Toshiba and Memory-Tech have announced (Japanese) that they have created a three-layer optical disk which can be read both by HD DVD players and standard DVD systems. In theory, the disk could make it possible for movie studios and other content providers to create a single disk which would operate in standard DVD players as well as provide high-definition content to consumers with HD DVD players, eliminating consumer confusion over which format they need, and enabling not-so-early adopters to purchase media which will work on high-definition systems in the future.
In theory, the disk would enable publishers to embed the content of a standard 8.5 GB dual-layer DVD disk combined with a 15 GB HD DVD layer. Alternatively, publishers could create two HD DVD layers for 30 GBof storage, and a single standard DVD layer with 4.7 GB of capacity. A disk using on HD DVD layer and two standard DVd layers could store about four hours of both standard- and high-definition video with MPEG4 compression.
Toshiba plans to submit the disk format to the DVD Forum as a standard and hopes to win approval by the end of 2006; if all goes according to plan, triple-layer DVD/Hd DVD hybrids might start seeing market in early 2007.