HD DVD Is Dead! Long Live... HD VMD?

Things seemed settled. Blu-ray, the high definition format favored by Sony, finally overcame the competition offered by rival Toshiba, HD DVD, and the next-generation format wars were over. Not so fast, says New Medium Enterprises, who are touting an alternative to Blu-ray they call the versatile multilayer disc. VMD has the one attribute no one has ever ascribed to Blu-ray; it's cheap.

An HD VMD player costs less than a Blu-ray because it uses the red-laser technologies found in today’s standard-definition DVD players. The Blu-ray and HD DVD machines use a more-expensive blue laser system. “We do not intend to take on Blu-ray,” said Shirly Levich, New Medium’s vice president and product development manager, in an e-mail message. “We see VMD as a natural extension of mass market DVD product enhanced to HD capabilities. We shall not rekindle the format war.”

The industry and consumers may not see it that way, given that the company is promoting its price advantages. While Blu-ray players typically cost more than $300, an HD VMD unit is priced at $199. Sales through Amazon are scheduled to begin in five weeks, the company said. No talks have been held with the big-box retailers, like Wal-Mart Stores, to carry the product.

According to the article, there are seventeen movies currently available in the HD VMD format, including "Kandukondain Kandukondain." Thank goodness. I thought I was going to have to buy a $500 Blu-ray player to see that one.

Tags:  HD, DVD, HD DVD, live, dead, Ive, EA, VM