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Toshiba Develops 3-Layer DVD and HD-DVD 228

Posted by kdawson
from the play-it-anywere dept.
morpheus83 writes, "Toshiba, in collaboration with disk manufacturer Memory Tech Japan, has successfully combined a HD-DVD and DVD to a single 3-layer, twin-format disk. The resulting disk conforms to DVD standards so it can be played on DVD players, and also on HD-DVD players after upgrading the firmware. The disk can have either Single Layer DVD (4.7GB) + Dual Layer HD DVD (30GB); or Dual Layer DVD (8.5GB) + Single Layer HD DVD (15GB). There will not be a long wait as the new disk can be produced on the existing HD-DVD mass production line with minor process additions."
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Toshiba Develops 3-Layer DVD and HD-DVD

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  • by also-rr (980579) on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:47PM (#16084302) Homepage
    Amazing, who would have though that both Sony Stock and Sony Executives would accelarate at the same rate on their way down.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Hey, they couldn't have known about this. They were too busy blowing Ray at the time.
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday September 11, 2006 @07:11PM (#16085362)
      There is already an existing technology to accomplish this with BluRay. In fact, there already existed a similar technology for HD-DVD, and this is just yet another way to do it. Both BluRay and HD-DVD have supported DVD compatable content on the same disc since 2004 [theregister.co.uk]. (Sorry about the Reg link, but it was the first one I could find on google, and I'm too lazy to dig for a more reputable source. I know they are out there though.)
    • Don't want to burst your bubble, but... this technology already exists for Blu-ray. See here [zdnet.com] and here [wikipedia.org].
  • Amazing! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rendo (918276) on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:50PM (#16084319)
    Say for example you're married like I am. You could use the DVD format for kids videos, pictures etc etc and install a DVD only drive on your wife's machine. Your machine however could have a HD-DVD drive and the HD-DVD side could be your porn, and she'd never know. This, by far, will save many marriages that are destroyed by porn.
  • Well done Toshiba (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kimos (859729) <<kimos.slashdot> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:51PM (#16084329) Homepage
    I think we just figured out who's going to win in HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray...
    • by Dobeln (853794)
      My guess is that Sony will still win this one, thanks to the Umpteen PS3-installed BluRay players that will eventually fill the market.* Unless HD-DVD players become really cheap really fast, I can't see them matching the installed base that will rumble into place as soon as Sony get their act together.

      * This does not imply that I believe the PS3 will crush the XBox360 - Microsoft will probably gain marketshare this generation. But Sony will still sell a bucketload of PS3:s, giving them the edge in the HD w
      • by Rix (54095) on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:01PM (#16084434)
        I can't see them matching the installed base that will rumble into place as soon as Sony get their act together.

        I don't think there's any danger of that happening.
      • Re:Counterpoint (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GweeDo (127172) on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:58PM (#16084873) Homepage
        I can't see them matching the installed base that will rumble into place as soon as Sony get their act together.

        Sorry man, Sony users don't rumble [eurogamer.net] anymore...
      • by AJWM (19027)
        This assumes PS3 ever actually makes it to market. Lately it looks like Sony has entered it into the release race with Vista and Duke Nukem Forever.
    • by segedunum (883035)
      I think we just figured out who's going to win in HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray...
      Yer. DVD!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:35PM (#16084700)
      I can't believe it - is the Slashdot populated by demented anti-Sony fanbois?

      This "hybrid disc magic" might be considered high-tech and cutting-edge in the HD DVD world, but the exact same "features" was shown and demonstrated live back at last years IFA 2005 in Berlin in the Blu-ray Disc area ...

        http://www.blu-ray.com/ifa2005/ [blu-ray.com]

      Hybrid discs are actually part of the offcial BD-ROM spec and was one of the selling points last year when all HD DVD came up with was those lame "flippers" ...

