China: CBHD Format Outsells Blu-ray

This is not exactly shocking news since it comes in a country where a government-backed video disc standard has no choice but to succeed, but various Asian Web sites are reporting that China's own Blue HD (CBHD) format is outselling Blu-ray Disc by about 3-to-1. Of course, it helps when one format is one quarter the price points of the lone competitor.

Despite 1.3 billion people, only a small percentage is thought to be able to buy any type of HD products. (Then again, even a small percentage of 1.3 billion is still a lot of consumers.) And so since its launch several months ago, CBHD currently accounts for about 30 percent of disc players. Blu-ray holds about a 10-percent market share, while standard DVD makes up roughly the remaining 60 percent.

According to China Daily and other Chinese Web sites, CBHD has "several significant advantages" over Blu-ray in the communist country—and at least some of them appear to be legitimate. For example, current production lines for standard DVD reportedly can be refitted to manufacture CBHD discs for about a quarter of the cost of retooling for a Blu-ray process. As a result, a typical CBHD disc retails for less than $8 in China, compared to about $30 for a Blu-ray title.

The CBHD format borrows some technology from the defunct HD DVD scheme, although the Chinese government claims to own the proprietary codecs used for CBHD.