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Technical Committee Prepares To Discuss Blue-Ray Standards

8 Apr, 2002 By: Hive News

Technical Committee 100 of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is set to begin discussions on blue-ray discs in Tokyo April 23.

Blue-ray. is the next generation of optical discs that proponents say will be rewritable and able to store far more data than DVDs. TC 100 includes experts from the principal manufacturers of DVDs, among others.

Named after the blue-laser technology that is used to make them and is backed by nine of the leading manufacturers of DVD that, until now, have offered competing industry standards for recordable/rewritable DVDs, blue-ray could also be an interchangeable disc, which is not the case for recordable/rewritable DVDs.

"The IEC is working to ensure that its doors are always open to industry to determine whether suitable multimedia standards can be developed and this applies to DVD," said TC 100 Chairman Mark Hyman, a staff engineer for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in White Plains, N.Y. "The IEC has a history of creating very successful international standards for the multimedia field, from audio cassette tapes in the 1970s to CDs in the 1980s and minidiscs in the 1990s. It is for industry to decide what does and does not get standardized. The IEC provides the structure and the means to do the work."

The greatest concern for manufacturers is spending a great deal of time and money tooling up manufacturing plants for a technology that the market ultimately rejects. An IEC International Standard for blue-ray discs will help to reduce this risk significantly, an IEC spokesperson said.

The advantage for manufacturers of having an IEC International Standard for this new media is that it ensures a stable platform for them to produce for their markets, which reduces the risk of competitive failure in the market.

The advantage for consumers is that it will help to stabilize the technology so that, like CDs that can be played anywhere, these new optical discs will have the same versatility and include the ability to rewrite. At the same time, consumers will not see the same kind of market confusion they saw with videotape over VHS and Betamax, the spokesman said, and consequently, they will not have to spend money on a system that may shortly become obsolete.

The IEC is a partner with the World Trade Organization in helping to eliminate technical barriers to trade to the benefit of manufacturers, consumers and governments the world over. The WTO calls on its members to used IEC International Standards as the basis for national and/or regional standards.

Technical Committee 100 of the IEC prepares standards for audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment.

The blue-ray disc (sometimes also called blue laser) allows for recording, rewriting and playing back of up to 27 GB of data on a single-sided, single-layer 12 cm disc using a 405 nm blue-violet laser. By comparison, DVD-Video uses a 650 nm red laser. Blue-ray media can hold more than two hours of digital high definition video and more than 13 hours of standard TV broadcasting.

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