      So don't buy into the Slashdot HD DVD hype, just accept the fact that everything you can do with HD DVD you can do better with BD. Storage capacity is 66% higher and the video interactivity is based on Sun's Java (just like the DVB standard).
      • Yeah. Anyone who likes HD-DVD is a jerk. BD is obviously better technically, but like everything else, Sony is going to fuck it up, trying to get the whole market for itself, that it'll again corner the market in a data format nobody uses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iainl (136759)
        1) No-one has made a hybrid disc for Blu-Ray and DVD yet, because (a) Sony can't get a second layer to work on Blu-Ray yet, (b) the disc isn't physically thick enough to make flippers, so two layers is your only option, (c) that means only 4.5Gb for the DVD layer, which isn't enough for most current DVD releases and (d) no-one at Blu-Ray can see eye to eye with the rest of the DVD Consortium to get permission to sell one anyway.

        2) Sony could press you a dual-layer Blu-Ray, although it would cost you an arm
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      That was my thought exactly when I read the summary. (Article... There's an article??)

      Other people have noted that it would ease the transition to hd-dvd considerably, and it's not something I had thought of, but it's definitely true. For gaming and movies both. Such a wealth of opportunity. And other weird hybrids, like an xbox game on the dvd portion and a movie on the hd-dvd... Would make movie-based games even more interesting and possibly get them up to the level of 'enjoyable.' (Okay okay, ther
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pieroxy (222434)
      When will you people understand that mere technology cannot win that kind of war. Who is compatible with who, who's got the best quality, who's got the more titles, etc... All these questions, ALL OF THEM, are irrelevant when it comes to who will win the battle (and the war).

      The war will be won by the format that is on the front display of all Best Buy-like stores over the planet. Read here for more infos: http://projectorcentral.com/retailing_HD-DVD_Blu-r ay.htm [projectorcentral.com]
  • Blu-Ray? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jma05 (897351) on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:53PM (#16084347)
    PS3... Where is the Blu-Ray Advantage now?
  • I'm not an ubergeek (just a geek) so I don't know technical details of all of this, but what are the implications of this on Blueray?

    Can the Blueray camp just create the same thing? I know that the discs are more complicated and harder to produce. Will that hinder a similar approach?

    A lot of people have been saying that the format war doesn't offer enough for consumers. It seems to me that if I could buy a DVD now that also had HD version on it then I'd start stock piling my HD library now and wait for the
    • This is not exaclty news. HD-DVD has always had the option to put DVD and HD-DVD content on the same disk. Before you had to put them on opposite sides of the disk. Blu-Ray could not do this.

      It had the same selling point though. Sell a disk with the movie on it in two formats to future proof a purchase and lock in HD-DVD customers before they get the hardware.

      All this enhancement does is have more content on each side of the disk. That's not so great considering that you can not put full size versions of

      • by rjstanford (69735)
        While I have a lot of problems with the whole half-hd-ness of these, one of your points seemed a little off:

        And the players would have to be able to ask you which layer you want to view on a given side, the DVD layer(s) or HD-DVD layer(s).

        If my DVD player can support HD content, even if only the crappy 15gb single layer option is available, I'd pick that over the 8gb non-HD DVD option. I can't actually think of anyone who, also having HD capable readers, would choose otherwise. This being /. I'm sure some

        • by IPFreely (47576)
          Your assumption is that the two formats carry the same content. I see little reason to squeese a stripped down movie on the same side when you can put the full movie on the other side.

          If the DVD content and the HD-DVD content are two different things, like movie and extras, then there is a real reason to choose.

          But in those cases, the menu that comes up should be able to control the path to the content. You simply pick "extras" and the player switches format. So default to HD-DVD if available is probably

    • by Rix (54095)
      Bluray isn't backwards compatible, so they couldn't do this, regardless of how many layers Sony fit on a disk.
    • From the technology side I have no idea if Sony can do this. From a business side I see issues with this however. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the lion's share of revenue for licensing the DVD format goes to Toshiba. Since putting both formats (DVD and HD-DVD) on one disk could give them a competitive advantage, I'd expect Toshiba to allow disk manufactures to use both HD-DVD and DVD on the same disk basically for the same licensing fee as HD-DVD by itself. Sony won't have that same abili
    • by Xyrus (755017)
      So you'd pay twice as much for more DRM, not that much of a jump over regular DVDs, and you can't even play at full res unless you bend over for the MPAA?

