back to article Universal to bond Blu-ray Discs to DVDs

Nearly three years after Warner proposed combo HD DVD/Blu-ray Discs as a way to end the format war, Universal Studios is trying out the notion, this time bonding Blu-ray with DVD. Warner's scheme was called Total HD and involved sticking an HD DVD and BD together, back to back. It allowed the one platter to be played in either …


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  1. Jason D
    Thumb Up

    Nice idea

    Seeing as Blu-ray is expensive anyway, it'll mostly cater to those who have Blu-ray players, but I for one, who may upgrade to Blu-ray in the future, would like to get something like this for movies I like, so I don't shell out again.

    DVDs are cheap as chips nowadays anyway, and while not a dying format by any means, this would help the move to HD for everyone.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Glue-ray disc, we called it, but no other suppliers adhered to the concept."

    Thank, that made me chuckle.

  3. Stuart Archer
    Thumb Down


    "If you don't own a Blu-ray player, wouldn't you just opt for a cheap DVD now and worry about Blu-ray later?"

    Given the frankly crazy cheap offers on many DVD's at the minute (5 for £20 in some places), with many of the titles being less than 6 months old, coupled with the fact that BD's are still too expensive for the somewhat-less-than-paradigm-shift level of quality increase over DVD (especially with a decent upscaler - I can only just notice the improvement of BD's on our 50" compared with an upscaled DVD), then I can't really see this making a dent in the market. I've always been a quick adopter of the newest formats, but I just can't see BD's being a big enough contender over the next few years over digital downloads, outside of the true film-o-philes out there.

  4. A. Lewis


    Could be a good concept. If they're on about a single disc with some layers readable by the DVD and blue-ray players seperately. However if they're on about DVD one side, blue-ray another in the style of those awful double-sided DVDs then I don't think it'll catch on!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Not bothering with Blu-Ray

    I agree with opting for normal DVDs now, but will skip the "upgrade to Blu-Ray later" part. Not that I'll do away with HD altogether, but I'm in no hurry. (That may be becuase I'm quite satisfied with upscaling performance on DVDs provided by TheaterTek and ffdshow filters on my HTPC - it looks pretty darn good on my HD plasma screen). I figure by the time my current hardware nears end-of-life, there will be decent alternatives to Blu-Ray.

  6. Bassey

    Done before

    I remember, during the push to widescreen, some DVDs were released with the 16:0 version on one side and the 4:3 ratio film on the other side. Seems to make sense to me.

  7. MarkOne

    idiotic quote of the year?

    " If you don't own a Blu-ray player, wouldn't you just opt for a cheap DVD now and worry about Blu-ray later? "

    Errm, no because you are buying it twice.....

  8. Charles 9

    What the Reg says... fine for old releases where DVDs are already available, but what about new stuff? What if Universal uses this THD exclusively on new releases? It wouldn't be a bad move for them since it would cut pressing and associated bulk costs for having two versions. But for those with DVD players, they'd be stuck with getting the THD version if they want to see the movie at all. It's the next-closest thing to movies eventually being released ONLY on BD and could be seen as the first step to weaning people off DVD.

  9. Richard Bedford
    Thumb Up

    Great idea

    Make it happen. It future proofs those who haven't yet bought a BD player, but don't want to shell out twice for the same movie.

    @Bassey - A Bugs Life was one of those DVDs.

  10. IR


    US stores already have loads of multiformat disks. You get a DVD and a BD in the same box, some have a code to download a digital copy.

  11. MarkOne

    @AC 2/12 13:39 GMT

    I thought upscaled DVD looked great too, before I discovered Blu-Ray, now it's laughably inferior. That said, I only buy stuff I REALLY want on Blu-Ray, I still muy some stuff on cheapo DVD..

    Even a top notch upscale (on a Silicon Optix Reon based player or a PS3) is still only half of whata Blu-Ray is...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I did many comparisons and much research into AV technology (and have been a fan for decades). I'm well aware of the resolution improvement, but there's a limiting factor most people overlook: unless you have a 50"+ screen or sit closer than 2.5 metres for 42" or smaller, the ability to see the improvement in a normal lounge room setting is severely limited.

