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The Blu-ray group has just announced that it is merging with the HD-DVD consortium to produce a consolidated format for high definition on a packaged disc.

In response to demands from discerning consumers for more playing time, the new format will employ a 12-inch disc. According to a spokesperson for the newly formed Blu-DVD Association, "The 500 Terabyte capacity of these discs will allow each studio to fit every movie it has ever made into a single two disc set, with plenty of space left over for Peter Jackson to provide 12 hours of standard definition pre-and post-production diaries for every movie from Citizen Kane to Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo."

In the first application of the computer printer business model to consumer electronics, the discs are expected to sell for $1249.95 each, and five companies have already committed to producing players starting at $39.98.

The announced launch date is fall 2009, if it doesn't slip to summer 2011. To facilitate the transition, all players and discs in the upcoming HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats will be made of biodegradable materials with a half-life of 4-years. The IRS will also provide a $50 tax deduction with proof of a Blu-DVD player purchase.

The new format will use a new HTGT (Here Today, Gone Tomorrow) copy protection scheme that allows the discs to be played twice (over a 12-hour period) before they self-destruct into an edible residue said to have a deliciously spicy jalapeno flavor.

In a related story, Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba have finalized an agreement to produce flat panel displays utilizing a combination of LCD and SED technology. The LC-SED will utilize transmissive red, green, and blue LCD pixels wedged between SED emitters and phosphors. This reduces efficiency and increases the power consumption of a typical 42-inch panel to 2000W, but amortizes existing LCD production investments. The sets are expected to make use of a liquid cooling system from Honda.

Asked if they were serious making this announcement on April 1, a spokesperson for SamSoShiba, the holding company formed to finance all the arrangements, said, "No comment."