      *sigh*

      ~X~
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:54PM (#16084354) Homepage
    Oh, no, consumers won't find this confusing at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by also-rr (980579)
      Maybe they can take a leaf out of the USB camp's book and call them Video Disc High Definition and Video Disk Full Definition.
    • by cribb (632424)
      this only applies to printed discs where noone really cares what the exact format of the underlying media is as long as it works.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday September 11, 2006 @04:55PM (#16084367)
    > The resulting disk conforms to DVD standards so it can be played on DVD players, and also on HD-DVD players after upgrading the firmware. The disk can have either Single Layer DVD (4.7GB) + Dual Layer HD DVD (30GB); or Dual Layer DVD (8.5GB) + Single Layer HD DVD (15GB).

    Going by the number of stretched video I've seen from users who don't know the difference between widescreen/letterboxed/4:3/16:9/pan-and-scan, (just when you thought "but I don't like the horizontal black bars at the top and bottom" was dying out on 4:3 screens, the very same who now have 16:9 screens are sying things like "I don't like the vertical black bars on the left and right!")...

    The dirty little secret of this technology is that it's just a regular DVD, but you can convince yourself that it's HD-DVD when you play it back on an HD-DVD player... on your NTSC display. Or something.

    (And if you can't immediately tell the difference, I'm sure there's a guy in a blue shirt who'll be happy to sell you some triple-layer Monster Cables that'll cure what ails ya. "Only triple-layer monster cables are compliant with triple-layer HD, sir, and can we interest you in the extended warranty on your new cables?")

    • by AusIV (950840)
      Consumers not knowing the difference is one reason this would be nice. Last weekend my mom got an HD-DVD from blockbuster online, not realizing she was ordering a movie she can't play. If HD-DVDs could play in normal DVD players, but have higher quality in HD-DVD players, this would do two things. First, people like my mom wouldn't run into trouble because they picked up the wrong kind of DVD. Second, as someone else has said, people can start buying HD-DVDs before there are HD-DVD players in their price ra
  • Bravo! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The Dalex (996138)
    This is a perfect example of ingenuity that you will rarely see in the Sony camp, thanks to their rabid pursuit of a closed, proprietary-format monopoly. This is something that benefits consumers first and foremost, and reinforces my decision to back HD DVD whenever possible. Even if Sony could do this technologically, I see them killing the idea for marketing reasons.
    • by bilbravo (763359)
      We all know that only Sony [wikipedia.org] supports Blu-Ray too, so let's put all the blame on them.

      Also, I wouldn't say that Sony isn't capable of this... people now-a-days on /. just have it bad for Sony.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Why am I reminded of the apocryphal story about Nasa spending millions on pens that could write in zero-G while the Russian astronauts just used a pencil? For all the ingenuity of this invention, what's to stop Sony or anyone else just printing the DVD on one side and the BD / HD-DVD on the other? It's called a flipper and means your DVD can be dual-layer just like it is now.
  • Well, this sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:00PM (#16084429)
    for those of us stuck with regular DVD. I imagine studios will use the single layer at 4.7 gigs for dvd and the dual layer at 30 gigs for HD-DVD, meaning we'll get lousy picture. As an anime nerd, several of my favorite movies and shows got release on dvd-5 and are almost unwatchable (Nadesico being the worse, what with all the red).
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      for those of us stuck with regular DVD. I imagine studios will use the single layer at 4.7 gigs for dvd and the dual layer at 30 gigs for HD-DVD, meaning we'll get lousy picture. As an anime nerd, several of my favorite movies and shows got release on dvd-5 and are almost unwatchable (Nadesico being the worse, what with all the red).

