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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?

3.1 What is Blu-ray Disc?
Blu-ray Disc (BD) is an optical storage technology designed with capacity and performance sufficient to meet the demands and expectations of high definition (HD) movie distribution and personal video recording.

The same physical size and appearance as CD and DVD, BD operates using like principles whereby data is written to or read from a rotating disc by means of a focused laser light beam. However, whereas CD and DVD hold up to 700 MB and 8.5 GB respectively, BD stores as much as 50 GB. The increased capacity (areal density) of BD is achieved by employing smaller sized pits/marks and lands more tightly packed together to encode the data in the disc. These physical disc features can be read or written thanks to a smaller laser spot size created with a shorter blue wavelength laser focused through a larger numerical aperture objective lens (see figure 3.1). In part, higher performance comes by rotating the disc faster so that, whereas CD transfers 153,600 bytes of user data per second and DVD 1,385,000 bytes per second, BD transfers 4,495,625 bytes per second (see table).

As a movie platform, BD supports both standard (SD) and high definition (HD) video, the latest multi-channel audio technologies as well as more sophisticated navigation, elaborate visual and interaction possibilities than those employed in DVD. To deter unauthorized copying of commercial material, BD also incorporates more robust content management and protection mechanisms. Other personal and professional uses include computer data storage, archiving and software distribution as well as television broadcast and camcorder recording where up to 4 hrs (HD) or 24 hrs VHS-quality (SD) analog and digital material can be captured and edited.

BD/DVD/CD Comparison

Figure 3.1: CD, DVD, BD areal density comparison (source: Philips)

BD/DVD/CD Format Comparison

Characteristic BD BDXL BD9 DVD CD
Capacity 12 cm: 25 GB (SL),  50 GB (DL), 8 cm: 7.79 GB (SL), 15.58 GB (DL) 12 cm: 100 GB (TL), 128 GB (QL) 12 cm: 4.7 GB (SL),
8.5 GB (DL)
12 cm: 4.7 GB (SL), 8.5 GB (DL), 8 cm: 1.46 GB (SL), 2.66 GB (DL) 12 cm: 700 MB
8 cm: 185 MB
Wavelength (nm) 405 (blue) 405 (blue) 650 (red) 650 (red) 780 (infrared)
Numerical aperture (NA) 0.85 0.85 0.60 0.60 0.45
Substrate/cover thickness (mm) 0.1 (SL),
0.075 (DL)
0.057 (TL),
0.053 (QL)
0.6 0.6 1.2
Laser spot size (µm) 0.58 0.58 1.32 1.32 2.11
Track pitch (µm) 0.32 0.32 0.74 0.74 1.6
Minimum pit/mark length (µm) 0.149 0.112 (TL),
0.117 (QL)
0.44 0.4 (SL)
0.44 (DL)
Areal density (Gb/in2) 14.73   2.77 2.77 0.41
Channel bit rate (Mbps) 66.000 132.000 78.46875 26.15625 4.3218
User data rate (Mbps) 35.965 (data),
53.948 (2D movie),
71.93 (3D movie)
71.93 33.24 11.08 (data),
10.08 (video)
Reference velocity (m/s) 4.917 7.375 (TL),
7.690 (QL)
10.47 (SL),
11.52 (DL)
3.49 (SL),
3.84 (DL)
1.2 – 1.4
Modulation 17PP 17PP EFM+ (8/16) EFM+ (8/16) EFM (8/14)
Physical formats ROM, R, RE R, RE ROM ROM, ±R, ±RW, RAM, ±R DL, ±RW DL ROM, R, RW
Content protection AACS, BD+, ROM Mark AACS AACS, BD+, ROM Mark CSS, CPPM, CPRM, VCPS NA


3.2 Why the name Blu-ray Disc?
The name Blu-ray Disc describes its essential nature as an optical disc storage technology employing a 405 nm (blue) wavelength laser to read and write information. Its misspelling is adopted to make it distinctive for trademark protection. BD is the common abbreviation used to designate Blu-ray Disc.

