There are three things to back HD VMD’s claim to the crown: familiar technology, similar quality and, perhaps most important, a cheaper price.

We may stretch things a bit and call the HD VMD an “updated DVD”. The new format is based on red-laser technology, the same one used for current DVDs. Both Blu-ray and HD DVD use blue-laser technology, which is more expensive. Cheaper technology automatically means cheaper discs and players and, as Pc World reports it, HD VMD players will retail for “around $150 – about half the cost of the least-expensive 1080p HD DVD player”.

So it’s definitely cheaper, but is it worth the price? On the technical side the answer seems to be positive. The HD VMD disc can store up to 30GB on a single side and features and encoding of 40 mbps, thus sitting right between HD DVD (36 mbps) and Blu-ray (48 mbps). The 1080p resolution, MPEG-2 and VC1 video formats are included in the pack, and so is the support for 7.1-channel Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS audio output. The H.264 format hasn’t been included, but, it’s only a matter of time before it makes its entrance, claims New Medium Enterprises.

Currently there are two models getting ready to hit the market: the ML622S and the ML777S, with the latter being the most expensive device. Both machines can play HD VMDs, DVDs, CDs, and MP3 CDs.