The MVI Disc is the latest in a parade of would-be successors to the CD, including the surround-sound products Super-Audio CD and DVD-Audio, and most recently DualDisc, which plays like a CD on one side and like a DVD on the other. Warner was one of two companies, along with Sony BMG, to embrace DualDisc last year. But the capacity of both the CD and DVD sides of DualDiscs is limited compared to normal CDs and DVDs. In contrast, the storage capacity of the planned Warner DVDs is up to four times what can be held on the DVD side of a DualDisc. Warner and Sony BMG have sharply scaled back their DualDisc output.
Warner is not proposing any generic name for the new format, beyond simply "DVD album." The company plans to encourage retailers to stock them alongside normal CD albums on shelves, and they would likely carry a higher price tag, though just how much higher will probably be determined by the amount of extras included on any given disc. The company plans to continue releasing albums on CD, too, for the foreseeable future.
But there are some stumbling blocks that may discourage consumers from embracing MVI Discs. The new discs would not play on normal CD players, meaning consumers could not simply pop their new discs into their car stereos or other players. And users would not be able to copy the main audio mix onto their computers. On the proposed DVD album, the main audio mix is to be protected by the same software that already protects the content on normal DVDs. To get around these compatibility issues...watch for "special edition" releases that include a regular cd as well as a discreet MVI Disc.
The Music Video Interactive Disc (MVI) would include "preripped" digital tracks of the entire album, ready to be copied onto a user's computer -- a totally separate set of data from the higher-quality, DVD-audio sound that users hear when they slip the DVD in a player. The lower-quality, "preripped" tracks could be copied to a CD.