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Friday, October 06, 2006
Three-Layer TWIN Format Disc and HD DVD Region Codes Under Discussion

The DVD Forum members and working groups (WG) discussed the latest progress in the standardization of the HD DVD and DVD formats, at the DVD Forum Japan Conference 2006 held October 5, 2006 in Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan.

Region Code Restrictions on HD DVD

DVD Forum representatives presented the activities of the DVD Technical Coordination Group (TCG) regarding the region coding for HD DVD titles. Currently, there is not any limitation in the play-back of HD DVD movies based on the region.

However, the DVD Forum receives pressure from Hollywood content owners to add region coding to the HD DVD Video releases, as an extra measure against content piracy. The reproduction control of HD video does not include a simple classification of the countries worldwide, as it was in case of DVD Video. It also affects the interactive functions of HD DVD. Although no decisions have been made yet, the DVD Forum said that it will advance in the development of the technical specifications of the HD DVD region coding. The first technical details in the way DVD Region coding will be implemented in HD DVD will be proposed / presented in the beginning of 2007.

The DVD Forum also considers the possibilities to allow HD DVD application format (HD DVD-Video/Video Recording) recording on red laser DVD recordable media. The AH0-16 group is responsible for the study, that will include the recording method for such an application. Two kind of red laser recording function are proposed, according to the hardware used: Type 1 & 2

The Type 1 specifications will cover the players and the PC burners that will be able to store HD video on DVD-RAM/RW/R media in the HD DVD-Video of HD DVD-VR format. Of course, Type 1 devices will be able to play HD DVD and the DVD video.

The Type2 specifications include recording of HD DVD-Video/VR format on DVD-RAM/R/RW for camcorders.

In addition, the AH0-18 group, part of the TCG, announced the completion of the standard that includes Content Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM) copyright protection scheme on the DVD-R/-RW DVD Video discs.

Another active group, the AH0-21 is currently working on the possibility to record DVD Video on CSS protected recordable discs.

Three-Layer TWIN Format Disc

DVD Forum announced that the standardization of the DVD TWIN format discs will be finished early 2007, while the first discs are expected on the market in the summer of 2007.

Discs that support both DVD and HD DVD content and that are fully compatible with both formats. The DVD TWIN format discs are single-sided, three-layer ROM disc supporting high capacity storage and playback of both DVD and HD DVD formats.

The new disc boosts capacity and expands versatility with a three-layer structure offering support for two HD DVD layers and one DVD layer or two DVD layers and one HD DVD layer. The format has been proposed to the DVD Forum by Memory-Tech and Toshiba.

In a two-layer HD DVD configuration, the new TWIN disc has a 30GB HD DVD capacity, plus 4.7GB of standard DVD capacity. Configured to maximize standard DVD content, the disc can support 8.5GB on two layers, plus 15GB of HD DVD content on the third layer. DVD content can be played back on a standard DVD player, while HD DVD players can play back both formats.

New HD DVD Format for China

DVD Specifications for High Density Read-Only Disc (HD DVD-ROM) Physical Specifications, Version 9.9 were also announced for the Chinese territory. The final version of the specifications are expected in December. The Chinese HD DVD format includes a new modulation codec. It will include an 4 Data bit/6 Channel bit FSM code and not the 8 bit / 12 channel ETM code (Eight to Twelve Modulation), used by HD DVD.

In addition, the DVD Forum announced that it has made some changes in the initially proposed recording scheme for HD DVD-RW media, possibly available in September 2007.

44.1kHz Audio into HD DVD-Video

Representatives of Toshiba explained that the HD DVD Video format should include 44.1kHz audio. The DVD Forum is expected to give a 18-month grace period to the HD DVD Video movie makers to include the 44.1kHz audio in their releases.

AACS Progress

Intel representatives gave an update of the AACS content protection technology of HD DVD. The interim specifications and licensing expires on June 30, 2007, where the final specs are expected to be available.

The final AACS specifications will add the Managed Copy, Digital Only Token and the Audio Watermark function to the HD DVD format. More information about the new functionalities of AACS is available here.

12x DVD-R DL

Last, the DVD Forum showcased the standardization road map of the DVD-R format. Pioneer representatives announced that the specifications of the 12X DVD-R DL and DVD-RW DL is expected to be finalized by the end of 2006.

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