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This week in DVD news

Toshiba and Memory-Tech develop a dual-layer disc that supports DVD and HD DVD formats. Also: Disney backs Blu-ray Disc format.

In an effort to ease the transition to higher-capacity disc technology, Toshiba and Memory-Tech have developed a dual-layer disc that supports DVD and HD DVD formats.

The disc will be single-sided, with the upper layer storing up to 4.7GB of data in the DVD format and the lower layer holding 15GB of HD DVD data.

On the other side of the DVD fight, Disney said it will release movies on the Blu-ray format in North America and Japan when the discs become available. Manufacturers and disc makers said players and discs should start hitting the market in late 2005 or early 2006. On Friday, Thomson said its Technicolor business will manufacture both the HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The Disney announcement means consumers will be able to get movies from Buena Vista Home Entertainment on the Blu-ray Discs. Also part of the library of films are those from Walt Disney Home Entertainment, Hollywood Pictures Home Video, Touchstone Home Entertainment, Miramax Home Entertainment, Dimension Home Video and Disney DVD.

Meanwhile, a Hollywood-backed technology group is suing a high-end home theater system company, contending that its home DVD jukebox technology is illegal. The DVD Copy Control Association, the group that owns the copy-protection technology contained on DVDs, said a company called Kaleidescape is offering products that illegally make copies of DVDs.

Kaleidescape creates expensive consumer electronics networks that upload the full contents of as many as 500 DVDs to a home server, and allow the owner to browse through the movies without later using the DVDs themselves. That's exactly what the copy-protection technology on DVDs, called Content Scramble System was meant to prevent, the Hollywood-backed group said.