Researchers to Develop Chinese Version of HD DVD

What does China have that no one else has? 1.3 billion people, for one thing.

In a bid to cut costs for Chinese electronics makers, published reports suggest that Chinese researchers plan to develop a version of the HD DVD disc format specifically for China--to include support for a locally developed video compression technology, AVS (Audio Video Coding Standard).

The DVD Forum gave its approval recently to a feasibility study on the proposed China-only HD DVD standard. Development of the Chinese format apparently would not be finished until the end of 2006 at the earliest, with the first commercial products likely to hit the Chinese market in 2007, according to a researcher at the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The China-only version of HD DVD is expected to be similar to the standard international version of HD DVD, with a few modifications such as the AVS compression. Disc capacity, for example, will remain the same.

The China-only version reportedly also will include support for MPEG2, MPEG4 and Windows Media Video 9. Licensing costs apparently could play a major factor in what software the Chinese HD DVD discs will incorporate, according to some Asian publications. (By the way, Toshiba does not hyphenate "HD DVD," despite much of the media.)