History of the Blu-Ray Disc
Where did the blu-ray disc start and where did it come from? Before we get into the history of when it started, let us briefly describe what exactly a blu-ray disc is. A blu-ray disc is an optical disc storage medium which is mostly used for the storage of high-definition video and data. Even though from the outside a blu-ray looks just like a DVD or CD, it is a big step forward when it comes to storage format and memory capability. Blu-ray technology uses a blue laser to read and write information onto a disc. The wavelength of a blue laser is incredibly lesser than the red laser, which is used by the DVD format. This difference in the wavelengths is what makes the difference in the storage capacity of a blu-ray vs. a DVD. A single layer blu-ray disc can store 25 GB of data and a two layer blu-ray disc can store 50 GB of data. Right now, over 150 companies support the blu-ray disc format. These companies deal in consumer electronics, computers, recording media, music and video games.
The history of the blu-ray disc first takes us back to 1998. By this time, HDTV sets were starting to make their first appearances. The only problem was that there was not any way to record and play HD content. There was also no storage medium for HD content. In 1998, it was a well-known fact that by using shorter wavelengths, it would enable more storage on a disc. The only problem was that there had never been a standardized storage format created. Professor Shuji Nakamura of the University of California invented the blue laser diodes and made the first major breakthrough towards the invention of blu-ray technology.
In February of 2002, the Blu-ray Disc Association was founded. This was a group of people that were from the fields of electronics, computers and motion pictures. This group is credited for the development of the blu-ray disc format. During the first few years of developing blu-ray discs, there were problems. The data recording layer, during this time, was placed very close to the disc surface. Because of this, the disc was susceptible to scratches and contamination. Therefore, these early blu-ray discs had to be protected by cartridges. TDK was the first company to come up with a hard coating polymer that protected the disc and eliminated the need for cartridges. Soon, Panasonic and Sony followed suit and also developed hard-coating protectors.
Also around the 2002 time frame, the DVD forum (developed DVD and HD DVD) began dividing and arguing about the development of the blue laser technology. Only after a month, the DVD forum announced that they would be creating their own blu-ray solution. HD DVDs hit the shelves shortly after this announcement. The sale of HD DVDs got off to a good start and blu-ray discs began slower. However, the blu-ray disc became successful in the competition against other storage formats and won the battle of the blu-ray vs. HD DVD in the end.
Around the summer of 2006 was when the first blu-ray players were sold. Soon after this, the first blu-ray titles were released. Since the blu-ray discs held such a high storage capacity and were extremely efficient in the storage of HD data, they dominated the markets.
Now, with even newer technology, quad-layer blu-ray discs have been produced. Mini blu-ray discs have also been developed and can hold 7.5 GB of storage. By the end of 2008, over 1200 blu-ray titles had been released just in the United States. As the blu-ray disc becomes even more popular and has more titles out today, we are confident in the bright future of blu-ray technology.