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Columbia Tri-Star Bows Superbit DVDs

Representatives from Sony’s Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment unit staged a CEDIA press conference to unveil its Superbit DVD encoding process that produces higher resolution video and audio from standard DVD discs.

Columbia executives said special Superbit discs will dispense with bonus features, that are now common to most DVD movies in order to fit the extra information on a 4.7Gb DVD disc layer. Superbit video uses twice the data transfer rate of 3-4 Mbps regular DVDs. Superbit discs will include both DTS surround sound and Dolby Digital surround tracks.

Superbit DVD discs are compatible with all existing DVD players, and new players, particularly progressive scan models. Those with the latest audio decoder chips will derive the most benefit from Superbit content.

Columbia Tri-Star said that while Superbit discs will eliminate extra content, the studio still intends to offer DVD discs and packages that include interactive bonus material. The first Superbit discs will go on sale October 9, which is ironically the launch date of Paramount’s Godfather DVD Collection and Disney’s Snow White DVD release.

The first Superbit titles will include Airforce One; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Deperado, The Fifth Element, and Johnny Mnemonic.

Columbia will use special packaging and logos to differentiate Superbit discs for standard DVD movies. Also, disc media will have a red-tinted playing surface.