at all (dependant on the playback software you use).

What type of computer software is required to play BD movies?

As with traditional DVD, playback software is required to view BD movies on a computer. It can be purchased separately, as part of a larger package or bundled with a drive or recorder. Like consumer electronics (CE) players, various programs support different BD features and capabilities (BD-Video, BD-Live, audio codecs, etc.). Be aware that Internet access is necessary to periodically renew the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) encryption key required by commercial movies. As of Apr. 2007, CyberLink, InterVideo, ArcSoft and Nero offer playback software for PC systems but no Mac OS and Linux versions are yet available.

Can I Playback Blu-ray Movies without a HDCP certified monitor or video card?

Yes you can but not with a digital connection like DVI or HDMI if no HDCP support exists. You can use a VGA connection which is allowed because of a flaw is AACS (See Section 4.4), this may or may not be changed in the future.

To playback blu-ray content over a digital connection without HDCP you'll need to buy a software package called "AnyDVD HD" made by a company called Slysoft for the privilege, which allows you remove certain protections from the disc to allow you to play content on any type of interface. More details can be found on their web site:

Handy Links

Blu-ray Player Firmware Links

Information References

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