back to article China readies Blu-Ray competitor

Some Chinese consumer electronics companies are good and tired of signing royalty checks to foreigners for a new generation of high definition optical discs, but are they too late to make a change? Shanghai United Optical Disc today announced it has completed the first production line for China Blue High-definition (CBHD) disc …


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  1. Roger Fraumann

    First one to make 50GB+ data media under $2 a disk, wins.

    First one to make 50GB+ data media available for under $2 a disk, wins. The real issue is not movies, it is backing up all those huge hard drives onto persistent media. Perhaps China can help solve the HD back-up and archive challenge.

  2. ceebee

    but think of a cheap HD home dvd recorder.....

    There is an opportunity for a cheap hi def dvd recorder or even PC disk drive...while Blu Ray may be the studios favoured format...maybe just maybe a cheaper alternative flooding the market, as only the Chinese manufacturers can, may drive into the home recording market.

    Blu Ray recorder decks are prohibitively expensive, as are the blanks so there is a window of opportunity for an alternative.

  3. michael

    quick load the shotguns

    and rember aim for the head it is the only way to kill them!!!!

  4. Fistynuts

    Blu-Ray in China?

    "CBHD obviously faces considerable challenges - namely Blu-Ray which enjoys a significant head start. Entry-level Blue-Ray players have also sharply declined in price as the format gained traction worldwide and HD-DVD became extinct."

    Not in China. Blu-Ray has *zero* ground there. With government backing, CHBD could do very well, especially if the pirates find a way around the copy protection.

  5. Stef

    For God's sake

    I bought an HD-DVD player for my 360 about 2 weeks before 'THE' announcement.

    Then I bought a PS3 (which includes a BluRay drive). Now I've been (very) slowly building up my BluRay collection as I am not going to buy rubbish like Ultraviolet. We already have the alleged 1TB disc system coming out in a few years, do we really need to re-introduce HD-DVD at this late stage?

  6. EvilGav

    What about . . .

    . . . the fees to Sony and Phillips simply for using a disc format ?? Or indeed the fee's to the DVD Forum for using DVD anywhere in it's name etc etc.

    China may not want to pay fees to Western (or even Eastern) companies, but they'll struggle to make legal sales outside their own borders.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another failed format?

    The world has moved on. This is as likely to survive as I am on living on the sun.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "Sharply" declined in price???

    Really?? Please oh wise El Reg, point us in the direction of these dramatically reduced Blu players as most websites I can find are still selling them at around £200 or more.

    Until they get one down to under £150 or even down to £100 I don't think you can seriously try to make out that they are cheap.

    The whole article smacks of Blu fanboy.

    HD-DVD is dead, long live HD-DVD!!!

  9. Juillen

    Computer storage..

    Is certainly a big market... If they get those drives in at a nice price point, then a lot of people will buy.. Especially if the software houses start to adopt them as a widespread tech and release titles on that format..

  10. SynicNZ

    HD can still kill Blu-Ray

    Since all the investment in HD is lost Toshiba should open source all the technology of HD. With no IP to pay for hardware costs would be next to nothing - it would stop Blu-Ray in its tracks

  11. Dave Bell

    More politics

    Huge USB-external hard drives in supermarkets.

    No practical back-up system. (Can Vista do software RAID over USB?)

    And everyone is talking about movies.

    I don't want to feed Hollywood. I don't want to buy some hugely expensive HDTV.

    I want to back up my data at an affordable price.

    But the chances are the Chinese are mainly doing this to put pressure on the consortiums working on the next rip-off new standard. They want to be on the inside. And that motive doesn't incline me to trust them.

  12. Chris

    To borrow a phrase from Slashdot...

    Good luck with that.

    I am already building up a healthy library of bluray movies and will not be buying another HD player.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Wonder how far they could go with this....

    ... in a weird way, they could probably beat Blu-ray market penetration with their format, China does have a massive population (is it still the largest?), couple that with communism and they could order the populace to get a player and buy films.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    W00t ???

    Is this serious ? I mean the Chinese in vesting in copy protection ? This must surely be a larf ! Next thing you know the RIAC will be targetting us !

    Peter R.

  15. paul


    No it wont.

    Films are for blu ray. They will stay that way. (until piracy/downloads take over in 5-10 yrs).

    What you are proposing is just a data disk. With cheap memory and HDD - mainline consumers dont need it - just another confusing tech for them. For the geeks - there may be a niche.

  16. Phil Hare


    Interesting that they've called it "China Blue" even though (if memory serves) HD-DVD used a red spectrum laser and "China Red" sounds, well, more communist.

    Looks like the communist machine has bowed to western marketing pressure again.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand

    Why does anyone want to kill Bluray?

