Ritek sees double-layer DVDs next, then perhaps Blu-ray

Taiwan's Ritek sees speedier DVDs and double layer DVDs gaining in the market next year, while Blu-ray appears to be winning against HD-DVD.

The discs most users will likely purchase to replace DVDs over the next few years will be double-layer DVDs, while further out the Blu-ray standard appears to be winning the battle against HD-DVD, according to one Taiwanese manufacturer.

Taiwanese companies produce the bulk of the world's optical discs, giving them a keen insight into when a new type of disc will become mainstream or topple an older variety from the market.

The company claims most DVDs next year will be 16x speed regular DVDs, replacing the current market leading 8x speed. Later in the year double-layer DVDs would gain in popularity because they hold more data and should be easy to use in most existing DVD player models from 2004 and 2005, product marketing director at Ritek, one of the world's biggest disc makers, Alex Liu, said.

The battle between the next generation of discs, Blu-ray versus HD-DVD, appears to be leaning toward Blu-ray, he said.

"Content is the most important point, mainly Hollywood content, and Blu-ray now appears to be winning more support in this area," Liu said. The battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD is far from over, however, and Liu said HD-DVD could regain the lead if it can keep signing up movie houses.

Ritek reckons the key to winning the disc wars is ensuring the cost burden on consumers isn't too heavy, and that the potentially high cost of Blu-ray and HD-DVD disc players could keep both technologies out of the mainstream for longer than some people believe.

"You can fit an entire feature-length movie on a DVD - that's good enough for most people right now," Liu said.

His company is gearing up to increase production of double-layer DVDs next year, while he said it would only take a month to install the equipment needed to turn out Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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