Nine companies including Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Thomson, LG Electronics, Hitachi, Sharp, Samsung Electronics, and Sony formed the founding group in 2002 that would introduce a superior high-definition digital optical storage medium that would render the Digital Versatile Disc both inferior and obsolete. They also formed the Blu-ray Disc Association in 2004.
Their efforts lead to the development of the Blu-ray Disc in 2005 and its public introduction in 2006. This optical storage medium has been positioned as the better option for storing and distributing large-sized and high-definition audio-video materials for home entertainment and high-definition and graphics-intensive video game titles.
Pros: The Advantages of Blu-ray Discs
What makes Blu-ray Discs superior to Digital Versatile Discs or DVDs and compact discs or CDs is the underlying reading and writing mechanism. The word “Blu-ray” represents the blue-to-violet laser light used to write and read the disc.
These discs are written and read using a 405-nanometer laser diode or laser light with a wavelength that falls under the “violet” portion of the visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum. Note that DVDs and CDs are written and read using laser light with wavelengths under the “red” portion of the visible light.
Violet light has a shorter wavelength than red light. Using it allows writing more data on a smaller surface. The data on the entire surface of the disc have a greater density. This is the reason why Blu-ray Discs have larger storage capacities than DVDs and CDs.
Below are the specific advantages of this digital optical data storage medium:
• Larger Storage Capacity: One of the advantages of Blu-ray is that its storage capacity is about five times larger than a DVD. Specific storage configurations start at 25 GB and expand further to 50 to 66 GB and 100 to 126 GB,
• Format and Layering: There are different specifications or configurations. A single-layer disc can store 25 GB while a dual-layer disc can store between 50 GB to 66 GB of data. The BXL format can store between 100 GB to 126 GB of data.
• High-Definition Video: Blu-ray was developed with home entertainment in mind. Advances in audio and video rendering have allowed producers to distribute TV series and movies at UHD 4K to 6K video quality.
• High-Definition Audio: It also supports high-definition audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. These formats provide a more immersive listening experience than the formats used in DVDs.
• Advanced Video Gaming: The large capacity of this digital optical storage medium has also made it an ideal physical medium for distributing video game titles for the PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
• Pros of Optical Storage: The other advantages of Blu-ray come from the key advantages of digital optical storage. These include convenience from its compact and thin physical profile and random access with an interactive menu.
Cons: The Disadvantages of Blu-ray Discs
Blu-ray discs remain a popular storage media for the physical distribution of movie titles and video game titles. They appeal to collectors and those individuals who want to have their purchased content stored in a physical medium.
However, because of advances in internet connection speed, digital downloads, cloud storage, and streaming have prevented the mass consumption of this digital optical storage medium. Physical media is not as popular as before.
Below are the specific disadvantages of this digital optical data storage medium:
• Relatively More Expensive: One of the disadvantages of Blu-ray is that it is more expensive than CDs, DVDs, and even digital alternatives. The price of these discs remains high because the demand is low.
• Limited Availability: Some TV series and movies, as well as video game titles, are not available on Blu-ray discs. These content or materials can be purchased and accessed online via online stores and streaming services.
• Cons of Optical Storage: Digital optical storage media are more prone to damage due to scratches, heat, and humidity than alternatives. Improper handling and storage can result in data losses and are not covered by warranties.
• Notable Compatibility Issues: Another disadvantage of Blu-ray discs is that they are readable or playable in compatible players or drivers. It is also important to note that most personal computers do not have Blu-ray drives.
• Pros of Other Storage Media: It is also not ideal for backup storage. External hard disk drives and the different types of solid-state drives such as SD cards and USB flash drives are more accessible, usable, practical, and affordable.
• Convenience of Streaming: Digital alternatives such as downloads, cloud storage, and on-demand streaming are more convenient nowadays because of better internet speeds and due to the fact that there is no need for physical storage.