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Universal Studios Home Entertainment on Tuesday announced a new universal media that combines Blu-ray and DVD movies on the same media. The new “flipper disc” technology will allow to enjoy new movies on both Blu-ray disc (BD) and DVD players, however, the question is whether the cost of the new media type will actually be economically feasible.

"Universal's flipper discs are the perfect way for consumers to future-proof their collections while still enjoying their favorite movies on all their existing DVD players. The flipper disc offers an easy way for viewers to convert to Blu-ray now or at any time in the future, confident in the fact they will be able to experience their home entertainment purchases in the highest quality picture and sound when they do,” said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Universal’s flipper discs will feature two Blu-ray layers holding 50GB capacity in total in addition to a couple of DVD layers with up to 9GB of information. Each side of Universal's flipper discs includes the entire movie as well as all available bonus features, with the Blu-ray side featuring exciting BD exclusives such as U-Control and BD-Live. So, in general, the flipper seems to be similar to DVD/HD DVD combo discs that were used by Universal and Warner Brothers several years ago. As a result, flipper technology has chances eventually be used by other studios as well.

An interesting matter is that while DVD and HD DVD replication technologies had a lot in common, Blu-ray and DVD have virtually nothing in common. As a result, production cost of flipper discs is likely to be high since Universal will need new manufacturing equipment. In fact, Warner Brothers already proposed Total HD format that would combine BD and HD DVD onto the same media, but eventually dropped the idea since no other companies supported it. Thus, the question is whether flipper discs will be much more expensive than Blu-ray discs that already carry premium price tag.

An industry first, the new flipper discs will launch on January 19, 2010 with the blockbuster superspy thrillers The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon.

Tags: Blu-ray, DVD, HD DVD, Universal, Warner

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