The Blu-ray format is going to push forward the limits of current media substantially which allow you to enjoy a host of great benefits which include: •Improved Capacity,
•Enhanced Copy Protection, and
•Being Future Proof.
The most obvious benefit is the larger capacity. With 25gb/50gb to use, movie and game studios will be able to offer much more in terms of extra features and longer gameplay. Also many new DVD titles require 2 discs for added features whereas only one will be needed for Blu-ray which will lower the prices for you.
High-Definition (HD) video playback is perhaps the most useful aspect of the next-gen formats. As HD becomes more mainstream (Sky launched there HD offering recently and more households are buying HD ready TV’s) the ability for disc formats to support it is imperative. Blu-ray offers space for 2hrs/4hrs respectively of HD video (different encodings will allow more and less) with space for interactive features still available.
The enhanced interactivity features are another step forward compared to DVD. By incorporating the java platform (called BD-J), Blu-ray players can have dynamically changing interactive menu’s that can be updated via an internet connection built into the player. These updates can include extra subtitles tracks and promotional features not available at purchase. This could effectively eliminate the ‘special editions’ studios tend to use as users could simply download all the extra features they wanted though its not clear if this will be free.
The enhanced copy protection is one aspect you won’t notice as much but is very important. Blu-ray utilizes a variety of copy protection methods such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Advanced Access Content System (AACS). The DRM method used on Blu-ray is called BD+ which creates dynamically changing keys to protect the discs. This means that if a key is cracked only a select portion of the discs are compromised. The AACS can effectively disable players which are deemed ‘bad’. i.e. if copied discs are used frequently, the AACS could disable the player for the user and stop it working even if bought by someone else. The final copy protection which may affect you is the Mandatory Managed Copy System (MMCS) which limits users to a set number of copies of discs by making the user register the ‘right’ to copy the disc.
Finally the Blu-ray disc has been designed to be future proof. This means that by buying all the new equipment needed, you will not need an upgrade in the near future (5 yrs) as these next-gen formats evolve. Also TDK has announced work on a 200gb Blu-ray disc (6 x 33gb layers) which will future proof the format even more.
This is just an overview of the benefits that Blu-ray offers. There are many smaller improvements but the benefits listed above are the ones that you are most likely going to affect you.