AfterDawn: Tech news

Sony to use MPEG-2 on Blu-ray movies

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 30 Nov 2005 2:00 User comments (34)

Sony to use MPEG-2 on Blu-ray movies Sony Pictures made an interesting statement on this week when they decided that they will use 11-years-old MPEG-2 on upcoming Blu-ray movie discs. Decision is slightly weird, since Blu-ray players will also support more modern video encoding mechanisms, such as Microsoft's VC-1 and MPEG-4 AVC.
By using either AVC or VC-1, Sony could have achieved even better picture quality for the movies that will use 1080i video resolution (1920x1080 as opposed to 720x480 on standard American DVDs). However, Sony claims that with Blu-ray's increased storage capacity (minimum of 25 gigabytes versus maximum of 8.5 gigabytes on DVDs), even MPEG-2 provides "good enough" picture quality when compared to DVDs. But, when considering mathematically the situation, their claim doesn't hold water -- HD-quality video, using 1920x1080 resolution has exactly six times more pixels than NTSC DVD-Video has, but Blu-ray's storage space is only about three times larger than dual layer DVD's storage space. Thus, the bitrate per pixel will be lower, if comparing side-by-side a DVD packed 100 percent full of video and Blu-ray full of HD-quality video. Sure, the better resolution most likely makes up the difference more than enough, but still the decision is rather unexpected.

Sony's main argument to support the decision to use MPEG-2 is that most movie studios are used to work with MPEG-2 format and aren't necessarily capable of using VC-1 or AVC well enough to justify the transition from MPEG-2.

Obviously, this is only Sony's decision and as Blu-ray's specs rule that players need to support all approved video formats, including VC-1 and AVC, it means that other studios are free to use whichever format they prefer. But as Sony is likely to be the first studio to roll out large selection of Blu-ray -movies, it might give a wrong impression of the format's capabilities. Most people obviously wont care what the internal video format used is, as long as it provides better-than-DVD picture quality in HDTV-resolution.


Previous Next  

34 user comments

130.11.2005 02:29

God everything Sony sucks!

230.11.2005 03:14

How can any of us imformed readers support a sony product again? The developers of root kit? How can any of us even think of buying any Sony Product after such an invasion of privacy, adding a virus to our computer, then having to have so much bad press about it that they were "guilted" into being. Now blu-ray does not look as if it is going to be all its cracked up to be. Plus it is going to have DRM, or Digital Rights Management. So don't expect to have the same freedom with these discs as we do now with standard dvd. My opinion, I will never buy another Sony product again. Vote with your wallet, that is the only way we can change anything. Sadly, the US is about dollars, and they are the biggest voters. Use your vote. Don't buy Sony.

330.11.2005 03:37

I think I see Sony's plan... Release a whole pile of movies using MPEG-2 over the next year or so. People will be so hungry for HD content that they will purchase them. Then, a little later, they can re-release them using a better codec as "new and improved" and people will rush out to purchase their library all over again.

430.11.2005 04:01

"good enough" picture quality when compared to DVDs. dosnt that say it all while we as consumers buy more technology to increase our veiwing pleasures with hd tv and suround sound and tevo the market is full of crap movies that get released and we buy them or go see them at the movies, then some lame company says "good enough" because they already nailed us with illegal software and forced us to resecure or home computers because of their software and we are going to take this from them... wow we are a very lame race (human) to put up with this company and their sh#t.....boycot Sony for all that you can its time to look at what technology is really needed..... yes mp3 players are nice but do we need them and if we dont buy them will they make something better...of course now your cell phone doubles as a mp3 player ... so if we dont buy sony stuff maybe they'll help us to save what we have and not change it so we need to upgrade.... I like my dvds just the way they are and im not buying a nother untill my dvds wont play on what I have...... screw sony

530.11.2005 04:12


630.11.2005 04:25

Will standard dvd's still be out...will they make movies in all formats Standard DVD's,HD-DVD and Blue Ray....Does anyone have any information on that thank you :)

730.11.2005 05:34

think I see Sony's plan... Release a whole pile of movies using MPEG-2 over the next year or so. People will be so hungry for HD content that they will purchase them. Then, a little later, they can re-release them using a better codec as "new and improved" and people will rush out to purchase their library all over again.
i agree, but i don't care, i love sony

830.11.2005 05:48

So Can I install rootkit on your computer and see everything you are doing with opening the right ports on your computer?

