Blu-ray Disc Specification Change Threatens Current Players

Dear Mr. Early Adopter, start crying. The Blu-ray Disc Association has mandated that all players of the format released after October 31 must support BD Java which is currently not standard for today's hardware. All players released after October 31 must also hold a minimum 256MB of persistent memory storage. Those with network options will have to have 1GB of memory to support Web downloads. The main problem lies, however, with BD Java - a programming language for Blu-ray Disc media used mainly to deliver picture-in-picture for in-movie commentary and special features. "Blu-ray player requirements and BD-Java specifications have been gradually changed over and over again, which has caused a good amount of grief for player manufacturers. The new specification and requirements will ensure that all Blu-ray players manufactured past October will be able to support the full range of BD-Java capabilities, including picture in picture and more," said optical storage analyst Wesley Novack.

Owners of current Blu-ray Disc players should rest assured that playback of Blu-ray movies will still be possible, only the BD Java-specific features will be unavailable. Unlike the HD DVD standard, Blu-ray players are not required to have Ethernet ports for firmware updates. Blu-ray machines with upgradable firmware will likely have a greater chance of conforming to the mandated format this fall. Only a couple Blu-ray movies feature picture-in-picture commentaries, those titles being Descent and Crank, though they do so without BD Java. Cleverly, and perhaps inelegantly, two complete versions of the movie are stored on a 50GB Blu-ray disc: one version contains the normal version of the film, while the second one features the picture-in-picture commentary hard-encoded on top of the film.

News source: DailyTech

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