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“Dual Disc” To Be Launched To US Consumers In October 2004 – Maybe January 2005 Print E-mail
Friday, 23 July 2004
The Dual Disc has been approved to be an official DVD format by the DVD forum and now the remaining major record labels are scurrying to get their content in order for a pending launch of the half-CD/half-DVD discs to consumers.

A pre-Christmas launch would be most desirable. However, creating or reworking a classic album into an audio/video surround sound masterpiece reportedly takes anywhere from 12 to 18 weeks, even by the most experienced mixers, masterers and authors of high-resolution discs. Industry executives privy to the five label support for Dual Disc suggest that the amount of titles could range anywhere from 30 to 50 before the holidays. That estimate could be accurate, considering that most of the big labels have held off releasing many DVD-Audio or SACD titles during the first two quarters of 2004. This is not to say they weren’t working on mixing and mastering their back catalog for the pending surround sound formats. Deals like the one between EMI and DTS Entertainment has the surround sound company mixing many of EMI’s best albums (no Beatles yet) for surround.

Consumer demand will need to drive this “hybrid” format or the labels will lose their enthusiasm quickly. One inside scoop coming from a source overseas says that, unlike the test marketing study done in Boston and Seattle earlier in the year, Dual Discs will cost significantly less than the $18.99 from the study. This would be a smart move that adds video and surround audio value to a Dual Disc while making the price of the Dual Disc significantly lower than a DVD movie.

Considering the logistics of getting five record labels to agree on anything, pessimists might guess that the launch date for Dual Disc will be in January 2005. All sides live in fear of the word “antitrust” and have to be ultra-careful about how to proceed, even when early adopters are chomping at the bit for better-sounding, higher-value discs. Nevertheless, with CD backwards compatibility for the masses, surround sound for the audio enthusiast and DVD-Video content for the Gen-Y audience, the Dual Disc might just have some legs. The next step is to get a significant batch of titles into stores and promote the hell out of them, something that will likely happen this fall.

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