The original DVD took the world by storm back in 1997. It’s revolutionary design far surpassed that of the CD and made large scale storage of audio/video a reality for the realm of digital disc storage. Few could have foreseen the impact that the 2006 Blu Ray Disc revolution would have on the market. The video industry was able to completely turn around consumer expectations of digital media, the storage capacity of video discs, and the quality of video and audio playback in less than a decade. However, many analysts and home theater experts feel this innovation was necessary due to the DVD’s increasing inept storage space. A DVD holds roughly 4.7GB of data. In stark contrast, a high definition feature length film takes up roughly five times as much space. This is where the Blu Ray disc (which holds roughly 27GB of information) and the double-layer Blu Ray disc (which holds twice that) come into play. Today we’ll take a look at how a standard Blu Ray Burner works, how it’s made by manufacturers and what the average consumer should expect from a current such device. Most importantly, our article will answer the issue: how does a Blu Ray burner actually burn data onto blank Blu Ray discs?
How Does a Blu Ray Burner Work?
In order to understand the process through which data is ‘burnt’ (or encoded to be more precise) into a Blu Ray disc, we must begin our examination from the process of writing a regular digital disc (or a CD). Burners that write information to compact discs do so with the aid of a 780nm Red Laser beam. This beam holds a lens aperture of 0.45. The data is encoded on a single polycarbonate layer of 1.2mm. CD’s result in a track pitch of 1.6μm. DVD’s continue this process in a pretty identical fashion with just a few key differences: the lens aperture of the objective is larger (0.6), the beam of the red laser is thinner (650nm), and, perhaps most importantly, the information is written onto two layers of polycarbonate (instead of the CD’s single layer). Each side of the polycarbonate measures out at 0.6mm thick. This process most likely seemed efficient and ground breaking in the late 90’s when DVDs first emerged. However, the truth is that this production process often resulted in information reading problems and defective discs.
That’s where Blu Ray discs stepped into the scene and improved things dramatically: Blu Ray burners only use a single layer of polycarbonate to write. Its thickness is only about as much as a regular CD at 1.1mm thick. Since the burner writes Blu Ray data at the top of the layer, Blu Ray discs possess a far lower risk of birefringence issues. In other words, Blu Ray player’s read the information written to these discs far easier and the discs themselves hold a far lower rate of data corruption/error. Furthermore, Blu Ray burners burn this data closer to the lens of the reading device (at the surface of the disc). This process essentially does away with the risk of having the disc tilt during playback.
Additionally, manufacturers produce Blu Ray discs at far cheaper prices and more efficiently. Like DVDs, these discs still involve injection molding. Unlike DVD’s, they only require a single 1.1mm disc. Blu Rays also include a protective layer of hard coating. However, Blu Ray manufacturers offset the costs associated with this protective layer by saving money in ditching the double layer of DVD’s. You may find out more about the Blu Ray disc creation process here.
How Is a Blu Ray Burner Created?
The Blu-Ray format gained a wide industry support right off the bat. Many speculate that this occurred because its main competitor, the HD-DVD, didn’t stand a chance in the face of the Blu Ray’s high capacity and efficiency. Click here to read more about the Blu Ray/HD-DVD format wars. Today, most consumer electronics manufacturers (and at least four of the major computer manufacturers) produce Blu Ray discs, players, drives, recorders, and game consoles which utilize Blu Ray technology (such as the PlayStation and the newest Xbox). Essentially, all Blu-Ray disc burners include the same components: a diode, a heatsink, a driver, and a source of light. However, the laser beam in a Blu Ray burner or player is far superior to that of a DVD player. Several online tutorials will show you how you can build your own Blu Ray burner drive. Since they involve operating with very powerful lasers, we don’t recommend them to anyone but knowledgeable electronics experts. By and large, this operation costs roughly $100 to complete.
To begin burning your own Blu Ray discs, you’ll also need some form of burning software. There are many choices out there on the market these days. We strongly recommend Nero’s latest basic burning suite. This program stands a good chance at being dubbed the best software of 2014 around our office. You can read our review of the Nero 2015 classic disc burning software suite. Depending on your needs, you can opt for any of these programs. Some of the other highest rated and reviewed software in this niche include Leawo Blu-ray Copy, Blue-Cloner, ImTOO Blu-Ray Creator, and Ashampoo Burning Studio. Such software should be able to produce copies with high burn quality. These reproductions should include 1:1 identical sounds/appearance with the original, complete customization options, and even retain the 3D effects of the original disc. Some software allows you to only extract the audio track, create customized menus, merge files, and even read damaged discs.