Versatile Multilayer Disc
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (March 2008)|
|Media type||High-density optical disc|
|Encoding||MPEG-2 and VC-1|
|Capacity||Standard: 20 GB (4 layer), 5 GB per layer|
|Developed by||New Medium Enterprises|
Versatile Multilayer Disc (VMD or HD VMD) is a high-capacity red laser optical disc technology designed by New Medium Enterprises, Inc.. VMD was intended to compete with the blue laser Blu-ray Disc format and had an initial capacity of up to 30GB per side.
At CeBIT in March 2006, NME demonstrated a prototype VMD player and announced that they were expecting to launch the format in the third quarter of 2006. At the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association trade show in September 2007, NME exhibited two players set for release in October 2007. There were 20 US titles available at launch time, including some from Icon Productions, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, New Line Cinema, DreamWorks SKG, Lionsgate and Weinstein Co.. They have also signed a deal with Bollywood production company Eros Group who intended to release 50 Bollywood features on the format.
The two initial players to be released are the ML622S and the ML777S. The ML622S will cost approximately $150 USD. The ML777S costs currently (2008-01) USD 200 and includes USB ports (for connection to external storage devices) and a media-card reader.
A story in the New York Times on 10 March 2008 has NME pushing the format as low cost, because red laser technology is less expensive. NME CEO Michael Jay Solomon sees the advantages as the low cost of producing HD VMD master discs, and he says “We can sell players for $90 and make a profit.” However, New Medium’s price strategy will fail, said Andy Parsons, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association, because it relies on a false assumption: Blu-ray technology will always be more expensive. “When you mass produce blue lasers in large quantities, hardware costs will absolutely come down,” Mr. Parsons said. “I’m sure we’ll eventually be able to charge $90 for a Blu-ray player.”
On 13 June 2008 Geoffrey Russell, the Interim Chief Executive Officer of New Medium Enterprises, Inc., notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the company would be terminating the registration of the company, a result of which is that NMEN would cease filing reports with the SEC. The date of effect of this action was 90 days after 12 June 2008. In August 2008 three related New Medium companies in the UK, being New Medium Electronics Limited, New Medium Entertainment Limited and New Medium Optics Limited, notified Companies House of their applications for voluntary striking-off. The future of the HD-VMD format is unknown.
In October 2008, it was reported that the technology behind HD-VMD had been revived by three apparently related companies - Royal Digital Media, Anthem Digital and DreamStream, to produce a new 100GB optical disc. Anthem Digital chairman Michael Jay Solomon is the former chairman of New Medium Enterprises. As of December 2010, Royal Digital Media, Anthem Digital and DreamStream web sites were no longer available, which implies that all efforts to develop the HD-VMD disc format may have ceased.
The format uses approximately 5 GB per layer, which is similar to standard DVDs. Standard VMDs can use 4 layers, for 20 GB of storage. The rarer 8 and 10 layered discs store 40GB to 50GB, respectively. The manufacturer list up to 20 layers on a disc being possible in the future.
The Blu-ray Disc uses a blue-violet laser, rather than VMD's red laser, which means it can store more information per layer. However, this format has so far only utilized 1 and 2-layered versions. In January 2007, Toshiba announced development on a triple layer HD DVD (TL51) that would have had a capacity of 51GB. Hitachi announced a 4 and 6 layer version of Blu-ray as well, capable of 100 GB and 200 GB respectively. Therefore, a standard 4-layer VMD stores 20 GB which is comparable to a 1-layered HD DVD (15 GB) and 1-layer Blu-ray Disc (25 GB).
The HD VMD format is capable of HD resolutions up to 1080p which is comparable with Blu-ray and HD DVD. Video is encoded in MPEG-2 and VC-1 formats at a maximum bitrate of 40 Megabits per second. This falls between the maximum bitrates of HD DVD (36 Mbit/s) and Blu-ray (48 Mbit/s). There is the possibility that VMD discs may be encoded with the H.264 format in the future.
- "HD VMD to Battle Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD". PC World. September 8, 2007.
- Another DVD Format, but This One Says It’s Cheaper - New York Times
- New Medium Enterprises, Inc., Form 15, US Securities and Exchange Commission
- NEW MEDIUM ELECTRONICS LIMITED, 12/08/2008, APPLICATION FOR STRIKING-OFF, Companies House
- NEW MEDIUM ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED, 12/08/2008, APPLICATION FOR STRIKING-OFF, Companies House
- NEW MEDIUM OPTICS LIMITED, 12/08/2008, APPLICATION FOR STRIKING-OFF, Companies House
- RDM's revives HD-VMD with DreamStream encryption
- Solomon Heads Up Global Digital Studio
- NME - New Medium Enterprises - HD VMD, High Definition Players and Movies
- NME fleshes out 40GB HD VMD discs, hardware, still prepping for launch - Engadget