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BD-Rs Are the Future, but Are They the Present?

With 25% of Americans owning an HDTV (and only a small percentage of those users actively using them to view HD media), many professional organizations and content producers are carefully watching the Blu-ray market to determine when (or whether) there is an optimal time to invest in Blu-ray production and duplication equipment.

With content distribution products like CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray, there is always a trickle-down effect from the consumer market that drives the need for the same media in the industrial / professional markets. You may remember that the migration from VHS to DVD started when DVD players were being purchased for home use. But it wasn't fully underway until DVD players started showing up in laptop and desktop computers. It will be the same with Blu-ray.

There is only one practical way to mass-distribute pure 1080p resolution HD video – and that is on Blu-ray discs. As more Blu-ray players are purchased, the need for new HD video content will increase. The war between Blu-ray and HD DVD caused a one to two year stagnation in this process, and demand did not grow strongly in either format. Now, almost 6 months after Blu-ray has won and is the dominant HD content distribution medium, things have slowly started to move forward in professional / industrial applications with Blu-ray.

Right now, the market is saturated with produced DVDs and DVD players. More importantly, most users are quite satisfied with DVD and may be hesitant to make the upgrade to Blu-ray players and recorders, which are still rather expensive when compared to DVD.

If the technology lives up to its potential however, more people and businesses will be naturally drawn to the benefits of Blu-ray. The potential for pure capacity, especially with multi-layer disc technology, is impressive. Already, there are dual-layer recordable Blu-ray discs with a capacity of 50GB. And Pioneer has reported that it has created a prototype of a 16-layer read-only Blu-ray disc that can hold 48 hours of movies on a single disc. Imagine the convenience of storing an entire season of 24 – plus a ton of bonus features – on a single disc!

Currently, the largest consumers of recordable Blu-ray media will be video game producers. Because PlayStation 3 units come equipped with Blu-ray readers, a large percentage of game players are already equipped to view HD media. Producers of this content must use Blu-ray recordable discs in the pre-mastering, testing and promotional stages prior to mass-production of a title.

Because recorded Blu-ray discs look similar to a DVD, the use of "authentic" Blu-ray packaging is essential. Features such as Blu-ray packaging's distinctive blue color, the standard packaging size and even the Blu-ray logo help reinforce the message that your customer is receiving a true Blu-ray disc. Polyline stocks these distinctive cases at a very competitive price.

As a side note, creating truly interactive Blu-ray discs will require old-school, hard-core programming. This could mean that you, your next hire or the authoring boutique you work with to create your Blu-ray titles must have strong Java programming and scripting skills. This is something to keep in mind if you have serious intentions of expanding your hi-def offerings beyond simple HD video applications.

Finally, let's look a little closer at cost. When recordable DVDs first became available, they were expensive, just like Blu-ray is today. As more people acquired players and burners, they created a need for additional media, the law of supply and demand kicked in and the price came down dramatically. We're expecting to see a similar trend in Blu-ray media. But the question is, to what extent? Certainly we'll see prices come down as use of the media becomes more prevalent. But, as our disc manufacturing vendors tell us, multi-layer discs are difficult (and expensive) to make. So, dual- or multiple-layer Blu-ray may never reach the affordability of DVD.

For right now, if you are planning on expanding your Blu-ray offerings, we suggest you use the same strategy you used when adopting DVD technology - buy what you need for now, expecting that prices may come down soon. And, before you purchase a new blu-ray drive, ask if a change to 4X, 6X or higher is expected soon.

The important thing to know is this: When you’re ready for Blu-ray, we are. You can count on Polyline to answer your questions and provide the best quality Blu-ray products at great low prices. We have Blu-ray disc printer/publishers, and the best Blu-ray media from major manufacturers. We’ve even got bulk, printable Blu-ray media so you can design and print your own discs, like you do with DVD-Rs or CD-Rs. And as always we are a great source for all other types of disc packaging, inkjet cartridges and more.

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