What Is HD VMD?
The letters HD VMD made their way out of Las Vegas via CES, but not alot of other explanation was offered regarding what it is and what kind of products feature this mysterious HD VMD. Well, HD VMD is the latest addition to the high-definition disc market also featuring the likes of HD DVD and Blu-ray. Oh no!
Developed by New Medium Enterprises (NME), HD VMD stands for High-Definition Versatile Multilayer Disc, touted by NME as being "the format of choice for high definition content, by providing increased storage capacity per disc". NME says that the VMD format is a lower-cost solution for storing high-def content that uses multi-layers on a single disc that each store up to 5 GB of information. Each disc can have up to 20 layers meaning a single disc can store up to 100 GB of content while being the same size and thickness as a DVD. A DVD, by the way, consists of 2 layers and the traditional DVD you probably have laying around your house can only store 8.5 GB of info.
Standard-def DVD's are manufactured using red laser technology while newer high-def discs such as Blu-ray use blue lasers which are of a shorter wavelength than the red laser. This means that they can store information, but the costs of manufacturing using blue lasers are also higher, resulting in the high prices you pay to purchase a Blu-ray player. NME claims that they have found a way to use red laser technology with the multi-layer format of the VMD, meaning a cheaper end price for the consumer as compared to other high-def formats.
The players come in two different models, the ML622S and the ML777S, and support HD VMD, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, and H.264 video formats, as well as a variety of audio formats including THX, DTS, and Dolby Digital. The players also support JPG and BMP images and will play a variety of disc formats with the exception of HD DVD and Blu-ray, of course. Video resolution is up to 1080p and DVD's are upscaled to 1080i. The ML622S is priced at $199, while the ML777S costs $210, significantly cheaper than either HD DVD or Blu-ray but minus the content.
Therein lies the problem for HD VMD. No content. How do they expect to succeed with no partnerships with major content providers? Not sure, but I have sent their public relations department an email asking what their strategy is in this area. Definitely save your money for now, unless you think you'll enjoy SFM Entertainment titles such as "The Jungle Book" and "Bud Greenspan's Favorite Stories Of Olympic Glory".
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Posted by Justin Davey at January 11, 2008 8:51 AM