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Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner media company, said in an interview that it would formally introduce its Total HD discs at the Consumer Electronics Show, which kicks off on the 8th of January. The new discs will be compatible with both Blu-ray and HD DVD players and may end the war between the two emerging formats.

“The next best thing is to recognize that there will be two formats and to make that not a negative for the consumer. We felt that the most significant constituency for us to satisfy was the consumer first, and the retailer second. The retailer wants to sell hardware and doesn’t want to be forced into stocking two formats for everything. This is ideal for them,” said Barry M. Meyer, the chairman and chief executive of Warner Brothers, said in an interview with the New York Times news-paper.

The initial dual-format Total HD disc should include a Blu-ray and an HD DVD layer, but eventually it may gain the third layer and provide DVD-compliance as well.

Both Blu-ray and HD DVD use 405nm wavelength laser to read data from the recordable media of the discs. However, the data layer of the Blu-ray discs is located 0.1mm from the disk’s surface, whereas the HD-DVD data layer resides 0.6mm deep from the disk’s surface. Warner’s engineers plan to create a disc with a Blu-ray top layer that works like a two-way mirror: it should reflect just enough blue light for a Blu-ray player to read, but it should also let enough light through for HD-DVD players to ignore the Blu-ray recording and find a second HD-DVD layer beneath, it was reported earlier. Theoretically, triple-layer DVDs can be created too, if DVD layer is located on the other side to the Blu-ray and HD DVD layers.

Major consumer electronics maker LG Electronics said that the company would showcase the world’s first player that can playback Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs. The new device will be available for sale as early as in the first quarter of the year, but the pricing and other details are expected to be unveiled during the trade show.

But Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the president of Time Warner, said the Total HD disc has a better chance of catching on than dual players. Research commissioned by Warner indicates that consumers are willing to pay several dollars more than current high-definition DVDs for a disc that works on both players. The problem, however, is that consumers would still need a new player, which costs a significant amount of money, and, until all the studios adopt the Total HD, consumers will need to make a choice between Blu-ray, HD DVD and universal players.

Among Hollywood studios HD DVD is supported by New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Blu-ray disc is supported by Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox , Universal Pictures, Walt Disney and Warner Bros.

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