      I tested my own choice of content side-by-side on the same 42" screen using DVD and Blu-Ray in selected AV stores (where they let you do that sort of thing) - at my typical viewing distance of 3.8 metres, and the difference was miniscule, notwithstanding that the quality of DVDs varies from disk to disk. Most lounge rooms are 4 metres or more across and most large-screen viewing takes place at a distance of >3.5 metres eyeball-to-screen.

      Then there's the limitations of current Blu-Ray technlogy that make me reluctant to invest. Films are recorded (or transcoded/mastered) in 10- or 12-bits per channel colour depth and this is expected to improve in future, whereas BOTH consumer formats (DVD and Blu-Ray) are limited to 8-bits per channel - equivalent to 24-bit colour or better known as 16.7 million colours - that is not true colour (despite marketing to the contrary). You can see this limitation in annoying colour banding (e.g. a sunset scene, where the sky has distinct bands). The HDMI 1.3a specification makes provision for up to 16-bits per channel colour (named "Deep Color"), but most equipment currently in circulation does not comply with HDMI 1.3a or the colour portion thereof (most, probably all, are still limited to 8-bits per channel). Even if new screens all come out with full HDMI 1.3a compliance, the Blu-Ray players don't yet comply and BDs aren't encoded with the data. There's a truckload of issues to sort in the recording -> transcoding/mastering -> encoding/transfer -> playback -> display pipeline before I'll throw yet more money at AV equipment.

      Given the above limitations, and the leaps and bounds occuring in broadband and video-on-demand, I am loathe to be left owning quickly-outdated disc formats yet again. I'll stick with relatively cheap DVDs (which do look pretty darn good on my equipment) until the path ahead is clear - and I'm hoping that path permits avoidance of owning any unchangeable disc formats.

  12. JeeBee

    Paranoid solutions from a paranoid industry

    Why not just have the DVD and the BD-ROM as separate discs in the same package?

    Are they that afraid that someone will buy it and resell/gift the DVD only?

    I bet there's very little cost between this glue-ray and separate discs.

    Maybe if they did managed copy fairly, people could burn their own DVDs from the copy.

  13. Bod

    Price hike

    Great way to hike up DVD prices.

    Won't work. People won't buy a Blu-Ray player because of this, they'll just rent or download instead if it's cheaper.

    Future proofing? Blu-Ray will be dead within 10 years. Even though I've started buying a few of the best ones (at the right price), I accept it's an interim format. Optical discs have nearly had their day.

  14. bart

    More stakes in BD's heart

    The issue with B-ray is that in order for it to be taken seriously, prices for media have to tumble in order to compete or augment DVD. But no significant progress has been made here, either because distributors don't want to spend money on this, or don't think they have to, that consumers will simply pony up for HD. And consumers may - they already have opened their wallets without hesitation for other incredibly overpriced toys, such as internet service for their phones . . .

    But if consumers do their part in the "market economy" and resist the obscene money grab that BD represents, the "industry" will adjust (to consumer favor,) or lose business. Make them take the risks; don't end up with expensive coasters just because you had to be an early adopter, even though BD has been out for some years now . . .

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about this

    Separate disks in the same box, plus a download, all for the same price as a BD. There are loads of them.

  16. Leo Maxwell

    Waste of time really

    Would I buy it?


    I don't buy DVDs any more either, I rent them online.

    But then I don't want my Living room taken over by a ridiculously large electronic screen, I hardly ever watch a film twice, and Blu-ray is just an expensive white elephant.

    I am more interested in the story than the props and the set.

    By the time that the price drops to DVD level, the download market will have outstripped it.

    The CD and the DVD will last for a long time, but the BR disk is too big and too expensive to be useful as a data format, a pendrive is quicker to write to and more convenient, and the way things are going, it will soon be cheaper too.

    For those who want to watch the same story over and over again, it might be a good investment, but I doubt it.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Bring back VHS (or something better)

    This is a slight improvement, but still not a patch on VHS.

    At least with this when you get half way through watching the blue-ray disk before it refuses to play the rest of the film, you can waste even more time trying to get the DVD side to play the end of the film before giving up and remembering that most films are so bad the director should be paying you to watch them not the other way around.

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