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Blue Ray Media Technology

posted 17 Oct 2010, 07:05 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 17 Oct 2010, 07:06 ]

Since the inception of the home consumer electronics
industry, nearly every major update or new iteration of an
existing technology has been accompanied by at least some
type of format war, to some degree of severity or another.
When Sony's Betamax ruled the home video market after its
release in 1975, it was soon after challenged - and later
usurped - by the VHS format introduced by JVC. Years later,
in order to avoid another costly format war, Phillips and
Sony both abandoned their initial plans for a video disk
format - CDi - and instead collaborated on what would
eventually become DVD.

Later, DVD's position on the video rental market was
challenged by Circuit City's ill-fated attempt at replacing
them with DIVX - disks that, in spite of one's ownership,
still required a small fee paid via an internet phone line
connection to activate for viewing. By the late 90s, a large
number of various file formats for video data struggled for
domination, but given the sheer number of formats and
selective compatibility of many popular media programs,
incompatibility issues plagued each format with equal
severity. And for the past ten years or so, satellite cable
has been at odds against increasingly popular digital cable
packages. This trend is a natural consequence of the free
market and has persisted in any industry as long as there
have been multiple variations of a similar technology or
product offered by more than one source.

After a long period of cooperation between companies in
developing next-gen formats to avoid costly and destructive
format wars - most notably the universal standards developed
for DVD, HDTV, and Wi-Fi - the ceasefire had ended. This
applies for the blue ray media as well since they play a
huge role in the world of blank media these days. Recently
has been one of the most drawn out and enduring format wars
of attrition since the contention between Betamax and VHS,
between the next generation of high definition optical disk
formats - Blu Ray disk, and HD DVD - from which Blu Ray
disks have emerged victorious.

Both formats emerged between 2000 and 2002, each offering
high definition video and audio and storage capacity that
far surpassed their mutual predecessor, DVD, while still
maintaining the exact physical definitions and ease of use
that consumers had gotten used to. Though each format
maintained the same physical dimensions that consumers were
familiar with - 12cm diameter discs almost identical in
appearance to DVDs and CDs - the exact manner in which data
was stored on the discs and read by hardware differed
drastically, making them entirely incompatible.

Each format was soon supported by an alliance of software
and hardware developers, as well as production studios. Most
notable perhaps was HD DVD's adoption by Microsoft and Blu
Ray's sponsorship by Sony, firmly integrating the format war
into the high-profile competition in the home videogame
console market, with Microsoft's X-box 360 arming itself
with HD DVD and Sony's Playstation 3 with Blu Ray. The
decisive factors between Blu Ray's eventual victory was the
shift of support by major production studios, and Sony's
decision to directly incorporate Blu Ray technology as the
standard for their PS3 - as opposed to the X-box 360's
requirement of an addition peripheral to play HD DVDs.
Because Blu Ray was now used as Sony's format for games as
well as movies, PS3s alone outsold HD DVD players almost 10
to 1 - including both the X-box 360 peripheral and
standalone units. Shortly thereafter, HD DVD's primary
supporter, Toshiba, announced its abandonment of the format
in 2008, cementing the victory of the Blu Ray disk.

About the Author:

By Paul Wise who often uses blue ray media and therefore