While Toshiba officially called HD DVD dead back in February, the technology has lingered on in China. Before the end of the format war, Toshiba had begun working on ‘CH-DVD’, a special version of HD DVD for the domestic Chinese market. And this effort didn’t die with HD DVD, instead it has been renamed CBHD – China Blue High-definition Disc. Now the first CBHD devices are coming to market with Shanghai United Optical Disc establishing the first CBHD disc pressing production line, and multiple players slated for retail, according to DIGITIMES. However, the format currently lacks any major studio support. It seems that, at best, it may receive domestic support.
Of course, the BDA hasn’t just been standing by while this happens, shortly after CH-DVD was announced the BDA announced that they too were considering the Chinese codecs. And taking it a step further, unlike CBHD, which is a ghetto standard restricted only to China, the BDA is considering adding the codecs to the global Blu-ray specification.
And, despite predictions from HD DVD fans that it would ‘never happen’, the BDA has approved several Chinese CE vendors to produce Blu-ray players. And even more players have been announced recently at SinoCES. With most of their major CE vendors cranking out Blu-ray players for the growing global market player availability will rise, while unit costs fall. With a limited domestic market, CBHD will have a hard time competing with the falling BD player costs.
DIGITIMES cites lower costs as the main advantage for CBHD over BD. An existing DVD line can be converted to press CBHD for around USD$800,000, while establishing a new BD line costs around USD$3,000,000. And the licenses required to produce a CBHD player are around USD$8.10, reportedly much less than the equivalent BD licenses. However, a BD production line can take orders for export discs as well, making it easier to keep the line busy – and making money. A CBHD line is only good for domestic disc pressing. And the licensing costs for BD are expected to drop sharply in the coming years. Plus a production line can be shared between domestic and export players, spreading the non-licensing overhead costs over a larger production base.
If the BDA can complete the China-ized version of the BD specification to receive Chinese governmental approval for the format, it should easily squeeze CBHD out of the market just as it did to HD DVD.
Picked up via EngadgetHD.