An Introduction to Blu-Ray Discs

Blu-ray discs are the next generation of DVDs. While you may think Blu-ray discs are just for watching movies in higher quality video, the advantage of Blu-ray goes beyond movies.

The Advantage of Blu-Ray

The reason that Blu-ray DVDs are better quality for movies is because they hold a lot more data. More ones and zeros on the disc means more information can be used to reproduce the video and audio - resulting in higher resolution and viewing quality.

Blu-ray compatible read and write drives, however, can burn and read Blu-ray DVDs just like a regular DVD, except it can hold a lot more files, songs, videos, or whatever you are going to burn. While a common DVD can hold about 4.7 Gbytes of data, and dual layer DVDs could hold about twice that (8.7 Gbytes), Blu-ray discs can hold 25 Gbytes and dual layer Blu-ray discs hold 50 Gbytes. That means a dual-layer Blu-ray disc can hold about 9 hours of HD video and about 24 hours of standard definition video.

In addition to the much higher storage capacity, the other great advantage of Blu-ray discs is their durability. They have a special coating that helps prevent scratches and marks that degrade performance. This also helps Blu-ray discs be more stable over a long period of time.

And this is just the beginning. The pathway for Blu-ray discs predicts future capabilities of hundreds of Gbytes per disc.

What Does Blu-Ray Mean?

Blu-ray was developed by a consortium of manufacturers to meet the ever increasing needs of digital consumers and the onset of high definition video. The name for Blu-ray discs (abbreviated BD) came from combining the specific Blue Violet Laser technology used to read and write to the new discs and the general method known as Optical Ray used for all digital discs.

Just like DVDs and CDs, Blu-ray discs come in BD +/- R (one time recordable) and BD +/- RW (re-recordable) formats.

As described above, with more capacity and stability Blu-ray presents distinct advantages over conventional DVDs, so expect them to become the norm for digital discs. Fortunately, most Blu-ray drives and players are backward compatible with DVDs, so you can upgrade capability without turning all your current discs into coasters.

For a while, there were two formats of higher density digital discs – Blu-ray and HD DVDs. However, Blu-ray discs were superior, particularly in capacity, and HD discs were discontinued in 2008. Who knows how long optical discs will be around, but the future of high capacity discs looks like Blu-ray.


Updated 6/3/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff