I was having dinner with an old friend last week in California, who is close to the Blu-ray group (BDA). My friend works for a major CE company, and he deals directly with the movie studios. He confirmed my earlier suspicions (last week -- Fox turning blue) that the unified blue laser talks were -- in fact -- continuing. While there has been no "official" news coming out of Japan regarding these discussions, they do -- in fact -- continue. Reportedly, they were close to a compromise solution that both sides were happy with.
Unfortunately, my friend also confirmed the rumor that a key DVD software industry icon did derail the unification process on behalf of Microsoft. How interesting. The plot and intrigue thickens. Of course, this begs the question as to why a computer software giant would want to see the talks fail especially since two of its biggest customers (HP and Dell) are backing Blu-ray. Good question. Are they still holding out for Windows Media 9 based on the H.264 video codec? Are they more entrenched in HD DVD than they let on? Don't know. Where's Sydney Bristow from ALIAS when you need her?
In other Blu-ray developments, the Blu-ray Association has announced that it is adopting the most comprehensive content management system ever employed on an optical disc format. By including three types of content protection, Blu-ray will reportedly put movie studios at ease while leaving consumers with the flexibility to manage and enjoy copies of their legally purchased content in high definition. According to the Twentieth Century Fox press release last week announcing the release of movie/TV titles in the Blu-ray format, it cited the robust digital rights management as a key factor in their decision.
Initially, the BDA selected AACS as the fundamental content protection technology for all Blu-ray Disc media. AACS provides a sophisticated content management tool that not only prevents illegal copying, but also enables flexible use of content in both consumer electronics and computer applications.
To complement the features of AACS, the BDA has also specified two additional technology layers for even more security: BD+ and ROM Mark. BD+ provides a supplemental method of renewability, the capability of updating individual playback device security if found to be compromised. ROM Mark is yet another layer that will help shut down illegal disc replication operations by marking legitimate discs with identifiers that must be detected by BD playback devices before playing.