3X DVD brings HD to red laser DVDs

As HD DVD and Blu-ray fight it out for supremacy in the high-definition video disc market, a third contender is peeking its head around the corner. As Ars Technica reports, DVD mastering software makers Doug Carson & Associates have mastered the first of a new type of disc known as 3X DVD. This newcomer to the HD scene isn’t an entirely new format. Instead, 3X DVD is more like the high-definition disc equivalent of a riced-out Honda Civic. It’s a standard dual-layer, red laser DVD with the same 9.4GB capacity as existing discs, but it has support for the same UDF 2.5 file system, AACS copy protection, and high definition content as HD DVD. The disc will still require an HD DVD player to play, and content will have to be sampled down to 720p in VC-1 or AV-C formats. 3X DVD could become a cheaper alternative to HD DVD, although Ars reckons the format simply won’t go anywhere because users will still need to invest in a relatively costly HD DVD player.

Comments closed
    • slot_one
    • 13 years ago

    Reminds me of the SVCD concept, even though it’s completely different. See, I’m ever so slightly retarded in that way. 🙂

    I don’t remember it that well, but I think SVCD used DVD-style MPEG-2 and even supported menus, on a 700MB cd.

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      And you needed at least 2 CD’s for a whole movie. Sometimes three depending on the length.

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Huh? I thought the primary advantage of HD DVD over Blu-Ray was that it would be cheaper, because they can be built on the same production lines as normal DVDs?

    If that’s true, then what’s the use of this format?
    If it’s not true, what changed?

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    “riced-out Honda Civic”

    LMAO! hope no one got offended, and if they did, its still funny. anywhoo, too much hype for something that will end as vaporware.

    • Tommyxx516
    • 13 years ago

    “The disc will still require an HD DVD player to play…”

    What’s the point of releasing a 3x DVD format? If a HD-DVD player is required, wouldn’t it be common sense for the person to just buy HD-DVD?

      • Corrado
      • 13 years ago

      The point is that the media needed for it is already in MASS MASS production, and you could feasibly burn HD content to a DL-DVD-R and play HD video in your HD-DVD player.

        • Taddeusz
        • 13 years ago

        I didn’t get that from the article. Anyhow, it still wouldn’t be legal to circumvent the copy protection.

        As I said before the point of this is to save money in manufacturing. I doubt the savings will be passed along to consumers. It’s a smaller capacity disc needing a lower resolution video. Plus extras will probably be limited due to capacity constraints as well. How is this a win for us at all? Oh, boy, so you can illegally copy it to another DVD and still get HD resolution. Big deal. Real people, not computer geeks, don’t care about that stuff.

        Granted, I’m just guessing about the pricing but something tells me that the movie companies would keep the same price point with other HD titles just to keep the “value level” high even though they’re giving you less.

    • kilkennycat
    • 13 years ago

    3x DVD is not likely to go anywhere. However, the following, if true, is sure to help the HD-DVD market, certainly amongst PC folk not wishing (or able to afford) to invest in new HDCP-capable gear in the replication chain.

    §[<http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=6114<]§ ( Based in Antigua... ) DRM gets to be more of a truly-offensive joke, certainly to the HONEST purchaser of movies on DVD. And the legal system, certainly in the US, is an ass for not (yet) giving the same fair-use rights in copying for private use of copyright movies and music as they gave during the audio-cassette and video-tape "wars".

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      Only because they had no measures to actually prevent copying other than the law.

    • Taddeusz
    • 13 years ago

    Not that there is a huge perceptual difference between 1080 and 720 during viewing but this has nothing to do with the consumer. All it does is helps the movie companies save money. Nothing else. Consumers still have to pay for an HD player. I’m quite sure they would still price the movies the same as current HD stuff due to their percieved “value.” They would then be making more profit while screwing consumers out of some quality whether perceiveable or not.

      • droopy1592
      • 13 years ago

      No way I’m paying over $16 for a movie, HD or not. It’s not like they take any extra steps in encoding them.

    • Snake
    • 13 years ago


    • snowdog
    • 13 years ago

    This would be a mistake and bring confusion to the HD-DVD market. Desperation move?

    Recent costing figures released show reproduction costs of Blu Ray/HD DVD at about $1.50.

    I think the writing is on the wall for HD DVD. One exclusive studio and one HW company do not a winner make. I keep see comercials on TV for new movies released on DVD and Blu Ray. I haven’t seen any for DVD and HD-DVD.