930.11.2005 05:48

I believe that the existing DVD format (DVD-5, DVD-9, etc.) will be around for a while. Remember how long it took before DVD's began outselling VHS tapes. Major Hollywood movies started appearing in DVD format around 1998, and the industry didn't expect much to happen with it until Disney decided to release its current movies and particularly its vastly popular library on DVD. It took 4-5 years for DVD's to dominant the market, even with DVD players showing substantial price drops over the last couple of years. So expect the transition to HD to take some time as well, because people who haven't already still have to decide to purchase HD TV's and the players that will support HD-DVD or Blu-ray ($), the networks still have not implemented wide-scale HD broadcasting, and for many people the quality difference between the existing DVD format and HD is only incremental, not revolutionary. For example, High-def video cameras (Panasonic, Sony) have been available for several years now, and the prices are very competitive with standard def video cameras. Nevertheless, professional photographers have show little interest in investing in them, as many of our clients don't need or want it. One wonders if a similar pattern may occur with high-def DVD.

1030.11.2005 06:07

yeah so when is the american public at large going to wake up and relise that all the commercails are selling crap if it was something you needed then they wouldnt have to advertize.. really does you local lightand power company take out adds? no but the ps3 will assualt your sences with light and sound as soon as the relese date gets closer ... tv is becoming the worst idea in the evolution of mankind , the news organizations lie to us, commecials beat and pond on use to buy crap.... and now companys assualt our computers and we are supporting them by buying more crap from them.... whats wrong with us are we that dumb as a race?

1130.11.2005 06:12

I've said it once and i'll say it again, when SONY's top executives were Japanese, they were a fine company. Since the transition to American Executives, the company has had many ethical lapses, crappy products, and poor service. Gotta love the greed hungry americans.

1230.11.2005 06:14

hey heres where we are going but what they didnt show you was the made by Sony sticker on the ass of this robot. we are all becoming to easyly influanced by what ever the latest and greatest is not on what we really need . we will be found one day dead on the floor but surrounded by all our crap and what will be said was man but he (or she) had some kewl shit

1330.11.2005 06:29

Always the same arguments... All theese firms are not recrued in the salvation army. They want only our money. They may make smart or dummy choises investing in various products seeking to put their hands in our pockets. I believe that they are in rush from the upcoming promising arise of Maxell's Holographic discs. They runnuning out of time. On the other hand now all we are wiser after spending fortunes over fortunes trying to stay on top of the opticoacoustic technology. Our rates are running with smaller gears now. With the majority of analog transmissions we wait somebody else to make the first movement. Plus I believe that no man on earth has seen all titles publicate from the first movie till the last one. I can live without go to the movies without see a specific 's firm products. For the rest if a product has high ratio of characteristics / price will always be under my investigations, always of course, following from after sale support services and the prices of the spareparts. Of course they want (remember Pinky and the Brain?) to dominate the planet (Scarface - The world is yours!). Some months ago I tried to make my personal revolution by changing Operating System on my PC. I believe that we have the power to help in distribution of products that will not make us slaves of their needs. Don 't expect everything from the antitrust laws (whatever this means). Thank you for your time...

1430.11.2005 06:38

oracle you said it best above all we need not bow to their influance but stand so they take our voices in account for we are the consumers not the slaves to trends as they see us... spead the word boycott thier products go low tech and make them remmber who they serve and where they get their money.... if your dog bites you when you feed it, will you continue to feed it?