Misspellings: Bluray, Blueray, Blue ray, Blue-ray, Bluewray, Blue wray, Blue-wray, Bluwray, Blu wray, Blu-wray, Blewray, Blew ray, Blew-ray, Blewwray, Blew wray, Blew-wray, Disk.

Incorrect abbreviations: BR, BRD, BW, BWD, BD-RW, BDRW, BDR, BD-WO, BDWO, BDROM, BD-9, BD-nine, BDnine, BDvideo, BDlive, Bonus View, BonusView.


3.3 What is the Blu-ray Disc Association?
All BD formats are created and supported by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), originally formed from the Blu-ray Disc Founders (BDF), an alliance of manufacturers initiated in 2002 by Hitachi, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Pioneer, Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony, and Thomson.

Generally speaking, membership in the BDA is open to any entity interested in developing, improving and supporting the Blu-ray Disc format. As of Aug. 2015, the BDA consisted of 95 members and is lead by its board of directors composed of representatives from Dolby, DTS, Hitachi, Intel, Philips Electronics, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric, Oracle, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony, Technicolor, Toshiba, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Entertainment. A variety of subordinate committees (see figure 3.2) are responsible for all technical matters (Joint Technical Committee), compliance issues (Compliance Committee), promotional activities (Global Promotion Committee) and legal dealings (Legal and Licensing Committee).

The BDA offers two classes of membership (Contributor and General), each with its own rights and obligations. Members pay annual fees of $3,000 (General), $20,000 (Contributor) or $50,000 (Contributor serving on the Board of Directors).

BDA Organization Chart

Figure 3.2: Blu-ray Disc Association Organization Chart

Blu-ray Disc Association History

Date Event
Feb. 19, 2002 Establishment of basic Blu-ray Disc specifications
May 20, 2002 Formation of Blu-ray Disc Founders (a voluntary coalition consisting of Hitachi, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric, Pioneer, Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony, and Thomson)
Mar. 15, 2004 Blu-ray Disc Founders charter effective date
Sept. 20, 2004 Incorporation of Blu-ray Disc Administration Corp.
(a California mutual benefit nonprofit corporation [under IRC 501(c)(6)])
Oct. 4, 2004 Blu-ray Disc Association charter effective date
(an unincorporated organization established within Blu-ray Disc Administration Corp.)
Apr. 5, 2007 Blu-ray Disc Administration Corp. merges with Blu-ray Disc Association and changes name to Blu-ray Disc Association

Blu-ray Disc Association Membership List (as of Aug. 2015)

Board of Directors (20): Dolby Laboratories, Inc., DTS, Inc., Hitachi, Ltd., Intel Corporation, Koninklijke Philips N.V., LG Electronics Inc., Microsoft Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Pioneer Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Technicolor, Toshiba Corp., Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Contributors (29): Almedio Inc., Alticast Corp., Auro Technologies NV, BluFocus, Inc, CESI Technology Co., Ltd., China Hualu Group Co., Ltd., Cinram Group Inc., Corel Corporation, CyberLink Corporation, Deluxe Digital Studios, Inc., Eclipse Data Technologies, Funai Electric Co., Ltd., Irdeto, Jargon Technologies LLC, Lionsgate Entertainment, LITE-ON IT Corporation, MediaTek Inc., Memory-Tech Corporation, NVIDIA, Pulstec Industrial Co., Ltd., Ritek Corporation, Scenarist, LLC, Silicon Image, Inc., sMedio, Inc., Sunext, Taiyo Yuden Co., Ltd., Testronic Laboratories, Verance Corporation, Videon Central.

