Warner Bros. Says Total HD Discs "Hard" to Push

Even though dual-format high-definition discs could end the war between Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, Warner Home Video says that it will be rather hard for a single studio to push its disc type with both Blu-ray and HD DVD layers. "We're concerned that as the only one publishing on it, it would be hard to make it go. We're still looking at, though. We're still talking to retail, but it's kind of on hold right now," said Ron Sanders, Warner Home Video president. Given that the future of Total HD is uncertain, the chief of Warner's home video business expressed his support for dual-format players, with the hope that shortly they would become more affordable. Popularization of hybrid HD players would of course eliminate the need for universal Blu-ray/HD DVD discs.

Earlier this year Warner delayed the first Total HD discs to 2008. The Total HD project involves pretty complex technologies on the optical disc side as well as custom-made replication equipment, which makes it a pretty expensive initiative. Moreover, there are increased costs of replication, which add several dollars to already expensive Blu-ray or HD DVD discs. Warner has yet to standardize Total HD with both the Blu-ray disc Association as well as the DVD Forum.

Both Blu-ray (data layer 0.1mm from the disk's surface) and HD DVD (0.6mm from the disk's surface) use a 405nm wavelength laser to read data from the recordable media of the discs. Warner's engineers plan to create a disc with a Blu-ray top layer that would reflect just enough blue light for a Blu-ray player to read, but it would also let enough light through for HD-DVD players to ignore the Blu-ray recording and find a second HD-DVD layer beneath. Theoretically, triple-layer DVDs could be created too, if the DVD layer is located on the other side to the Blu-ray and HD DVD layers.

News source: Xbit Laboratories

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