Blu-ray disc

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Storage medium
Blu-ray disc
Blu-Ray Logo.svg
Type optical storage medium
capacity 25  GB (single layer),
50 GB (dual layer),
100/128 GB (BDXL; 3 or 4 layers),
under laboratory conditions up to 500  GB (20 layers)
lifespan 30 to 50 years (industry information)
size Diameter 12 cm / 8 cm
use Data storage ,
high definition movies,
video games,
high definition music
developer Blu-ray Disc Association (2002)
predecessor DVD
successor AD , Ultra HD Blu-ray
A Blu-ray Disc (bottom)

The Blu-ray Disc (abbreviated BD ; colloquial abbreviation Blu-ray ) is a digital optical storage medium . It was developed as a high-definition successor to DVD and offers a significantly higher data rate and storage capacity than its predecessor. Films and music (pure audio) can therefore be stored on Blu-rays with a significantly higher resolution. Blu-ray disc players (colloquial abbreviation: Blu-ray players ) are usually backwards compatible with DVDs so that they can also be played. In the format war, BD prevailed over its competitors HD DVD and VMD . The production and further development of the competing HD DVD technology - including the devices - was discontinued in March 2008.

origin of the name

The name Blu-ray Disc is of English origin. Blue ray literally means blue ray, which refers to the violet light beam of the laser used (405  nm ). The spelling without an e in the name was chosen so that it could be entered as a distinctive brand name.


The specifications for the Blu-ray Disc were decided on February 19, 2002 by the nine companies in the Blu-ray Group - Panasonic , Pioneer , Philips , Sony , Thomson , LG Electronics , Hitachi , Sharp and Samsung ; this grouping joined at the end of January 2004 Dell and Hewlett-Packard and in mid-March 2005 Apple and Acer . After some of the suggestions for improvement brought in by Hewlett-Packard had been rejected, HP left the consortium in 2005 and switched to the HD-DVD warehouse. The end of the competition between the Blu-ray Disc and the HD DVD began on February 19, 2008, when Toshiba, the most important HD DVD developer, announced the discontinuation of the further development of the competing format.

In 2009, 450,000 BD players were sold in Germany, which corresponds to an increase of 150% compared to 2008. From 2010, some film titles were offered with a DVD and a Blu-ray in a set (DVD / Blu-ray bundle). Likewise, some editions of new 3D Blu-ray titles are linked to the purchase of a 3D Blu-ray player and / or 3D television, so that these are only available exclusively in combination for the time being (for example " The Chronicles of Narnia III" ).

In 2011, Blu-ray Discs generated sales of 806.80 million euros in Europe. In 2012, 11.55 million people in Germany had a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player. In February 2019, Samsung stopped manufacturing the players after the sharp decline in DVD and Blu-ray sales continued in 2018 as a result of video-on-demand and streaming.

Distribution of video compression
in around 2,717 Blu-ray titles 2007–2011
Codec percent
H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
VC-1 (WMV3)
Spread of audio data compression
on around 3,371 audio tracks on Blu-ray titles 2007–2011
Codec percent
DTS-HD Master A.
Dolby TrueHD
Linear PCM
Dolby Digital (AC-3)
DTS-HD HighRes
Number of picture carriers sold in Germany
(in millions)
year DVDs Blu-ray
1999 002.1 - 39.8
2000 008.2 35.8
2001 018.9 31.7
2002 035.5 28.6
2003 064.1 20.8
2004 090.2 13.0
2005 098.7 05.6
2006 100.8 02.0
2007 103.3 00.372 00.13 00.8
2008 101.3 01.7 00.5 00.2
2009 106.6 06.2 00.1 (HD-DVD + VHS)
2010 103.5 12.0 k. A.
2011 101.1 17.2
2012 089.4 23.1
2013 087.8 29.3
2014 076.9 27.9
2015 071.5 28.8
2016 060.4 26.3
2017 053.0 26.2

In 2010, around 2.9 million feature film or series products with an unlimited right of use (so-called electronic sell-through , EST ) were purchased from the Internet by downloading.
Source: Bundesverband Audiovisuelle Medien e. V.

Turnover of image carriers sold in Germany (video purchase market, in € million)
year DVDs Blu-ray
1999 0042 - 478
2000 0170 423
2001 0407 383
2002 0713 328
2003 1053 199
2004 1323 117
2005 1322 044
2006 1295 012
2007 1313 00
2008 1242 048 00
2009 1258 119 00
2010 1189 193 001
2011 1129 267 k. A.
2012 1022 343
2013 0984 410
2014 0899 405
2015 0829 418
2016 0715 391
2017 0610 364

Source: Bundesverband Audiovisuelle Medien e. V.

