The project was originally started by SONY and initially it faced competition from a similar format of optical disc called HD DVD which was initially more popular. But this changed when Playstation 3 was launched, since every PS3 unit also functioned as a Blu-ray Disc player. By January 2007, Blu-ray discs had outsold HD DVDs. Finally, by February 2008, Toshiba announced it was pulling its support for the HD DVD format, leaving Blu Ray as the ultimate victor.
The current optical discs, i.e., the DVDs and the CDs use a red and near infrared laser [650nm to 780nm] to read and write data, the Blu-ray Disc uses a blue (technically violet) laser [405nm] instead, hence the name Blu-ray.
Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit.
The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it’s possible to fit more data on the disc even though it’s the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB. Initially it was more prone to scratches than the normal DVD but with advances in the polymer technology this problem has also been solved.
Blu-ray is currently supported by more than 180 of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has broad support from the major movie studios as a successor to today’s DVD format. In fact, seven of the eight major movie studios (Disney , Fox , Warner , Paramount , Sony , Lionsgate and MGM) have released movies in the Blu-ray format and six of them are releasing their movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format.
For information about new and upcoming Blu-ray releases, as well as what movies are currently available in the Blu-ray format check out
After the Blu-ray disc manufacturers have eliminated the rival HD DVD format its prices are rising gradually these days. Since the Blu-ray format is being supported by almost every major Hollywood studio, it is bound to gain popularity in the upcoming years and together with its high-storage capacity it is correctly being termed as the next generation optical disc which will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.
Recently Samsung released a 100GB Blu-ray Disc which is a four-layer disc compared to the normal single layered 25GB disc.