Toshiba Corp. said it is considering pushing back the year-end US launch of HD DVD players until 2006, losing its first-move advantage against Blu-ray Disc, which is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2006. The main backer of the next-generation DVD format known as HD DVD said that any change in the launch schedule is intended to maximize the potential demand of the new format.
“We are now in talks with Hollywood studios and large-scale retailers to seek the most effective timing of the launch and best way to launch,” a Toshiba spokeswoman said. “We originally aimed for the year-end launch in the United States. But we have not really decided on that.”
Toshiba may, however, launch the players in Japan in the current year, the spokeswoman said.
HD DVD offers a variety of discs, including: a 15GB single-layer, single-sided disc and a 30GB dual-layer, single-sided ROM disc, both approved and standardized by the DVD Forum (an international association of hardware manufacturers, software firms, content providers and other users of DVDs).
Toshiba also recently announced a high capacity triple-layer, single-sided 45GB ROM disc, and a hybrid (double-sided, dual-layer) ROM disc with 30GB of high-definition content on one side and 8.5GB of standard-definition on the other. Manufacturability for these new discs has been verified as well by key disc replicators.
Using the latest compression technologies, the 30GB disc can store up to 8 hours* of 1,125-line HD images. Today’s DVD has a capacity of 4.7GB and can contain 2 hours of 525-line standard definition (SD) images; the 30GB HD DVD has space enough for 48 hours of SD images.
Last week, NEC announced the NEC HR-1100A, the world’s first 5 1/4 inch HD DVD PC drive, will be available this October. This HD DVD drive plays back HD DVDs, DVDs and CDs. This is all down to the optical head that was developed by NEC which can read blue, red and ultra-violet light.
In terms of media compatibility,the NEC HD DVD Multireader HR-1100A is the first drive that is capable of reading HD DVD media at 2x speed, DVD minus and DVD plus media up to 8x DVD speed, as well as rewritable and dual-layer DVDs. It can also read DVD RAMs at 5x speed. Finally, the HD DVD Multireader delivers a convincing 32x CD speed as CD-ROM drive. The new HD DVD standard enables a storage capacity of up to 64 GB – which is over 13 times greater than that of a conventional DVD – as well as 16 hours of recording and playback in HD quality.