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Tuesday, March 29, 2005
High-Definition format FVD debuts in Taiwan

The Advanced Optical Storage Research Alliance (AOSRA) and the Opto-Electronics Systems Laboratories (OES) of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) jointly presented FVD (Forward Versatile Disc), Taiwan?s self-developed red-ray high-definition DVD standard. The first product is expected to be launched in bundle with 10 FVD movie discs in the domestic retail market for around US$175 next month, as reports.

AOSRA, under the promotion by the FVD developer OES, is formed by 29 local companies engaged in production of optical discs, optical disc drives, consumer electronics, TV broadcast and distribution of movies.

Although FVD could not be fully competitive with HD-DVD in video quality, FVD products may be as much as ten times less expensive than similar HD-DVD models, OES general director Yung-sheng Liu claimed. FVD can attain definition of 1920 x 1080i and storage capacity of 5.4-6GB for single layer and 9.8-11GB for double layers on a single side, Liu said. The format adopts ASE (Advanced Encryption Standard) content protection system for copy right.

Actima Technology and Idar Electronics are currently the only two AOSRA members making FVD players. However, some of AOSRA members, such as Tatung and Sampo, are willing to sell their HDTVs in bundle with FVD players and others plan to produce FVD-ROM (read only memory) drives for PCs and FVD recorders.

FVD was exhibited at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 6-9 and will also be displayed at the 2005 Comprehensive Electronics Show to take place in Taipei on April 7-11 as well as the 2005 Shanghai International Audio & Visual Exhibition in Shanghai, China, on April 15-18, Huang indicated.

China seems to give an answer to both HD format proposals, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, in order to achieve technology indepentence but mainly to avoid paying royalties to any of the format backers. However, it is expected that HD giants will move towards the Chinese market and will come up with attractive proposals in order to penetrate into China. Blu-ray companies are already in talks with Taiwanese and Chinese manufactuers in order to adopt the Blu-ray format.

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