updated 10:50 am EDT, Mon September 11, 2006
Toshiba Hybrid HD DVD Disc
Adoption of next-generation video disc formats has been sluggish. One prominent barrier to this has been the fear of buying movies prematurely: customers may be hesitant to buy a new DVD release knowing that it will soon be outdated by a Blu-Ray or HD DVD version. Toshiba has potentially given HD DVD an edge today with news that the company has developed a hybrid DVD and HD DVD disc that can play in either format. Up to three layers are sandwiched together in a way that lets DVD players view content without any updates, while HD DVD players only require a firmware upgrade to support the new feature. Discs can be a blend of either format: for example, a dual-layer 8.5GB DVD can be combined with a single-layer 15GB HD DVD. The technology requires minimal changes to the manufacturing process and should be available in shipping discs very soon, according to Toshiba.