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Memory-Tech Corp. and Toshiba Corp. said this week that they had jointly developed a dual-layer ROM (read-only) disc that can store content in both the HD DVD and DVD formats, which, as both companies believe, will ease the transition from DVD to HD DVD for the industry.

DVD Meets HD DVD

The newly developed ROM disc has a single-sided, dual-layer structure. The upper layer, closer to the optical head, stores data in the DVD format, and the lower layer stores HD DVD data. The DVD layer has a 4.7GB capacity, satisfying specification of current DVD discs, while the HD DVD layer can store 15GB capacity. The DVD layer can be played back on currently available DVD players.

The new disc makes it possible for consumers to view DVD content on standard DVD players and, after purchasing an HD DVD player, to enjoy high definition content on the HD DVD layer from the same disc. The new disc structure also increases options for content providers; they can provide the same content in two formats, or use the HD DVD layer for a feature movie and the DVD layer to store promotional videos or audio content, including the movie sound track.

The new disc can be produced on Memory-Tech’s existing manufacturing lines, which can manufacture both HD DVD and DVD discs. The disc’s manufacturing cost is expected to be comparable with that of single-sided dual-layer DVD-ROM or HD DVD-ROM discs, as it has the same physical structure as those discs.

Neither of the companies revealed additional technology details about the novelty.

Transition to HD DVD Sets Off in 2005

HD DVD is the next generation DVD format being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. HD DVD players and HD DVD video software are expected to come to market in late 2005, and will allow consumers to enjoy video content, including Hollywood movies, with crystal-clear, high-definition picture quality.

The transition from DVD to HD DVD is expected to be smooth, as DVD enjoys wide popularity in the market. However, the move to digital broadcasting and demand for large screen HDTV, both of which will fuel demand for HD DVD, are expected to see strong demand growth in 2005 and 2006. Noting these market characteristics, Memory-Tech and Toshiba anticipate demand for a disc compatible with both the DVD and HD DVD formats, and expect their newly developed disc to offer benefits to both consumers and content holders and providers in achieving a smooth transition.

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