VMD: Another successor for the DVD

New York (NY) - In an accelerating race to create a viable successor of the DVD, New Medium Enterprises has demonstrated its 20 GByte Versatile Multi Layer Disc (VMD). Other than the much touted HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the VMD utilizes a common red laser technology.

While two industry groups already are competing for the winning concept of a next-generation DVD, a relatively unknown new player has come to play. New York-based New Medium Enterprises (NME) demonstrated its four-layered VMD (Versatile Multi Layer Disc) with a capacity of currently up to 20 GByte. The medium is planned to only be used for pre-recorded movie content in High Definition format and densities of up to 40 Mbit per second.

The VMD is a new format which will require specific players, which however, will be able to play CDs and DVDs, NME said. In contrast to Blue-ray and the HD DVD which use blue lasers with shorter wave length to read data stored in higher density on discs, the VMD utilizes common red laser technology. According to NME, this helps to keep production cost low and will allow consumer to buy discs for a similar price than today's DVDs.

The company expects to produce VMDs and players by fall of 2005. By then, disc capacity is expected to increase to 30 GByte for movies with densities of up 40 Mbit per second. 50 GBytes are planned for 2006. Further in the future, the company eyes blue laser VMD systems with up to one TByte capacity for high-end digital cinema and video-on-demand applications.

NME could not reached information on industry support and production plans of its VMD technology.

HD DVDs are planned to offered capacities of 15 and 30 GByte on single and dual-sided discs at near-DVD production prices. General availability is expected to be early 2005. Blu-ray discs initially will offer a capacity of 50 GByte will be able to scale to 100 GByte in 2007 using four-layer technology and later up to 200 GByte with eight layers, according to Sony officials.