The great Blu way

(Manila City, Philippines)

There was a time you could watch movies in cinemas anytime you wanted because it was cheaper then and the concept of home theaters hadn’t yet been born.

Then the entry of the VCR then made it possible for people to watch movies in their own time and right in the comfort of their homes. Yet even when the VCR gave way to the DVD player, not everybody could afford to have cinema-quality screens and sound systems set up in their homes.

And when the DVD player became more affordable, piracy reared its ugly head. It became a problem not just for the film and music industry, but also to audio-visual manufacturers, who soon discovered that while they could not control counterfeiting, they could race ahead with quality.

Today, true-blue quality aficionados know that Blu-ray technology is the way to go. Blu-ray is the current standard for high-definition (HD) viewing. Blu-ray is the optical disc format that has a much larger storage capacity that the average DVD, thereby allowing better viewing quality. It also uses a blue-violet laser instead of the usual red laser to read and write data, thus the name. See sidebar

Although the Blu-ray disc has been around for a few years, it has not enjoyed as much popularity as the DVD. A Blu-ray disc nowadays costs about P1, 500 to P1, 700, says Sherwin dela Cruz, owner of TradePort, an e-mall.

“Blu-ray right now is still prohibitive in price, so as a way of expanding the market, we thought of offering the Bu-ray Blockbuster promo,” says Sugar Santiago, head of Marketing and Communications – AV, Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation (SEPCO). Samsung has partnered with TradePort E-Solutions, Inc. to launch the Samsung BluPass Promo, an innovative way of renting out high-quality Blu-ray movies.

“It is the first time we are having a promo like this. Instead of offering free additional items with every purchase of the specified Samsung products in the promo, we are giving this free rental pass so that customers can rent Blu-ray movies for free,” explains Jane Ortega-Viola, SEPCO product manager for AV and Plasma.

Samsung information reveals that from Aug. 15 to Dec. 31, 2011, customers nationwide who purchase a Samsung Blu-ray player (BD-D5100 or BD-D5500) or Samsung Flat Panel TV (LED, LCD and Plasma TV, 40” and up) that comes with a Blu-ray player package will automatically receive a Samsung BluPass card.

Within 30 days from date of purchase, they must then go online and register their purchase and BluPass card in order to avail of the service. Upon registration, one may now access their BluBox where they must choose at least 10 titles at a time. This is because the BluPass program has an automatic allocation depending on priority and availability of the titles. The Samsung BluPass rental is unlimited, provided that the card is still valid and the delivery location is within Metro Manila or the nearby provinces (such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal).

The Blu-ray discs will be delivered by a TradePort messenger right at your doorstep without any extra cost. “If you order before 5 p.m., you can have the disc the next day. You can only rent one disc each time,” Sherwin adds. There are about 500 titles currently available at TradePort.

“The promo is a privilege that allows its subscribers to rent high-quality regular and 3D Blu-ray titles from a vast online library of movies, and audio-visual entertainment for free,” says Amby Navarro-Molina, SEPCO head for Product Marketing Group for AV.
Jan Roman, SEPCO product manager, Flat Panel TV, reiterates, “With this promo, we are empowering customers to purchase the Blu-ray player, with the most affordable unit in the market today, at P6, 690.”

The Samsung BluPass is the ticket to unparalleled movie viewing experience right in your own home.

What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray (not Blue-ray) also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a new optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it’s possible to fit more data on the disc even though it’s the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB. Recent development by Pioneer has pushed the storage capacity to 500GB on a single disc by using 20 layers.

Blu-ray is currently supported by about 200 of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has support from all Hollywood studios and countless smaller studios as a successor to today’s DVD format. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month.


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