Blu-ray and HD DVD, Meet $150 HD VMD ML622S

We first told you about HD VMD over two years ago, then we told you again about one year ago. But the "next gen" HD optical disc aiming to take down...giants...Blu-ray and HD DVD is finally coming to fruition. New Medium Enterprises will launch its new ML622S HD VMD player next month, a 1080p, single-slotted HDMI 1.3, ethernet-upgradable device that is expected to cost only $150 at many wholesalers (though MSRP is $200).

HD VMD keeps costs low by using the same red lasers we see in DVD products, with the drives described by New Medium as DVD with newer firmware. For now the technology is still MPEG2 based, encoded at somewhere between 40-45MB/s (reports differ), putting it smack between Blu-ray and HD DVD data rates. 7.1 surround sound is supported, but the technology will not support Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master Audio formats.

I can't get a finalized maximum storage level on the HD VMD discs either, so just how much room is open for extras compared to Blu-ray and HD DVD is not clear. Reports vary between 20 and 40 GB.

Launching with 20 titles in the US this October, HD VMD may be the most consumer friendly technology on the market, but does anyone really see it taking over giants Sony and Toshiba...who are both fighting over the studios/scraps as it is? Investors, we're talking to you. [product via pcworld]