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Chinese DTV makers form alliance to reduce patent payments

Posted: 25 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:China Video Industry Association? CVIA? DTV? TV? IP?

With China aggressively pushing analog-to-digital TV conversion, a major DTV alliance is being formed in the country with the goal of developing intellectual property that will help reduce patent payments to the United States, Japanese and European companies.

The alliance brings together 13 top Chinese TV manufacturers, including Haier, Changhong, Hisense, SVA, Shinco and Skyworth. It will be led by the China Video Industry Association (CVIA), according to Hao Yabing, vice secretary of CVIA.

China is the world's largest TV market, with more than 350 million households. It also is the largest TV producer, churning out 40 million units annually. By 2009, nearly half of its production will shift from CRTs to advanced digital LCD and plasma TVs, according to market tracker iSuppli Corp. Hao said the average royalty fee is $20 per unit, meaning that China could save hundreds of millions in fees if the alliance succeeds.

The country's standards body approved a homegrown terrestrial DTV transmission technology last month, saying broadcasts would begin next August. It has also been aggressively promoting digital cable TV for some time. Overall, China wants to transition terrestrial and cable TV viewers to digital signals by 2015.

The new alliance is expected to draft DTV terminal and IPTV terminal standards and then develop technology around the specifications. The goal is to establish China's own TV patent pool, which may help companies negotiate cross-licensing agreements with foreign companies.

China's Ministry of Information Industry will also lend financial and policy support, but a spokesman declined to offer details.

- Cai Yan
EE Times

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