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Blu-ray Disc (official abbreviation BD) is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the standard DVD format. Its main uses are for storing high-definition video, PlayStation 3 video games, and other data, with up to 25 GB per single-layered, and 50 GB per dual-layered disc. Although these numbers represent the standard storage for Blu-ray Disc drives, the specification is open-ended, with the upper theoretical storage limit left unclear. The discs have the same physical dimensions as standard DVDs and CDs.
The name Blu-ray Disc derives from the "blue laser" used to read the disc. While a standard DVD uses a 650 nanometer red laser, Blu-ray Disc uses a shorter wavelength 405 nm laser, and allows for over five times more data storage on single-layer and over ten times on double-layer Blu-ray Disc than a standard DVD. The laser color is called "blue," but is violet to the eye, and is very close to ultraviolet ("blacklight").
During the high definition optical disc format war, Blu-ray Disc competed with the HD DVD format. Toshiba, the main company that supported HD DVD, conceded in February 2008, and the format war came to an end. In late 2009, Toshiba released its own Blu-ray Disc player.
Blu-ray Disc was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association, a group representing makers of consumer electronics, computer hardware, and motion pictures. As of June 2009, more than 1,500 Blu-ray Disc titles were available in Australia and the United Kingdom, with 2,500 in the United States and Canada. In Japan as of July 2010 more than 3,300 titles were released.
Blu-Ray Discs can be clustered together in systems such as optical jukeboxes to increase data storage. This increase of storage can span multiple terabytes and utilize hundreds of Blu-Ray Discs. These systems are currently the largest storage units using Blu-Ray technology.
Below is a list of modern, digital-style resolutions (and traditional analog "TV lines per picture height" measurements) for various media. The list only includes popular formats.
Blu-Ray disks may hold video in different formats and dimensions.
- 352×576/480 (250 lines): Umatic, Betamax, VHS, Video8 (PAL/NTSC)
- 420×576/480 (300 lines): Super Betamax, Betacam (professional) (PAL/NTSC)
- 480×640/480 (480 lines): Analog Broadcast (PAL/NTSC)
- 590×576/480 (420 lines): LaserDisc, Super VHS, Hi8 (PAL/NTSC)
- 700×576/480 (500 lines): Extended Definition Beta (PAL/NTSC)
- 352×288/240 (250 lines at low-definition): Video CD (PAL/NTSC)
- 720×576/480 (500 lines): DVD, miniDV, Digital8 (PAL/NTSC)
- 720×576/480 (480 lines): Widescreen DVD (PAL/NTSC)
- 1280×720 (720 lines): Blu-ray Disc, D-VHS
- 1440×1080 (760 lines): miniHDV, D-VHS
- 1920×1080 (1080 lines): Blu-ray Disc
For video, all players are required to support MPEG-2 Part 2, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, and SMPTE VC-1. MPEG-2 is the codec used on regular DVDs, which allows backwards compatibility. MPEG-4 AVC was developed by MPEG, Sony, and VCEG. VC-1 is a codec that was mainly developed by Microsoft. BD-ROM titles with video must store video using one of the three mandatory codecs; multiple codecs on a single title are allowed.
The choice of codecs affects the producer's licensing/royalty costs as well as the title's maximum run time, due to differences in compression efficiency. Discs encoded in MPEG-2 video typically limit content producers to around two hours of high-definition content on a single-layer (25 GB) BD-ROM. The more-advanced video codecs (VC-1 and MPEG-4 AVC) typically achieve a video run time twice that of MPEG-2, with comparable quality.
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MPEG-2 was used by many studios (including Paramount Pictures, which initially used the VC-1 codec for HD DVD releases) for the first series of Blu-ray Discs, which were launched throughout 2006. Modern releases are now often encoded in either MPEG-4 AVC or VC-1, allowing film studios to place all content on one disc, reducing costs and improving ease of use. Using these codecs also frees a lot of space for storage of bonus content in HD (1080i/p), as opposed to the SD (480i/p) typically used for most titles. Some studios, such as Warner Bros., have released bonus content on discs encoded in a different codec than the main feature title. For example, the Blu-ray Disc release of Superman Returns uses VC-1 for the feature film and MPEG-2 for bonus content.
Today, Warner and other studios typically provide bonus content in the video codec that matches the feature.
For audio, BD-ROM players are required to support Dolby Digital (AC-3), DTS, and linear PCM. Players may optionally support Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio as well as lossless formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. BD-ROM titles must use one of the mandatory schemes for the primary soundtrack. A secondary audiotrack, if present, may use any of the mandatory or optional codecs.
Blu-ray Disc specifies the use of Universal Disk Format (UDF) 2.5 as a convergent friendly format for both PC and consumer electronics environments. It is used in latest specifications of BD-ROM, BD-RE and BD-R.
In the first BD-RE specification (defined in 2002), the BDFS (Blu-ray Disc File System) was used. The BD-RE 1.0 specification was defined mainly for broadcast recording of High Definition TV. The BDFS was replaced by UDF 2.5 in the second BD-RE specification in 2005, in order to enable interoperability among consumer electronics Blu-ray recorders and personal computer systems. This enabled PC recording and playback of BD-RE. BD-R can use UDF 2.5/2.6.
The Blu-ray Disc application (BDAV application) for recording of digital broadcasting has been developed as System Description Blu-ray Rewritable Disc Format part 3 Audio Visual Basic Specifications. The requirements related with file system have been specified in System Description Blu-ray Rewritable Disc Format part 2 File System Specifications version 1.0 (BDFS).
Initially, the BD-RE version 1.0 (BDFS) was specifically developed for recording of digital broadcasting using the Blu-ray Disc application (BDAV application). To support UDF, these requirements are superseded by the Blu-ray Rewritable Disc File System Specifications version 2.0 (UDF) (a.k.a. RE 2.0) and Blu-ray Recordable Disc File System Specifications version 1.0 (UDF) (a.k.a. R 1.0). Additionally, a new application format, BDMV (System Description Blu-ray Disc Prerecorded Format part 3 Audio Visual Basic Specifications) for High Definition Content Distribution was developed for BD-ROM. The only file system developed for BDMV is the System Description Blu-ray Read-Only Disc Format part 2 File System Specifications version 1.0 (UDF) which defines the requirements for UDF 2.5.
File recovery software can recover lost files from Blu-Ray disks of any format and crated by any vendor, including:
- Recover lost files from Blu-Ray disks from Anwell Technologies Limited
- CMC Magnetics
- Moser Baer
Blu-Ray file recovery software also supports video recovery of different other video mediums:
- VCD (video storage format developed in 1993)
- MovieCD (1995)
- DVD/DVD-Video (1995)
- MiniDVD (1995)
- CVD (1998)
- SVCD (1998)
- EVD (2003)
- XDCAM (2003)
- FVD (2005)
- UMD (2005)
- VMD (2006)
- HD DVD (2006)
- Blu-ray Disc (2006)
- HVD (2007)
- CBHD (2008)
- P2 (2004)
- SxS (2007)
- MOD (2005)
- AVCHD (2006)
- AVC-Intra (2006)
- TOD (2007)
- iFrame (2009)
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