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Three-Layer HD DVD/DVD Hybrid Bows

Tokyo – Memory-Tech and Toshiba announced the joint development of a single-sided, three-layer ROM disc supporting high capacity storage and playback of both DVD and HD DVD formats.

The disc joins a family of “DVD Twin” format discs that support both DVD and HD DVD content.

The three-layer structure will have capacity for two HD DVD layers and one DVD layer or two DVD layers and one HD DVD layer, the companies said.

In a two-layer HD DVD configuration, the new “DVD Twin” disc offers 30GBs of HD DVD space, plus 4.7GB of standard DVD space. In a standard DVD configuration, the new disc will offer 8.5GB of space on two layers, plus 15GBs of HD DVD space on the third layer.

DVD content can be played back on a standard DVD player, while HD DVD players can play back both formats.

The companies said they plan to present the disc to the HD DVD Forum, the DVD standards setting body, for approval.

Memory-Tech and Toshiba jointly proposed a DVD/HD DVD Twin disc format to the DVD Forum in 2004 as a transitional format capable of supporting both standard DVD and HD DVD content. The single-sided, dual-layer Twin disc was adopted as part of the HD DVD specifications, and has been used for a number of hybrid title releases since the launch of HD DVD in the spring.

Among the benefits are the ability to offer upgrade-conscious DVD software purchasers the ability to buy the current and future versions of the movie at one time.

The companies said the only drawback with the first-generation Twin disc was its more limited capacity.

They said “the new three-layer disc meets demand from movie studios and software companies in North America and Japan for a capacity boost, and offers double the maximum capacity for each format.”

To keep costs low, Memory-Tech said it has developed a new process when manufacturing a disc to form a third layer, using the same disc replication machines used for DVD and HD DVD mass production.

Both companies said they will introduce the new format to content providers and develop new business opportunities together with studio partners.