HD DVD Gains Further Momentum as Commercialization Approaches; Disc Replicators and Equipment Manufacturers Prepare for Mass Production to Support Upcoming Launch of the HD DVD Next Generation Disc
TOKYO, June 29, 2005 — The HD DVD Promotion Group today announced that momentum is building for the launch of HD DVD. Several key manufacturers in the disc replication and equipment industry simultaneously confirmed the manufacturability of HD DVD discs at high volumes and provided tangible data to prove feasible and realistic production. They are poised to mass produce HD DVD discs, which will deliver a wide variety of options for high definition content later this year.
M2 Engineering AB, Singulus and Unaxis, major international disc replication equipment manufacturers, have already started to sell their replication machines. The new HD DVD/DVD compatible lines are an advantage for disc manufacturers, as they ensure a smooth transition to the production of HD DVDs from the present DVD standard.
M2 Engineering AB in Sweden began selling its HD DVD production system SQ200 in May 2005. “Our SQ200 has been producing single and dual layer HD DVD-ROM discs for more than a year at our test facility in Stockholm, Sweden,” said Andreas Andersson, Product Manager of M2 Engineering AB. “We designed the SQ200 HD DVD production system for economical mass production of HD DVDs, and the production cost is on par with standard DVD production.”
“Singulus has introduced SPACELINE II HD, a new disc replication system that supports commercial production of both DVD and HD DVD formats,” said Dieter Wagner, Product Manager Prerecorded Media of Singulus Technologies AG, a leading manufacturer of disc manufacturing system in Germany. “The system supports single- and dual-layer discs, and its manufacturability and cost effectiveness has already been proven by Memory-Tech of Japan. We are confident that the system will accelerate the upcoming market introduction of HD DVD.”
“Unaxis has successfully demonstrated live HD DVD disc production with the newest version of its ‘MATRIX HD’, a manufacturing system of pre-recorded discs,” said Peter Hillenbrand, Pre-Recorded Solutions Manager at Unaxis. “Thanks to the company’s field-proven bonding process, Unaxis customers benefit from a state-of- the-art, cost effective production solution for DVD-9 (dual-layer DVD discs) and single and dual-layer HD DVD discs.”
Disc manufacturers are also fully committed to meeting the demands of high definition content providers and consumers. Memory-Tech Corporation, Japan’s largest independent disc replicator, confirmed manufacturability of HD DVD-ROM discs with its HD DVD/DVD compatible lines. Since May 2004 Memory-Tech has installed seven volume production lines that can produce both HD DVD and DVD discs, and more than one million HD DVD-ROM discs have been produced for evaluation using these HD DVD/DVD compatible lines. While production cycle times for standard DVD discs are 2.4 to 2.6 seconds, the compatible lines achieved a 2.8-second cycle time for a dual-layer 30GB HD DVD-ROM disc, which will become more efficient with continued production. Production yields, a major variable in disc cost, have already reached 90 to 95% — almost the same as that of standard DVDs.
“HD DVD is the practical disc technology for the future. The existing 0.6mm disc structure has already proven a huge success with consumers,” said Shiroharu Kawasaki, President and CEO of Memory-Tech. “Investment costs for new HD DVD/DVD compatible lines are comparable with those of standard DVD production lines. We can use the new lines to produce either HD DVD or DVD discs depending on consumer demand.”
Sonopress, a German disc replicator and Bertelsmann group company, also shows confidence in the manufacturability of HD DVD discs. “To prepare for the future needs of our customers, Sonopress is actively developing the capability to manufacture HD DVD discs,” said Peter Schaper, Vice President, Engineering, Sonopress. “The first samples of these new discs, along with our experience producing multi-layer DVD discs including DVD-14 (double-sided DVD discs, single-layer on one side and dual-layer on the other side) and DVD-18 (double-sided DVD discs, dual-layer on both sides), have given us a high degree of confidence in the manufacturability of multi-layer HD DVD discs.”
“This evidence from major players in the disc manufacturing industry further demonstrates the key advantages of HD DVD,” said Hisashi Yamada, Chief Fellow of Toshiba Corporation’s Digital Media Network Company. “Commercial introduction of key machinery is a strong acknowledgement of HD DVD as the best solution for disc replication, and indicates that the industry is ready for mass production in support of the launch of HD DVD players and content scheduled for later this year.”
All HD DVD discs share the same basic structure as current DVDs: two 0.6-mm thick discs bonded back-to-back, the same fundamental structure used in the production of more than 1000 DVD disc replication lines around the world. From these existing DVD lines, 3.2 billion discs were produced in 2004 worldwide. By adopting the same proven structure and material as current DVDs, an HD DVD disc can be produced without incurring significant additional cost.
HD DVD offers a variety of discs, including: a 15GB single-layer, single-sided disc and a 30GB dual-layer, single-sided ROM disc, both approved and standardized by the DVD Forum (an international association of hardware manufacturers, software firms, content providers and other users of DVDs). Toshiba also recently announced a high capacity triple-layer, single-sided 45GB ROM disc, and a hybrid (double-sided, dual-layer) ROM disc with 30GB of high-definition content on one side and 8.5GB of standard-definition on the other. Manufacturability for these new discs has been verified as well by key disc replicators.
High performance HD DVD discs are the viable solution for content providers who demand proven cost efficiency, superior performance and high storage capacity. Earlier this year, several Hollywood motion picture studios announced plans to issue a broad range of new releases and catalog titles on HD DVD beginning in Q4 2005.