The first Managed Copy enabled Blu-Ray disks will be hitting store shelves soon, unfortunately, it will be well ahead of any hardware that can make use of it. For those that haven’t heard of Managed Copy, it is a system that allows you to make legal copies of Blu-Ray disks, but spawned versions of the content are very heavily protected by DRM. Any user trying to play the copied version needs to contact the studios DRM servers which decide if you can watch it, and even how many times it can be copied.
Dedicated Blu-Ray hardware isn’t expected to implement this feature anytime soon, but PC jukebox software will likely be available within the next few months to take advantage of the fact that all disks sold after December 4th will need to be compliant. It remains to be seen if this is true of just new releases, or if the entire back catalog of Blu-Ray disks will eventually be updated. Either way, expect it to be a confusing mess until packaging updates roll along in the Spring.
Many wonder if Managed Copy will satisfy consumers ever increasing demands to “liberate” their digital content from the medium, but consumers historically haven’t embraced solutions that trade one DRM implementation for another. This is especially true when competing technologies such as those from Slysoft accomplishes the same thing, and without any additional usage restrictions.
Want to learn more about HD Video Encryption? Check out our White Paper for the low down.
OWC has introduced a quad-interface Blu-ray burner that uses a Pioneer BDR-205. You will never be short of options with the Mercury Pro 12x Blu-ray burner as it supports four different interfaces: FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and eSATA. It ships with a cable each four all the interfaces that it supports. It is capable of writing to BD-R media ( single or double layer) at 12x speed, BD-RE media at 2x speed, DVD±R at 16X, DVD±R DL at 8X, and CD-R at 40X. The Mercury Pro 12x Blu-ray burner can be yours for $350. The burner is also available along with Roxio's Toast 10 Titanium Pro for $450, though the bundle is only meant for Mac users.
More Ion-powered nettops are on the way, including three new models from Asus subsidiary ASRock. All three up the ante over the company's previous nettops with RAID support, eSATA, MCE remote (not on the lower end model), and a few other odds and ends. Blu-ray even makes a cameo in the higher-end unit.
The three new machines consist of the Ion 330Pro, 330HT, and 330HT-BD. Each one comes spec'd with an Intel Atom 330 dual-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz, up to 4GB of DDR2-800 memory, Nvidia's Ion graphics, up to 1.5TB of total hard drive space, DVD or Blu-ray drive, 7.1 channel audio, Gigabit LAN, 802.11b/g/n WiFi (330Pro excluded), and the usual assortment of ports (HDMI, USB).
No word yet on price or a release date, nor is there any mention of what OS the machines will use (we're guessing Windows 7).
Sony Optiarc America, in particular, produces the Sony line of optical disk drives for DVD, CD, and Blu-ray media formats and is the focus of the investigation. Sony didn’t hint to which products are of interest, but if you like to follow the gossip circles (or have a bit of common-sense) it is likely something to do with Blu-ray.
Blu-ray’s prices have yet to see the traditional price declination expected from a hot technology that has been released over three years ago. In fact, prices have remained steady over that time despite HD-DVD disappearing from the picture.
Further, the technology hasn’t skyrocketed in popularity the way Sony expected and antitrust investigations are not likely to help that process along.
PS3 users will have to insert the disc into their console each time they wish to enjoy streaming content from Netflix's library. But this disc-popping ritual should only last until the two companies enable direct access to the service. "As a leading game console and Blu-ray disc player, bringing Netflix to the PS3 system is a real win for both Netflix members and PS3 system owners,"said Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings.
We've stopped counting the number of rumors suggesting Blu-ray hardware would somehow integrate with the Xbox 360 gaming console, whether as a built-in drive in a revised edition, or as an add-on accessory. The details would vary, but all the rumors shared one thing in common: They were all bogus. So why are we paying it any attention now? Because this time, the rumor's coming straight from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
During a video interview with Gizmodo, Ballmer spent a couple minutes talking candidly about the Xbox 360 and project Natal, but he appeared to be caught off guard when asked if Microsoft would adopt Blu-ray in a bid to take over the home theater.
"Well I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there," Ballmer began as he wiped his eye. "You'll be able to get Blu-ray drives, and Blu-ray drives as accessories."
Does this mean a Blu-ray add-on is in the works, or did Ballmer simply not word his answer carefully enough? We don't know, but when Gizmodo pinged Xbox spokespeople about Ballmer's answer, more fuel to the speculative fire was added.
"Our immediate solution for Blu-ray quality video on the Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming. As far as our future plans are concerned, we're not ready to comment."
In the past, Microsoft made it a point to quickly squash Blu-ray rumors, but that isn't the case this time around. Draw your own conclusion on what that could mean.
Santa Clara-based chip maker Marvell has launched a new range of CPUs called ARMADA. Based on the ARM instruction set, the new processors will power “smartphones, smartbooks, consumer and embedded devices, and displays.”
Based on their intended device segment, the new application processors fall into four different series: the ARMADA 100, 500, 600 and 1000. "Launch of the ARMADA family represents a watershed event in mobile computing,” said Marvell’s co-founder and VP, Ms. Weili Dai.
Sharp and TDK are doubling down on Blu-ray disc storage capacity, each introducing a prototype capable of storing up to 100GB of data, up from the current standard of 50GB. The prototypes make use of a four-layer disc, up from the present maximum of two, and are capable of recording data at 72Mbps, again double the current level of 32Mbps.
While TDK hasn’t disclosed its underlying technology, Sharp’s advancements come from the substitution of dielectric film used for recording data on a Blu-ray disc with aluminum oxynitride. Sharp also makes use of a pulse operated blue-violet semiconductor laser with an optical output as high as 500mW. The laser’s oscillation wavelength of 405nm is capable of writing at 8x speed on three- and four-layered Blu-ray discs.
While the prototype technology holds promise it’s speculative at this point. The Blu-ray Disc Association, which sets the standards for Blu-ray discs, has specifications only for single- and dual-layer discs. Without an adjustment to the standards it doesn’t make economic sense for Sharp or TDK to move beyond the prototype stage. And even if they did the sad fact is current Blu-ray players aren’t able to handle anything over 50GB.
To transfer the Digital Copy file from the Blu-ray disc to a PSP, it is necessary that you also own a PS3. Godzilla and The Ugly Truth have been announced as the first Blu-ray titles to have this feature. In related news, the PSP GO is just hours from its tepidly-to-much-awaited launch.
There aren't a ton of affordable notebooks out there that come with a Blu-ray drive as a standard accessory. And if sources behind the scenes at makers of optical drives turn out to be true in their predictions, don't expect to see many Blu-ray based notebooks until the second half of 2010.
As has always been the case with Blu-ray, price is the prohibiting factor. According to DigiTimes, a slim-type Blu-ray drive costs about $100, while a slim DVD burner can be had for just $20, or five times less. It doesn't take a math or business major to crunch the numbers and see which one makes more sense.
By the second half of 2010, however, sources say Bu-ray drives are expected to drop. While they didn't say by how much, the general consensus is that you'll be seeing a lot more notebooks equipped with Blu-ray drives than you do today.
In the meantime, there's still the high-end sector, which now includes Intel's Core i7 processors. Toshiba, for example, recently announced the Qosmio X500 series, which sport both a Blu-ray drive and Intel's new mobile Core i7 parts.