Toshiba and Memory-Tech Develop Dual Format DVD
Memory-Tech Corporation and Toshiba Corporation today announced that they have jointly developed a dual-layer ROM (read-only) disc that can store content in both the HD DVD and DVD formats.
The newly developed ROM disc has a single-sided, dual-layer structure. The upper layer, closer to the optical head, stores data in the DVD format, and the lower layer stores HD DVD data. The DVD layer has a 4.7GB capacity, satisfying specification of current DVD discs, while the HD DVD layer can store 15GB capacity. The DVD layer can be played back on currently available DVD players.
HD-DVD is similar to a competing format, the Blu-Ray disc, in that it uses a CD size (120 mm) optical data storage media and a blue laser at 405 nm wavelength. HD-DVD is promoted by Toshiba, NEC, and Sanyo, and backed by four major film studios, and is currently engaged in a format war with the Blu-ray Disc proposed by Sony.
The HD DVD format has been independently endorsed by Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema, and Warner Bros. Studios. HD DVD players are expected to become available in late 2005 and widely available in 2006.
The new disc makes it possible for consumers to view DVD content on standard DVD players and, after purchasing an HD DVD player, to enjoy high definition content on the HD DVD layer from the same disc. The new disc structure also increases options for content providers; they can provide the same content in two formats, or use the HD DVD layer for a feature movie and the DVD layer to store promotional videos or audio content, including the movie sound track.
The new disc can be produced on Memory-Tech's existing manufacturing lines, which can manufacture both HD DVD and DVD discs. The disc's manufacturing cost is expected to be comparable with that of single-sided dual-layer DVD-ROM or HD DVD-ROM discs, as it has the same physical structure as those discs.
HD DVD is the next generation DVD format being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. HD DVD players and HD DVD video software are expected to come to market in late 2005, and will allow consumers to enjoy video content, including Hollywood movies, with crystal-clear, high-definition picture quality. The transition from DVD to HD DVD is expected to be smooth, as DVD enjoys wide popularity in the market. However, the move to digital broadcasting and demand for large screen HDTV, both of which will fuel demand for HD DVD, are expected to see strong demand growth in 2005 and 2006. Noting these market characteristics, Memory-Tech and Toshiba anticipate demand for a disc compatible with both the DVD and HD DVD formats, and expect their newly developed disc to offer benefits to both consumers and content holders and providers in achieving a smooth transition. "I am very excited about the development of the new dual format disc," said Hisashi Yamada, Chief Fellow of Toshiba's Digital Media Network Company. "This disc will support content providers in assuring a smooth transition from DVD to HD DVD, and I am sure it will also encourage consumer interest in HD DVD equipment. The new disc will be a bridge media to the future, with no increased production burdens for manufacturers." Shiroharu Kawasaki, President and CEO of Memory-Tech commented that, "The new technology Toshiba and Memory-Tech have jointly developed will help the industry to make a smooth transition from the current DVD business to the next generation DVD business without interfering with current DVD business growth. Memory-Tech will continue to develop innovations that support content providers in delivering attractive video and music products to consumers."
Pony Canyon Inc., one of Japan's largest DVD software distributors, gave the new disc a warm welcome: "The dual format disc developed by Memory-Tech and Toshiba makes it possible for the content industry to introduce next generation DVD software smoothly to the market," said Hideki Oyagi, General Manager of the Pony Canyon's Visual Entertainment Headquarters.