Finally, in the optical disc format war, Blu-ray disc was able to establish it’s triumph over HD-DVD. On February 19, 2008, Toshiba — the main company supporting HD DVD — announced it would no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders, leading almost all other HD DVD supporters to follow suit, effectively naming Blu-ray the victor of the format war.
HD DVD had a head start in the high definition video market and Blu-ray Disc sales were slow at first. The first Blu-ray Disc player was perceived as expensive and buggy, and there were few titles available. This changed when PlayStation 3 was launched, since every PS3 unit also functioned as a Blu-ray Disc player. By January 2007, Blu-ray discs had outsold HD DVDs, and during the first three quarters of 2007, BD outsold HD DVDs by about two to one. Finally, by February 2008, Toshiba announced it was pulling its support for the HD DVD format, leaving Blu Ray as the victor in the video wars.
Blu-ray Disc uses a "blue" (technically violet) laser operating at a wavelength of 405 nm to read and write data. Conventional DVDs and CDs use red and near infrared lasers at 650 nm and 780 nm respectively. The blue-violet laser's shorter wavelength makes it possible to store more information on a 12 cm CD/DVD sized disc. The minimum "spot size" on which a laser can be focused is limited by diffraction, and depends on the wavelength of the light and the numerical aperture of the lens used to focus it. By decreasing the wavelength, increasing the numerical aperture from 0.60 to 0.85 and making the cover layer thinner to avoid unwanted optical effects, the laser beam can be focused to a smaller spot. This allows more information to be stored in the same area. For Blu-ray Disc, the spot size is 580 nm. In addition to the optical improvements, Blu-ray Discs feature improvements in data encoding that further increase the capacity.
Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data.
The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.