Late this week Onkyo joined Sony Electronics, Pioneer Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment America in cautioning consumers about using Dual Discs in the company’s CD players, CD Recorders and DVD players and announcing plans for a “thorough investigation” of the format. High Fidelity Review readers will recall that Dual Disc is a new format invented by Warner Music that features DVD Video and/or DVD Audio content on one side and CD content on the other. The record labels issuing the Dual Disc include a cautionary note on the back of each Dual Disc that says the disc “may not play on a limited number of models”.
While one side of the Dual Disc says “CD”, Philips, the co-inventor of the CD format has refused to license the Compact Disc logo to the record labels issuing the Dual Disc. According to Philips, the Dual Disc does not meet the Compact Disc specifications and tests by Philips have shown Dual Discs to have compatibility problems with some CD and DVD optical disc players. At the recent Surround 2004 conference, Philips officials also stated that these tests show the Dual Disc compatibility problems increase over time as the discs become dirty and scratched.
Onkyo Statement and Dual Disc “Investigation”
Onkyo’s statement on the Dual Disc and the company’s CD players, CD Recorders and DVD players is similar to the earlier ones issued by Sony Electronics, Pioneer Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment America. It is in response to what Onkyo says are the recent consumer question “I recently purchased a “DualDisc” title and it does not play on my CD or DVD player. Is there something wrong with my player or is it a problem with the disc?” The Onkyo Dual Disc statement in response which appears in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the company’s web site says:
“Onkyo has become aware that some pre-recorded hybrid discs — which are referred to as “DualDisc” — have been released in the market to consumers by some music companies and record labels. These hybrid discs appear to be a bonded combination of DVD on one side of the disc and non-DVD (which may incorrectly be referred to as a CD side) on the other side. Onkyo understands that, although these discs may refer to a CD side, the “non-DVD” side is not compliant with the Compact Disc Digital Audio specification due to its decreased thickness and therefore does not bear the CD logo.
Onkyo recommends that consumers not use “DualDisc” titles with any Onkyo products, including CD players, CD Recorders and DVD players. Until Onkyo has an opportunity to test the new commercially available hybrid discs, Onkyo does not know whether Onkyo products can safely handle these new hybrid discs, or whether these discs may damage your Onkyo products.
Onkyo U.S.A. will update this notice based as soon as our thorough investigation is completed.”
The Onkyo statement is very similiar to the 3 DualDisc advisories issued by Sony Electronics, Pioneer Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment America. We’ll watch for additional information from Onkyo once the results of their “thorough investigation” have been completed.