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

Illustration for article titled 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).

Advertisement

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]

DISCUSSION

The Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD war has been going on with no *real* changes for too long now. It's still all just stupid squabbling and trying to prove dominance with manipulated stats. Studios aren't even really "settled in" to these formats as MANGAGURU said — it was just a few weeks ago that 2 studios effectively dumped BluRay and went exclusively HD-DVD. How much confidence does that instill in consumers thinking about choosing either side?...all it takes is a little payola to their favorite movie studio dump one format or the other. How about this, you rich, greedy, format-promoting, Hollywood/"Consumer" Electronics jerks: instead of giving each other $150,000,000 to pick a side, why not offer 1 Million $150 instant-rebates on your stupid players...you know, so consumers can see a benefit, and maybe actually create a real 1-sidedness to this format war! "Free movies" with the purchase of a player aren't the same as real money, especially when those movies must be chosen off a limited list (even if that "limit" is the whopping 200 movies your little format has out right now. Keep in mind, since most of your releases are catalog titles, I probably own them on DVD right now anyway *if* I want them).

Neither side is doing anything convincing *for consumers* to try to win. There is no end in sight to this stupid war.

So...it's about time a 3rd party comes in and mixes things up. I hope they have a huge debut that forces the other two camps to re-think themselves. I want to see some *real* aggression in the marketplace so somebody actually wins *soon* — until the final outcome is clear, I'm not investing anything in the overpriced players on the market today.

Hey Hollywood/Electronics manufacturers: Call me (and most of America) back when I can get a full-featured player (of any of these 3 formats, or some combo) for under $100, and it's not at risk of being beaten by a competing format until whenever the next-next generation comes out. Until then, please keep in mind that DVD players sell for under $30...and they've already got every movie that I might want to rent/buy.