Vmedia’s Mini Optical Coming to Netbooks and Beyond

vmedialeadEven though the makers of the Mouse Computer netbook think a DVD drive is fitting for the 10 inch netbook form factor, most netbook manufacturers have overlooked the disc format. And while many would argue that an optical drive isn’t necessary on the rapidly expanding crop of netbooks given the amount of downloadable and streaming content, Vmedia would argue otherwise. What is Vmedia? Vmedia isn’t touting the optical of yesterday or the Blu-Ray of today. They are talking small discs that measure 36 x 36 mm (think the size of those 1990s  pogs). They may look like mini-discs, but they are much, much smaller. See our hands-on shots of the Vmedia discs below in comparison to some other mobile storage solutions. The company is currently working with content providers to provide Vmedia discs with movies preloaded. Currently a Vmedia disc can hold 1GB of data or an entire 576p (720 x 576-pixel) resolution movie. Vmedia disc capacity will increase to 2GB in about a year and will also be two-layer, capable of writing. Playing a Vmedia disc, which is based on the latest blue laser technology, requires a Vmedia optical drive. Integrated Vmedia Devices “We are a mobile medium, so any mobile platform that is good for entertainment is what we are targeting. Netbooks are an excellent platform for us; the screen size is similar to a portable DVD player and with netbooks consumers have an expectation that they can view entertainment on it,” Vmedia’s vice president of marketing, Wendy Volan, said. “Vmedia on a netbook is a great experience and we hope to see it very soon in the marketplace.” Beyond netbooks, Vmedia plans to be integrated in both cell phones and mobile Internet devices (MIDs). They are also working with OEMs to design peripherals such as a USB Vmedia player. The company is “within months” of seeing its partners announce products with integrated drives. Vmedia Disc Distribution In terms of the uptake of Vmedia discs, the company, while not revealing much about their content partners, is planning to have wide distribution. They plan to make the discs available for purchase not only at the same places you see DVDs and Blu-rays being offered, but also through nontraditional outlets where you would be more likely to buy a mobile device. The company expects a Vmedia disc to be in the same price range as other packaged media content, though the pricing is ultimately up to the content providers.


Optical Isn’t Dead? So why buy a Vmedia disc over an SD Card with preloaded content, like SanDisk is attempting with music and its slotMusic platform? “Cost is one advantage of VMedia. We are manufactured the same way as optical discs are,” Volan said. “SD is a fantastic medium, particularly as a recordable medium for your photos, music, and video. But the thing that needs to happen, especially in terms of the SD slot, is the industry must develop a standard.” She explained that many consumers think that if they have an SD Card slot and an SD Card with video, it will play.  “We really need to get to a point where you have a player that can play it all. Any Vmedia disc can play back from a Vmedia drive.” And as for the upsell over downloadable content, “Vmedia is about is customer choice. Right now we are in a time when consumers have a lot of choices in how they can consume media and on the mobile side there are fewer choices. The shift to downloaded video is going to take quite a while, and Vmedia fills that gap right now,” Volan said.

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  1. Fanfoot Says:

    Uhh… sure.

  2. mediafan Says:

    makes sense to me. dvd quality enetertainment on these netbooks solves the one deficiency with these great machines.

  3. Joshua Kairl Says:

    Useless what’s the point USB/SD card are much better becasue there there is no moving parts even DVD’s for PCs are started to get dated because these moving parts take away for battery time this tech is too little to late

    you can buy a 8GB SD card for $30 AUD and this is only going to get cheaper and this is becasue its read/write read only cards would be a lot cheaper

    but then you have net downloads, most net connection can handle a 2gb within a few hours or it could be stream like netflx

    also we all just have to look at sony FAILED UMD system for the PSP (i we all know they should of open it more) but it failed becasue why do i have to pay 30 bucks for a psp version when i can play 30 bucks for the blueray version and use it on my nice 50inch TV with 5.1 most ppl got the DVD/blueray and converted to PSP and put it on a MEMORY CARD!!

  4. Nova Says:

    Joke? I like small media storage like this cause its cute and funny but honestly, in today’s market, there is no place for disc like that.

  5. Peter Says:

    The right hand photo in the second row says it all: this technology is larger, less dense and mechanical, compared to the smaller, solid state SD card to its right.

    Why would *anyone* even consider using this obsolete technology?

    Proprietary codecs do not mandate proprietary media. In any case, you could distribute at least four times as much protected content on and SD card.

    This company is deluding itself and I predict the next year will be unpleasant for their staff.

  6. henhen Says:

    8-track tapes, beta tapes, hd-dvd, now v-media.

    this company is looking to make money from licensing etc., and dont realize what crap they’re saying to sell this tech…

    you have a movie on a sd card and it wont play? thats their main selling point?!! click the damn icon dummy and make sure your media player is up to date!

  7. Blabble Says:


    Waste of development costs.


  8. Nikropht Says:

    Did we just timewarp back to the mid 1990’s?

  9. Deadpan Says:

    Capacity up to 2gb. Wow! Welcome to 1994!
    In an age where SD slots are becoming standard on netbooks and larger devices, and the ubiquitous USB thumbdrive has replaced optical drives for data storage, all I can really do is look at this get the urge to smack some people upside their noggins.

  10. Alex Says:

    Movie distributors would like this kind of thing because it’s very cheap to make disks – I’d expect a 1GB disk/cartridge like this to cost 25 cents to make; while a 1GB SD card costs more than 10 times that, plus the time required to copy over the protected content.

    I’m sure there are people who would buy this form-factor for convenience, rather than rip and copy to SD. Not me, but someone. After all, many people still buy bottled water. . . .

  11. Chris Says:

    This has to be a joke, this is seriously a stupid idea! 1gb storage? Even if it is cheaper to make, the savings arent going to pass onto the consumers. This is pretty much a shit version of the UMD

  12. KC Kim Says:

    This looks just like like the quarter size Dataplay discs that were already released but failed before it ever got started. I wonder if they bought the technology or something.

  13. Eric Says:

    best news in 2009 so far. As an already big fan of the Sony Hi-MD Wakman the Vmedia Walkman would be even better…
    Double Layer…Blu-Ray…. Can’t wait for it…

  14. james braselton Says:


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