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The Authoritative Blu-ray Disc (BD) FAQ

Hugh Bennett

1. Updates and History

2. Author’s Notes

3. General Information

    3.1 What is Blu-ray Disc?
    3.2 Why the name Blu-ray Disc?
    3.3 What is the Blu-ray Disc Association?
    3.4 What are some notable milestones in the life of BD?

4. Physical, Logical and Application Specifications

    4.1 What specifications govern BD discs?
    4.2 What BD formats are available?
    4.3 What are hybrid discs?
    4.4 What file systems are used on BD discs?
    4.5 What is the BD-R/RE AV format?
    4.6 What is the BD-ROM AV format?
    4.7 What is a Total Hi Def disc?
    4.8 Are double-sided BD and BD/DVD Combo discs available?
    4.9 What is a BD9 disc?
    4.10 What are BD-Video, BD-Live, Blu-ray 3D and Ultra HD Blu-ray profiles?
    4.11 How do BD, HD DVD and DVD video formats and player requirements compare?
    4.12 What is the directory structure of a BD-ROM AV disc?
    4.13 What is the directory structure of a BD-R/RE AV disc?
    4.14 Can all BD players display BD-J content?
    4.15 How long does it take a BD player to load and execute BD-J content?

5. Copying Deterrents, Content Protection and User Management

    5.1 What is Regional Playback Control?
    5.2 Does Regional Playback Control apply to DVD-Video discs viewed on BD players?
    5.3 What is HDCP?

6. Hardware and Software

7. Device Connections and Interfaces

    7.1 What type of video outputs do consumer electronics BD video players offer?
    7.2 What issues are raised when playing commercial BD movies over analog and digital video connections?
    7.3 What is HDMI?

8. Recording and Reading Speed

    8.1 How fast are BD discs written and read?
    8.2 What rotational schemes do BD discs employ?
    8.3 How much time does it take to write a BD-R and BD-RE disc?
    8.4 How might reading and writing speeds progress in the future?
    8.5 Can writable BD discs recorded at different speeds be read back at any speed?

9. Disc Capacity

    9.1 What capacities of BD discs are available?
    9.2 How much information can actually be stored on a BD disc? 
    9.3 How far might BD disc capacity increase in the future?

10. Compatibility

    10.1 Are BD devices compatible with CDs and DVDs?
    10.2 Are Professional Disc and UDO formats compatible with BD?
    10.3 Can all BD recorders write single and dual-layer discs?
    10.4 Can all BD-R recorders write BD-R discs in all recording modes?
    10.5 Does a writable BD disc contain information about its manufacture?
    10.6 What computer operating system is required to play BD movies?
    10.7 What type of computer software is required to play BD movies?
    10.8 How much computer system memory is required to play BD movies?
    10.9 What type of computer CPU is required to play BD movies?
    10.10 What type of graphics card is required to play BD movies?
    10.11 What firmware updates are available for BD players, drives and recorders?
    10.12 Are HD DVD and BD compatible with each other?
    10.13 Are Blu-ray 3D discs compatible with all types of BD players?

11. Duplication, Replication and Publishing

12. Disc Labeling

13. Disc Longevity, Handling, Storage and Disposal

    13.1 How many times can a BD-RE disc be rewritten?
    13.2 How long will data on a BD disc remain readable?
    13.3 What is the best way to handle and store a BD disc?

14. Disc Construction and Manufacturing

    14.1 How is a BD-ROM disc constructed?
    14.2 How is a BD-R disc constructed?
    14.3 How is a BD-RE disc constructed?
    14.4 What is the purpose of the hard coat on a BD disc?
    14.5 What are the weights and physical dimensions of BD discs?

15. Testing and Verification

16. Intellectual Property and Legal Matters

    16.1 Who owns the name Blu-ray Disc and its logo?
    16.2 Who claims and who administers BD patent rights?
    16.3 What licensing obligations exist when duplicating and distributing content on writable BD discs?
    16.4 What licensing obligations exist when replicating and distributing content on prerecorded BD discs?

