JVC develops dual Blu-ray-DVD disc technology

Victor Co. of Japan Ltd. (JVC) has developed prototype read-only discs that can contain data stored in both the DVD and high-capacity Blu-ray Disc formats. They are the first that are able to contain data in both formats, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The discs contain three layers. The upper layer is a Blu-ray Disc layer with a capacity of 25G bytes. Below are two DVD layers with a combined capacity of 8.5G bytes, JVC said.

The company has not decided yet when the technology will be commercialized but JVC may produce the discs, said company spokeswoman Fusako Adachi.

The announcement comes a few weeks after Memory-Tech Corp. said it had developed discs that can store data in both DVD and a rival high-density format called HD-DVD (High Definition/High Density-DVD). The discs contain two layers, an upper DVD layer with a capacity of 4.7G bytes and a lower HD-DVD layer with a 15G-byte capacity. They will go into mass production late next year, Memory-Tech said.

Both companies claim their dual-format technologies will help Hollywood studios and other content providers transition to the new optical disc technologies, which are being developed to replace DVDs to store high-definition videos. They should also help to popularize the new formats for consumers and encourage them to purchase players compatible with the Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD formats.

The Blu-ray Disc format is backed by 15 major international electronics and technology companies including Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. in Japan. JVC joined the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group responsible for promoting the format, in October.

HD-DVD is backed by Memory-Tech, NEC Corp., Toshiba Corp., and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd.

JVC is also developing a higher-capacity disc that will have a 50G byte Blu-ray layer and an 8.5G byte DVD layer. It is not saying yet when it expects this technology to be completed, said Adachi.

The company will ask the BDA to have its combination disc technology accepted as a specification for future commercialization. Approval is expected during the first half of 2005, she said.

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Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
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