1530.11.2005 08:29


1630.11.2005 10:10

Yeah...This really sucks. America keeps buying into consumerist propaganda, and nobody does anything about it. Well, some try, but within 24 hours of speaking up, they are usually arrested. How can we keep saying that we as Americans live in a free society, where we have the right of speech and the right to petition? I'll tell you right now, if the American gov't saw some of the crap I wrote about them, they'd probably lock my ass up faster than a white guy who killed 500 people! America wasn't that bad, until about 500 years ago when the indigenous people were killed to near extinction by the damn Anglo-Saxon @ssholes that have ruled this country up until recently. I'm just pissed off to the point of near insanity at the fact that every other country blames all people in America for the actions of only the few have the "right" to act on. The only thing I hear as a reason for how things are running now is, "It may not be a perfect gov't, but it's the best we have right now." What a crock of SH!t. I'm sorry to anyone who is offended by what I have to say, but that's just how I feel about my country and how our global economy is destroying the planet as we know it. It's not entirely the citizen's fault that some of them can't control their actions. They've been programed from a young age to consume and try to take as much as you can from the next guy. Television of one of the most effective brain-washing devices that has ever been created, which is why I stopped watching it. I could go on, but I'm pretty sure I'd get kicked off this site for either going way off topic, or just offending the right people. Good day.

1730.11.2005 10:28

I like sony lol well...I'm mostly indifferent all you haters out there....rootkits are cool! and I just find the fact that sony made one is funny :)...not like I buy cd's anyway...everything is better digital

1830.11.2005 10:36

yeah. those analog CDs suck. (what?)

1930.11.2005 10:46

Just have to say that Rikoshay was absolutely right, I salute you my friend.

2030.11.2005 11:35

I think I see Sony's plan... Release a whole pile of movies using MPEG-2 over the next year or so. People will be so hungry for HD content that they will purchase them. Then, a little later, they can re-release them using a better codec as "new and improved" and people will rush out to purchase their library all over again.
I think you're 100% correct. They're looking at what happened with DVDs and realized they can make a lot more money by selling their movies a minimum of 2 times. Another problem they're going to have with MPEG-2 is the bitrate. I don't remember the max bitrate allowable by Blu-Ray but I'm positive it's not 6x the current DVD-Video standard.

2130.11.2005 13:04

Blu-ray Disc will support at least: - MPEG-2, the standard used for DVDs - H.264/AVC and - VC-1 a codec based on Microsoft's Windows Media This doesn't mean blu-ray movies will always use MPEG-2 but rather is a benifit over HD-DVD Sony in this article refers to itself when it says MPEG-2, Sony Pictures movies at first will be MPEG2. not everything. I have no idea what you fools are so pissed about. This is a good thing, support for mpeg 2. Sony did not install a virus, rather a rootkit, giving any virus lucky enough to find a dumbass being hind the mouse the ability to HIDE ITSELF AGAINST THE DUMBASS WHO DOENS'T USE A ROOTKIT SCANNER.

2230.11.2005 15:36

reasons u're right it's also a good thing that it's mpeg2 compatitable

2330.11.2005 15:47

In the past year, Sony has dished out about the worst possible set of business decisions conceivable. What's the point of using out-dated codecs? It's not like it takes a rocket scientist to use H.264. Heck, I can use that codec and I'm not out of high-school yet. Obviously, Sony no longer wants customers.

2430.11.2005 16:40

Some of the accusations, opinions taken aginst Sony are Laughable. Who deosn't what backwards compatibility, WHY NOT. Bitch about now, but to compete HD-DVD just moght do the same, are you gonna go off on them too? for offereing you the ability to put off of your current video on blu0ray or hd-dvd wihtout converting? Or do like staring at that CPU USAGE=100% on the task manager. I have over 100 movies in mpeg-2, I'd much rather archive them on Blu-Ray right away than waste my time converting. Again, ridiculous opinions.

