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Sony releases tool for Blu-ray disc production

Madison, Wis. - Standard definition DVD technology is aging rapidly and innovative competitors are emerging to snatch a piece of the home-video market. As this evolution unfolds, one company has already begun selling the specialized software used in producing a next-generation DVD.

Sony Media Software, a provider of professional video and audio editing applications, has announced the release of a tool for authoring new high-capacity, Blu-ray format discs.

The Blu-ray Disc (BD) format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs - it can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. The increased storage capacity is a result of more tightly-packed data that can be read and written by a shorter wavelength blue-violet laser.

The release will allow manufacturers of consumer discs to license a copy of the disc-authoring application, Blu-print, developed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, for $50,000 to ensure proper encoding, and also create menu navigation, popup menus, and interactivity.

Dave Chaimson, vice president of marketing for SMS, said in a release that the application streamlines the authoring process and "unlocks" advanced Blu-ray functions.
Waiting game

Don Eklund, advanced technologies executive vice president for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said that Sony's years of production with DVDs and UMDs (universal media disks) went into developing the application. But the promise of Blu-ray does not imply that the technology will replace standard DVDs anytime soon.

"The formats are young and immature, and the two inaugural players are far from perfect," writes Dean Winkelspecht of in a review of the HD-DVD and Blu-ray players, the Toshiba HD-A1 and the Samsung BD-P1000, respectively. Still, continuing advancements signaled by the release of Blu-print promise to propel the technology forward.

Blu-ray technology has been under development since before February 2002, when a large group of companies first introduced it. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of 160 companies representing world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer, and media manufacturers, leverages enormous innovative power. At the helm are member companies like Apple, Dell, Hitachi, and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few.

Additionally, seven major movie studios already have announced titles for Blu-ray, including Warner, Paramount, Fox, Disney, Sony, MGM, and Lionsgate.

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