Los Angeles (CA) - The battle for high-definition disc dominance has made few ripples in the non-videophile population. Still, most of the big movie studios have pledged support for either Blu-ray or HD DVD, and a few, like Warner Bros, have begun to release movies on both formats. Warner wants to take that one step further and just begin printing discs that can encoded as any combination of a hybrid of two formats, between DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray.
According to the filed patent, "a general problem with multiple formats of discs is that disc manufacturers must make various types of discs of each type in order to satisfy consumer demand for the content on those discs." On the other end of the chain, "a consumer that owns a standard DVD disc player can only play DVDs with a standard format. A consumer with a Blu ray recorder can only play Blu-ray format recordable discs. And a consumer with an HD-DVD disc player can only play HD-DVD discs or standard format DVDs, but not Blu-ray format discs," the Warner engineers wrote.
The most prevalent technical difference between Blu-ray and HD DVD is that the discs are read at a depth of 0.1 millimeters and 0.6 millimeters, respectively. The proposed disc would be manufactured such that an HD DVD player would be able to effectively skip over the Blu-ray disc level and read the data embedded 0.6 millimeters into the disc, but a BD player could still recognize the data on the 0.1 millimeter level.
An ordinary DVD movie could be pressed on the reverse side of the disc. This would indeed be an expensive venture to create, and also to support. Consumers would probably also have to swallow some of the extra cost when purchasing the movie, even though they would likely only want one of the encoded versions. It could also put the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray battle in an interesting position. If movie studios got on board with the new format, it would mean hardware would be the sole determiner of the blue laser disc wars, and not the selection of movies available.