251.12.2005 01:33

@ Reasons?: Blu-Ray players are already set to support H.264 and MPEG-2. Nothing is going to stop you from putting content that has already been encoded to MPEG-2 on a Blu-Ray disc without transcoding. Sony, on the other hand has the ability to take advantage of the more advanced codecs, but is apparently afraid it will be too difficult and mentally challenging for them to switch codecs. My complaint isn't that Blu-Ray supports MPEG-2; it's that Sony would rather stick with the old codecs than give their customers higher quality content.

261.12.2005 03:59

ummmmmmm in one word DIVX

271.12.2005 18:23

Sony is giving them some transition time. Have you seen the PSP, Sony is the biggest current supporter of AVC.

282.12.2005 08:31

The point, I believe, is not that Blu-Ray supports MPEG-2 (backwards compatibility) but that $ony has apparently decided to release their BD movies <b>IN</b> MPEG-2 as opposed to a higher bitrate codec. And of course the comment "Good Enough" (for the consumer) generally seems to have a dismissive air about it. Everything $ony states lately seems to be arrogant and devoid of any interest in consumer winning. This was seen in their comments about consumers lack of knowledge about rootkits equaling consumers should have a lack of concern about the risks of rootkits. It's seen in the fact that they make outlandish anti-consumer comments about this rootkit, deny that there is a problem, deny that their is a risk to their customers even AFTER they were informed by F-Secure back in OCTOBER that XCP was UNSECURE ( As for this anti-consumer mindset of it's 'Good Enough' then only time and sales will tell.

292.12.2005 10:00

@ duckNrun: Just a minor technical correction - MPEG-4 AVC isn't necessarily of a higher bitrate than MPEG-2. No matter which codec is used, the bitrate (amount of data consumed per second) will probably be about the same. MPEG-4 AVC just offers more advanced encoding techniques that increase perceived video quality. Other than that though, I agree with you! :) For a business that is almost entirely entertainment-oriented (Sony doesn't really sell anything that people just can't live without), "Good enough" is a very tacky method of selling products.

302.12.2005 10:07

.... I humbly stand corrected ..... :o)

3111.1.2006 12:52

I think you're giving the wrong impressions with this article. -- If you're using MPEG, you might as well stick with MPEG-2 if you're using a bitrate above 6 Mbps (about 1.5 mbps per 76kpx). MPEG-4 adds very little for higher bitrate performance. -- MPEG-4 AVC is more useful for situtations where you have to use _lower bitrates_ (i.e. the internet); I don't want lower bitrates on my High Definition DVDs. (If you don't _have_ to use lower bitrates, why sacrifice quality?)

3211.1.2006 13:27

Using MPEG-2 will just take up more space. It's not like AVC is magically better resolution and colors etc. It just reatins full HD in less space compared to MPEG-2. As long as it's 1080p and on one disc, no one should really care.

