updated 10:55 am EST, Fri December 19, 2008
Blu-ray DVD Combo Disc
Japanese disc producer Infinity on Friday rolled out the world's first production video title to include both Blu-ray and DVD on a single layer. A box for the TV series Code Blue will include playable versions of both formats by using a permeable layer that takes advantage of the different wavelengths to store data at different levels; Blu-ray's namesake laser will recognize one layer, while a DVD player's red laser will see another. The technique lets owners of older movie players and PC drives buy a single title and automatically upgrade to playing HD when they pick up a Blu-ray player.
Discs with two Blu-ray layers and a single DVD layer are also possible, Infinity notes, as the disc standard supports shallower layers and can stack more than one per disc. The Code Blue example currently uses single-layer Blu-ray. The new approach doesn't currently allow users to record their own discs from computers but also won't unintentionally display DVD content on computers or consoles that support viewing the raw data.
The first discs, known as BD/DVD Hybrid discs, are expected to ship on Feburary 18th, when the 11-episode Blu-ray box set ships for roughly $408 in Japan. How quickly the format spreads is believed to hinge on the early adoption of the standard, though the technology could lead to games and other software that come in special Blu-ray and DVD versions on the same disc. [via Impress]