Toshiba: Dual-Layer 'Confirms' Flexibility

Just prior to the announcement this week that Microsoft and Intel have decided to back the HD DVD format over Blu-ray, Toshiba was busy "reconfirming the flexibility and expandability of the HD DVD format" with the technical announcement of a 30 GB dual-layer HD DVD-R (recordable) disc that extends the capacity for its proposed write-once DVD disc.

The new disc was approved as Version 1.9 at the September meeting of the DVD Forum's Steering Committee. Toshiba expects to complete Version 2.0 of the spec book by the DVD Forum within 2005, and by next spring wants to start distributing HD DVD-compatible recorders.

The new 30 GB dual-layer HD DVD-R disc uses a new organic dye, jointly developed with a dye manufacturer. According to published reports, it's based on the same disc "structure" as current DVD discs, as well as HD DVD-ROM (read-only), and HD DVD-RW (rewritable)--back-to-back bonding of two 0.6 millimeter-thick substrates.

The new disc also shares key manufacturing processes with DVD-R: use of an organic dye as the data storage medium, and a spin-coating process for depositing the dye. As a result, Toshiba believes manufacturers can minimize their investment in production equipment for dual-layer HD DVD-R by using already installed DVD-R manufacturing lines for mass production.

Toshiba and disc manufacturers plan to verify compatibility of dual-layer HD DVD-R discs in round-robin testing at the DVD Forum, starting on Oct. 17.

Meanwhile, proponents of the incompatible Blu-ray format say they now have about 140 member companies involved (in one way or another), including the following heavy-hitters who reportedly demonstrated their wares at the Blu-ray Disc Association booth at the recent IFA conference in Berlin:


  • CyberLink
  • DTS
  • Hitachi
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Nero
  • Panasonic
  • Philips
  • Pioneer
  • Samsung
  • Sharp
  • Sonic
  • Sony
  • TDK
  • (Others)