Blu-ray read-only format to be finalized early 2005

Companies backing Blu-ray Disc will finalize the read-only version of the optical-disc format early next year, a Sony spokesman said earlier last week.

The completion of the first version of the BD-ROM specification will give media companies the information they need to produce prerecorded discs holding high-definition content such as movies.

There are two parts to the specification: the logical format, which specifies the way in which content is stored on the optical discs, and the physical format, which defines the physical properties of the disc. The physical format was decided earlier this year and it's the completion of the logical format in early 2005 that will signal the end of work on the first version of BD-ROM.

The work is scheduled to end before equipment that is necessary to mass produce the discs becomes available in the first half of 2005, Sony spokesman Taro Takamine said Nov. 30. Sony is one of the main promoters of the format.

Work is already ongoing with the logical format. It was originally based only on the MPEG2 video codec but, in September, companies supporting Blu-ray Disc said they were adding MPEG4 and VC1 video codecs. VC1 is based on Microsoft's Windows Media 9 codec, and was previously called VC9. MPEG4.AVC is based on the H.264 codec.

The physical disc specifications for the read-only version of HD-DVDs (High Definition/High Density-DVDs), Blu-ray Disc's competitor format, were approved this June.

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