AfterDawn: Tech news

HD VMD format offers lower priced competition for next-gen formats

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 08 Sep 2007 13:58 User comments (9)

HD VMD format offers lower priced competition for next-gen formats New Media Enterprises (NME) is betting on the cost effectiveness of red laser video players to beat both HD DVD and Blu-ray in the next-generation format wars, and they're backing it up with a format called Versatile Multilayer Disc. At the CEDIA show this week in Denver, Colorado they showed off HD VMD, which puts high definition video on a VMD disc.
Unlike HD DVD and Blu-ray, which rely on the blue lasers to put more data on each layer of an optical disc, VMD simply adds more layers to reach up to 30GB on a single sided disc. That's the same capacity as a dual layer HD DVD disc, and HD VMD's 40Mbps maximum bitrate falls in between HD DVD and Blu-ray.

By choosing to push current generation technology further instead of leaving it behind, NME has come up with a format that's much cheaper to produce, and therefore for consumers to buy. In fact, the first generation players are expected to retail for as low as $150, or half what the lowest priced blue laser players cost right now.

At that price, HD VMD has another big advantage. The players should be priced reasonably enough for people who aren't going to take advantage of the format for a while, and will primarily use it for watching standard DVDs.

With enough market penetration for the players, which should be available from Amazon.com and brick and mortar stores like Radio Shack and Costco, will only have around 20 major studio releases available for them, with more expected internationally, including Bollywood titles.

While it's nice to see a hi-def format that keeps cost down by re-using existing DVD technology, some features that A/V enthusiasts consider important from HD DVD and Blu-ray are conspicuously missing. Support for lossless audio compression from either Dolby Labs or DTS isn't in the standard, and neither is MPEG-4's AVC (H.264) high compression video codec. Instead, VC-1 and MPEG-2, of which the latter isn't generally considered efficient enough to for stoinrg hi-def video, are supported, as is audio with up to 7.1 channels encoded in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, or DTS formats. Other casualties of HD VMD's discount price are the advanced programming features of HD DVD and Blu-ray. It doesn't support web based content, or the generally improved interactivity of the other formats.

All the players will include ethernet ports to allow the addition of more features, like possible support for AVC, in the future. More advanced models will also have media card readers to view photos and USB ports that can be used to play video from external sources like hard drives.

It would be surprising to see movie studios that have already chosen sides between the blue laser formats immediately get behind HD VMD, but the longer the current format war rages without a clear victor, and especially the longer average consumers wait to adopt either, the easier it should be to obtain studio support for HD VMD.

Source: PC World

Previous Next  

9 user comments

18.9.2007 14:04

Cool idea, but is it too late? I mean are movie studios going to decide (again!) on another competing format?

28.9.2007 14:06

hahahaha waaaaaaaaaat? this will just add MORE confusion to the uninformed consumer

38.9.2007 15:19

Personally I don't see the point of this. Without it using the "next-gen" Audio and only uses partial "next-gen" video (VC-1) as a standard this format seems like a failure before it even gets off paper.

The price is nice but HD DVD (and probably Blu-Ray soon or already) has a sub-$200 player.

As sk8flawzz stated this will probably confuse the uninformed consumer even more.

Personally, based on its specs (and crappy standards in my opinion) this format won't win any (or very little) support from any movie studio.

Peace

EDITED by Pop_Smith

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Sep 2007 @ 15:20

48.9.2007 20:21
BIGnewb
Inactive

ummm this is a little to late isnt it lol?i mean come on no console even supports it and people had a hard enough time getting used to hd dvd and blu ray so vmd is a waste of space and time.and i dont think any movie studio will support it either :P

58.9.2007 21:03

A great idea. this is great they should have done this in the first place? as to why the did not i do not know. this means any red lazer will be able to hold this much info without the need for new hardware
i can use my region free dvd player and have 30 gigs of space.

also great for the XBOX360 means i wont have to buy a hd dvd drive add on for it.

68.9.2007 22:45

Interesting ,however HDVD is already near that price and it its specs are though the roof in comparison.

SO it still comes down to HDVD and BR without a price drop BR will be pushed further into a smaller niche.

79.9.2007 11:51
hughjars
Inactive

If it was cheap enough and truly was like my existing Divx DVD player in all the SD DVD that that can handle but allowed me to play .mkv files of downloaded HD content then I might well be interested, at least as a replacement for my exisitng DVD player.

I'm happy enough to sit an HD DVD player beside it cos I expect it'll be quite some time until we really have an 'all-in-one' player so something like this in the front room under my TV could still be a fair proposition - provided it can handle all the HD codecs I might d/l and the existing SD DVD I want to use it for.

Maybe I'm expecting too much right now from the one box?

89.9.2007 13:06

Originally posted by hughjars:
If it was cheap enough and truly was like my existing Divx DVD player in all the SD DVD that that can handle but allowed me to play .mkv files of downloaded HD content then I might well be interested, at least as a replacement for my exisitng DVD player.

I'm happy enough to sit an HD DVD player beside it cos I expect it'll be quite some time until we really have an 'all-in-one' player so something like this in the front room under my TV could still be a fair proposition - provided it can handle all the HD codecs I might d/l and the existing SD DVD I want to use it for.

Maybe I'm expecting too much right now from the one box?
specs and sheats LULZ
http://www.nmeinc.com/
its audio output would make a audiophile cry..but then again what dosent? :P

Now if it polishes its codec support(handles more of them) then its a solid box you can potentially "pipe" yo shttizle to.

911.9.2007 2:01

there is no way this format is goin to even get off the ground.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive