Blu-ray Discs Explained (with region code info)

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A Blu-ray Disc looks pretty much the same as a DVD disc though, isn't it?

Not exactly. Same people tried to put a Blu-ray Disc into a DVD player. This is definitely a NO. You can put a standard DVD disc in a Blu-ray Player, however you cannot play a Blu-ray Disc in a DVD player. Your disc may become stuck inside your DVD player if you choose to do so.

Although the the war between Blu-ray and the HD DVD format are now over as more and more people now have blu-ray discs (at least for all the PlayStation 3 owners across the world) and there is no further need to look out for a dual BD/HD player, the format between a DVD and Blu-ray Disc is very different.

As the name suggested, Blu-ray Player uses blue-violet laser to read a disc. The Blu-ray technology supports MPEG2, MPEG-4 AVC and SMPTE VC-1. It also suports Java to run on it. In terms of audio codecs, it supports Linear PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS Digital Surround and DTS-HD.

Another major difference between a Blu-ray Disc and a DVD disc is that a Blu-ray Disc can contain up to 25GB on a single layer format, and up to 50GB in dual-layer; whereas a DVD disc can only contain up to 4.7GB and 8.5GB respectively. With the same film content, as a Blu-ray Disc can contain higher amount of data, the film itself may not require compression, hence higher quality. Also, a DVD player uses red laser which cannot read a disc which can only be read via a blue-violet laser.

For your reference, a HD-DVD player uses blue-laser too, however its disc can contain up to 15GB on single layer (30GB on dual layer). There are other differences too such as numerical aperture, the thickness of the protective layer and data transfer rate etc. A HD-DVD disc cannot be played in a Blu-ray Player and vice versa, unless the player you have is compatible with both Blu-ray and HD-DVD technologies. 

Region Codes

The same principle applies to DVD discs, Blu-ray Discs may have region codes encoded on them. If you intend to purchase a Blu-ray Disc, including a PlayStation 3 game, from overseas, you will need to ensure your Blu-ray player supports the region code in question.

Blu-ray Discs (BD)

At present, there are three region codes:

  • Region A: North and South America, South and South East Asia, including Japan, Korea and Malaysia.
  • Region B: Europe, Australiia, New Zealand, Africa, Middle East and Greenland.
  • Region C: Central and South of Asia including China; Russica and Mongolia.

You will also need to ensure that your television can support the television encoding system, PAL, NTSC and SECAM. Many new televisions can support both PAL and NTSC.

The good news though is that many Blu-ray Discs currently do not have region codes. It is best to check before you purchase.

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