China: Blu-ray Kidnapped by Pirates

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, proponents of Blu-ray Disc have one more thing to boast (and maybe worry) about. A police raid in southern China recently uncovered about 800 apparent Blu-ray titles—all of which were pirated and copied illegally, and not all that well.

As with most pirated items, one sure sign that they may not have been the genuine articles is the price: Pirated movies were going for about $7 each—or about a third or quarter of what bona fide Blu-ray packaged content is going for these days globally (at least prior to some Black Friday sales in the United States coming up next week).

The illegally copied discs did contain fairly decent-looking (albeit also illegal) Blu-ray holograms and other typical industry labels. But the stolen movies were burned using the AVCHD standard, according to The Wall Street Journal, which is not quite up to par with Blu-ray—although it's generally less expensive to produce en masse.

The key dilemma (as you may have guessed) in the pirates' favor: Most unsuspecting consumers would not be able to tell the difference between AVCHD (720p) and Blu-ray (1080p)—especially having not seen much content (if any) via either format—and surely not viewed side-by-side for easier comparison.