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 Chinese Blu-ray Disc Market Exhibits Growth Potential
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Message Text: Last week saw the SinoCES trade event staged in China and at a specially convened press conference in Beijing the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announced several important developments in the establishment of the Blu-ray Disc format within this strategically important market.

The BDA has established a China Task Force with 14 Board of Director member companies actively supporting it. Until recently, the main focus of the Task Force has been to establish and foster communication and strong relationships with various Chinese government groups - possibly the most important part of task of the group. Also, the Task Force has organized a series of technical seminars and lectures designed to help companies start to develop their Blu-ray Disc business models.

During the event, the Blu-ray Disc Association announced that DigiRise DRA (DRA) digital audio coding technology has passed an important technical evaluation.

Digirise had been actively applying to join the "Blu-ray Disc Association", as a means to promote its Multi-audio Track Audio-visual Encoding and Decoding Format as part of an international standard for next generation disk players.

The approval of the DRA format by the Blu-ray Disc Association is a key milestone for a locally-developed Chinese technology to be potentially adopted by Blu-ray Disc format.

In addition, CESI Technology Co. Ltd., a contributor member of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), has been designated as the first official Blu-ray Disc Test Center in China. This will allow Chinese manufacturers to receive verification services for the official production of BD-ROM Movie Players.

At the same event, Chinese makers such as Desay A&V Science and Technology Company, Hotwell, Hualu and VTREK showcased various Blu-ray disc player prototypes.

"The series of announcements last week - from the incorporation of Chinese-developed technology within the Bluray Disc format to the opening of a Blu-ray Disc testing centre and companies such as Sony investing in BD production resources in China are very important milestones for this country," commented Sumitaka Matsumura, Chairman of the BDA China Task Force and Executive Director of the Pioneer Corporation.

The BDA believes that the Chinese market is at a critical stage in its acceptance of Blu-ray Disc. "We are obviously very excited about the market potential for Blu-ray Disc in China: the huge population coupled with tremendous economic development presents fantastic opportunities for us now," remarked Matsumura.

"Until now, we have focused our efforts on increasing the understanding of the Chinese government and industry people, but now, we also feel that it is critical that we expand our efforts on consumer awareness and education," explained Sumitaka Matsumura. "Just as in many other regions throughout the world, in order to enhance consumers' HD experience, the market for large-screen displays in really exploding in China. We are expecting a corresponding development for BD products as consumers demand the best HD experience."

Matsumura-san is enthusiastic about Bluray?s long-term potential in China. "Again, the huge population and tremendous economic growth offer unmatched market potential," concluded Sumitaka Matsumura. "I see similar trends to Japan, the U.S., and Europe in terms of the increase in large-screen TVs to accommodate High Definition content and the influx of digital broadcasting. These trends in China are currently slightly behind other regions, but already, we are seeing sharp increases in the uptake of products and services and we are excited about the opportunities that the sheer numbers indicate."

While the BDA is trying to promote the modified Blu-ray format in China, the China High-definition DVD industry Association is actively promoting another format, the China Blue High-definition Disc (CBHD). The physical format of CBHD includes Chinese-owned intellectual property and it s based on HD DVD. CBHD includes a couple of the Chinese IPs such as China DRM and AVS Audio and Video.

The new CBHD format was established in cooperation with the DVD Forum and it is backed by companies including Japanese Memory-tech, Shinco, Shanghai United Optical Disc Co., Ltd (UOD), Warner China, OMNERC and others. Toshiba is also controlling the licensing procedures since it holds the IPs in the Chinese format.

CHDA has also announced the introduction of the first CBHD prototype players. Three Chinese manufacturers including Shinco and TCL showcased their products.

The first CBHD players and discs will be available in China before Beijing Olympic Game, August 2008.
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