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Friday, October 07, 2005
DVD Forum: HD DVD Movie Titles to be Region Free

The DVD forum organized the "DVD Forum Japan Conference 2005" on Thursday. Industry sposkmen presented the progrees that had been made in HD DVD standardization, introduced the updated format roadmap and also unveiled that the upcoming HD DVD Video titles may not be regionally restricted as in the case of DVD Video.

According to the DVD Forum, the standardization of the HD DVD-ROM/-R/RW and the HD DVD hybrid disks has been completed, as well as for the 8cm HD DVD-ROM. Note that the HD DVD-R is a write once disc, while the HD DVD-RW is more aligned with DVD-RAM media, since it will be a Random Access medium featuring defect management algorithms in order to offer data storage reliability.

The hybrid disks consist of two layers. The first layer conforms to the HD DVD-ROM standard (15GB), while the second will most likely be a DVD-ROM layer (4.7GB). The disc will be recognized and reproduced by both HD DVD and DVD players. Hybrid discs are claimed to be easily manufactured with current equipment used for dual layer DVD media.

The most interesting announcement, however, is the introduction of a new format that could be considered as the successor of the DVD-RW. Temporarily codenamed "HD-Re-recordable" (HD DVD-RR), the format has been proposed for approval. The format is expected to be finalized in Spring of 2006.

In addition, the Steering Comittee has aproved the HD DVD VR format and also examined the possibility of developing a domestic-oriented HD DVD disk solely for the Chinese market.

Spokesmen from Toshiba also underlined the need to offer video content stored on HD DVD media that will not feature any regional restrictions, as happens with current DVDs. Although final decisions about this matter have not yet been announced, it is possibe that the same HD DVD discs will be reproduced by any HD DVD player worldwide.

Apart from the HD DVD, the DVD Forum announced that it has begun the standardization of the DVD-RW DL which it expects to be finalized by the end of 2005. The new DVD-RW DL discs will not be compatible with current DVD players, since their reflectivity value is not within DVD specifications (8%). The provided DVD-RW DL media are expected to allow recording at 2x, featuring a 2.66GB (8cm) as well as an 8.54GB capacity for 12cm discs.

Another interesting announcement is the possible standardization of the 12x DVD-R DL media in early 2006. Lastly, the 6-16x (CAV) recording speed for DVD-RAM (Class 1) will be available under the newly introduced "DVD-RAM2" logo. The reason for introducing a new logo for the 16x DVD-RAM recorders/media is that there is a need to distinguish it from the current DVD-RAM hardware (Class 0). The 5x DVD-RAM media will not be able to be written with current DVD-RAM recorders.

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