New HD Format Page: 1
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A cheaper HD alternative

Has the current war between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD left you unsure of which format you wish to entrust your hard-earned dollars into? For many consumers the choice has become a veritable pit of confusion when it comes to deciding which format will prevail, knowing that the loser may well become the betamax of yesteryear.

Well there is now a company promoting a new high-definition optical disc format that promises to cost far less than ones that use the competing Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD formats. New Medium Enterprise next month will be reportedly releasing the HD VMD (Versatile Multilayer Disc) format that according to the source will enter around about half the cost of the least-expensive 1080p HD DVD player, and perhaps a fourth the cost of the least-expensive Blu-ray player currently on the market.

Currently, blue-laser technology has been embraced by the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps where-as HD VMD utilises a red laser which is already used to create DVD's. This in-turn should keep the cost of manufacturing discs and drives low.

"Expect a small premium over DVD [discs], and a big discount over Blu-ray and HD DVD," says Jim Cardwell, an advisor to the company and former president of Warner Home Video.

...manufacturing a Blu-ray drive costs ten times as much as manufacturing a DVD or HD VMD drive, because the latter two are essentially the same drive but with different firmware. HD VMD discs, which hold up to 30GB on a single side, are encoded with a maximum bit rate of 40 megabits per second; that's within halfway between HD DVD's 36 mpbs and Blu-ray's 48 mbps. The format uses MPEG-2 and VC1 video formats to encode at 1080p resolution for the time being, and will possibly move to the H.264 format in the future....the video quality is "at least as good" as that of the other formats.


Will this make the move to HD easier, or is it likely to add additional confusion?

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