Hybrid SACD/DVD (Part 2 of 3)
By Stefan Schreiber
The new proposal
However, there might be a "soft" solution for the ongoing format-war: the
introduction of hybrid two-sided discs, with one SACD-layer on one side (at
least) and music in the formats DVD-Video and/or DVD-Audio on the second side
(maybe the same). This solution works easily, because in the most basic case,
a SACD half-disc is glued to a DVD half-disc. The consequence is a normal optical
disc (1.2mm), containing "correct" layers for both DVD- and SACD-players. SACD-
and DVD-Audio-players will see their respective layers, with the right specifications.
Obviously, there isn't any problem concerning "compatibility".
This format (SACD/DVD) has at least two main applications. Firstly, it is
probably the only "practical" possibility to include music video into the SACD-standard.
Music video has a broad range of uses and applications (video-clips for pop/rock
music, live-concerts, musicals, ballet, operas...). In my opinion music video
on videodiscs has a great future ahead, especially combined with high-resolution
tracks and surround-sound. Philips and Sony might have thought to extend the
SACD-standard for video (using the "Extra Data Area"); however, a new standard
SACD-Video wouldn't have any chance beside the (mighty and official) DVD-Video.
Secondly, every record-label would have the possibility to release a record
on SACD/DVD-Audio (V), offering both formats in one medium. Of course, this
is an absolute future-proof solution for the customer, who knows that at least
one of both standards will survive. In this case, a further advantage for the
record-label would be that they will not have to consider parallel editions
for both DVD-Audio and SACD formats any more, which has happened in some cases
and seems to be completely unnecessary now.
Both hybrid SACD/DVD-Video and SACD/DVD-Audio discs can be produced without
big problems as "DVD 10" (double-sided DVD) on all existing DVD production
lines. A more complete SACD/DVD-Audio/Video disc, containing music and maybe
video in three formats, will be manufactured (normally) in a "DVD-14" process.
Of course, (at least) one of the used "masters"/matrices for the injection
moulding process has to be "cut" as SACD-master by a special Laser Beam Recorder
A DVD-14 (I prefer to call it more precisely a "DVD-14", because of the included
non-standard SACD-layer) goes through a more complicated process of manufacturing,
usually requiring the so-called "Surface Transfer Process" from Time Warner
(to manufacture a two-layered DVD half-disc). However, this is a commercially
used production process, and not "science fiction". For example, the DVD-Audio
editions of AIX Records are usually two-sided discs, three-layered, requiring
exactly this kind of DVD-14 manufacturing process.
A single-sided SACD/DVD (read from the same side, one layer SACD, the second
layer DVD) can't work. The first problem starts with the fact that both SACD-
and DVD-players would expect "their" respective "Lead-in" on Layer 0. DVD-
and SACD- Lead-Ins are not compatible and, additionally, a SACD Lead-In would
be encrypted. There are different file-systems, and so on.