As sales of movies on Blu-ray disc (BD) media is approaching 1.5 billion units and sales of Blu-ray disc playback capable equipment exceeded 115 million, developers of the technology will be honored with the 62nd annual technology & engineering Emmy award during the 2011 consumer electronics show (CES) for their contributions to the blue laser optical systems for consumer playback.
Today, the Blu-ray disc format is used by millions of consumers worldwide to watch their favorite feature films in high-definition quality. Since its introduction in 2006, over 1.4 billion Blu-ray pre-recorded discs, 188 million Blu-ray recordable/rewritable discs, 50 million Blu-ray players and recorders, 41 million PlayStation 3 game consoles and over 25 million Blu-ray PC readers and writers have been produced.
Panasonic Corp., Royal Philips Electronics, Sony Corp. and TDK Corp. will be honored with the Emmy award. The development of the blue laser optical systems was fundamental for the distribution and recording of full HD content on optical discs at consumer price levels.
In anticipation of the high-definition television (HDTV) market adoption - Panasonic, Philips and Sony have been working on a blue laser optical system already since 1997. In 2000 the companies joined forces and initiated the Blu-ray disc Founders in 2002, followed in 2004 by the Blu-ray disc association (BDA), in which all industry key stakeholders participated to successfully launch a worldwide standard for high definition content distribution. The path for success of the Blu-ray technology was pretty tough: in an attempt to not allow competing HD DVD technology backed by Toshiba and Microsoft to beat BD significantly to market, the Blu-ray backers had to release half-baked players in the first half of 2006. In addition, the BDA had to provide substantial incentives to Hollywood movie studios to ensure their exclusive support.
“Sony began development of blue laser optical technology in the late 1990s, realized the world's first high definition recording on 20GB optical media by using blue-violet laser, and has contributed greatly to the continuous development of the Blu-ray disc format and the business by releasing a wide variety of Blu-ray disc devices,” said Jun Yonemitsu, chief distinguished researcher and deputy senior general manager of home entertainment development division at Sony Corp.