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Friday, January 05, 2007

Is Warner's Total HD the Answer to DVD Division?

New technology from Warner Bros. could encode a single disc with a movie in both the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats, according to this AP piece and this NY Times report. More details are expected next week at the Consumer Electronics Show. Richard Siklos of the Times writes:

    Because of manufacturing complexities, the Total HD disc will not contain a standard format version, said Kevin Tsujihara, the president of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group. However, several months ago the company filed patents for a new disc incorporating all three formats, which it could produce in the future.

    Mr. Tsujihara described the new disc as an elegant way for studios to make their content available more widely “in a way that is not conceding defeat” for the format they have been backing.

    In the short term, Total HD would actually add to the number of formats retailers will have to stock, raising it from three to four. However, Irynne V. MacKay, senior vice president for entertainment products at Circuit City, said she supported the idea because it took pressure off consumers puzzling over which format to invest in. “The simpler the future is for us, the better,” said Ms. MacKay.

Last September, there was this New Scientist report that WB was working on a single disc that could hold all three formats: standard def, Blu-ray, and HD DVD.