Samsung announced in February 2019 that it would no longer produce any new Blu-ray players. This should apply to both HD and 4K models. Possible reasons for this could be the ever better availability of content via streaming services , as well as the continuing increase in sales of DVDs.


Blu-ray Discs LM-BRM50 from Panasonic. Dual-layer BD-RE discs with 50 GB capacity embedded in a cartridge .

The Blu-ray Disc is available in three versions: as read - only BD-ROM (comparable to DVD-ROM ), as a write- once version BD-R (comparable to DVD ± R ) and as rewritable BD-RE (comparable to DVD ± RW ).

The Blu-ray Disc is based on a deep-violet indium - diode laser with 405 nm wavelength , the rewritable Blu-ray disc uses the phase-change technology .

Like CD and DVD, it has a diameter of 12 cm. A Blu-ray Disc holds up to 25 GB of data with one layer  and up to 50 GB with two layers. Alternative sources give the gross capacity 21.7 GB.

In March 2013, BDs in sizes 25, 50 and 100 GB were available in stores.

TDK has succeeded in accommodating 200 GB on a six-layer disk, with the capacity of one layer increased to 33.3 GB. Pioneer announced in July 2008 that it had prototyped 400 GB on a 16-layer disk; A market-ready version was planned to be developed by 2010. Instead, the BDXL with 100 GB of storage was published in 2010. The company also announced versions with up to 1 TB storage capacity for 2013, but this could not be met. Sony and Panasonic have meanwhile developed the Archival Disc that made that project a reality.

Furthermore, the new phase change technology should enable twice as high a transmission rate ( data transfer rate ) of 72 Mbit / s when writing instead of the originally specified maximum simple 36 Mbit / s. An important part of the specification is copy protection in the form of a unique identification number. In addition, Blu-ray discs are particularly suitable for full HD videos, which thanks to their high resolution offer better quality than the PAL and NTSC systems, but also require correspondingly more storage space. BD players usually support the high definition AVCHD format first introduced by Panasonic and Sony .

The total data rate of Blu-ray video discs is limited to 53.95 Mbit / s. Of this, 40.00 Mbit / s is reserved for the pure video stream (in the form of MPEG-2 , VC-1 and AVC ), the remaining 13.95 Mbit / s for the sound tracks (in the form of Dolby Digital , Dolby Digital Plus , Dolby TrueHD , DTS , DTS-HD High Resolution Audio , DTS-HD Master Audio and Linear- PCM ).

Panasonic BDP100 BD player

Another innovation compared to the DVD is the reduced distance between the laser and the data carrier and the shorter wavelength (or different color) of the laser beam. Furthermore, the protective layer on the laser side is significantly thinner at 0.1 mm compared to 0.6 mm on the DVD. Due to the resulting greater susceptibility to scratches and dust, it was initially planned to offer the Blu-ray Disc only in a type of cassette (called a plug-in module or cartridge), similar to the MiniDisc at the time . Instead, however, a coating called " Durabis " was developed, which no longer makes the use of a cassette housing absolutely necessary.

Type Wavelength
Numerical aperture
laser spot diameter
Track spacing
Sectional drawing of the
beam geometry
CD Wavelength: 780 nm
Numerical aperture: 0.45
Spot diameter: 2.1 µm Track
spacing: 1.6 µm
DVD Wavelength: 650 nm
Numerical aperture: 0.6
Spot diameter: 1.3 µm Track
spacing: 0.74 µm
Blu-ray Wavelength: 405 nm
Numerical aperture: 0.85
Spot diameter: 0.6 µm Track
spacing: 0.32 µm
Blu-ray disc

The significantly higher data density and thus increased storage capacity is achieved through the following measures:

  • the smaller wavelength of the laser beam compared to DVD: 405 nm compared to 650 nm (DVD) and 780 nm (CD): The minimum possible focus diameter is proportional to the wavelength. The development was only possible with the availability of such short-wave, inexpensive laser diodes.
  • the higher numerical aperture (NA) of 0.85 compared to other optical drives , which can only be achieved with aspherical high-precision lenses: the higher the NA, the smaller the focus and the greater the solid angle the beam path to and from the data layer encompasses. The distance between the medium and the laser optics must be smaller, the protective layer is thinner. Thus, writing error and greater scattering will be reduced and it is possible to a Blu-ray Disc, for example, from metal or other stable , opaque materials combined with a thin transparent support layer to build, with considerably higher speeds than a disc of polycarbonate can be operated , which then results in higher transfer rates.

