[CHINA] Firms Relaunch Their Own DVD Format
- Chinese firms relaunch their own DVD format
Electronics makers say they plan to switch completely to the
homegrown standard, EVD, by 2008.
From the Associated Press
BEIJING China's top electronics makers on Wednesday unveiled dozens
of video players made with a homegrown DVD format in a campaign to
promote a Chinese alternative to foreign technology.
The format, known as EVD, is part of state-backed efforts to create
standards for mobile phones and other products and reduce dependence
on foreign know-how and possibly reap licensing fees if they are
EVD, or Enhanced Versatile Disc, was first released in 2003, but an
effort to promote it was dropped in 2004 after EVD players failed to
catch on with consumers and producers squabbled over licensing fees.
Now, Chinese electronics makers have revived the campaign on a
massive scale, saying they plan to switch completely to EVD by 2008
and stop producing standard DVD players. Electronics makers, film
studios and retailers are promising to sell EVDs and players.
The move also adds a new twist to the rivalry between the HD DVD and
Blu-ray Disc next-generation video standards being promoted by
competing groups of U.S., Japanese and European companies.
Promoters of EVD say it provides crisper pictures and sound, bigger
recording capacity and better anti-piracy features than standard DVD.
Zhang Baoquan, general secretary of the EVD Industry Alliance, a
group promoting the alternative format, expressed confidence that
sales in China's booming consumer electronics market would be strong
enough to support producers after they stopped making DVD players.
"By 2008, when EVD replaces DVD, there will be no major impact on
Chinese manufacturers," he said at a news conference.
Chinese sales of high-definition TV sets next year are expected to
grow 60% to 8 million units, driving sales of video players, Zhang
said. He said producers planned to start trying to export EVD
machines next year.
On Wednesday, 54 video players from 20 Chinese manufacturers were
displayed at a Beijing art gallery. They included models from Haier
Group, one of the world's top three appliance makers, and TCL Group,
which owns French television maker Thomson and the RCA brand.
Chinese companies produce 80% of the world's DVD players under their
own brand names and for foreign electronics companies or retailers.
But manufacturers complain that fees paid to foreign owners of
technology cut into profits in a highly competitive industry.
At Wednesday's exhibition, film distributors displayed dozens of
Chinese movies and a few foreign titles including the Hollywood
thriller "Cellular" in EVD format.
The industry group says EVD players will retail for about 700 yuan
($87), about the same as a DVD player.
The 20 manufacturers in the EVD alliance account for 90% of DVD sales
in China, Zhang said.
Chinese authorities have had only mixed success with earlier efforts
to promote homegrown standards for the fast-growing fields of mobile
phones and wireless encryption.
Last year, Beijing dropped an effort to make its encryption standard
mandatory for computers and other goods sold in China after the
United States and other governments complained it would hamper market
access for foreign companies. In March, the global industrial
standards body rejected the Chinese system for worldwide use.