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DVD Forum approves 'bigger than Blu-ray' 51 GB HD DVD


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DVD Forum approves 'bigger than Blu-ray' HD DVD

07 Sep 07

Country: China, USA

Source: Online Services/Intelligence/Video and DVD/Updates


The DVD Forum, the international DVD standards authority, has approved a 51 GB single-sided triple-layer HD DVD disc for production. Extension to the HD DVD standard, which was submitted by Toshiba in April, received approval on 31 August 2007. Other recent developments include:

A single-sided triple-layer HD DVD/DVD hybrid (combi) disc, the DVD layer of which would be playable by legacy DVD players, is expected to be approved before the year end.

The Forum has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China's Optical Memory National Engineering Research Centre (OMNERC) regarding licensing of the HD DVD-ROM China (formerly HD DVD-ROM China-only) format, specification for which was approved earlier this year. The only difference between the latter and the standard HD DVD format is the modulation scheme: the optical pickup in HD DVD China player will be able to play standard HD DVD discs, although Chinese discs will not be playable in standard HD DVD drives. According to the Forum, the Chinese government is keen to introduce the format domestically before the Olympic Games in August 2008. Large-scale integrates (LSIs) are already under development by manufacturers and use of AACS for the format is currently under negotiation.



Our take...

The approval of Toshiba's 51 GB disc is good news for the HD DVD camp, allowing it to compete directly with rival Blu-ray Disc's (BD) dual-layer 50 GB disc. As with the BD50, it is likely to take some time for production yields to reach a commercially viable level. However, once this has been achieved it will arguably eliminate one of the principle reasons behind some studios' support of Blu-ray over HD DVD, thus potentially making it easier for Disney or Fox to adopt a format-agnostic position without losing face. Meanwhile, the development of a triple-layer single-sided hybrid HD DVD/DVD disc will also be welcomed by HD DVD supporters. Both Warner and Universal have been releasing double-sided hybrids in the US for some time but they have yet to use this approach in Europe. Single-sided hybrids (sometimes called 'twin format' discs) offer the same space for promotional printing as traditional optical discs and do not require the consumer to think about which way to put them into the player. Anime title Freedom was released in the US as a single-sided hybrid in June but its capacity (15 GB HD DVD and 4.7 GB DVD) was not sufficient for a major studio release. The approval by the Forum of a triple-layer hybrid might arguably encourage some studios to release certain titles only on HD DVD/DVD hybrids, which could in turn lead to some DVD buyers building up a library of HD DVD titles by default, before making the decision to upgrade to a hi-def video player. So far there have been no indications that the BD camp plans to support hybrid discs.

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