China creates rival to HD DVD, Blu-ray

Posted by Mark Raby

Beijing (China) - As Blu-ray and HD DVD continue their second year in the market, the Chinese government has stepped in to create its own high definition disc format.

The CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD) format was created by engineers from Chinese universities, government officials, and a Chinese firm specializing in video formats.

The China consortium has reached a deal with the DVD Forum, the regulatory committee in charge of overseeing DVD and HD DVD, but not Blu-ray.  As such, there is somewhat of a connection between HD DVD and CH-DVD.  For one, they both follow the same basic specifications.  Also, according to media reports, they are interchangeable, meaning HD DVD players will be able to play CH-DVD movies and vice versa.

CH-DVD will also reportedly contain more copy protection features, a big move for a country known for its extensive video piracy.

The next-gen DVD war has been a two-sided battle from the beginning, and it's unclear if China's new initiative will do much to change that.  It may only be released in Asia, and even there it won't come out until 2008.

For the holiday season, both existing formats are pulling the stops.  Blu-ray will receive blockbuster exclusive titles like Spider-Man 3, the top first-week gross earnings film of all time.  Meanwhile, HD DVD will drill the price down, with players expected to dive below $200.