Momentum continues to gather behind Sony's next generation media format, Blu-ray, after Universal Music
announced they will be supporting the format. By joining Sony BMG Music Entertainment, nearly half the world's music catalogue would be available for release on Blu-ray, including top-selling artists such as Elton John, Mariah Carey and U2.
This news was to be expected, as Universal Music is a known member of the Blu-ray Disc Association. What remains an unknown is exactly what benefits audio on BD-ROM will bring. According to the BDF technical spokesman Richard Doherty, the included audio codecs should offer a significant improvement over the audio formats supported by the current DVD spec, such as DVD-Audio. They are currently looking into advanced audio codecs, including lossless codecs, and multi-channel surround sound music is likely.
Failing that, the idea of carrying around 50GB of MP3s on a single disc has to appeal. Plus the Blu-ray format allows for multiple 25GB layers per disc, so 100GB-200GB per disc
is theoretically possible.
The news comes two weeks after we reported
that Twentieth Century Fox are putting their film and TV back catalogue onto Blu-ray. In a curious twist, Universal Pictures, which is a division of General Electric-owned NBC Universal and unrelated to the music group, has decided to back the rival Toshiba-led HD DVD format.
While HD DVD players are expected to be on shelves this Christmas, Blu-ray players aren't expected until 2006. One major deciding factor for Blu-ray's wider acceptance, Sony's PlayStation 3 console, is expected in Spring 2006.
Discuss the audio formats of the future in our News Discussion Forum