How Blu-ray Reads Data
| On Guard Blu-ray discs are better armed than current DVDs. They come equipped with a secure encryption system — a unique ID that protects against video piracy and copyright infringement.
The Blu-ray disc overcomes DVD-reading issues by placing the data on top of a 1.1-mm-thick polycarbonate layer. Having the data on top prevents birefringence and therefore prevents readability problems. And, with the recording layer sitting closer to the objective lens of the reading mechanism, the problem of disc tilt is virtually eliminated.
Because the data is closer to the surface, a hard coating is placed on the outside of the disc to protect it from scratches and fingerprints.
Source: Blu-ray Disc Association
The design of the Blu-ray discs saves on manufacturing costs. Traditional DVDs are built by injection molding the two 0.6-mm discs between which the recording layer is sandwiched. The process must be done very carefully to prevent birefringence.
- The two discs are molded.
- The recording layer is added to one of the discs.
- The two discs are glued together.
Blu-ray discs only do the injection-molding process on a single 1.1-mm disc, which reduces cost. That savings balances out the cost of adding the protective layer, so the end price is no more than the price of a regular DVD
A BD-ROM disc researcher holds a disc up to the light.
Blu-ray also has a higher data transfer rate — 36 Mbps (megabits per second) — than today’s DVDs, which transfer at 10 Mbps. A Blu-ray disc can record 25 GB of material in just over an hour and a half.
We’ll look at some of Blu-ray’s competitors in the next section.
Formats Unlike DVDs and CDs, which started with read-only formats and only later added recordable and re-writable formats, Blu-ray is initially designed in several different formats:
- BD-ROM (read-only) – for pre-recorded content
- BD-R (recordable) – for PC data storage
- BD-RW (rewritable) – for PC data storage
- BD-RE (rewritable) – for HDTV recording