HD-DVD Getting Closer

In poll after poll, Guide to Home Theater readers suggest that some form of high definition DVD will be one of the key developments needed to give HDTV a real kick in the pants. It may be a while before the copyright issues are resolved sufficiently to make it happen, but the technology appears to be on its way.

Last week, Constellation 3D, which pioneered the creation of Fluorescent Multilayer Disc (FMD) and Card (FMC) technologies, announced that it has now concluded the technological development of machine-manufactured multi-layer HDTV FMD ROM discs. C3D says that these new discs can hold HDTV content on five or more layers, as opposed to the single layer of HDTV content reported by the company in August 2001.

C3D says that each FMD disc (120 mm format) is capable of containing a full-format, feature-length HDTV film, along with movie trailers and additional footage, in MPEG-2, 1080i, or 720p formats. The company adds that it is expected that the transition to machine manufacturing of FMD discs should allow for an immediate increase to up to 21 recordable layers on each disc. "Thereafter, it is anticipated that the number of recordable layers will continue to increase as the manufacturing process is fine-tuned."

In conjunction with the HDTV FMD system, the company says it has developed a range of FMD players based on commercial "red" laser technology, including low-profile 635 and 660 nanometer drives that fit into the DVD drive slot of standard desktop computers. C3D claims it has also continued to refine FMD technology for use with future "violet" lasers. Upon completion of this research, the company hopes that using, initially, high-end "violet" lasers will increase the memory density per layer of each FMD disc by at least four-fold from current levels.