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BDA Promotes Blu-ray Security Features

One of the two groups vying to produce the HD generation of DVDs has rolled out new security features to entice entertainment and electronics companies to adopt its technology--even while content providers appear to be temporarily retreating until the incompatibility issue is somehow resolved.

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a partnership of electronics manufacturers and Hollywood studios including Hewlett-Packard and Twentieth Century Fox, plans to fight piracy by embedding an identification mark on movies, music and video games that can only be read by equipment carrying its technology.

The new security features are the latest volley in the battle between Blu-ray and the sole competing group, HD DVD, which is backed by Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Toshiba and Sanyo, among others, Reuters reports

Analysts, however, said security certainly wouldn't be an issue for consumers. For either format to take off, the benefits have to be compelling enough to outweigh the costs, especially because current DVD disks will continue to work in existing DVD players, albeit at the SD level, and will not become obsolete automatically by the next generation's introduction. Most people, other analysts said in published reports, will not notice significant differences between the excellent video of both formats; what they really want to know is if their purchases can be played on their new HD player.

Blu-ray discs, which will not be playable on traditional DVD players, would prevent unauthorized users from mass-producing discs on stolen disc-making equipment by requiring authorization codes. Blu-ray-coded discs will also contain a feature that would not play on machines that have been tampered with. Skeptics, however, have little faith that any security measure can totally protect digital content.

In related Blu-ray news, Universal Music Group (a subsidiary of Vivendi) and Lions Gate Entertainment announced their support for the Blu-ray format this week.