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issue: February 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

China Report
China Launches Home-Grown Challenge to DVD Standard

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By Clint Stevens, China correspondent for APPLIANCE magazine

A new generation of high-definition media players has been officially launched into the Chinese market.

The new format, called Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD), will be playable only on EVD players and promises five times the image quality of DVD movies and a higher computer data-storage capacity, according to the Xinhua news agency. The technology was announced to the Chinese market in mid-November 2003.

Beijing E-world Technology, the corporate entity of a government-backed consortium of business executives, academics, and DVD manufacturers unveiled the indigenous, higher-definition EVD technology. "It's not a question of whether we walk the EVD path. It's a question of how fast or slow we go," said Hao Jie, president of E-world Technology, which designed the new standard. According to Mr. Hao Jie, the definition of EVD is around five times higher than that of DVD, and EVD is compatible with most compact disc formats in the present market. The company has filed 25 patent applications, and seven of them have been granted so far. Another 40 patent applications are expected to be filed.

Development on the EVD standard began in 1999. The China-developed standard is among several projects supported by the government in its drive to reduce license fee payments and "shake off dependence on foreign technologies in production," according to Xinhua.

China exported 20 million DVD players in 2002, accounting for more than 70 percent of the world DVD player market. From the Chinese viewpoint there's a need to reduce the royalties flowing out of China. The Chinese government is currently negotiating plans to set the EVD as China's national standard for digital videos and movies.

Eleven EVD player models were shown at the office launch, held on Nov. 18. The manufacturers include Amoi, BBK, ChangHong, Malata, Ninatus, Shinco, SVA Group, Skyworth, and YuXing. The first EVD players for home consumers will become available in China this year.

Price may become a major obstacle to widespread market penetration in China. An EVD player will cost approximately U.S. $240, compared with around $85 for the average cost of a domestic DVD player.

The EVD standard does not appear to be a user-recordable format for now, and aims to complement the DVD movie format for those with high-definition TVs. Talks are going on with film distributors to introduce content on EVD.

Chinese manufacturers will welcome the new format, which promises to lead them out of low-end price wars and into the higher-value end of the market, Xinhua reported.

Mr. Lou Qinjian, vice minister of the Ministry of Information Industry, indicated that EVD's launch on the market realizes the leap from "Made in China" into "Created in China."


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