Blu-ray Analog HD Sails Into The Sunset

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As the world sang Auld Lang Syne to 2010, American’s were also bidding adieu to viewing high-definition video over the analog outputs on Bluray Disc players.

That’s because Jan. 1, 2011, marked the first phase of the so-called “analog sunset” in which any new Bluray player introduced to the market will only output high-definition video content over digital HDMI ports, which for all particle purposes emit signals that are not recordable by conventional consumer products.

Players introduced last year and earlier can still be sold with the HD analog output capability (via component video and RGB jacks) through the end of the year.

As for legacy Blu-ray and HD DVD players, the ability to deliver an HD signal over analog jacks will be left up to the studio holding the rights to the content.

The Advanced Access Content System, managed by the AACS LA, is a form of DRM to restrict access to and copying of content on Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs. The AACS LA lobbied for and won the right to use of an Image Constraint Token (ICT) which when set on a title will instruct supporting HD players to down convert the analog output to SD (480i or 576i) resolution.

Content carrying these “down-rezzing” instructions must indicate that fact on the box, and content released prior to Jan. 1, 2011 must continue to function as the purchaser originally intended it would.

The final stage of the sunset comes in 2013 when Blu-ray players will no longer carry analog outputs at all.

The analog sunset only applies to Blu-ray and HDDVD players using the AACS system. Set-top boxes for cable and satellite TV services are not included, although some providers include similar technology in their technology and voluntarily down-rez certain HDTV content as instructed by the content rights holders.


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