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Explaining Blu-ray Profiles 1.0. 1.1 and 2.0
Thursday, September 11th, 2008 at 3:20 PM - by
The Blu-ray Dic Association haas defined three different sets of hardware requirements and software capabilities for Blu-ray players, according to CNET Australia on Thursday. Most players shipped in 2007 were Blu-ray Profile 1.0. Many current and high end players now shipping support Profile 1.1 (BonusView) and Profile 2.0 (BD-Live). Shoppers looking for a Blu-ray player for the holidays will want to note the differences.
Profile 1.0 meets the minimum requirement for simply playing back Blu-ray discs. No local storage is required in the player, and an Ethernet connection not required.
Profile 1.1, also known as BonusView, adds picture-in-picture capability for a mode in which a director or actor can talk about a scene while it's happening. That requires an additional video decoder. Not many Blu-ray discs have shipped with BonusView in the past, but now many discs include it. The player must have 256 MB of storage.
Sony BDP-S350 (Profile 1.1, 2.0 "ready")
Profile 2.0, also known as BD-Live, requires the player to have an Ethernet connection to download content in addition to requiring 1 GB of local storage. This allows downloadable trailers and customer chat functions.
Some players, like the Sony BDP-S350 (MSRP $400) are Profile 1.1 and can be upgraded to BD-Live with a firmware update.
Customers who just want to watch movies can likely find deeply discounted Profile 1.0 players this Christmas. However, some players without Ethernet connections have had reported problems playing a few discs, so look for the ability to update the firmware via Ethernet, while staying at Profile 1.0, to fix those problems. Otherwise, it may require the user to use a PC to download an update file, burn a DVD, and manually update.
Blu-ray players that shipped without local storage and at Profile 1.0 can still have firmware updates, but cannot obtain 1.1 functionality unless they also have the hardware storage and pic-in-pic decoder. On example is the Samsung BD-P1400.
Others who want the interactive features will need to look for Profile 1.1 or 2.0 players this holiday. One well known player, the Sony PS3, is Profile 2.0, (or can be upgraded to 2.0), and that game console/player has proven to be highly future-proofed.
There is an emerging Profile 3.0, but that is restricted to audio-only Blu-ray discs.
The combination of Profile state, upgradability and Ethernet, local storage, various options for higher standard sound (including Dolby Digital Plus and uncompressed audio like Dolby TrueHD), the quality of the scaler for DVDs, the kind of outputs on the back and other exotic but rarely used features like 12-bit Deep Color will dictate the price of a Blu-ray player, from fire sale Profile 1.0 players at perhaps $199 to top of the line players from Pioneer, like the Elite BDP-05FD, priced at over US$700.
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