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Monday, November 15, 2004
New 20GB Red Laser Technology Unveiled

A 20 GB Red Laser, High-Definition Reflective Multi-layer Disc (MVD) recently demonstrated by New Medium Enterprises has, it's claimed, several advantages over emerging Blue laser light standards Blu-Ray and HD DVD.

Capable of storing at least 3 hours of High Definition video in its 20GB format, the company is also set to launch into production and sales of 15, 25 and 30 GB discs and drives by around the third quarter next year.

Though its blue ray competitors will be well into volume production by that time, the MVD offers significant manufacturing advantages over its widely backed competitors in that the drives will be inherently backward compatible with the existing pre-recorded and recordable DVD and CD formats as well as existing production facilities for red laser optical drive manufacturers.

The existing CD and DVD infrastructure is based on ?off-the-rack? red laser components which are highly cost effective and easily manufactured by hundreds of firms worldwide. Similarly, the entire mastering and replicating processes currently accommodate red laser technology and could be retained with minimal adjustment.

The anticipated player price for end user will be US$250, a price that NME believes will encourage mass acceptance of MVD technology.

CEO of New Medium Enterprises, Ethel Schwartz, indicated that industry leaders already shown the high format optical drives were enthusiastic.

The increased capacity is, in part, achieved by increasing the number of layers or storage on the disc. While a present day DVD is restricted to only two, the MVD has four layers on one side for an initial capacity of 20 GB and a high bit rate transfer speed of up to 40 Mbs. By early next year this should scale to 30GB at 60 Mbs. The company says it will also be possible to build a recordable MVD.

The New Medium red laser advances offer significant financial competition to blue light laser systems backers which includes almost the entire consumer electronics industry lined up behind either Sony or Toshiba.

The inherently cost for the industry to move to MVD over blue laser technology must cause manufacturers to re-think their plans to migrate to the new format by rebuilding their entire infrastructure.

The MVD technology is easily adaptable for blue lasers when they become more cost competitive and the company is developing for that market with an anticipated 1 TB capacity.

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