Another Possible Multiformat DVD Disc Revealed

A British firm has emerged with another technology it believes can make the standoff between the incompatible DVD formats Blu-ray and HD DVD a moot point.

Barely a week earlier, it was revealed that three employees at Warner Brothers had filed for a U.S. patent to incorporate all three DVD formats (including standard DVD) on a single disc at three different depth layers (HD Notebook, Sept. 20, 2006).

But this latest breakthrough, if it proves useful, comes at the current multiformat incompatibility issue from a different angle. New Medium Enterprises said it has solved an assembly line production problem that makes it possible to produce a relatively inexpensive multilayer disc containing one film in both competing formats, according to published reports.

The production problem NME said it can overcome, combats "low yield" (where mass production of discs produces a high number of dysfunctional units that must be discarded). The cost to produce a multilayer DVD using the new NME technology is slightly less than a dime, compared with six cents for a standard single-layer disc, according to Dutch disc maker ODMS of Amsterdam.

Although that represents an increase of about 50 percent in production costs between standard and the next-gen formats, ODMS said the method with NME is several times more cost-effective than the typical production of multilayered discs.

Both firms do not see the U.S. patent filing by the Warner engineers as competing with its own methodology, but rather as complementary.