Technical data of the Sony SLD3237VF BDXL laser diode (exemplary):

  • Diameter: 3.8 mm
  • Optical output power: max. 200 mW ( CW ), max. 400 mW (pulsed, pulse length 30 ns at 50% duty cycle)
  • Operating temperature range: 0–85 ° C

Values ​​at 25 ° C:

Video resolution on video players

Any content on a BD-ROM can be used. For playback on a Blu-ray video player (not a computer drive), the maximum resolution of the video material on the Blu-ray Disc may be 1920 × 1080 pixels at a maximum of 59.94 fields per second (interlace method ( i )). In the full-screen process ( p ) a maximum of 24 images per second can be achieved with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, and up to 59.94 images per second with 1280 × 720 pixels.

resolution Frame rate Aspect ratio
1920 × 1080 59.94i 16: 9
1920 × 1080 50i 16: 9
1920 × 1080 24p 16: 9
1920 × 1080 23.976p 16: 9
1440 × 1080 59.94i 16: 9 ( anamorphic )
1440 × 1080 50i 16: 9 (anamorphic)
1440 × 1080 24p 16: 9 (anamorphic)
1440 × 1080 23.976p 16: 9 (anamorphic)
1280 × 0720 59.94p 16: 9
1280 × 0720 50p 16: 9
1280 × 0720 24p 16: 9
1280 × 0720 23.976p 16: 9
0720 × 0480 59.94i 4: 3/16: 9 (anamorphic)
0720 × 0576 50i 4: 3/16: 9 (anamorphic)

copy protection

For the Blu-ray Disc, as for the HD DVD, the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) copy protection from the area of digital rights management is provided. There are programs that are illegal to sell in Germany that circumvent this copy protection. Since around 2010, some Blu-ray discs contain the Cinavia watermark in the sound track . Since February 1, 2012, all Blu-ray players sold must recognize this and switch off the sound or the picture after around 10 minutes. The use of VEIL copy protection was considered in 2006. In addition, BD + technology is used to check authorized playback and for decryption. Since BD + is constantly being developed, continuous updates of the player are necessary. At the moment, all copy protection measures of Blu-ray Discs, even though circumventing them is a criminal offense, are considered to have been nullified.



The largest producers of pre- recorded Blu-ray discs are Bertelsmann , Arvato , Cinram , Sony and Technicolor . The German specialist systems manufacturer Singulus Technologies manufactures automated Blu-ray production systems .

Playback devices

The PlayStation 3 has a BD drive.

BD players may a. Produced by Denon , Daewoo , Funai , JVC , Kenwood , Lite-On , LG , Loewe , Marantz , Mitsubishi , Panasonic , Philips , Pioneer , Sharp , Sony, Samsung , Onkyo , Oppo , Toshiba and Yamaha . However, both Oppo and Samsung announced at the beginning of 2019 that they would stop producing BD players.

Sony's PlayStation 3 game console also has a BD drive. In addition to games, it can also play films of this format. The new Blu-ray Disc Standard 2.0 is now also possible thanks to a firmware update on the console, which, according to the manufacturer, makes the PlayStation 3 the first BD player to support this standard at all.

The PlayStation 4 , the successor to the PlayStation 3, is also able to play Blu-rays. The Xbox One , which was released at the end of 2013, also has a BD drive, the newer models Xbox One S and Xbox One X already have an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive.

Since 2011, 3D-capable Blu-ray players have also been increasingly produced.


The first recording device available outside of Japan is the Panasonic DMR-BW500, which is sold in Australia and France, where HDTV is broadcast via DVB variants. The French version allows the device-internal recording of the French television program on the built-in 500 GB hard disk, as well as after transcoding / compression, which can be received via two receivers specially designed for the " TNT HD system" (a system based on DVB-T ) Blu-ray discs and DVDs. It is also possible to copy DV videos. Blu-ray recorders available for the Japanese market cannot be used in Europe because they are broadcast there using ISDB , the copy protection Copy Once and the mains voltage . The first Blu-ray recorders with an integrated double HDTV satellite receiver and the ability to receive HD + reception have been announced for Germany in spring 2010 .

