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The Other DVD-CD Disc

28 Jun, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

DualDisc isn't the only part-DVD, part-CD hybrid out there. It's not even the first.

Three years ago, Phil Carson, president of the North American division of DVDplus International Inc., shopped the product around to U.S. record labels. Invented by Dieter Dierks in Germany, the hybrid was heating up overseas.

Carson got few Stateside takers for DVDplus. But a few years later, a consortium of record labels developed and distributed DualDisc, which has just seen its highest-profile releases in Bruce Springsteen's Devils & Dust, Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth and Rob Thomas' Something to Be.

Now, DVDplus is hitting the market here, too, with this week's release of Twisted Sister's Live at Waken: The Reunion from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Dierks holds the patent for DVDplus in Europe and Australia, and one is pending for the United States.

DVDplus is a better engineered, higher-quality product than DualDisc, Carson said. He expects DualDisc backers to “copy” the technology and add scratch-proof coating, 20 more minutes of audio space and on-disc labeling — all of which DVDplus already offers.

Carson is baffled that U.S. record companies choose to release hybrid content on what he calls an “inferior product.”In Europe, Sony has licensed the DVDplus technology for releases to great success.

“We had the No. 2 record in France: One of Sony's biggest sellers last year from Kool Shen [the album Dernier Round] was released only as a DVDplus,” Carson said.

5.1 Entertainment in April cut a license agreement with Dierks and DVDplus International that allows 5.1 to use DVDplus technology in Europe under the DualDisc trademark.Carson also is manager of legendary hard rockers Twisted Sister, who he said jumped at the chance to release a DVDplus disc. The release includes footage from the band's 2003 show in Germany and interviews with the band tracing the group's breakup in 1987 to its 2003 reunion.

“The bands love it, because it does what they want it to do,” Carson said. “It's a product that artists really embrace — it's only the record labels that have a problem understanding it.”

The U.S. music industry also is arbitrarily hampered when it comes to the DVD side of DualDisc. This is because the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) requires the video side carries the same audio as the CD side, which leaves a limited amount of space for video content, Carson said.

DVDplus International promotes its product primarily as video, while the U.S. labels seem to go the opposite route.

“I think you will see the industry will distance itself from DualDisc being a predominantly audio product to being predominantly a video product,” Carson said.

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