Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Warren Osborn, CEO of Seastone Media Group, shows the cases his company is producing for high-definition DVDs.

PROVO — A Utah company is playing a role in the launch of the next generation of home-entertainment technology.

And its contribution can be held easily in your hand.

Seastone Media Group, a Provo-based packaging company, won a bid last year to create the cases for the new high-definition DVDs that are scheduled to hit shelves March 28.

Seastone's case design, which beat out several from companies around the world, is a sleek takeoff on traditional DVD cases, with rounded edges, a smaller profile and red-tinted translucent coloring.

"The marketplace, and our customers specifically, wanted a unique-looking case that was highly differentiated from a traditional, typical black DVD case — a smaller profile and a high-tech look to match the high-tech image of high definition," said Seastone President and CEO Warren Osborn.

Seastone, which also has divisions that design and create direct-mail packaging and retail and gift packaging, gained recognition in the entertainment-packaging industry since opening its doors slightly more than four years ago.

The company has manufactured hundreds of millions of cases in that time, Osborn said. And the firm last year received an Alex Award, given to companies that excel in the entertainment packaging industry, for its design of "The Ultimate Matrix Limited Collectors Edition."

Now, Seastone's HD DVD case — called the Elite — will be used by all U.S. movie studios that have decided to launch on the HD DVD technology.

Osborn declined to say just how many cases his company has made for the HD DVD release, but said it is "a very significant launch."

HD DVD is one of two new technologies that will debut this year. Another format, developed by a group of companies led by Sony and called Blu-ray, is set to launch on May 23.

The two opposing formats, which work on different technologies and are mutually exclusive, have sparked a heated debate over which is superior and which is better suited to be the primary format.

Blu-ray discs can hold more information — up to 50 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc — than HD DVDs, which hold up to 30 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc.

HD DVD technology has been set at lower prices, with the cheapest player from HD DVD-backer Toshiba debuting at $499 and a higher-quality version at $799, while the least expensive Blu-ray player announced carries a $999 price tag.

Prices for discs for the two formats are expected to begin at roughly $25.

But Seastone, which has a similar version of the Elite case that it hopes to market to Blu-ray manufacturers, is neutral on the impending format war.

"Both formats have fantastic features and incredible quality," Osborn said. "Both will give consumers an amazing experience. We're not endorsing either format, we're here to support either format."

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