Toshiba spotlights high-definition DVD player

The consumer electronics giant this week is set to unveil a prototype of a DVD player that supports both conventional discs as well as the next-generation high-definition DVD.

Toshiba on Wednesday said it will unveil a prototype of a high-definition DVD player that can play high-definition discs as well as conventional DVDs.

The player will have a single-lens optical head that integrates both

In addition to a dual-purpose optical head, the player features an LSI chipset with a servo controller, data-signal processor and ATAPI, or CD-ROM and tape, interface. The player uses a blue laser and a 120mm-diameter disc that can record over two hours of high-definition movie content.

The new player is based on the HD-DVD-ROM format (version 0.9) approved by the DVD Forum in November 2002. It is designed to enable consumers to play their current DVD software on HD-DVD.

Tokyo-based Toshiba is set to show off the prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show, which opens at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday.

In December, NEC said it had developed technology to record and read both current and next-generation DVDs with a single optical head. NEC and Toshiba will face competition from the so-called Blue Ray technology, which is backed by Sony and other electronics makers.

Toshiba said the high-definition and high-density DVD format is designed to promote compatibility with current DVD standards. It uses the same disc structure that will let DVD manufacturers to use their current production equipment.

This disc can control laser beams with different wavelengths with a single objective lens--the blue laser beam for HD-DVD and the red laser beam for current DVD.

"We have achieved a major milestone in development of HD-DVD," Hisashi Yamada, chief fellow of technology at Toshiba's Digital Media Network Company said in a statement, "and we feel confident that development of HD-DVD is steadily and rapidly in progress."

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