Blu-ray sheds some light on next generation players

Posted by Mark Raby

Hollywood (CA) - Updated Blu-ray Disc (BD) hardware specifications are set to come into effect in October, but the immediate effect on current BD players will be minimal, reports PC World.

In October, the Blu-ray Disc Association will have stricter requirements for players, helping to reduce the confusion between the several different hardware formats currently being used.

Despite conflicting reports, all Blu-ray players already support BD-Java, the programming language used for enhanced menu screens and special features.  However, different technical specs among players in terms of processing power have prevented movie studios from fully exploring the BD-Java capabilities.

Most of the players currently have the technology needed to run next-gen BD features, but it won't be until after October 31 that these become more commonplace.  For example, all players will be required to have two video streams to allow for picture-in-picture features, such as video commentaries or storyboard pictures presented in real-time with the movie.  This is a feature that has been mandatory in HD DVD players from day one.

The required specs also call for enhanced game playing features and a proprietary audio mixing feature that will allow users to manipulate the film's soundtrack.  In addition, all Blu-ray players sold after October 31 must come with at least 256 MB of internal storage (or 1 GB for Internet-connected players).

Older players not capable of running the new features will still be able to play future movies, but may not be able to access certain special features.