The Blu-ray disc format was designed in order to stop software pirates from creating and selling movies in high-definition resolution. But while the copyright protection technologies do affect user experience and make consumers download new firmware, they do not stop pirates from selling pirated Blu-ray movies, it appears.
Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen last month unearthed a pirated warehouse collection with 800 of Blu-ray discs, reports theWall Street Journal. In fact, the media was not exactly Blu-ray with 25GB or 50GB capacities, instead, pirates sold consumers typical DVDs packaged like Blu-ray with video in 1280x720 resolution (720p).
Average consumers may not be able to determine whether he or she watches a true BD movie in 1920x1080 (1080p) resolution with high-quality audio, or a pirated movie in 720p with compressed moderate quality audio. Still, even 720p looks much sharper compared to usual DVD resolution. Since DVD media costs much less than Blu-ray blank discs, it made a lot of sense for pirates to use lower-cost solution.
"When we created the specifications for Blu-ray, we were very serious about trying to stem the tide of pirate discs regardless of where they were in the world," said Andy Parsons, a senior vice president at Pioneer Electronics’ Home Entertainment Group and the U.S. chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association promotions committee.
It is still possible to pull off high-definition video from Blu-ray using AnyDVD HD software from Slysoft. In fact, there are loads of web-sites that allow to download ripped Blu-ray copies. But since the media itself is pretty expensive, the popularity of such services is not high.
Even though counterfeited “Blu-ray” movies were discovered only in China, it makes sense for consumers in other parts of the world to ensure that what they buy are true Blu-ray discs, not DVDs packaged into blue boxes.