HD VMD – It’s Not Always About Winning

March 28, 2008

Sometimes just running the race is a win, some consider being seen at the finish line a victory, while others bet the marketplace is mature enough to win on merit, or price… Toshiba placed and lost that bet but not without making their fair share of noise during the two years or so of the “format war“. I believe New Medium Enterprises falls into the just running the race category, I don’t believe they have any intentions of beating Blu-ray to the finish line in any given market. That may be the genius of their plan however.

Toshiba’s all other nothing stake in the format race didn’t pay off but it appears NME’s HD VMD (Versatile Multilayer Disc) is gaining minor traction abroad, no doubt to some degree due to the players cost. Toshiba’s players eventually reached the $199 price mark shortly before implosion but HD VMD players started there. It also seems as if HD VMD is sparking interest with Bollywood (audience of 3.6 billion people anyone?) and specific regions where alternative low-cost 1080p source material is in demand.

HD VMD falls in-between HD DVD and Blu-ray on the performance front, with a maximum bitrate (if memory serves) of 40 megabits per second versus HD DVD’s 36 mbs and Blu-ray’s 48 mbs. Although initial discs seem to be limited to 30GB’s, New Medium Enterprises spokesmen have been reported as stating multilayer discs at 40GB’s or beyond are possible. Again, it’s not always about winning the race, if HD VMD can gain the least amount of traction in secondary markets, they may at minimum force dual-format inclusion with Blu-ray as those markets mature.

Am I interested in a HD VMD player? Look if anyone from NME is reading this and wants to submit a player and discs for review, I’ll happily look into it, but with no major Hollywood studios on board (I think Warner bros. hinted they might give it a go) I really can’t see the point, for me at least. But I can certainly see the benefit of being an also-ran in the word of licensing and intellectual property.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HDTV Equipment