A new China HD DVD standard has been announced

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The consortium, composed of Chinese university engineers and government officials, in cooperation with a Chinese video standards group that includes globally recognized manufacturers, has reached an agreement with the DVD Forum to release a new blue-laser disc mechanism and also a new format of high definition DVDs, that is closely related to Toshiba’s HD DVD format, despite using the aforementioned blue-laser (also used by the Blu Ray format).

Dubbed CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD), the new high-def DVD has been developed by the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center (OMNERC), a laboratory inside the Tsinghua University, in collaboration with other research institutes and manufacturing enterprises at home and abroad.

The relationship between Toshiba’s HD DVD and the CH-DVD is very close, since the latter is designed based on the HD DVD specifications, but also includes Chinese intellectual property. CHDA will play a leadership role in the promotion of CH-DVD, and will make a big push to launch CH-DVD player into the Chinese market in 2008.

CHINA HD DVD Demo Disc

The CH-DVD boasts with advanced copy-protection features (piracy being one of China’s greatest plagues), which should effectively prevent the spreading of pirated discs.

HD DVD and CH DVD are compatible, which means HD DVD players (with additional software) can read CH DVD, and vice versa.

The news of a third next-gen DVD format comes in a time of intense fighting between the two main rivals, Toshiba and Sony. Toshiba allegedly paid $150 to Paramount and DreamWorks for the two studios’ exclusive support for HD DVD, while Sony claimed at the end of August an early lead in front of its home ground rival, with 1 million Blu Ray discs sold in the US, and 250,000 sold in Europe. According to Sony's estimates, Blu-ray discs now account for 69% of the total high-definition market in Europe, with Sony titles making up more than 47% of the total European Blu-ray market.

However, with the launch of this third format, China becomes the preferred territory for the high-def battle. At the beginning of September, China Film Group, one of China’s largest film distribution groups, had also adopted the Bly Ray in detriment of HD DVD, while Toshiba responded with the launch of a super-cheap, $199 HD DVD player from Venturer Electronics, a Canadian-based distributor of Chinese made consumer electronics.

The player, which will be on North American store shelves in Q4 2007, is called SHD7000 and features 1080i video output, an HDMI connection (to upconvert standard DVD to near HD quality) and Ethernet connectivity, which allows for network access to studios and third parties via the Internet. Toshiba currently sells its HD-A2 HD DVD player for $299 after a $100 manufacturer’s rebate.

And to spice things up even more, on September 7, the DVD Forum officially approved on August 31 the 51 GB single-sided triple-layer HD DVD disc (an extension to the HD DVD standard, which was submitted by Toshiba in April) for production. With this approval, the HD DVD camp not only demolishes the Blu Ray camp’s argument that the BD is better because it can store more information, but also surpasses Blu Ray, which can only hold 50GB of data.

Source: eFluxMedia

Universal Launches New HD DVD Website

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HD-DVD Logo
Further pushing the boundaries of HD DVD interactivity, Universal has launched a new consumer high-def promotional and support web site promising exclusive web-enabled content.

The studio-created site, dubbed Universal Studios Home Entertainment Hi Def, is designed to be an extensive consumer portal for all things Universal HD DVD. Among the site's offerings are a FAQ covering the format's current interactive features, extensive technical support (including connection issues and a breakdown of common software and hardware error codes) and previews of upcoming releases.

But most exciting are a number of site sections still under construction, which seem to suggest that the studio is planning to use the site as a launching pad for future web-enabled content. Labeled "Coming Soon" are several features, including something called "U-Shop," which apparently will allow consumers to buy exclusive products while they watch the movie; "Best Buddies," where fans will be able to send friends pointers to favorite clips on a given an HD DVD title via the studio's "MyScenes" feature; and a dedicated Download Center.

Universal is also promising that additional content will be made available only to registered users of the site, including trailers and other exclusive material.

Source: Hi-Def Digest

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