January 1st 2011 was an important date in the development of Blu-ray. It is the date in which analog HD output on Blu-ray ends, when all new Blu-ray players will now have to limit analog output to SD. Studios are now also able to use ICT (Image Constraint Token) to prevent analog HD output on older players.
The cut off date and ICT was originally devised as part of the Blu-ray specifications to accommodate what is called the "analog sunset", the plan to remove support for analog output by 2013.
From January 1st, all Blu-ray players produced after this date will only output HD from digital outputs, namely HDMI, with component output limited to a maximum resolution of only 540p. For older players, studios can now use the ICT flag embedded onto Blu-ray discs to tell the players not to output HD over analog. Discs with ICT will have to carry the ICT logo on the disc cover.
By 2013, no Blu-ray player will be allowed to carry analog outputs.
So those with TVs that only have component inputs will have to look for a new one, if they want to continue watching new Blu-ray movies in HD.
Analog output, apart from being outdated, is also easier to record from, and so by removing analog output support, the studios believe piracy can be reduced. However, Blu-ray related piracy is mostly done now through digital means, with no loss of quality involved (which is unavoidable with analog copying), and the ICT and analog sunset will have no effect on Blu-ray piracy.
Do you agree with the plan to cripple analog output, despite the fact that it's hardly ever used for piracy? Or do you think that analog's time is up and that we should move on as quickly as possible? Discuss this news story in our forum: