New Medium Enterprises (NME) has a high definition format to battle Blu-ray and HD DVD called HD VMD. HD VMD is a proprietary format owned by NME that is based on established red laser technology. HD VMD discs have more layers than the normal DVD, which sports two layers. Commercial HD VMD discs can hold 20GB of data with four 5GB layers per disc. Using the NME 2P process the HD VMD discs can achieve 24, 39, 40 and 48GB storage capacities.
The 2P process can also be adapted to make multilayer blue laser discs as well. One HD VMD disc has enough capacity to playback three hours of true 1080p HD material on one side. Good news is that the HD VMD player is also backwards compatible with existing DVD and CD formats and can up convert standard formats to HD. The cool aspect of these discs is that they sell at prices very close to that of current generation DVDs making them much cheaper than Blu-ray or HD DVD products.
NME has partnered with a large independent film distributor called Anthem Pictures to release Anthem Pictured films on the HD VMD format in the US. The content deal gives full access to the over 4000 titles in the Anthem Pictures library.
NME's US Executive-Vice President, Alexandros Potter comments, "Independents cannot afford to use the competing formats and this is why we have such following in Europe and in the rest of the world. We are glad to have support from Anthem Pictures, a dynamic independent distributor here in the US." Anthem Pictures CEO, Charles Adelman comments, "HD VMD is the medium for the independent film labels, allowing us to have the same worldwide presence as the major studios in the HD marketplace."
Fans of independent films and titles in the Anthem Pictures library can get set up to play the HD VMD films with a bundle box that includes the HD VMD player and five free HD VMD films for a MSRP of $299. While this bundle box certainly sounds like an interesting to me, and the thought of full 1080p films at a price very near to that of current DVDs is very appealing you had better be sure that there are films available in the format you are interested in. I don’t see the major studios taking advantage of the HD VMD format. Story and image via NME.