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Toshiba Corp., a leading maker of electronics, and Memory-Tech Corp., a leading maker of optical media, on Monday introduced their latest development: the so-called Twin-format disc that can hold up to 30GB of data on its two HD DVD layers and 4.7GB of data on its DVD layer.

Toshiba and Memory-Tech believe that Twin-format discs that contain copies of movies in both high-definition in HD DVD format and standard definition in DVD format will make migration to HD DVD from its predecessor easier for consumers, as one disc could be player in various players around the house. The first generation Twin discs could support two layers: one for HD DVD (15GB) and one for DVD (4.7GB), which brought some capacity limitations not welcomed by content providers. The newly announced Twin disc offer a three-layer structure that provides support for two HD DVD layers and one DVD layer or two DVD layers and one HD DVD layer.

The companies said that the new disc also maintains two defining features of the HD DVD format, which are, according to the manufacturers, a low-cost and highly-efficient manufacturing process. Memory-Tech said it had developed a new disc manufacturing procedure that adds an additional process to form the third layer, but does so on the same disc replication machines that can be used for DVD and HD DVD mass production.

Even though both Memory-Tech and Toshiba are enthusiastic about the new Twin DVD/HD DVD discs, so far only Japanese Pony Canyon Inc. has released content using the previous-generation Twin disc technology. Nevertheless, in a press release concerning the launch of the new disc type Toshiba indicated that “major content companies have welcomed the new format”, quoting Microsoft and Pony Canyon.

Memory-Tech and Toshiba will propose the new format to DVD Forum and develop reliable disc manufacturing process together. Memory-Tech and Toshiba will introduce the new format to content providers and develop new business opportunities together with studio partners, the companies said. Actual availability timeframes of triple-layer Twin-format DVD/HD DVD discs are unclear.

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