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