Blu ray Discs 

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Information About Blu ray Discs

What is a Blu ray Disc? | Blu ray Formats | Authoring | Packaging | Bar Codes | MCPS


What is a Blu ray Disc?

Blu ray Disc (also known as Blu-ray or BD) is an optical disc storage medium. Its main uses are high-definition video and data storage. The disc has the same physical dimensions as standard DVDs and CDs.

The name Blu-ray Disc is derived from the blue laser (violet-colored) used to read and write this type of disc. Because of the wavelength (405 nanometres), substantially more data can be stored on a Blu-ray Disc than on the DVD format, which uses a red (650 nm) laser. A two-layer Blu-ray Disc can store 50 gigabytes, almost six times the capacity of a two-layer DVD, or ten and a half times that of a single-layer DVD.

Like DVDs, Blu ray Discs consist of a reflective metal layer embedded in a polycarbonate (clear plastic) disc, and if required, they can also contain two layers of data. The table below shows the capacities available. The reflective layer is covered with a pattern of millions of tiny pits which represent the ‘one and noughts’ that make up the Blu ray data. This data is recorded in a spiral (a bit like the groove on a vinyl disc): single layer discs start in the middle and wind towards the outside edge, whilst the second layer of a dual layer disc can start at the outside or inside, depending on whether continuous video play is required. 

Nominal capacity


25 GBytes

Single sided, single layer

50 GBytes

Single sided, dual layer

The pattern of pits in the Disc is pressed from a master mould called a stamper (again a bit like vinyl records). Stampers are the end product of the process known as glass mastering. The data from the production master (normally a DLT) is used to switch a laser on and off (a laser beam recorder or LBR) which 'records' dots onto a photo coated piece of glass. This 'glass master' is then photographically processed and exposed to a powerful acid which burns pits into the surface of the glass where the dots were. The glass master is then electroplated to create the stampers which are used in the moulding of the Blu ray Discs.

Once the discs have been pressed, any ‘on-disc’ printing is then applied using either a screen printing or on-disc litho (offset) technique. As standard we include printing in up to 5 colours within our prices. We supply finished ‘film’ which carries your design for both silk screen and litho (offset): computer to plate is not used for either process yet.

All discs are examined for defects in the playing surface and sub-standard on-disc printing. Any discs which fail these quality checks are discarded. Finally, if required, discs are packed into cases, with any printed materials, before being boxed for despatch.



A variety of packaging is now available for Blu ray. The main types comprise:


Blu ray Disc Formats

There are already a variety of different formats in use, such as:


Pre recorted titles for video or games (PS3)


Computer writable storage discs. Capacity is currently about 23GB


Computer re writable storage discs. Capacity is currently about 23GB Please note that DVD-RW and DVD+RW should never be used as masters for duplication or manufacture!

Other formats will be available soon.


Blu ray Authoring

Currently all authoring has to be done by our pressing plant. All Blu-ray replication projects require a license with AACS by both us (the replicator) and the content owner.  The content owner will need to get a license, and will be issued a 4-digit ID number which they will pass to us. We, as your replicator, will need to have this ID number to submit key orders for encryption on the owner's behalf. Please call us for more details and costs.


Master Formats

There are 2 principle ways of supplying a master. Either on a recordable Blu ray disc, or a DLT (Digital Linear Tape). DLT is the fully professional method and is the most reliable. Recordable Blu ray Disc is becoming more widely acceptable and if used with caution can yield good results.


PAL / NTSC and Region Coding for Video

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of region coding. There are really two issues here:

PAL / NTSC Compatibility

Video elements on a Blu ray disc must conform to one of the two main international standards: NTSC (for USA, Japan and some other territories) or PAL (for UK, Europe and most of the rest of the world). It is not possible for a single Disc to contain both PAL and NTSC video. In addition because the picture sizes are different, menus and background images must be separately created for PAL and NTSC. 

If you create an NTSC title for the USA and / or Japan, it is worth noting that many PAL players will also playback NTSC discs (subject to the TV to which it is connected also being able to display NTSC, which many newer sets can). Also note, that computers will playback PAL and NTSC without problem because they are not tied to a TV standard. So if you don't want to create versions for PAL and NTSC (often due to budget!), you will still reach a large part of the PAL market. BUT, there is a further complication : -

Region Coding

Blu-ray Discs may be encoded with a region code, intended to restrict the area of the world in which they can be played, similar in principle to the DVD region codes, although the used geographical regions differ. Blu-ray Disc players sold in a certain region may only play discs encoded for that region. This is primarily used for market segmentation, or price discrimination, but it also allows motion picture studios to control the various aspects of a release (including content and release date) according to the region. Discs may also be produced without region coding, so they can be played on all devices. The countries of the major Blu-ray manufacturers (Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, etc.) are in the same region as the Americas. As of late 2008, almost 70% of all released discs were region-free.

Bar Codes

If you think that your products will be distributed by a commercial distribution company, or will be stocked by a 'large' retailer, you should consider using a bar code. Bar codes are often used in conjunction with ISRC codes for automatic royalty payments by radio stations. Bar code numbers are controlled in the UK by gs1. Visit their web site at or for more contact information see our links page.

Each bar code number consists of three parts:

In order to use a bar code number you must be a member of gs1 who will allocate you a company prefix to which you add a reference item number. Only members of gs1 can use bar codes. It is illegal to use bar codes if you are not a member of gs1! Companies offering to sell or give you a bar code risk prosecution of themselves and you. In addition, it is quite possible that your royalties and revenue from sales could end up being paid to other bands sharing the same company prefix as you. Finally, don't be persuaded to stick the bar code off a chocolate bar, etc. on your CD - it could lead to mass confusion in Morrisons.



The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society administer the mechanical copyright of the vast majority of music in the UK on behalf of songwriters and publishers. If you are going to use someone else's material, you will almost always have to pay a royalty. In order to progress your manufacture, you will need to fill in an Application For License form (available from us or MCPS), regardless of whether you are recording your own or someone else's songs. Once the form is completed and returned to MCPS they will let you know how much you will owe (if anything) in royalty payments, and then once this is paid, they issue a License To Manufacture. Other than for runs of less than 500 units, we (along with all other reputable duplication facilities) will require a license before we can commence manufacture. Visit their web site or for more contact information see our links page.

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The Small Print
  • Delivery of Discs is normally free of charge to one UK mainland address as standard. Other carriage will be charged at cost.
  • Spot colours, metallic ink, metal foil, etc all available. Please call for a specific quote.
  • Digipak, DVDigipak and other custom packaging systems available. Please call for prices.
  • All prices are Ex VAT.
  • Manufacturing plants work to a tolerance of +/- 10% of the ordered quantity to allow failures to be removed during quality control. You will be charged for the exact number of units delivered. (Average is 3% over ordered quantity).
  • All materials (tapes, discs, films, etc.) are the sole responsibility of the client.
  • Print prices for on-disc print are based on your supplied colour separated finished film to our specifications.
  • Print prices for printed paper parts are based on your supplied PDFs to our specifications.
  • We do our best to ensure that the prices on our web site are up to date, but they may vary from time to time. Please contact us for the most up to date quotation.
  • Accounts must be settled in accordance with invoice dates.
  • All orders are accepted subject to our standard terms and conditions. E&OE.


Top Of Page | Blu ray information | Blu ray Prices

CD | CDR | USB Memory Stick | Packaging

Disc Comparison Page


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Page last updated Thursday 18th February 2010  21:00.