A third HD home video format?

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Do all good things come in threes? The TV Shows on DVD blog are reporting that a third HD home video format was unveiled at the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association in Denver this week. This format is called HDVMD and is from a UK company called New Medium Enterprises (NME). The format is similar to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD in that it offers full 1080p video, up to 7.1 surround and potentially offers a bit-rate of 36mbps, higher than HDDVD’s 36mbps but lower than Blu-Ray’s 54mbps. The main difference between the formats is that HDVMD uses a red laser rather than the blue laser used by Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. NME believe that makes the units cheaper to build also allows for cheap authoring of discs. The players themselves look rather futuristic, are very slim and compact and are available in a series of different colours. But, even better, the initial launch price will only be $199.99, roughly ??99.

This news came as quite a surprise, I almost had to check the date to find out if it was September 7th and not April 1st. It harks back to the early days of the VCR when there were four tape formats available: VHS, Betamax and V2000. This could end up being V2000 of the HD format war. If this had been released a year ago along with the other two HD formats it might have stood a very small chance of receiving some support but without any studio support this surprising format looks doomed to fail. The hyperbole filled press release, however, states that distributors from countries such as “Australia, Brazil, Central Europe, China, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Japan, the Middle East Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States” have adopted the format. It will be very interesting to see how this develops.
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