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Friday, March 09, 2007
New Medium Enterprises Showcases HD VMD PC Products At Media-Tech

New Medium Enterprises debuted its HD VMD PC products this week at MEDIA-TECH, the annual conference for the packaged media manufacturing industry taking place in Barcelona, Spain.

NME's HD VMD PC technology will enable consumers to make their current PC DVD drives compatible with VMD playback format through a simple download of firmware, and will also offer PC manufacturers VMD drives for future VMD technology formats. The company demonstrated its HD VMD 20GB disc playback (4-layers) with an "off the shelf" DVD drive equipped with HD VMD PC playback software, along with its new HD VMD media player. The proprietary PC drives will go on sale in Q3 07.

The demonstration at the MEDIA-TECH Show in Barcelona included playback of a 1080p high-def video. The hardware set-up included a DVD-ROm drive, a decoding board for HD decoding and a power supply circuit. These are also expected to be the parts of the stand-alone player of the company, that will go on sale later this year for less than U.S. $200. The player will be manufactured by Chinese Shinco and SVA and will be equipped with an MPEG 2 decoder by LSI Logic. The second generation of the player is expected to additionaly offer play back of H.264 content, through a new decoder by Sigma Designs.

The company also said that the software used to play-back the video was produced by NME, and that it will be available for downloading for free.

The HD VMD video format will support an advanced version of the AES technology that is expected to act as the content protection scheme of the format against piracy. However, the company is in talks with the AACS Authority also, in order to comply with the requirements of the movie industry. In addition, the HD VMD format is expected to feature a physical layer of content protection, possibly developed by DCA inc.

VMD technology can theoricaly provide up to eight information layers on each side of a disc and can be utilized for both blue laser and red laser format. Surprisingly enough, the company said that it has resolved the crosstalk noise problem that typically appears when reading multi-layer discs, allowing the read-out of up to 4-layers per disc side. Note that the disc is semi-transparent, and it is made of different off-the-shelf materials commonly used in DVD production.

Axxicon, Dr. Schenk and Netstal join the integrator and replication line manufacturer VDL ODMS as the official VMD ODMS universal replication line partners. VDL ODMS has already finalised the industrial production of the VMD HD disc. The Dutch company has implemented NME's 2P seperation and bonding process for the production of the new multi-layer discs, which is claimed to be more advanced compared with the typical 2P process.

Axxicon, Dr. Schenk and Netstal are leaders in their respective fields of mould manufacturing, testing and scanning, and injection molding. In addition, the VMD HD is backed by DaTARIUS for electrical testing and Plasmon in the glass mastering area.

VMD is currently being adopted by content providers and distributors in 12 regions worldwide, including Brazil, Central Europe, China, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Japan, the Middle East Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States.

Dr Eugene Levich, Director and CTO of NME, told CDRinfo that NME was ready to accept the marketing challenge and aggressively promote the HD VMD format. "With respect to the consumer and an affordable and reliable technology, we have nothing to be afraid of," said Levich.

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