why do we need to spend additional funds to buy a third party BD emulator
Out of interest what BD burnable emulator do you plan to use? The only one I'm familiar with is Virtual CD but that is a $35 item.
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
I was expecting to have a 'built-in' emulator or 'burn to folder' function as part of PE7. So far I did not try any product. I am aware of the Sonic BD emulator (http://sonic-scenarist-bd-emulator.software.informer.com/) and others. It seems that the main problem is limitations and constraints put by the BD 'owners', which are strangling this medium from wider use. The consequences are that the players, media and software tools are too expensive. I purchased a HD camcorder, a BD burner and PE7 with the intention to move from DVD to BD, but am gradually discouraged....:(
Another option, for basic playback, is to mux the audio and video using the free txMuxer tool, that can create a BD style file, but this would lack themore complex menu structure.
There is also a Scenarist BD emulator, but I don't have any information about price or features. The whole point is that PE7 is quite crippled if it does not have a built-in facility to save a whole BD to disk.
A fairly limited option is to edit the video and audio parts in PE and then use a free tool like tsMuxer to create a BD on the PC hard drive. This is limited however in regard to menu structures.
I intended to make a transition from DVD to BD, so I purchased a HD camcorder, a BD burner and PE7 (based on the 'advertised' BD support), however I am gradually giving up on BD, as the software is so limiting, the media and stand-alone players too expensive. For home movies, the HD factor does not seem to justify all the pain....
Adobe Encore can do what you want, with full Menus and Pop-Ups. Unfortunately, it is only available as part of Adobe PrPro.
Good luck, and I do agree that Sony, and others, are working hard to eliminate BD from public use, except with purchased/rented commercial BD's. I feel that it will be even less of a consumer medium with the next iteration, or two. Now, some player firmware updates have effectively locked out any burned BD. This is a choice that the powers-that-be have made.