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Blu Ray

Blu-ray Disc (BD) is a digital optical disc data storage format designed to supersede the DVD format, in that it is capable of storing high-definition video resolution (1080p). The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Conventional (pre-BD-XL) Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs (50 GB) being the industry standard for feature-length video discs. Triple layer discs (100 GB) and quadruple layers (128 GB) are available for BD-XL re-writer drives. The name Blu-ray Disc refers to the blue laser used to read the disc, which allows information to be stored at a greater density than is possible with the longer-wavelength red laser used for DVDs. The main application of Blu-ray Discs is as a medium for video material such as feature films and physical distribution of video games for the PlayStation 3PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Besides the hardware specifications, Blu-ray Disc is associated with a set of multimedia formats.

High-definition video may be stored on Blu-ray Discs with up to 1080p resolution (1920×1080 pixels), at up to 60 (59.94) fields or 24 frames per second. Older DVD discs had a maximum resolution of 480i, (NTSC, 720×480 pixels) or 576i, (PAL, 720×576 pixels).

The format was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association, a group representing makers of consumer electronics, computer hardware, and motion pictures. Sony unveiled the first Blu-ray Disc prototypes in October 2000, and the first prototype player was released in April 2003 in Japan. Afterwards, it continued to be developed until its official release in June 2006.

During the high definition optical disc format war, Blu-ray Disc competed with the HD DVD format. Toshiba, the main company that supported HD DVD, conceded in February 2008, releasing its own Blu-ray Disc player in late 2009.

According to Media Research, high-definition software sales in the US were slower in the first two years than DVD software sales. 16.3 million DVD software units were sold in the first two years (1997–98) compared to 8.3 million high-definition software units (2006–07). One reason given for this difference was the smaller marketplace (26.5 million HDTVs in 2007 compared to 100 million SDTVs in 1998). Former HD DVD supporter Microsofthas stated that they are not planning to make a Blu-ray Disc drive for the Xbox 360. The 360's successor Xbox One features a Blu-ray drive, as does the PS4, with both supporting 3D Blu-ray after later firmware updates.

Shortly after the "format war" ended, Blu-ray disc sales began to increase. A study by The NPD Group found that awareness of Blu-ray Disc had reached 60% of U.S. households. Nielsen VideoScan sales numbers showed that for some titles, such as 20th Century Fox's Hitman, up to 14% of total disc sales were from Blu-ray, although the average Blu-ray sales for the first half of the year were only around 5%. In December 2008, the Blu-ray Disc version of The Dark Knight sold 600,000 copies on the first day of its launch in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. A week after the launch,The Dark Knight BD had sold over 1.7 million copies worldwide, making it the first Blu-ray Disc title to sell over a million copies in the first week of release.

According to Singulus Technologies AG, Blu-ray is being adopted faster than the DVD format was at a similar period in its development. This conclusion was based on the fact that Singulus Technologies has received orders for 21 Blu-ray dual-layer machines during the first quarter of 2008, while 17 DVD machines of this type were made in the same period in 1997. According to GfK Retail and Technology, in the first week of November 2008, sales of Blu-ray recorders surpassed DVD recorders in Japan. According to the Digital Entertainment Group, the total number of Blu-ray Disc playback devices (both set-top box and game console) sold in the U.S. had reached 28.5 million by the end of 2010.

Blu-ray faces competition from video on demand and from new technologies that allow access to movies on any format or device, such as Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem or Disney's Keychest. Some commentators have suggested that renting Blu-ray will play a vital part in keeping the technology affordable while allowing it to move forward. In an effort to increase sales, studios are releasing movies in combo packs with Blu-ray Discs and DVDs as well as digital copies that can be played on computers and iPods. Some are released on "flipper" discs with Blu-ray on one side and DVD on the other. Other strategies are to release movies with the special features only on Blu-ray Discs and none on DVDs.

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