Blu-ray Wes Novack on 11 Feb 2007

Blu-ray: the layer advantage

Capacity per disc layer
Looking at the next generation optical disc formats, one thing is for sure, the Blu-ray format has a capacity per layer advantage. Blu-ray Discs hold approximately 25GB of data per layer, while HD DVD’s hold approximately 15GB per layer. And while this information is nothing new to report on, it is an interesting factor to consider when we are looking at Blu-ray vs HD DVD manufacturing costs. The simple truth is, the more layers you add to a disc, the more expensive it is to manufacture.

Setup costs are charged per layer
As I previously reported, only smaller batches of media require a setup fee or mastering fee at the optical disc replication plant that I spoke with. This initial setup cost is charged on a per layer basis. With this in mind, we can look at the Blu-ray vs HD DVD replication costs again in regards to multi-layered, high capacity discs. Triple layer HD DVD media is on the way, with a total capacity of 45GB (or possibly 51GB if the currently under development 17GB per layer HD DVD media is launched). Dual layer Blu-ray discs are already in use, with a total capacity of 50GB. These two formats (tri-layer HD DVD and dual layer Blu-ray) are the closest in capacity than any other HD DVD / Blu-ray pressed media types. With this in mind, what media type will be the most expensive to replicate on?

Dual layer Blu-ray vs Triple layer HD DVD
At this point we have absolutely no idea what the pricing on triple layer HD DVD will be, but if we look at the current per layer setup fees that were provided by the replication plant that I spoke with, we can see that triple layer HD DVD setup fees would cost very close to dual layer Blu-ray media setup fees. Currently they charge $1,500 per HD DVD layer and $2,500 per Blu-ray layer as a setup cost, so theoretically a triple layer HD DVD would carry a setup fee of $4,500 compared to a dual-layer Blu-ray setup fee of $5,000. In this case, the setup fee for a “high capacity” 45GB HD DVD disc replication job would be less than the setup fee for a dual layer Blu-ray replication job. But let’s not forget that adding an additional layer also adds more to the cost per disc charge. So will triple layer HD DVD’s cost more or less to replicate than dual-layer Blu-ray discs? No one knows for sure at this point, but I predict that the tri-layer HD DVD cost will be very close to or slightly higher than the cost of dual layer Blu-ray replication. It will be interesting to find out once triple layer HD DVD media is finally released and available for content providers to utilize. For now we can only theorize by considering the current pricing, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the release of triple layer HD DVD and its’ associated costs.

10 Responses to “Blu-ray: the layer advantage”

  1. on 12 Feb 2007 at 11:33 AM 1.Dave said …

    When will triple layer HD DVD be available? AND, will it be compatible with the current HD DVD players?

  2. on 12 Feb 2007 at 12:55 PM 2.Wesley Novack said …

    Hi Dave, I don’t have any information on when triple layer HD DVD will be available or its’ compatibility with first generation HD DVD players. I’m not even sure if the format specification has been approved yet by the DVD Forum.

    Anyone else have any info on triple layer HD DVD?

  3. on 13 Feb 2007 at 6:47 PM 3.Steve said …

    What about the HD DVD/DVD combo discs? A substantial amount of HD DVDs are released this way.

  4. on 13 Feb 2007 at 7:47 PM 4.Wesley Novack said …

    Releasing on the combo DVD/HD DVD format will add even more costs to the replication fees. Good point Steve.

  5. on 13 Feb 2007 at 8:09 PM 5.Steve said …

    Universal said 90% of their titles from now on are going to be hybrid.

  6. on 13 Feb 2007 at 10:10 PM 6.Wesley Novack said …

    I think it’s VERY interesting that Warner has claimed that a TotalHD disc (Blu-ray one side, HD DVD the other side) “will not be materially more” than a standard HD disc….

    Yeah right, define “materially more” Warner. I’ll believe that when I see it.

  7. on 21 Feb 2007 at 1:11 PM 7.BD-R vs HD DVD-R pricing costs » HD DVD, Blu-ray, CD info and more said …

    […] End of year Blu-ray and HD DVD pricing predictions So what will the Blu-ray DVD and HD DVD blank media costs look like by the end of the year? I am predicting that we will see both both BD-R and HD DVD-R at around $10 per disc near years end, with HD DVD-R at a slightly lower price. The Blu-ray 50GB (BD-R DL) product will probably stick at around $30 per unit as it is tough to manufacture and will continue to remain in limited supplies through mid next year. Either way, Blu-ray has the advantage in the PC and high definition burner market as they already have multiple Blu-ray burners available and their format has the layer advantage. Again I say, HD DVD burners, where art thou? […]

  8. on 22 May 2007 at 10:48 PM 8.200GB Blu-ray Disc with 8 layers developed by Hitachi » Blu-ray, HD DVD, info at said …

    […] Hitachi-Maxell develop 200GB, 8 layer Blu-ray Disc Hitachi-Maxell of Japan have developed an 8 layer Blu-ray Disc with 200GB of storage capacity. Blu-ray already has the layer advantage, but an eight layer disc would provide a massive capacity that the competing HD DVD format would never be able to match. […]

  9. on 18 Dec 2008 at 5:49 AM 9.Bob Simpson said …

    What’s an HD DVD?

  10. on 18 Dec 2008 at 11:44 AM 10.Wesley Novack said …

    Funny Bob 🙂

    This article was written when the HD format war was still going on strong.

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