Monday, October 16, 2006

HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray... vs. VMD



While many users were hoping for a winner to have emerged out of the high definition DVD format war by now, contender number three has entered the arena. UK-based New Medium Enterprises, Inc. are currently generating some publicity with their Versatile MultiLayer Disc (VMD). Originally, it appears, the format was developed by two companies called MultiDisc and TriGm.

The big surprise is that the first players will be launched in January already and cost a pittance compared to rival formats HD-DVD and Blu-Ray at less than $180 (£95). On top of that, the VMD discs have a significantly larger storage capacity:


Without making a drastic shift from Red laser technology, researchers at NME, have found a means of exploiting the unused or wasted space between the existing layers of a standard DVD through its unique multilayer technology. This brilliantly innovative technology is evident in Versatile Multilayer Discs or VMD, starting with a minimum storage capacity of 20GB today, 40 GB in the 3rd quarter of 2005 and expandable further in the future.

Looking ahead to 2007, if and when the blue laser becomes more reliable, for greater capacities such as VIDEO ON DEMAND (100-200GB), Blue laser Multi layer Discs using VMD technology can be developed along traditional lines. VMD has the capability to enhance Blue Laser through its Multi Layering technology, increasing capacity of its currently proposed 50GB maximal possible capacity to 100GB and 200GB.


The secret is that a VMD has far more layers than can be fitted onto either rival format, as a Reuters article explains.


The current generation of DVD players can read up to two layers. NME has created DVD disks with up to 10 different layers that were still readable. It has created its own player, but it is willing to license the technology to mainstream consumer electronics companies, Levich said.

Movies on a DVD are stored at different depths depending on the technology. Blu-ray discs store information only 0.1 millimetre from the surface while HD-DVD discs store it at 0.6 millimetres. Movies longer than two hours would need to be stored on two layers of the same format very close to each other.


While the format certainly boasts attractive specs, it seems that the company does not have the same muscle as the likes of Toshiba or Sony. They may have Warner Home Video´s ex-president on board, but they seem to lack the support of any of the big studios so far - and are unlikely to get it.

Even a competitive price cannot tip the balance in your favour if you have no content to provide. And no such format can flourish solely as a recording medium. What the VMD will do, though, is become an embarrassment for its two big rivals. When companies like Toshiba and Sony seem unable to develop a multi-layer format for a competitive price and small European companies do just that... people lose faith in those big companies altogether. For sure, knowing that there would be cheaper alternatives will put people off the purchase, even if that alternative is no viable choice at the moment.

Alternatively, one of the big boys may decide to take the VMD technology on board and give their format the necessary boost to win the war. If the technology could be merged with one of the existing formats, that is.

Sources: New Medium Enterprises, Inc., Reuters
Image source: SciFi
Thanks to: The Inquirer

13 comments:

Isaac said...

Very interesting...I really do hope that VMD can get the support it really deserves. If two small Euro companies can come up with that AND at a competitive price I don't see why Sony and Microsoft couldn't do the same thing...actually I can see...they're both greedy but then again so is Nintendo. :p

some guy said...

Maybe I’m missing something but VMD does not seem to offer anything new. Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray use multi-layer technology for their optical discs. This only requires firmware updates to the players to read the enhanced discs. Both Toshiba (HD-DVD) and Sony (Blu-Ray) are already talking about using quad-layer discs. This will give Blu-Ray 100GB storage capacity and HD-DVD 60GB respectively. Not that any of this will matter anymore since companies like NEC and Samsung are developing hybrid players that play both formats. But if there is to be a winner I hope that it is HD-DVD, mostly for DRM reasons.

Also regarding VMD; this format has no strong backers such as film studios or hardware manufactures. This will more then likely go the way of the digital VHS tape and disappear into obscurity.

One more thing, VMD uses red laser and is why they can sell the players at a low cost and why it also requires 10 layers to even compete with the blue laser optical discs. As it stands there is nothing stopping Sony or Toshiba from making a 10 layer blue laser disc, despite what the people promoting VMD may imply. But who knows, maybe they will use this VMD drive in the phantom game console :)

Anonymous said...

What the VMD offers that's new is high data storage at a relatively low price... pretty obvious. Sure they can make 10 layer blue laser discs, but at a low price? Doubt it. Price matters.

gamehunter101 said...

hvd is gonna pwn them
http://www.hvd-alliance.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_Versatile_Disc

910do said...

I predict that all disk based media will be obsolete in less than 5 years, as the internet is becoming more and more mainstream and media download as well, everyone will have a small hard drive with large capacity that will fit everything from movies , mp3 , games...etc, even nintendo is pioneering on this by offering games download in the near future, and by games I mean Wii games not VC games, it's the future and it's coming fast.

Jochen said...

Hey Andi,

Wie gehts ?

Ich kann leider kein Englisch...

Sag mal welche Games holst du dir eigentlich für Wii zum launch?

Ich bin irgendwie noch etwas unentschlossen.

