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Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Blu-Ray Approaches Chinese Market

The Blu-Ray Disc Association is currently evaluating new audio and video codecs specially designed for the Chinese market, in an effort to approach the Chinese OEMs that plan to release Blu-Ray players for the domestic market.

The new codecs include the AVS (Advanced Video System) and the DRA (Digital Rise Audio), both targetting the Chinese-made Blu-Ray hardware. The decision to evaluate the codecs was announced at a press conference held in Beijing last week.

The move is considered as an answer to the DVD Forum, which recently approved a Chinese-only version of the HD DVD format. The CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD) already includes support for the AVS codec.

China has become a major strategic focus for the Blu-ray camp, according to Andy Parsons, BDA's spokeperson in the press conference. "Clearly, we're putting a lot of effort into promoting the format in China," Parsons said, according to the web site.

The Blu-Ray camp had initially faced difficulties in convincing the Chinese hardware manufacturers to use the Blu-Ray disc technology. The reasons include the required investment in licensing the Blu-Ray technology.

"We would have been foolish to think that limiting the involvement of Chinese manufacturers is something that could be sustained for a long time," Parsons said. "Initially it made sense to keep margins high to try to recoup some of the investment that went into the format, but we always knew that as we got into more competitive price points we would have to look for ways to take some of the costs out."

Commenting on the DVD Forum's moves in the Chinese market, Parsons said:

"There's this perception that China has somehow 'selected' HD DVD, but that's just wrong." "First of all there's no one entity to 'select' anything, and it didn't come from the government. There was a consortium of groups, which included the government, that pressed for a Chinese version of HD DVD, but at this point that's still a proposal. We haven't seen any product."

According to Parsons, "there's a lot going on over there right now, with both formats."

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