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Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Blu-ray Disc format future plans outlined

The group of companies behind the Blu-ray Disc format outlined some of the future enhancements and additions it is planning for the format during a presentation in Tokyo on Tuesday and at briefings in the U.S. last week.

Taken together, these events have provided a clearer picture of the current state of the technology and its future direction. Blu-ray Disc is being positioned as a successor to DVD for high-definition content. DVDs don't have the storage capacity to accommodate an entire movie in high-definition format but Blu-ray Disc does.

The first part of the Blu-ray Disc format to be standardized was that for rewritable discs. The first version of the BD-RE format covers single-layer discs with 23G-byte, 25G-byte and 27G-byte capacities and dual-layer discs with 50G-byte capacity.

Version 1.0 of the BD-ROM physical format was approved in June this year and work is continuing on several other aspects of it, such as the codec that will be used for video compression.

The group is also looking at higher read/write speeds than the standard 36M bps. Its format roadmap calls for a 2X version of the write-once BD-R format to be approved in September this year and a 2X version of the BD-RE format to be approved in October.

A 4X version of BD-R is also tentatively scheduled for next year and the group said it is looking at 6X discs as a future technology. However, standing in the way of faster discs is more than just format finalization. Higher speeds demand stronger lasers and there is no word on when those may be available.

Also being looked at for the future is a quad-layer version of BD-R that will be able to hold around 100G bytes of data.

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