Consortium set to begin Blu-ray Disc licensing

Devices based on the Blu-ray Disc format will get a step closer on Monday when the nine companies behind the advanced optical disc technology begin licensing.

License agreements, which will take the form of ten-year renewable contracts, will be available to cover both the format and copy protection system. Player makers will have to pay US$20,000 to license Blu-ray while the content-protection system license will carry a $120,000 annual fee and additional charge of $0.10 per player. Media makers will pay $8,000 annually and $0.02 per disc for the copy protection system, which is licensed from developers Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), Sony Corp. and Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV.

The beginning of licensing comes almost a year to the day since the nine companies, led by Sony and Philips Electronics, unveiled their solution for a next-generation optical disc-based video recording system.

Compared to CD or DVD systems that are based on red lasers, Blu-ray uses blue lasers that, because of their shorter wavelength, require a much smaller piece of disc space to store each bit of information. Combined with several other technologies, it means a 12-centimeter disc can hold up to 27G bytes compared to DVD's 9.4G-byte maximum capacity.

The technology is being targeted as a consumer format for recording of high-definition digital television and each disc can hold around two hours of such content.

Licensing of the technology follows on from the disclosure of technical specifications and details of the format, which began in June last year when Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV began providing details to potential equipment makers in return for a $5,000 charge.

While the beginning of licensing and the earlier disclosure of technical specifications both represent steps towards commercialization of the system, there are still questions over whether consumers need the system. High-definition television is yet to take off in many countries and even where there is broadcasting it is generally limited to a single or small handful of channels.

The six other companies with a hand in the technology are Hitachi Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Pioneer Electronics Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp. and Thomson Multimedia SA.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams.

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?