Warner is to launch a new DVD format this autumn which it hopes will succeed the CD and bury DualDisc (the hybrid CD/DVD format which has failed to capture the public’s imagination).
Called DVD Album, the format will consist of two, dual-layered DVDs back-to-back in flipper style. Content will be a mixture of music and music videos, DVD-ROM material and ‘pre-ripped’ or data-reduced audio that can be stored and played from a PC’s hard drive, moved to portable players using established DRM technology, or burnt onto CDs.
While the company, whose artists include Donald Fagen (pictured) declined to confirm which format this data-reduced audio would come in, it did say full-bandwidth audio would be delivered in DVD Video 2.0 and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital, making it playable on all existing DVD Video decks and DVD-ROM drives, or in the high-resolution two and 5.1channel DVD Audio format.
DVD Audio discs would offer a supplemental mix in standard Dolby Digital 5.1 for maximum compatibility. DVD Albums would even contain PC software which would enable users to create custom ringtones from musical tracks on the disc.
The Warner Music Group says that the content rich discs would debut in October or November. The company says that it has learnt a great deal from its experiments with DualDisc, revealing that while fans were not turned on by the promise of video clips, they were interested in behind-the-scenes footage and bonus materials.
The move from a CD/DVD hybrid to a DVD/DVD-ROM mix also follows research that indicates that for many buyers the PC has become the primary domestic playback device. Consequently, the label has promised that DVD Albums will offer “an enhanced ROM experience” which will seamless blend disc content with online extras, including access to exclusive websites.