Blu-ray Discs That Play in DVD Player Revealed

Japanese developer Pony/Canon has successfully created a Blu-ray hybid disc that will work in standard definition DVD players.

HD DVD, pioneered by Toshiba, had this ability since launch, with one side being the HD DVD content while the flip side being a standard dual-layered DVD. However; this Blu-ray hybrid disc is different, in that the DVD and Blu-ray data shares the same side of the disc.

CDRinfo reports the hybrid disc is able to share information between the different formats due to a semi-reflective layer that will block the blue laser used by Blu-ray players from penetrating the interior layers of the disc where the DVD information is stored.

This technology was first developed by JVC in 2005 to ease the transition from standard definition DVD to high definition Blu-ray. This format is in compliance with the Blu-ray Disc Association standards and, according to the manufacturer, has achieved a 99 percent compatibility rate with current hardware. One limitation to this technology is the Blu-ray layer is limited to 25GB (single layer) as the second layer is used for the DVD information.

The first movie to utilize this technology will be “Code Blue emergency helicopter doctor Blu-ray BOX” and will be released in February 2009 in Japan only. Initial release of “Code Blue” will be in a four disc box-set that will retail for 36,540 Yen ($406 USD) compared to the DVD only release; which will retail for 23,940 Yen ($266 USD). If this pricing scheme holds true for future releases, we can expect a 52 percent markup from the DVD only version.

One of the often criticized attributes of the Blu-ray format is its cost of entry. Because this hybrid technology was originally intended to ease the transition to HD, it doesn’t make much sense to charge such a high premium for the inclusion of standard definition content. When the HD DVD combo discs were still being sold, the mark up was a few dollars at most. There is currently no indication that this format will be adopted for release in North America or Europe.

  • Why? This is like advertising free AIDS.
    Blu ray players are so cheap right now.
  • Qwakrz
    As per everything done by the current Blu-Ray consortium its all too little too late and too expensive.

    Its very good news that the price is starting to fall but I don't foresee it getting down to the same costs or the same take-up that DVD currently has.
  • zodiacfml
    yeah. it is late.
  • JeanLuc
    Blu-Ray might be cheap were you live but here in the UK Blu-Ray is still a lot of money when compared to DVD hardware.
  • rwpritchett
    I think it's a great idea. Take for example my recent experience: I just bought Wall-E on BR, but we can only watch it on our main TV that has the BR player. My 5-year-old son cannot watch this movie on his portable DVD player nor can he watch it in the built-in DVD player in the car. It would be very nice to be able to use the one disc for BR and DVD rather than purchase a DVD copy of the same movie for watching movies on the go.
  • orangedrink
    I think this is fantastic news. rwpritchett's has a valid point. I don't want to bring my BR player when traveling and portable DVDplayer is much more convenient.
  • hellwig
    How is gluing a standard DVD to the back of an HDDVD actually a "solution" to the problem. I think saying that HDDVD had dual-format support is bogus, and why praise a dead format? You probably still pine for Betamax.

    As for the Bluray dual-format, wouldn't it be cheaper to just include the regular DVD format disc with the Bluray disk? How does a dual-format player decide between Bluray and DVD (they have two lasers, right)? I can understand that movie studios don't want to give out two copies, but at 52% markup, they aren't really giving the consumer a very good deal.

    And as for watching Animated movies on BR, is it really worth it? I watched Nemo on a relatives up-converting DVD player on a 61-inch widescreen, and it still looked pretty darn good.
  • chise1
    Tom's, do you need someone to volunteer to proofread articles?
  • Gryphyn
    Hey chise1. Shut up.
  • rocky1234
    Well think about it this is the blu-rays camps way of getting rid of normal DVD disks so people will buy this new hybrid disk now for their DVD players then at some point the DVD portion of the hybrid disk will disappear all together & people will be used to buying blu-ray disks by habit so its a win win for the blu-ray camp.