Blu-ray Group Details Security Features

The group backing Sony's Blu-ray disc format for the next-generation of DVDs has announced new security features that it hopes will encourage movie studios to choose Blu-ray over Toshiba's HD-DVD. The new technology will embed a watermark on all discs that requires authorization from the hardware to play.

However, such a move means that Blu-ray discs will not be backward compatible with current DVD players and could slow adoption rates among consumers. Movie studios could create hybrid discs that also contain original DVD content as well, but that won't encourage users to make the leap into high-definition.

Nonetheless, Blu-ray's backers think they have found a good approach to entice industry support and prevent mass piracy. Disc-making equipment would require valid authorization codes to access Blu-ray encoded content, and discs would not play back using modified DVD players.

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"It's been a promise since day one: that we're committed to offering the strongest content management system," said Marty Gordon, vice president of Phillips Electronics.

But it's still not clear if any technology will really prove effective. DVD encryption was broken not long after its debut, and pirated DVDs flood the streets of many countries.

The HD-DVD group is taking a different approach than Blu-ray, offering low-tech piracy prevention while keeping costs lower. And analysts say price is one of the key factors that will crown a winner in the race to become the next-generation DVD format.

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