      Not necessarily. Early DVD-5 movies often look like crap, but the authoring houses have learned since then, the equipment has improved, and the compression is generally bett

      • Trouble is, obscure japanese cartoons don't generally get made in the better authoring houses (and they generally get re-authored, since they're released on fewer disks here than in japan). You're right, it has improved a lot, but it could be a lot better. I still see artifacting on recent releases (e.g., Final Fantasy Unlimited). OTOH, Mononoke Hime (a pretty early dvd) looks great. If you're a small time authoring house, the best, easiest way to improve picture quality is high bit rate.
    • Not necessarily. 15GB is plenty of room for a 2 hour H.264 encoded 1080P/24 program. The difference between MPEG-2 and H.264 is night and day, in terms of coding efficiency. There is a good chance that it would go dual-layer DVD + single layer HD-DVD.
  • Useless Hype? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by duerra (684053) * on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:01PM (#16084436) Homepage
    I am most definitely not trying to troll, but as much as I wish this was useful, I just can't find it to be so. They need to develop a compatible quad-layer DVD, for dual HD-DVD and dual standard DVD support on the same side of a disk. As it stands right now, neither 15GB for HD-DVD or 4.7 GB for standard DVD is sufficient size for an entire movie in their respective formats, meaning that either the DVD version or the HD-DVD version on the disk is going to suffer. If I was in the market for HD right now, I certainly would not be purchasing one of these discs, as I would either be going to suffer *now* because of the compression to a single-layer DVD, or I would suffer *later* because of the compression to a single-layer HD-DVD.
    • Actually, 15 GB is plenty for a lot of movies now. The VC-1 codec (I'm involved in that at Microsoft) has made some big improvements lately, with many movies now being able to encode at less than 10 Mbps at very high quality. You can get a lot of that in 15 GB! Certainly, movies under 2.5 hours without a lot of extras should be fine. LOTR:ROTK:EE with lossless audio should fit nicely on a 30 GB disc, as a counterexample.

      If anything, the 4.7 GB DVD layer was more of a runtime restriction than the 15 GB HD la
    • by evilviper (135110)

      As it stands right now, neither 15GB for HD-DVD or 4.7 GB for standard DVD is sufficient size for an entire movie in their respective formats, meaning that either the DVD version or the HD-DVD version on the disk is going to suffer.

      Actually 4.7GBs would be enough for a DVD movie (let's say less than 2 hours), PROVIDED they don't include ANY extras. No "making-of", fewer audio tracks, no interviews, etc.

      Of course, that's assuming most people don't care about the DVD extras.

  • This 3-layer disc is presumably expected to be used in a manner similar to the combo SACD+CD music discs, one layer for regular CDs and another for the hi-def audio.

    However, because the DVD part is only single layer, I don't think it will fly. Any movie of normal length that would benefit from HD resolution is going to require a dual-layer DVD to look decent at DVD resolution.

    So, where is the market? Videophiles who have purchased HD-DVD players don't care about the DVD part. Videophiles who want to "fut
  • Now it's official (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:16PM (#16084555) Journal
    Since the entire net community has proven that 4.7GB DVDs are perfectly acceptable, this paves the way for barebones movies at 4.7GB plus the HD version on dual layer. They'll be marketed as "future proof" and they'll charge you an extra $5-10 for the privledge. And you'll happily pay it becuase you know if you buy the DVD version you'll probably want the HD version eventually, and the initial cost - resale of the DVD will probably be in the $5-10 range.

    Of course, if they really wanted HD-DVD to win, they'd _only_ produce the dual version. That way its a value added product, and you don't have to upgrade all the players in the house to get the most benefits. As you drop your DVD in favor of HD, your discs stay the same. Folks who are quality nuts will get an HD box pretty soon anyway, and the other 98% of the population will never know the difference of the lost 1-2GB of space.

    It is seriously brilliant. Marketing can still fumble th ball on this, but properly played this could be the difference in who wins the format war.
    • by ozbird (127571)
      I see it the other way. They'll combine a dual-layer DVD with single-layer HD-DVD because 98% of the population will never watch the HD-DVD layer, but they will complain about image artifacts, lack of extras etc. with a single-layer DVD.
    • by MobyDisk (75490)
      Even better: They can do that, then re-release the 30GB HD-DVD version in a few years. It will have with better quality, be HD remastered (tm), and some new special features.
  • Blu-ray: 50 gigs of data.
    1DVD/2HD: 34.7 gigs of data.