3323.1.2006 04:36

The MPEG license and the licensor MPEGLA is an anticompetitive monopolistic patent pooling scheme that has misappropriated technology from Iviewit Technologies and therefore acts as a Racketeering and Corrupt Organization. The primary patent reviewer for MPEG is Kenneth Rubenstein who is currently under investigation by the United States Patent & Trademark Office for theft of intellectual properties from the Iviewit inventors, including Eliot Bernstein, Jude Rosario, Zakirul Shirajee, James Armstrong, Matthew Mink and Patricia Daniels. The law firm that Rubenstein works for, Proskauer Rose LLP, has acquired control of MPEG. Rubenstein and Proskauer Rose are under investigation by federal authorities for a host of federal, state and international crimes commissioned in the theft of the Iviewit intellectual properties. Proskauer and Rubenstein were patent counsel for the Iviewit inventors while they were controlling MPEG and acting as its counsel, they then stole the Iviewit technologies from the inventors the represented, bundled them into a anticompetitive pool, constituting a racketeering organization and have tried to consistently destroy Iviewit and inventor Eliot Bernstein and his family and friends. Rubenstein’s former partner Raymond Anthony Joao, Esq., now has applied for ninety patents in his own name, (yes the patent attorney has patented the inventions in his own name, it should not even be possible but…) many stolen directly from the inventions he and Rubenstein were supposed to patent for Iviewit. Foley and Lardner and partners of their firm, including former IBM patent counsel William J. Dick are also involved in perpetrating the crimes against Iviewit and likewise are also federal, state and international investigations for their part in the attempted theft of their client Iviewits’ inventions. Foley and Lardner, a large intellectual property firm should also be regarded as a potential patent law firm involved in theft of patents from inventors. Members of Proskauer, Christopher Wheeler, Esq. and two former IBM employees, William Dick and Brian Utley formerly had tried to steal inventions from another Florida company, Diamond Turf Equipment, which led to that company being forced out of business, costing the owner millions of dollars in losses. It appears that many of the patent thieves have worked together in unison to steal other inventions and this should be a stark warning that coincidence is not an element but these are targeted attacks on inventors’ intellectual properties. As with most patent pooling schemes, this MPEG scheme created by Rubenstein and Proskauer to steal inventions from inventors will eventually be exposed and the Justice Department will press charges for criminal actions. How will our government then return the inventions to the true and proper inventors and close this hole in the system is still up in the air, so stay tuned for Iviewit or Patentgate updates. The Iviewit patents and trademarks have been suspended by the Commissioner of Patents at the United States Patent & Trademark Office and licenses taken for the scaling video and imaging patents paid to MPEG for stolen technologies may result in further licensing costs to those who take MPEG licenses for such technologies when the Iviewit patents are granted. Death threats and an attempted car bombing of inventor Bernstein have recently been executed and several more investigations have resulted. Is MPEG LA a criminal organization stealing inventions from small inventors and then perpetrating crimes against the inventors to destroy them or put them out of business, it appears so. If you are submitting patents to MPEG and are a small inventor it would be wise to first visit the Iviewit site at or read of inventor Bernstein’s struggle to regain his technologies from MPEG and it’s accomplices at . Without the Iviewit scaling inventions MPEG technology licenses would be worthless, as without scaling technologies for video they would be limited in ability to create new age video for low and high bandwidth applications. Digital camera’s and other technologies using scaled imaging may also be infringing upon the Iviewit inventions and many companies, including several Fortune 500 companies, have violated their confidentiality agreements with Iviewit. The Iviewit inventions have been heralded worldwide by leading engineers as Holy Grail inventions that have revolutionized the digital imaging and video world. If you are appalled by the crimes described at the Iviewit site, please feel free to leave your comments or send an email to and we will publish your comments and concerns. The theft of intellectual properties is a federal offense and these crimes have constituted charges of fraud not only on Iviewit and the Iviewit shareholders but crimes against the United States and Foreign Nations. The crimes could lead to a loss of faith in the United States Patent Office and the attorneys that are registered with the patent office to protect inventors. Such degradation of this most esteemed institution could lead inventors to seek protection of their inventions in other countries. Imagine the United States losing inventions to other countries because inventors fear that not only will their inventions be stolen but criminal organizations such as MPEGLA operated by criminals such as Rubenstein will then try to kill them for their inventions or destroy their lives and companies. This is truly the greatest patent story ever told and as American citizens we must, must, prevent this type of legal crime, committed by attorneys, to protect the Constitution. The Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 specifically states that “Congress shall have the power To…promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Without this right guaranteed to small inventors and further where the very system designed to protect such rights has become embroiled in the violation of such rights, we must demand full investigation of all threads of this crime and the criminal organization cloaked in law that have learned how to usurp this fundamental concept of democracy. Please visit and comment at or add a thread here at this sit Thank you ~ Inventor Eliot Bernstein and the Iviewit companies I close with a quip from Mark Twain who also believed strongly in the value of the patent system. In his book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Hank Morgan, the Connecticut Yankee, he said "…the very first official thing I did in my administration-and it was on the very first day of it too-was to start a patent office; for I knew that a country without a patent office and good patent laws was just a crab and couldn't travel anyway but sideways and backwards."

3423.1.2006 06:50

No one is going to read that big cut and paste post dude.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive