Following on the heels of the EVD (enhanced versatile disc) movement, the Opto-electronics & Systems Laboratories (OES) under the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is developing a new DVD standard, tentatively called FVD (finalized versatile disc), according to Digitimes.com.
Originally reported in local news media in the fourth quarter of 2003, the FVD standard has appeared in the news now as Philips is considering a change in its royalty charging mechanism, according to local drive makers. As with EVD, FVD is seen as a way for local manufacturers of DVD drives to minimize royalty payments.
FVD adopts the video/audio compression technology WMV9 (Windows Media Video 9) and WMA9 (Windows Media Audio 9) developed by Microsoft, which is different from the MPEG technology developed by the DVD Forum.
Currently, Philips audits individual shipments and determines due royalty payments from the recorded shipment volumes. According to Taiwanese manufacturers, the company now plans to allow them to declare their own volumes. Declarations will of course be subject to auditing by Philips.
Philips’s move may have been prompted by the establishment of several joint ventures in this area, including Philips BenQ Digital Storage (PBDS) between Philips and BenQ, Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS) between Hitachi and LG, and one between Toshiba and Samsung.
In related news, the Opto-Electronics & Systems Laboratories (OES) under Taiwan’s government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) will join hands with local companies to set up a joint venture to manufacture pick-up heads (PUHs) for DVD recorders.
The joint venture is expected to be established in February.Prospective investors include DVD drive makers, notebook manufacturers and venture capital firms.
OES will transfer manufacturing technology for DVD PUHs to the joint venture and part of its PUH development team will be incorporated into the new company.
The joint venture will initially focus on manufacturing PUHs for consumer products, to avoid competition in high reading and writing speeds and the lengthy certification process for PC-use DVD drives.
OES’s move will help strengthen the infrastructure of Taiwan’s optical drive industry, observers said. Taiwan’s DVD drive makers currently rely entirely on imported PUHs, with Sanyo Electric, Hitachi and Philips Electronics being among the major suppliers.