17. Industry Support, Prices and Availability

    17.1. What companies create and support BD formats?
    17.2 What movie and music studios support BD?
    17.3 How much do consumer electronics BD players cost?
    17.4 How much do BD computer recorders cost?
    17.5 How much do BD consumer electronics recorders cost?
    17.6 How much do commercial BD movie titles cost?
    17.7 How much do blank BD discs cost?
    17.8 How much do BD game consoles cost?
    17.9 How much do BD duplication and publishing systems cost?
    17.10 How much do printable BD-R discs cost?
    17.11 How much do BD-ROM and BD Combo drives cost?
    17.12 What companies manufacture BD-ROM discs?
    17.13 What companies provide BD testing and verification services?
    17.14 How much do BD camcorders cost?
    17.15 How much do BD Home Theaters in a Box and Sound Bars cost?
    17.16 How much does BD video authoring software cost?
    17.17 How much does BD computer video player software cost?
    17.18 How much do computers equipped with BD drives cost?
    17.19 How much do BD video encoders and transcoders cost?
    17.20 How much do BD disc changes and home entertainment servers cost?
    17.21 How much do BD data storage and archiving jukeboxes cost?
    17.22 How much do TV/BD player combos cost?
    17.23 How much do portable BD players cost?
    17.24 How much do BD Network-Attached Storage devices cost?
    17.25 How much do BD audio encoders cost?
    17.26 What companies offer BD quality assurance and quality control services?
    17.27 How much do BD professional video recorders cost?

18. References, Suggested Readings and Resources

    18.1 Articles and Columns
    18.2 Reviews
    18.3 Technical and White Papers
    18.4 Presentations
    18.5 Books
    18.6 Specifications, Standards, and Government Regulations
        18.6.1 Disc Formats
        18.6.2 Testing
        18.6.3 File Systems
        18.6.4 Content Protection
        18.6.5 Disc Longevity, Storage, and Handling
        18.6.6 Disc Destruction
        18.6.7 Video and Audio Interfaces
        18.6.8 Device Interfaces
        18.6.9 Device Compatibility
        18.6.10 Mastering
        18.6.11 Audio Coding
        18.6.12 Video Coding, Systems and Sources
        18.6.13 License Agreements, Identification and Logo Guidelines
        18.6.14 Character Encoding
        18.6.15 Programming and Interactivity
    18.7 Licensing, Specifications, and Standards Organizations
    18.8 High-Definition and Digital Television Information
    18.9 BD-J/BD-Live Developer Communities and Organizations
    18.10 Anti-Piracy Education, Investigation and Compliance Organizations

19. Glossary, Acronyms, Abbreviations and Units of Measure

    19.1 What do common BD and related acronyms and abbreviations stand for?

The Authoritative Blu-ray Disc (BD) FAQ

Hugh Bennett

Information contained in this document has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The author does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of such information. Responsibility for the use of the contents shall remain with the user and not with the author.

Copyright © Hugh Bennett, 2006-2016. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, distributed or stored in any form by any means without express written permission of the author. Framing, inlining or similar techniques are strictly prohibited.

Trademark Notice
"Blu-ray Disc," "AVCREC," "BONUSVIEW," "BD-Live," "Blu-ray 3D," “BDXL,” “Ultra HD Blu-ray” and their logos are trademarks of the Blu-ray Disc Association. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About the Author
Hugh Bennett is president of Forget Me Not Information Systems, an optical storage reseller, systems integrator and consultant based in London, Ontario, Canada. An internationally respected industry analyst, researcher, author and educator, Hugh is also publisher and editor-in-chief of Hugh’s News in addition to a contributing editor and columnist for EMediaLive and EventDV magazine. A past contributing editor and columnist for CD-ROM Professional, EMedia Professional and TapeDisc Business, Hugh has authored numerous white papers, studies and educational campaigns. Among them, The Authoritative Blu-ray Disc (BD) FAQ and The Authoritative HD DVD FAQ, available on Hugh’s News, as well as  Understanding CD-R & CD-RW and Understanding Recordable & Rewritable DVD, published by the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA).

Contact: Hugh Bennett