Sony Ramps Up 50GB Blu-ray Discs, More Interactivity

Posted Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 11:21 AM PDT by
Blu-ray Discs [Illustration, Large Size] Blu-ray is about to double its capacity for picture quality and bonus features, with Sony readying the format's first BD-50 (50GB) dual-layer releases for later this year.

That's according to the Sony Pictures worldwide president Ben Feingold, who told Video Business that at least two BD-50 titles will hit the market by the end of 2006.

"All of the fun stuff is going to come," said Feingold, though he declined to give details on any specific titles or features. "We need to get everyone comfortable [with the format]. A lot of it will be spectacular.”

Sony's move comes amid considerable criticism from the media and early adopters for a perceived lack of quality and special features on the studio's first Blu-ray titles, all of which utilize only BD-25 (25GB) single-layer discs.

Sony Pictures executive VP of advanced technology Don Eklund also said that the availability of only a single Blu-ray player currently on the market, the Samsung BD-P1000, was also partly behind the reasoning for the lack of supplemental content on early Blu-ray titles.

"We've been conservative [with the Blu-ray titles so far], focusing on pictures and sound more than anything else," said Eklund. "There is just one player in the market. And when we make a disc, we generally check it on every player for compatibility issues. Absent that ability to do that, we've been reluctant to add in other features."

Other Blu-ray-supporting studios are also planning to ramp up the interactive features on their Blu-ray disc titles, though their release plans will likely be more of a trickle than a flood.

"I would expect you might see something this year [in regard to Blu-ray interactivity], but I wouldn't guarantee it," said Steve Nickerson, senior VP of marketing management for Warner Home Video, which supports both Blu-ray and HD DVD. "The industry needs to gain experience in the new formats."

Watch for more on this developing story next week. High Def Digest recently paid our own visit to the Sony lot to discuss the studio's upcoming plans for Blu-ray, so stay tuned for a full in-depth spotlight report, inclduing an interview with Eklund, in the days ahead.

Tags: Industry Forecasts (all tags)