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China EVD supporters form alliance

Posted: 18 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:optical disk? optical disks? Enhanced Versatile Disc? EVD format? HD DVD?

More than 40 Chinese companies have banded together to form an optical disk alliance to boost the nation's Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD) format as it comes under further pressure from a HD DVD format recently introduced by the DVD Forum for the Chinese market.

Alliance members vary from IC companies and hardware vendors to content providers and retail merchants. The president of China's largest household appliance chain, Gome, will lead the alliance and boost EVD's profile through its extensive retail network, said Baohua Zhang, president of Antaeus Group, EVD's largest investor.

EVD uses MPEG-2 Main-Profile at High-Level for encoding and standard red lasers to read high-definition content, which is secured using proprietary encryption. It also uses a proprietary audio technology to support six-channel audio. However, EVD disks are similar in capacity to DVDs, making them unrealistic as a storage technology for data-rich high-definition content.

Since February, when EVD became the national optical disk standard, its impact on the domestic market has been small because of ineffective cooperation among different parts of the industry chain, said an executive at Antaeus. Earlier this month, the DVD Forum released a preliminary format for a HD DVD-ROM specification that targets the Chinese market. The format is scheduled to be completed by December and will be labeled: "HD DVD-ROM part1 Ver 10.0 for China only."

According to the EVD alliance, it will organize a large scale EVD exhibition for about 30 new products in early December. By then, about a dozen manufacturers in the alliance will have more competitive pricing on EVD players, which must battle ultra low-cost DVD players in China. The current price of an EVD player is about $100, one tenth of HD-DVD players, but two or three times the cost of a basic DVD player.

- Cai Yan
EE Times

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