The coming HD format war may have been settled before it’s truly begun with the patenting of a multi-format DVD by Warner Home Video.
As the vanguard of the new High Definition DVDs, HD-DVD and Sony’s Blu-Ray, seek early and crucial adoption by cutting edge users, Warner Home Video has patented a new technology that would eliminate the potential hassle for customers by allowing standard DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray formats to be printed on a single disc. The disc works by having “a Blu-ray top layer which also acts as a two-way mirror reflecting enough blue light to be read by a Blu-ray player,” but which will also “let through sufficient light for an HD-DVD player to disregard the Blu-ray recording and locate the HD-DVD layer underneath.” The reverse side of the disc could then contain a standard DVD recording, though, it is not difficult to imagine this final step being omitted.
While this may mean you can watch a movie as easily in your PS3 as your Xbox 360, with or without HD-DVD, it’s difficult to imagine that this will affect the way cross platform games are pressed or sold. Though, theoretically, a single disc could provide layers compatible with multiple systems.