DVD Forum Looking Into “Hybrid” DVDs 
Home Theater News DVD Hardware-Software News
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Friday, 20 December 2002

“Hybrid” SACDs can play back on an SACD player or one of hundreds of millions of CD players and the DVD Forum is looking into the possibility of doing the same for the DVD-Audio format says one industry trade publication.

While hybrid SACDs have gained popularity in 2002 (Rolling Stones titles most notably), they still make up a minority of the SACD titles. According to sources close to AudioRevolution.com, The Stones titles have sold very well thanks to the widespread appeal of their music and the backwards compatibility of the format. This is very good news in an otherwise bleak music business. CDs are still selling slowly while DVD-Video titles are a runaway mainstream success. With the added values on DVD-Audio titles (video, photos, alternative mixes and so on) plus DVD-Audio’s focus on surround sound, backwards compatibility to CD players and the 50 million plus DVD players in the world could only help in the battle.

- The idea of backwards compatibility hopefully will inspire the music industry to start to adopt one of the two high resolution AV formats. So far it has been Sony backing SACD with Universal slowly rolling out 25 SACDs while saying they wouldn’t not consider DVD-Audio too. Hardly a solid commitment. WEA is behind DVD-Audio with EMI and BMG mildly supporting the format with only a handful of titles released or announced in seemingly a see-what-happens-approach.

One solution would be for labels to forget about a hybrid DVD-Audio disc and offer a bonus pack that couples a DVD-Audio and CD disc (or 2) in the same package. DVD-Video movies do this all the time where the supplemental material is on another disc while the movie is on a dedicated disc. With the cost of a CDR for Joe Average at Office Depot is less than $0.25 per disc you can only imagine how little the cost would be for a major label to add an extra disc in with the packaging of prerecorded music. Added values like videos cost something to produce but anything that inspires a consumer to actually buy (not download) a record should be considered more of an investment than an expense. With this level of support from labels, DVD-Audio could catch some significant mainstream momentum instead of constant chatter about its potential.

Sources: Pro Sound News








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