Toshiba has teamed up with Memory-Tech to develop a single-sided, three-layer hybrid DVD/HD-DVD disc.

The three layers can be split between the two formats, to either support a dual-layer 8.5GB DVD and single-layer 15GB HD-DVD, or a single-layer 4.7GB DVD and a dual-layer 30GB HD-DVD.

Normal DVD players will be able to read the DVD section of the disc, while HD-DVD players, which are backwards compatible, will be able to read both.

The discs give Hollywood studios more scope for content, and also may help to bridge the gap between the DVD format and the next-generation HD-DVD format. Consumers may be more willing to pay a bit more for discs that they can watch on their current DVD player and then watch with extra content once they’ve upgraded to an HD-DVD player, especially if they’re waiting for HD-DVD players to drop in price.

Toshiba and Memory-Tech are taking the new disc to the HD-DVD Forum for approval; if granted, the discs could be ready for commercial purposes early next year.