      • Lord.Blue
      • 13 years ago

      How about Superman Returns, or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy? or Star Wars, or Indiana Jones?(just a few that are rumored to come out)
      here are a few more that might turn some heads(these are on the release schedule):

      March 27, 2007
      Children of Men (Universal)
      Feast (Weinstein)
      Happy Feet (Warner)
      Harsh Times (Weinstein)
      March of the Penguins (Warner)
      National Geographic: Relentless Enemies (Warner)
      School for Scoundrels (Genius)

      April 03, 2007
      The Good Shepherd (Universal)

      April 10, 2007
      Payback: Straight Up – The Director’s Cut (Paramount)

      April 17, 2007
      The Game (Universal)
      The Jerk (Universal)

      April 24, 2007
      Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Universal)
      The Nutty Professor (1996) (Universal)

      2001: A Space Odyssey (Warner)
      Above the Law (Warner)
      American PIe (Universal)
      American Pie (Unrated) (Universal)
      American Pie Presents: A Naked Mile (Universal)
      Band of Brothers (HBO)
      Battlestar Galactica: The Complete First Season (Universal)
      The Black Dahlia (Universal)
      Blade (New Line)
      Blade Runner (Warner)
      Blood Diamond (Warner)
      The Blues Brothers (Universal)
      The Bourne Identity (Universal)
      Braveheart (Paramount)
      A Clockwork Orange (Warner)
      Coach Carter (Paramount)
      Conan the Barbarian (Universal)
      Contact (Warner
      Dark City (New Line)
      Dawn of the Dead (2003) (Universal)
      Deadwood: Season One (HBO)
      Decameron (Weinstein)
      The Dirty Harry Collection (Warner)
      Eraser (Warner)
      Executive Decision (Warner)
      Eyes Wide Shut (Warner)
      Final Destination (New Line)
      Flags of Our Fathers (Paramount)
      Forrest Gump (Paramount)
      Friday (New Line)
      Friends: Season One (Warner)
      Ghost (Paramount)
      Gothika (Warner)
      Grease (Paramount)
      The Green Mile (Warner)
      Grind House (Weinstein)
      Hard to Kill (Warner)
      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Warner)
      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner)
      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner)
      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
      The Maltese Falcon (Warner)
      The Mask (New Line)
      The Matrix Revolutions (Warner)
      The Matrix Reloaded (Warner)
      The Matrix (Warner)
      Maverick (Warner)
      Ocean’s Eleven (Warner)
      Ocean’s Twelve (Warner)
      Passenger 57 (Warner)
      Red Planet (Warner)
      The Return (Universal)
      Rush Hour (New Line)
      Save the Last Dance (Paramount)
      Scarface (1983) (Universal)
      School of Rock (Paramount)
      Se7en (Universal)
      Shaun of the Dead (Universal)
      The Shining (1980) (Warner)
      Sin City 2 (Weinstein)
      Smokin’ Aces (Universal)
      Star Trek: First Contact (Paramount)
      Star Trek: The Original Series (Paramount)
      Twister (Weinstein)
      U.S. Marshals (Warner)
      The Ultimate Star Trek Collection (Paramount)

      to see the ones that have already been released, check this page out:

        • Peldor
        • 13 years ago

        How many are HD DVD only?

          • Vrock
          • 13 years ago

          A good bunch of the WB titles, and all of the Universal ones.

        • Vrock
        • 13 years ago

        Superman Returns has been out for months in both formats.

          • Lord.Blue
          • 13 years ago

          and sometimes on dual format discs

    • Vrock
    • 13 years ago

    Dual layer DVDs top out at 8.5gb, not 9.4 (and that’s with the 1,000,000,000 bytes to the gb nonsense).

    Also, you can get HD-DVD players for less money than most high end graphics cards. The Toshiba HD-A2, for example, can be had for under $400.

      • dextrous
      • 13 years ago

      If my memory serves correctly commercially pressed dual layer DVDs top out at 9.4GB. 8.5GB is only for burnable media.

        • droopy1592
        • 13 years ago

        pits on dual layer discs are 10% longer (so they are easier to read) which is why there is approximately 10% less data on a dual layer disc, where as a dual sided/single layer disc is truly 9.4GB

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    I guess this will prove useful for cheap-ass titles once they’re made HD, and they can use existing cheap DVD production facilities.

    As BluRay players can also read DVDs, and apart from the disc format and menu system support the same stuff, can these play on them? Edit: It seems not.

    Edit Aside: If the hardware to decode 3X DVD is cheap, then I can see standard DVD players adding this as a feature, allowing you to get HD functionality for $50 – $100. It’s only slight changes from supporting DIVX, which many players already do.

      • droopy1592
      • 13 years ago

      To decode those codecs you need more processing power than current DVD players have. Even with firmware upgrades, you’d probably need a decent decoding processor to do it.

        • Hattig
        • 13 years ago

        Processing power isn’t usually the biggest issue in non-budget DVD players that can already do Divx, it might add a little bit to the cost. In the end it depends on whether this format even gets off the ground.

          • droopy1592
          • 13 years ago

          H.264 probably needs 10-20x the processing power more than a Divx compressed movie requires.

    • DukenukemX
    • 13 years ago

    We already have something like 3X-DVD but without all the useless AACS copy protection.

    It’s a regular DVD with an avi video using H.264. Whether or not it’s HD depends on your bit-torrent source.

    Best yet it doesn’t require a costly HD-DVD player. All you need is a soft modded Xbox with XBMC installed. If you decide to upgrade your Xbox’s hard disk then you can store large amounts of movies right into the machine.

    Isn’t progress great or what?

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      And this is all legal how?

    • absinthexl
    • 13 years ago

    Wow, the capacity of DVD with all the advantages of HD-DVD DRM. I’m sold.

      • Kunikos
      • 13 years ago


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