This past August, three engineers (including two reportedly from inside Warner Bros.), filed a revised 2005 patent application for the prototype "triple-layer" format. The plan is to create a disc with a Blu-ray top layer that works like a two-way mirror, reflecting just enough blue light for a Blu-ray player to read it, but also letting enough light through for HD-DVD players to find a second HD-DVD layer beneath.
Sounds like a promising idea. Certainly, it would be welcomed by studios that are supporting both formats, and currently have to master, replicate and market three different versions of a movie -- next Tuesday's simultaneous release of 'The Lake House' on Blu-ray, HD DVD and DVD is a good example. It is also not hard to imagine retailers cheering any hybrid, multi-format release that saves them shelf space, which continues to present a problem for both HD DVD and Blu-ray as they duke it out with DVD for consumer dollars.
Of course, getting a studio like Sony to budge from their devout pro-Blu-ray stance is another story. Not to mention Warner actually being able to transform such an ambitious triple-layer prototype into a physical, mass-marketable reality.
Now all we need are some Blu-ray/HD DVD/DVD players to play all these new multi-format discs, and they might really have something. Stay tuned...