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"Media dual layer" is a popular search term probably because people can never have enough space; the quest for increased storage capacity appears to be a never-ending one. As soon as researchers come up with a breakthrough consumers are already looking out for the next technological quantum leap. Anyone looking for "media dual layer" on the internet is definitely someone whose needs for mass storage is the result of desiring the sharpest video and clearest audio possible.

Blu-Ray Disc is the new optical disc storage medium offering 21st Century high-defintion in 720p and 1080p or 1080I resolutions, along with even more audio channels for high-fidelity digital surround sound. Envisioned to supersede today’s so-called “standard DVD” format, Blu-ray Disc offers up to 25GB per single data layer, or 50GB on a dual-layered disc, despite having the same exact physical dimensions as a DVD or CD. Named after the blue-violet color of its shorter wavelength laser, Blu-ray Disc stores up to ten times the data as a standard DVD (or a little more than five times when considering DVD-9).

Recognized today as the successor format to standard DVD, Blu-ray Disc faced serious competition from rival format HD DVD, emerging victorious from the format war only after two years of slow but steady increases in the level of industry support. Developed as a response to the need for a commercially viable medium for the storage of high-definition video, the origins of Blu-ray Disc go all the way back to the DVD format itself in many respects.

With the invention of the practical laser diode by Japanese engineer Shuji Nakamura, research commenced on creating devices utilizing lasers of ever shorter wavelengths in order to pack data in ever tighter densities. Blu-ray Disc is the result of one such initiative by Sony, officially introducing prototypes in the year 2000 with commercial products available by 2003. Official specifications underwent further changes, however, in response to the concerns of Hollywood movie studios over intellectual property protection schemes. When finalized in 2004, Blu-ray Disc still exhibited many of the signs of a new technology still searching for its way amongall the competing factors presented by industry and the average consumer. And in the race for hearts and minds, HD DVD actually beat it by a few critical months to market with the first new player able to accept a new optical storage format.

With a head start in the market, Blu-ray Disc was at a disadvantage. Consumer confusion over the competing formats quickly turned into indifference, and many observers now believe that it was Sony’s Playstation 3 (PS3) game console that had saved the format as every PS3 unit sold arrived with a Blu-ray Disc drive. The PS3’s popularity ultimately helped to ensure the format’s acceptance. In the end, HD DVD advocates ceded the battle as a steady stream of high-profile defections lead fence-sitters to side with the Blu-ray camp.

Looking towards the future, Blu-ray Disc capacities of up to 400GB have been engineered, possibly coming to the market within another five years.