    Yeah, While compatible, I'd go blu-ray for the sheer volume.
  • With the single layer DVD and dual layer HD-DVD, this hybrid format would give users the backwards compatibility that made the PS2 a success. If they can convince the movie industry to burn both a SD DVD and a HD-DVD on the same media, I think the consumer may start to favor HD-DVD. In a year or so, the consumer may look at his/her movie collection and realize they have a decent ammount of HD-DVD movies. They would probaly push them towards getting a HD-DVD player.

  • by briancnorton (586947) on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:33PM (#16084686) Homepage
    Now Do I need a CD-R/DVD+/-RW-DL/HDDVD-SL or a CD-R/DVD+/-RW-SL/HDDVD-DL?
  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Monday September 11, 2006 @05:48PM (#16084815)
    Assume, for a moment, that standard DVD's go away and we're left with Blu-Ray disks vs. HD-DVD/DVD Hybrids.

    The HD-DVD Drive can read DVDs and the HD-DVD layer on the hybrid disks, but not Blu-Ray disks.

    The Blu-ray player can read their own proprietary format, PLUS the DVD layer of the hybrid disk. Sony can now market it as the "Only 100% compatible" player, since their movies play fine, AND the HD-DVD/Hybrid movies play as well. Of course that would only be at DVD resolutions, which could be used to point out the inferiority of the HD-DVD/DVD system -- or don't you think marketdroids will confuse the issue for the common user?

    Backwards compatibility is a bitch, especially when your competitors can take advantage too.
    • Of course, then publishers are faced with:

      A) Making a hybrid HD DVD that plays everywhere
      B) Making a Blu-ray disc that only plays in Blu-ray players.

      Is it more useful for Sony to claim "100% compatible players"*

      Or discs to claim "100% compatibility"**

      * Except you only get 1/6th of the pixels of Twin Discs
      ** Except you only get 1/6th of the pixels on Blu-ray only players
      • It's a big selling point that the BD-ROM unit plays all "next generation" disks but only Tru-Blu-Ray branded disks get the highest quality image; "inferior" HD-DVDs played on the same drive will look less impressive when compared apples-to-apples. Therefore, publishers will want the Blu-Ray logo on their disks.

        It's almost in HD-DVD's best interests to remain exclusive to HD drives. Sony is selling this as nothing less than the future of high definition entertainment. If HD-DVD hybrids look like crap on m
  • Remember when you could buy UMDs with DVDs, but you'd pay more for it. HD-DVDs are too expensive, making a triple layer disk will just be as expensive as a HD-DVD, plus you'd need the special presser, the special media, and the special system that will do it.

    Both formats have failed. Why would someone want a dual HD-DVD with a single DVD? The dvd is inferior. Why would someone want a dual layer dvd with a single layer Hd-dvd, the HD-DVD is nerfed and you're paying way to much for a DVD.

    Honestly the Next
  • Why bother with this convoluted effort when you could just produce a flipper? One side could be dual-layer DVD. The other size an HD-DVD or even a BD. Double-sided, dual layer DVDs are already possible so the flipper could be a refinement of that technique.
  • HD-DVD pretty much requires a dual-layer disc (15 GB x 2 = 30 GB) to store a feature length 1080p movie (especially when the 50 GB Blu-Ray discs launch in November, HD-DVD will need all the capacity possible). By the same token, a dual-layer DVD disc (DVD9) is required to store a feature length movie on DVD. Yet, there are only offering 3 layers.

    This limits the configurations to the following:

    • Feature length HD-DVD movie, and half the movie on DVD (at normal DVD quality)
    • Feature length DVD movie, an
  • Can we get 3 15 gig layers?, or 4?, or 12?
  • Wow, somebody's been playing their cards close to their chest. The fact this is even possible, means to me that they knew it could be done from the start, and were obviously working on it in parallel, as a slam dunk against Sony.

    Good thing that everything else seems to be going Sony's way these days. Oh, wait...

    (On a personal note, I was never a Sony fanboy like so many. In the early days of personal casette players, I found the Sony Walkman, like most, actually kinda sucked, and would track poorly on ta

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