New Medium Enterprises ( NME ) has stepped up its efforts to rival HD DVD and Blu-ray with its own high definition disc format, HD VMC (versatile multilayer disc). The company has signed a deal with major French film distributors to deliver HD VMC content throughout France by September.

HD VMD differs from the HD DVD and Blu-ray because it uses a red laser which has a much longer wavelength than the blue lasers used by the other two formats. It's very similar to existing DVD technology, apart from the fact that its discs and players deliver a native HD 1080p picture at a much cheaper price than its HD format rivals.

The format, which now supports multi-layers, has enough capacity for up to 48GB on one single disc.

NME is hoping to target developing markets like China and India to avoid going head to head with HD DVD and Blu-ray in the traditional markets, and to steal a march on them in the two countries with the largest populations in the world.

And now the company is targeting French consumers, with a HD VMD player going on sale with five free movies and all for just 299 euro (£202). That's cheaper than high-end DVD players.

Initially, 20 VMD titles will be available in France with many more to follow. There's no news at the moment on whether this format is UK-bound, but if it proves successful in France you can be sure we'll see it over here at some point. The format war is still wide open, after all.