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First Hybrid Blu-ray/DVD Discs Set For Japan Release

Tokyo – Japanese entertainment software developer Pony/Canyon said here this week that it will release in February the first Blu-ray Disc/DVD hybrid disc format, although the initial production cost will be expensive.

The Hybrid Blu-ray/DVD disc, similar to a combo disc format that once supported both DVD and the ill-fated HD DVD high definition formats, is a combination of a traditional DVD with the new high-definition Blu-ray format.

However, initial releases in the new Blu-ray format will be extremely expensive compared to buying the discs as separate formats. Pony/Canyon said the first release set for February in Japan will be a package of four hybrid discs (MPEG-4 AVC, Dolby Digital, 534 minutes in total) priced at approximately $406 (36,540 Yen). A DVD version of the package will contain 7 DVD discs, 534 minutes, Dolby Digital which will retail for $266 (23,940 Yen ).

The format features a blue laser top layer (25GB); riding on two more layers supporting the 8.5GB capacity of a dual-layer DVD.

The Blu-ray and DVD layers are separated by a semi-reflective film that reflects blue light and allows the red light to pass through to the DVD layer underneath.

The disc will be compatible with both current Blu-ray Disc and DVD players.

The hybrid solution is said to conform to the “Blu-ray Disc, Hybrid Format” specifications released by the Blu-ray Disc Association.

The disc itself was produced by Kyodo Television and Infiniti storage media. Infiniti said the hybrid discs showed a 99 percent compatibility rating in tests made on 64 Blu-ray and DVD players.

The companies said the disc structure allows for easy manufacturing, and according to Infinity, Blu-ray’s double layer can be manufactured on the disc as well.

The system uses a technology originally developed by JVC called “Intelligent HD encoding”, which is based on the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) specifications.