Computer drives

External Blu-ray disc writer from LG Electronics

In addition to Blu-ray video players and recorders, many manufacturers also offer PC drives. There are read-only drives, combination drives consisting of CD / DVD burners and BD read drives, and Blu-ray burners for writing to BD-R and BD-RE blanks. Like DVD burners, the latter can be used both for storing data and for creating video BDs, which is of particular interest to owners of HD video cameras . Blu-ray discs that you have created yourself can now be played by most current Blu-ray players, provided the more compatible BDMV format (with start menu) is used - BDAV, the second format for end users, which only contains the video data without a menu not read properly by some devices.

Some BD drives can also play HD DVDs in addition to Blu-ray Disc.

Film studios

All major film studios such as 20th Century Fox , Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer , Sony Pictures Entertainment , Paramount , Universal Studios , The Walt Disney Company , Warner Bros. and Constantin Film release HD films on Blu-ray Disc.

Interactive application layer

Panasonic Blu-ray Disc. Single-layer disc with 25 GB capacity without cartridge (2005).
Blank Blu-ray Disc from Sony with 200 GB capacity (2008).

As part of the Blu-ray Disc specification, an interactive application layer is also defined which, among other things, is intended to replace the previous DVD menu. This application layer is called BD-J and is programmed in a variant of Java that is based on a modification of the Multimedia Home Platform or GEM specification (Globally Executable MHP). With it it is possible to integrate interactive applications such as interactive films (choice of one of several storylines or film endings), overlays, games, web offers or additional multimedia information.

Data rate

The specification "1 ×" corresponds to a data rate of 36 Mbit / s. The data is read about four times as fast as a DVD with the same rotation speed (once). Drives for use in film players are operated at up to 1.6 times this speed, i.e. 54 Mbit / s, whereby the maximum data rate of a content stream including all camera perspectives and sound tracks is limited to this value. The AV bit rate is limited to 48 Mbit / s. Drives for computer use (or for later game consoles ), however, already manage 8 times the speed (i.e. 288 Mbit / s; approx. 36 MB / s).

Recording speed

Data rate Write time for a Blu-ray Disc
(in minutes in CLV mode)
Mbit / s MByte / s Single layer Dual layer
1 × 036 04.5 90, 000 180, 00
2 × 072 09, 0 45, 000 090, 00
4 × 144 18th, 0 22.500 045, 00
6 × 216 27, 0 15th, 000 030th, 00
8 × 288 36, 0 11.250 022.50
12 × 432 54, 0 07.500 015th, 00
16 × 576 72, 0 05.625 011.25


Professional discs

  • Professional Disc for Data (PDD): professional version from Sony with more robust processing and a different file system; available in Japan since May 2004, discontinued in 2006.
  • Professional Disc for Broadcast (PDB): professional version from Sony with more robust processing and a different file system, is used in XDCAM camcorders and recorders as a video and sound recording medium for the MPEG2-IMX format.

These variants do not correspond to the products for consumers. They are intended exclusively for professional use and were only produced in small numbers.

Stereoscopic variant (3D)

Blu-ray 3D logo

In December 2009, the Blu-ray Disc Association published a specification for stereoscopic videos that uses the MPEG-4 MVC standard, an extension of the MPEG-4 AVC standard that is already in use . Playback of corresponding 3D Blu-ray discs is also possible monoscopically on previous players that do not support stereoscopic video output.

UHD successor

A successor standard has been specified for Ultra HD films, see Ultra HD Blu-ray . However, stereoscopic videos are no longer supported in the new format.

Small formats

In addition to the 12 cm diameter Blu-ray Disc, there is also an 8 cm Blu-ray Disc. The 8 cm version can store 7.5 GB as a single-layer BD-RE or BD-R. This reduced size is intended to be used in small cameras, among other things, and is currently used by Hitachi's DZ-BD7H and DZ-BD70.

The Mini-Blu-ray Disc is a red laser-based DVD with Blu-ray data structure and content, which is why the name BD-9 is also used, a mixture of BD (for Blu-ray Disc) and DVD-9 . These discs are aimed at the normal user who does not yet have a Blu-ray burner but already wants to play his films with a Blu-ray player. Although the disks have the same data structure, they cannot yet be provided with AACS encryption. The disks should rotate at least three times the speed to achieve a data rate of 30.24 Mbit / s, which is why they are not played back properly by many Blu-ray players (which are usually only designed for single speed).