General Members (46): Adobe Systems, Advanced Micro Devices, ArcSoft, Inc., Ashampoo GmbH & Co. KG, CMC Magnetics Corporation, D&M Holdings, Inc., Daikin Industries, Ltd., Dell, Inc., DivX, LLC, Emfasys Corporation, Falcon Technologies International, Folded Space, Fraunhofer IIS, Hewlett-Packard Company, HGST Japan, Ltd., IM Co., Ltd., Imagica Corp., Imation Corp., Info Source Digital Media (Zhongshan) Co. Ltd., JVC KENWOOD Corporation, Kaleidescape, Inc., Lauda Co., Ltd., Marvell International Ltd, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co., Ltd., MY EYE MEDIA LLC, NEC Personal Products, NHK Enterprises, Inc., OPPO Digital, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Pico House, Pixela Corporation, Pony Canyon Enterprise, Inc., Q-TEC, INC., Renesas Electronics Corporation, Seiko Epson Corp., Shenzhen Giec Electronics Co., LTD, Singulus Technologies AG, Sirius Pixels, STMicroelectronics International N.V., Toei Video Co., Ltd., Toho Company, Ltd., Toyo Recording Co., Ltd., UmeDisc Ltd., Vinpower Digital, Inc., ViXS Systems Inc., Yamaha Corporation.

Blu-ray Disc Association
10 Universal City Plaza, T-100
Universal City, CA 91608
Association web site:
Licensing web site:


3.4 What are some notable milestones in the life of BD?
Since its initial format announcement on Feb. 19, 2002 and market introduction in Apr. 2003, significant milestones in the life of BD include:

BD Format Highlights

Date Announcement/Event
19 Feb. 2002 Establishment of basic BD specifications
20 May 2002 Disclosure of BD-RE specifications
17 Feb. 2003 Start of licensing for BD-RE format
11 Aug. 2004 Approval of BD-ROM 1.0 physical specifications
1 Sept. 2004 MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1 added to BD-ROM specifications
27 Sept. 2004 DTS added to BD-ROM specifications
9 Aug. 2005 AACS, BD+ and ROM Mark added to BD-ROM specifications
26 Dec. 2005 Start of licensing for BD-R and BD-RE 2.0 formats
2 Jan. 2006 Approval of BD-ROM, BD-R and BD-RE specifications
17 Dec. 2009 Blu-ray 3D added to BD-ROM specifications
25 June 2010 Approval of BDXL specifications
18 Aug. 2014 BD-DSD added to BDXL specifications
12 May 2015 Ultra HD Blu-ray added to BD-ROM specifications
24 Aug. 2015 Start of licensing for Ultra HD Blu-ray format

BD Hardware Highlights

Release Date Model Manufacturer Accomplishment
Apr. 2003 BDZ-S77 Sony First BD CE recorder
July 2004 DMR-E700BD Panasonic First dual-layer BD CE recorder
Dec. 2004 BD-HD100 Sharp First BD CE recorder w/built-in HDD
June 2006 BD-P1000 Samsung First BD-Video CE player
Nov. 2006 PlayStation 3 (PS3) Sony First BD game console
Feb. 2007 BH100 LG First BD/HD DVD CE player
Aug. 2007 DZ-BD7H / DZ-BD70 Hitachi First BD camcorder
Nov. 2007 DMP-BD30 Panasonic First BONUSVIEW CE player
June 2009 DMP-B15 Panasonic First portable BD CE player
Sept. 2009 CY-BB1000D Panasonic First automotive BD CE player
Mar. 2010 BD-C6900 Samsung First Blu-ray 3D CE player
July 2010 BD-HDW700 / BD-HDW70 Sharp First BDXL CE recorder

BD Commercial Movie Highlights

Release Date Title Studio Accomplishment
June 2006 The Fifth Element Sony (SPE) First BD (MPEG-2)
Oct. 2006 Click Sony (SPE) First BD50
Oct. 2006 Firewall Warner Bros. First VC-1 encoded BD
Oct. 2006 Eight Below Disney/Buena Vista First AVC encoded BD
Oct. 2006 Legends of Jazz LRSmedia First Dolby TrueHD encoded BD
Nov. 2006 Mission Impossible III Paramount First day-and-date BD release with DVD
Nov. 2006 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 20th Century Fox First BD-J authored BD
Dec. 2006 The Descent Lions Gate First BD video commentary

Sony BDZ-S77

Figure 3.3: Released on Apr. 4, 2003 to the Japanese market, Sony’s BDZ-S77 was the world’s first Blu-ray Disc consumer electronics recorder. It was priced at ¥450,000 (roughly $5,000 US) and employed blank 23.3 GB BD-RE (rewritable) discs costing ¥3,500 each (roughly $40 US).