Blu-ray Divides an Already Confused Market

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Last week on The Shelf we posted about the HD DVD and Blu-ray format, and how the format backed by Sony has now cemented deals ensuring 70% of Hollywood productions are released in Blu-ray. But for Blu-ray consumer’s trouble could be in store before the war is even declared over.

Owners of Blu-ray players have found that for there troubles of supporting the format and purchasing the next generation DVD player early on, they could be frozen out of future developments in the technology because the players are not upgradeable.

The Blu-ray format has recently rolled out a series of new developments, including a picture in picture feature, but the majority of players that have been sold to date do not have the necessary hardware to offer such features.

Some of the discs that are currently being released in the format are coming with notices that some users made have to upgrade the software in their machine, adding confusion to an already divided market place.

The issues raised by the development of new features have come about as the Sony format tries to compete with the interactivity of HD DVD, the one specialised area the format has failed to convince in.

As a result of these unplanned developments manufacturing specifications do not support the new features, all machines built prior to November 2007 are billed as profile 1.0, where as the new features require a profile 1.1 machine. In 2008 profile 2.0 will also be released called BD Live, which will support internet downloads of related content.

The only Blu-ray player which can upgraded to use all the features is Sony’s PlayStation 3, because it comes with the right hardware built-in and online access.


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