British company promises cheap multi-format DVDs

A week after Warner announced the filing of a patent for hybrid media capable of combining HD DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD layers, a British company known as New Medium Enterprises (NME) says it has developed a multi-format technology that doesn't face the same hurdles as other implementations. NME CTO Eugene Levich says his company's technology offers high yields, and disc production line manufacturer ODMS estimates the cost of NME's multi-format discs at around $0.09 a piece—only three cents more than the $0.06 cost of standard single-layer DVDs.

Interestingly, Warner lawyers haven't jumped at NME's throat yet. The reason for this amity is that, in Levich's words, "there's no collision between Warner and us [NME]. They patent the application, we are patenting the technology. These are complementary patents." Former Warner Home Video President James Cardell also joined NME's board in August.

According to Reuters, NME's multi-format implementation allows up to 10 different layers to be stacked on a single DVD. The implementation requires "new technology" to read and write discs, but NME says it will license said technology to consumer electronics companies that already make Blu-ray and HD DVD players. The first prototype production line for NME multi-layer discs will go online early next year.

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