HD VMD enters HD fray

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Strange as it sounds, does the world actually need yet another high definition standard when it comes to media? Apparently the Blu-ray versus HD DVD battle isn’t enough at the moment, as a third contender will enter the ring late in the game (relatively speaking), known as HD VMD (Versatile Media Desk). The HD VMD format was developed by London-based New Medium Enterprises which brings 1080p video to High Definition TV screens for less than $200, which would potentially make it the least expensive alternative should it be released. It is interesting to note that while news on HD VMD was released earlier this year, the new format is on track and ready to hit store shelves sometime later next month at the affordable price point of $199.

You (as I) might wonder how a HD VMD player is able to sell for so cheap – the answer is pretty simple. The company has eschewed the expensive blue laser technology in favor of established red lasers that are currently being used in CD and DVD players. In essence, this isn’t really revolutionary as the hardware will remain by all means a DVD player with updated firmware that is capable of addressing different layers in VMDs. It is also capable of holding more data than traditional DVDs because of the inclusion of two more data layers, where each layer gives the discs an extra 30GB of storage space. Commercial content will be encoded with the proprietary HD VMD codec, but rest easy as the player can also decode MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC1, WMV 9, and H.264.

Do you think the introduction of HD VMD will further fracture the already confused market, or will it prove to be the killer blow for either formats? Another possible outcome would be the HD VMD format being dead and buried as a result of both Blu-ray and HD DVD teaming up against it. It also greatly depends upon studio support as consumers will flock to the platform that has most of their favorite shows.

Source: Ars Technica

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