The strategic importance of the Chinese market to any next generation High Definition home entertainment platform has long been recognized. The Blu-ray camp is in talks with Chinese hardware makers in order to offer cheaper BD players and content to the local market.
Frank Simonis, head of the Blu-ray Disc Promotion Group for Europe, told CDRinfo that entering the growing Chinese market is regarded as key by the Blu-ray Disc Association. Offering the Blu-ray technology in China would be a prestigious move, while it would further help the establishment of the Blu-ray format.
Once Blu-ray's rival Toshiba had been also contributed to the establishment of the CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD), a Chinese High-def DVD format based on the HD DVD standard. Backed by the DVD Forum, the new format had also the support of the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center (OMNERC). Despite Toshiba's decision to quit the HD DVD format, the company is still managing the licensing for the new Chinese format.
China has been always a special market in which hardware innovations are generally passing the government approval and support before going further to applications and commercialization.
At the Mediatech Expo show in Frankfurt (6~8 May), officials from the Chinese government attended the show showing interest in learning more about the Blu-ray market and opportunities. The Blu-ray Disc Assocaition is currently evaluating Chinese codecs for the Blu-ray format.
During the Intel Information Technology Summit of 2008 in China last month, Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Haier also announced the introduction of its "Blue Box (Lan _Bao) V9", a Blu-ray device which they describe as the "Haier HD digital entertainment Center."
Haier regards Blue Box V9 as a home entertainment platform - not just a PC nor a stand-alone Blu-ray player. The device comes with an HDMI V1.3 interface and a BD Drive built-in; supports Full HD 1080P; Dolby TrueHD 7.1Chs output, Storage with 2TB, Internet-ready, Remote Control.
Sony is also reported to have produced 2000 units of a Blu-ray music title, the first BD release developed specifically for the Chinese market.