Zelda-ist kein Thema, aber bei Red Steel bin ich mir nicht ganz sicher. Die Steurung soll ziemlich dumm gelöst sein wie ich höre.(man muss das Fadenkreuz bis an den Rand des screens bewegen um die kamera zu bewegen)


Excite Back sieht ganz nett aus ist aber sicherlich kein Blockbuster.


Rayman is mir zu bunt und kindisch...

Elebits is auch son zweischneidiges Schwert....

Sonic,COD3,Metal Slug,Far Cry und Marvel sind auf meiner most wanted Liste.

cOrMiN said...

Hi Fal!

I've been wondering for quite a while about the wi-fi security of the Wii. I sure hope they've included WPA, as opposed to WEP in the DS. Do you know anything about this? I know many people think that it'd be an issue in connectivity between Wii and DS, but I think not, since the DS employs a nintendo protocol when connecting to another DS (and probably Wii). The reason I'm wondering is that I wouldn't like having unknown people using my internet access for reasons of obscurity.

//cOrMiN

Omenous Delpha said...

Hey Some guy your forgetting the blue ray laser diodes are hard to produce, which is the main reason we aren't getting a europe launch and many people won't be getting a PS3 due to availablity and price. The VMD uses the old style laser I believe, since it is going for the sub one hundreds. I think if they approach the industry correctly and show current manufactures how to take there current DVD design and flip them over to the VMD dvd designs for a very small amount of money then they'll quickly become a power house.

Anonymous said...

VMD IS CLEARLY BETTER EASIER TO DEAL WITH CHEAP TO PRODUCE IM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS IV BEEN FOLLOWING REPORTS ON THIS IT SEEMS VASTLY SUPIERIER TO BLU RAY ITS JUST NOT AS BUGGY OR EXPENCIVE

BUT AS ALLWAYS THE WEAK FORMAT WINS
GAMECONSOLES SONY HAS FLOORED HARDWARE BUGGY HARDWARE LONG LOADTIMES UNIMAGINITIVE CONTROL PADS YET EVERYONE BUYS IT

BETAMAX WAS A BETTER FORMAT THAN VHS YET VHS WON MACS WERE LIGHTYEARS AHEAD OF PC YET EVERONE BROUT PCS

SAME STORY AGAIN VMD KICKS ASS BUT NONE WILL BACK IT THELL BE TO BUSSY LICKING SONYS ASS

TECHNOLEGIE FACT GREAT IDEAS DIE POOR IDIAS WIN

ALLWAYS THE BLOODY SAME

BECOUSE THE AVERAGE BANITH MYSELF HUMAN BEING IS THICK AS TWO SHORT PLANKS

TAKE DUALSHOCK VS WIIMOTE ITS NOT HARD TO WORK OUT BUT PEOPLE ARE THICK AND STUPID

some guy said...

Hi omenous delpha,

I completely I agree with you that the blue laser diodes are slowing up PS3 production. With that said you must remember that the industries (both film and hardware) have already made deals with Toshiba and Sony over the blue laser discs. Also if you read the New Medium Enterprises website they do not plan to have a prototype VMD player out until 2007. It could take even longer before we start seeing production ready models being shipped in mass quantities. Plus the discs max out at 40GB, and then they go on to say that they are planning a blue laser version of VMD in the future that could possibly reach capacities of 100GB – 200GB but this will bring them to the same problems as Sony and Toshiba (problems being production and price). Film and hardware companies will not support a format that is scheduled to be replaced by a blue laser model in only 2 or 3 years. It just seems to make the red laser model pointless. Sure it is cheap but with no long term support no one will pay a premium price for a temp format. Also there are no specifications on this format regarding DRM (something that film companies look at very closely) or interactive features for films (iHD for HD-DVD and JavaScript based application for Blu-Ray).

So far they are offering a lot of promises but I will wait until they have a physical medium to offer the consumers before I would consider them a contender.

But I could see them leasing their layering method to the larger companies; this would be the smartest and most profitable road. In my opinion

Grandmaster B said...

Licensing is the best option for the technology, let the big boys push it. Otherwise it will be money down the drain.

And even then most of the big boys have commitments already with HD and BR so........

Raphael said...

No 1:1-controle with the Wiimote?

AiLive responds:


Thank you for the email.

We're delighted that the community is energized with hot debates about the Wii. This means that there's a very healthy enthusiasm and demand for the kinds of features that the Wii entails.

To respond to your specific statement, clearly there *are* ways to get a 1:1 interaction between the Wii-mote controller and the game character. The Metroid demo is a good example of that. Using the Wii-mote for driving and steering is equally straightforward as shown by some of the launch demos. It is true that it is more difficult to interpret the controller data in broader contexts. Developing immersive and intuitive controls in these contexts is definitely challenging but not impossible. In fact, this is precisely the reason why Nintendo asked us to create LiveMove. Rising to these kinds of technological challenges is what AiLive is all about.


german source:
http://www.wiiinsider.de/news.php?id=37147

ARUN said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!
Blue Lasers