No sooner has the battle for the next-generation high definition DVD format ended, with Blu-ray triumphing over HD DVD, than a new contender has emerged. A new system that is incompatible with Blu-ray, called HD VMD, for versatile multilayer disc, is trying to find a niche. New Medium Enterprises, the London company behind HD VMD, says its systemâ€™s quality is equal to Blu-rayâ€™s but it costs less. By undercutting the competition in production, replication and hardware costs, it thinks it can find a market among consumers with less disposable income, particularly outside the United States. An HD VMD player costs less than a Blu-ray because it uses the red-laser technologies found in todayâ€™s standard-definition DVD players. The Blu-ray and HD DVD machines use a more-expensive blue laser system. â€śWe do not intend to take on Blu-ray,â€ť said Shirly Levich, New Mediumâ€™s vice president and product development manager, in an e-mail message.
â€śWe see VMD as a natural extension of mass market DVD product enhanced to HD capabilities. We shall not rekindle the format war.â€ť The industry and consumers may not see it that way, given that the company is promoting its price advantages. While Blu-ray players typically cost more than $300, an HD VMD unit is priced at $199. Sales through Amazon are scheduled to begin in five weeks, the company said. Neither Walt Disney, Universal Studios nor Warner Brothers would comment on their interest in releasing movies on HD VMD. But even without major studio movies, Mr. Solomon thinks the company will be successful. The low cost of producing HD VMD master discs, from which the consumer products are made, and the inexpensive consumer players have attracted the owners of movie rights in China, India and Spain already.
Source: NY Times