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HD-DVD-R Media Production Arrives

Tokyo — Toshiba said, here, that it has developed a mass production process for write-once discs to be used in the first HD-DVD recorders and PC drives.

The technology for manufacturing so-called HD-DVD-R discs was jointly developed by Toshiba, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media and Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories.

The single-sided HD-DVD-R discs will store up to 15GBs of capacity, Toshiba said. Disc manufacturers currently producing recordable DVD discs will only have to make minor modifications to produce the new write-once high-definition media, Toshiba said.

Optical disc manufacturers Hitachi Maxell Ltd. and Mitsubishi Kagaku said they will market the new HD-DVD-R discs next spring, when Toshiba plans to launch the first HD-DVD recorders. Estimated disc pricing for decks and media was not available.

Meanwhile, Toshiba plans to market the first HD-DVD players in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The announcement was the next in a series of claimed technology breakthroughs coming from both the HD-DVD camp and the rival Blu-ray Disc (BD) camp. The BD group recently announced the development of four-layer disc that will store up to 100GB of capacity. But that technology has not yet been accepted as part of the BD standard.

Earlier, Toshiba had announced development of a triple-layer HD-DVD-ROM disc with 45GBs of capacity. Those discs could be used for a variety of packaging possibilities, including storage of both high-definition and standard-definition versions of movies, in addition to interactive extras.

The company has also developed flipper discs that would store both standard- and high-definition movies on one disc.

The BD format claims technological superiority to HD DVD, because that format offers greater storage capacity, but HD DVD backers have said their discs have more than enough capacity for typic

al use, and the format can be produced with less trouble and at a lower cost to start than Blu-ray Discs.