Blu-ray small formats or versions with a special design, such as star, saw blade or heart shape, cannot be used with slot-in drives such as those built into the PlayStation 3 (large and slim version) . The use with a super slim version of the PlayStation 3 is again possible, since a top loader is used here instead of a slot-in drive.

As a medium for video and computer games

Blu-rays also serve as a storage medium for both video and computer games . The game consoles PlayStation 3 , PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have a Blu-ray drive and can use it to read films and games from Blu-ray discs. Nintendo's Wii U uses a special Blu-Ray format that does not allow you to play films or use double-layered media. Blu-ray discs as a medium for games are used on the one hand because of the higher memory requirements for high-quality textures and game graphics, but they also serve as indirect copy protection, since until the mass market of Blu-ray burners and blanks, illegal copying by home users only in can happen on a small scale. The Blu-ray can also be used for games in the PC sector, but has so far only been used by a few providers.

Player profiles

The Blu-ray specifications contain requirements for playback devices, which are summarized in so-called profiles.

profile Surname conditions
1.0 Initial The profile defined when the Blu-ray Disc was presented. Secondary audio and video decoders are optional, as are local permanent storage and network connectivity.
1.1 Bonus view The newer profile with the necessary secondary audio and video decoder for picture-in-picture. At least 256 MB of local permanent storage is required.
2.0 BD-Live BD-Live requires at least two secondary decoders, 1 GB of local permanent storage for updates and content, and an Internet connection.
3.0 BD audio an additional profile for pure BD-Audio players , free of all video and BD-J requirements
4.0 was dropped
5.0 BD3D Supports stereoscopic 3D content. The maximum data rate increases from 48 Mbps to 72 Mbps.
6.0 Ultra HD Supports Ultra HD content.

The memory required for BD-Live does not necessarily have to be built into the device, but can also be made available via a USB stick or a memory card . This method is particularly common with cheaper devices without a recording function.

Region code

Region codes of the Blu-ray Disc

Just as with DVD , a regional code is implemented on Blu-ray Disc , which is intended to prevent, for example, a Blu-ray Disc purchased in the USA from being used on European players. However, the codes are different from those of the DVD. In practice, many film production companies partially or completely forego an implementation of the regional code (e.g. Time Warner ). This means that at the moment around 70 percent of the films available on Blu-ray Disc have no regional restrictions.

Region code area
  • A / 1
  • North and South America (excluding Greenland and French overseas territories ), Japan , Korea , Republic of China (Taiwan) , Hong Kong and Southeast Asia
  • B / 2
  • Europe (including Greenland and French overseas territories, excluding Russia), Western Asia , Africa , Oceania , Australia
  • C / 3
  • India , People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong), Russia , Central and South Asia

    Unlike the DVD region code, the Blu-ray region code on computers is only checked by the playback software, not by the drive or operating system. It is stored in a file in the player software or in the registry (in standalone players it is part of the firmware). Some Internet forums publish hacks to reset the Blu-ray region counter, and sometimes it is recommended to uninstall and reinstall the player.

    A newer variant of the Blu-ray region code checks not only the region, but also the country code of the playback software or the player. But that means z. B. that - although the USA and Japan are both in Region A - some US discs cannot be played in Japan and vice versa, because the two countries have different country codes (Japan: 19024 [Hex: 4A50], USA: 21843 [ Hex: 5553]).


    In addition to the extended interactive capabilities of BD-Live (programmability), which run transparently for the user, it is possible that usage profiles can be created without the knowledge of the user, which can then be transmitted from the player to the manufacturers via the Internet. Thus it is possible that the manufacturer of a Blu-ray receives, unnoticed by the user, statistics on how often a film (or parts of it) was played with which settings (language, subtitles, etc.). Privacy advocates see this as a problem, especially since the user is neither informed about this when purchasing nor does it have to consent to its use.

    See also

    • Optical Disc Comparison - Comparison of CD, DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc


    • Hartmut Gieselmann: Blue memory. Professional data backup of the next generation . In: c't . No. 6 , 2004, ISSN  0724-8679 , p. 196 ff . (deals with UDO and PDD and also shows relevant differences to MO and DVD-RAM).
    • Hartmut Gieselmann: Burner in blue . In: c't . No. 15 , 2006, ISSN  0724-8679 , p. 114–121 (relevant differences to HD DVD with regard to the technical measures for data security).
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    Web links

    Commons : Blu-ray Disc  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
    Wiktionary: Blu-ray Disc  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

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