The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced that DigiRise DRA (DRA) digital audio coding technology has passed an important technical evaluation, making Blu-ray another candidate high-def format for the Chinese market.
DRA is a Multi-audio Track Audio-visual Encoding and Decoding Format developed in 2004 by Guangdong Guangsheng Assets Management Company, one of the three largest state-owned companies in China. Digirise's proprietary technology had been approved as China's digital audio industry standard in January 2007. The technology was supported by the Chinese government in hopes of saving billions of dollars in royalty fees now paid to companies like Dolby and DTS, which dominate the Chinese audio products market.
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.
Today's 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. This milestone is the result of hard work by engineers in the Audio Codec Evaluation Technical Task Force under the BDA's Joint Technical Committee, and close collaboration with China Hualu Group and DigiRise Technology Ltd, the company behind the DRA format.
The BDA had to include intellectual property owned by Chinese companies in the Blu-ray format for the Chinese territory, since that was a demand by the Chinese government.
"We are very happy that DRA, an original Chinese audio coding technology, has passed the BDA technical evaluation. The BDA is now taking final steps to formally adopt DRA as part of the format. The BDA is always open to such discussions and evaluations in its pursuit to creating the best format possible," stated Mr. Sumitaka Matsumura, Chair of the BDA China Task Force. The testing process followed BDA's worldwide evaluation standards where contributions came from all major vendors in the value chain, including key hardware manufacturers and content providers.
"We are very happy to learn that DRA technology has passed the technical evaluation step in BDA, as this result paves the path for DRA technology to be adopted by the Blu-ray Disc format," said Mr. Songhe Yin, vice president of China Hualu Group. "We will continue to work closely with BDA in order to complete the remaining procedures and ensure that DRA technology will be adopted by the Blu-ray Disc format as soon as possible. This creates the ideal condition for DRA technology to be adopted by the market."
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.
The establishment of this Blu-ray Disc Test Center is a critical piece in the Blu-ray Disc value chain in China. From today, Chinese manufacturers can receive verification services for the official production of BD-ROM Movie Players at this center. This will shorten the time needed for product development and market launch of fully compliant BD products for Blu-ray Disc product manufacturers.
Battle of the Chinese High-def formats
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 held a Press Conference in Shanghai on May 30th. Besides the information provided about the new format, CHDA 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, representatives of Memory-Tech told CDRInfo. Many content holders have also confirmed their support for CBHD. China is also expected to start broadcasts of high definition TV programs this year.