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Toshiba, Memory Tech Develop Backward-Compatible HD-DVD Disk

A week after garnering support for its HD-DVD format from four major Hollywood studios, Toshiba this week announced the development of an HD-DVD disk that can be played on standard DVD players as well as future HD-DVD players.

The dual-layered disks--jointly developed with Japanese disc maker Memory-Tech--will hold 19.7 GB; 4.5 GB will be devoted to standard def material while 15 GB will be devoted to HD content. The dual-layered disks will store both SD and hi-def content on one side. Toshiba expects the discs to be available by this time next year, when the company expects to start selling its first HD-DVD players. The new discs will not cost more to produce than current DVDs, according to Memory Tech.

Last week, Toshiba announced that Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Studios will support its blue-laser-based HD-DVD format, which is endorsed by the DVD Forum and was jointly developed with Sanyo and NEC. The format competes with a similar blue-ray-based HD-DVD technology ("Blu-Ray") promoted by Sony, Fox and Disney, which announced its support this week.