Flipping formats, Batman

2019-03-07 07:19:18

By Barry Fox MUSIC fans who want to play both audio CDs and DVD videos of their favourite bands may no longer have to buy both types of disc, if a German company gets it way. Sonopress, a CD pressing company, has developed a disc that’s a CD on one side and a DVD video disc on the other—you just flip it over like a vinyl record to play the other format in the appropriate machine. Philips tried to make dual discs two years ago by pressing discs with a video recording at the standard DVD depth of 0.6 millimetres, and an audio recording at the standard CD depth of 1.2 millimetres—both on the same side. But Philips gave up on the idea because when fed a dual-depth disc, some players play audio, some play video and some reject the disc. Now Sonopress says its new DVDplus format will be created by the back-to-back bonding of a 1.2-millimetre-thick CD and a 0.6-millimetre half-thickness DVD. Ordinary DVDs already comprise two 0.6-millimetre layers stuck together for mechanical strength. Sonopress is using the CD layer to strengthen the thinner DVD layer. But establishing such an invention is not simple, as the rights to make CDs are policed by Philips. The company has previously refused to license double-sided music CDs because they are twice the standard thickness. Sonopress says the extra 50 per cent thickness for DVDplus has “no effect on playability”, but Philips fears it may jam the disc-clamping mechanism in thin CD-ROM drives,