Toshiba’s Triple HD-DVD Play

Toshiba introduced a higher-data-capacity version of
its triple-layer HD DVD-ROM disc, which boasts 45GB, enough to record 12
hours of high-definition movies.

But is it enough to match the challenge
posed by rival optical storage system, Blu-ray Disc (BD)?

The latest prototype from the Tokyo-based electronics maker holds 45GB —
less than Blu-ray Disc BD’s 50GB storage capacity — but it only requires
three 15GB layers, according to the company. Blu-ray’s disc needs two 25GB
data-storage layers.

Toshiba is banking on the technology of its HD DVDs to be the future of
high-definition DVDs. Blu-ray, which has the backing of major players like
Sony , Samsung, Panasonic, HP < QUOTE NASDAQ:HPQ>, Dell and Philips, also expects its technology to be the standard bearer for the industry.

Toshiba’s technology is favored by the big Hollywood studios in what is
fast becoming a high-stakes battle over which of the two technologies will
become the standard for all future DVD players.

Vamsi Sistla, director of broadband and consumer electronics at ABI
Research , said the “standards battle” had appeared to be reaching a
stalemate just a few months ago. However, with each side boasting powerful
backers, it looks like neither was ready to blink in the growing format war.

“This raises the stakes,” he said.

The new Toshiba disc also adds a “high-end option” to the previous HD
DVD-ROM disc lineup, which includes the 15GB (single-layer, single-sided) and
30GB (dual-layer, single-sided) discs, according to the company.

Memory-Tech, Japan’s largest independent disc replicate, says the new
45GB and hybrid discs can still be produced on its manufacturing lines and
equipment, which are tailored to produce HD DVD discs. Minor investment and
minimum additional production costs per disc will be necessary, according to
the company.

“These new HD DVD discs will surely be welcomed by content holders,
including Hollywood studios and game developers, as further broadening the
scope of future applications,” Shiroharu Kawasaki, president and CEO of
Memory-Tech, said in a statement.

“We have already started verification for
volume production of triple-layered discs, and we are confident of early
verification as they are based on the 0.6mm disc structure and established
production technologies. We at Memory-Tech are fully committed to flexibly
meeting a variety of user requirements.”

Toshiba also announced a deal today with Microsoft
that creates a patent cross-licensing agreement enabling the two
companies to use each other’s patents freely in the computer and audiovisual
equipment sectors.

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