China's DVD makers unveil EVD technology
www.chinaview.cn 2006-12-07 13:55:33

    BEIJING, Dec. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- In an effort to increase profits and avoid paying licensing fees, China's top electronics makers on Wednesday in Beijing unveiled 54 video players made with a homegrown DVD format in an effort to promote a Chinese alternative to foreign technology.

    Enhanced Versatile Disc, known as EVD, is part of state-backed efforts to introduce standards for mobile phones and other products, while at the same time reducing dependence on foreign know-how and possibly reap licensing fees if they are adopted abroad.

    EVD was first released in 2003, but an effort to promote it was dropped in 2004 after the players failed to become popular with consumers and producers argued over licensing fees.

    But now Chinese electronics makers are saying they plan to switch completely to EVD by 2008 and no longer produce DVD players. Electronics makers, film studios and retailers are promising to sell EVD discs and players.

    Chinese companies produce 80 percent of the world's DVD players under their own brand names and for foreign electronics companies or retailers. But manufacturers complain that fees paid to foreign owners of technology cut into profits in a highly competitive industry.

    Zhang Baoquan, general secretary of the EVD Industry Alliance, a group promoting the EVD format, said he is confident sales in China's consumer electronics market will be strong enough to support producers after they stop making DVD players.

    "By 2008, when EVD replaces DVD, there will be no major impact on Chinese manufacturers," he said at a news conference.

    The move also complicates the rivalry between the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc next-generation video standards being promoted by competing groups of U.S., Japanese and European companies.

    Promoters of EVD say it provides crisper pictures and sound, bigger recording capacity and better anti-piracy features than standard DVD.

    On Wednesday, video players from 20 Chinese manufacturers were revealed at a Beijing art gallery. They included models from Haier Group, one of the world's top three appliance makers, and TCL Group, which owns French television maker Thomson and the RCA brand.

    Chinese sales of high-definition TV sets next year are expected to grow by 60 percent to 8 million units, driving sales of video players, Zhang said. He said producers plan to start trying to export EVD machines next year.

    The industry group says EVD players will retail for about 700 yuan (87 U.S. dollars), about the same as a DVD player.

    (Agencies)

Editor: Gareth Dodd
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