Toshiba is working on an extension to the DVD format which will offer video quality comparable to that produced by Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs, according to Japanese media reports.
The company plans to begin selling a DVD player based on the new technology within six months, Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday citing unnamed sources at Toshiba.
The new enhanced DVD players will be sold at lower prices than Blu-ray players, according to the sources.
Toshiba ceded to the rival Blu-ray format in February 2008 after spending years developing its own HD-DVD next-generation video disc standard.
HD-DVD was backed by a consortium of companies including Microsoft and Intel, while Sony is the lead developer of Blu-ray.
The new DVD player will be backwards-compatible with standard DVD discs, according to the sources.
One Japanese report appeared to suggest that the new technology would be able produce much higher-resolution images from existing DVDs, but did not address the apparent impossibility of this claim.
The modified DVD format relies on a newly-developed large scale integrated circuit chip to rapidly convert the stored video, but no technical details were released.
Manufacturers have attempted to extend the lifespan of existing storage technologies by adding additional data which can be used by new players but ignored by older players.
For example, hybrid Super Audio CDs (SACDs) can be played in traditional CD players but produce higher quality audio when played in special players. However, SACDs have failed to meet sales targets.
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