    It's the better format, it's bigger, the drives are faster, it's harder to scratch, it has better copy protection for movies (which is a good thing, means the studios will reduce the amount of anti piracy messages on discs - and who copies discs anyway? You want a copy of a film, you just download it)

    And to top it all off, despite HD-DVD's proud claims of being cheaper to produce, on the whole they retailed at the same price. Oh wow, I can give you a bigger profit margin? Thanks.

    Sony or Microsoft or Toshiba or whoever are not your BFF and they're not your Mum. You don't have to pick one and only ever support that one. When there's 2 competing products, look at the specs, and back the best one.

    @Dave Bell

    What? It's not like it's hard to get huge external hard disks. Can Vista do software RAID over USB? Dunno, get a NAS instead. Everyone is talking about movies? So what? Don't listen! Don't feed Hollywood. Don't buy a HDTV. No-ones making you. Back up your data at an affordable price. External hard disks, USB keys, DVD's are all pretty damn cheap. Why are you telling us these things? Is it like fill in the blanks?

  18. Steve

    @ Blue?

    "China Red" might sound a bit commie, but "China Blue" just sounds like an oriental strip club.

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    Nostalgia moment.

    We've already had the equivalent of the Beta/VHS conflict. Now here comes Video2000............

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Quantity over quality sometimes works ...

    Lets hope they can make a 100GB disk / £100 writer with £1 media ...

    imagine filling your shiny new 4TB hard disk array up with x264/HD movies/pr0n/warez then burning a dozen of the 8GB .MKV files per hour to a 100GB £1 blank in a £100 writer... one weekend total backup/restore time is where it should be at :)

  21. PIB

    It is deased... it is an ex format

    "HD-DVD is dead, long live HD-DVD!!!"

    To you and others like you: don't you know when to stop flogging a dead horse?

    HDDVD is dead... it is an ex format. The parrot has more of a chance reviving than this format.

  22. Guy

    Just Don't Try

    ...and market it as China White.......thats a whole lot of hurt waiting to happen!!

  23. MGJ

    Blu Ray Uptake

    I'll buy a blu ray player when they build one with a HDD and a DVB-T tuner or two in it for the UK. Plenty in Japan but none here, not even any on the release schedules. Until then my old Sony DVD player will do just fine.

  24. Long Fei


    ANy kind of 'CD" disk has a limited life I reckon.

    Do people really listen to CDs these days? I know I don't. More and more are using MP3 players. It won't be long before films go the same way. They already are starting to.

    As for China. Half of the 'good' copies of films are produced on the 'third' shift in the actual factories that do the official copies anyway, so copy protection is just a nod to the west.

    If they just sold to the domestic market, and the new players took off, they'd have a bloody big market bloody quickly. There wouldn't be any shortage of films as the usual suspects simply copied the Hollywood films to the new format.

    That said, most people here simply view stuff online.

    Neil. (In China.)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    @Roger Fraumann

    Biggest capacity, best quality...

    We already know this doesn't pick a winner...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HD DVD was Blu...

    HD DVD used a Blue laser too.

    Even IF this format does not tank (unlikely), it will only be available to the Chinese market, it won't ever be seen in the western world, who will still be Blu...

    IF this format survives, then it means that Blu-rat won't get a foothold in China, not that CBHD will take over outside China.

    Without any studio support, the format is doomed to fail. With HD DVD's cracked copy protection, no studio would touch it witha barge-pole, when they can keep their movies secure on Blu-ray.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another nail in the coffin

    for the Far East knock-off VCD market

    @ SynicNZ

    Without content from the studios, no competing format is going to "stop Blu-Ray in its tracks". Format Wars II? Methinks not. Although I really want to meet the guy who's going to download the specs and build an HD-DVD plant in his basement.

  28. DrXym

    CBHD isn't HD DVD

    CBHD uses a Chinese developed audio / video codec called AVS for its content and there are other very substantial differences in the software. Its fair to say that they have an almost identical physical format but not the software. Anyone expecting any kind of interoperability between the dead format and one designed for domestic consumption will be sorely, sadly mistaken. If the whole exercise was to reduce patent costs they are hardly likely to toss in a bunch of patented tech required to resurrect a dead format.

    A more likely scenario is that if CBHD does take off (and there is no guarantee of that either), that that we will see hybrid CBHD / Blu Ray players.

    The more critical factor for the format's success is the content. If CBHD is perceived to have worse copy protection than Blu Ray (which itself is not perfect but at least its self repairing), then studios, especially international ones may still favour Blu even if it does cost a little more to make the disks.

  29. Andy Taylor
    Paris Hilton

    Unfortunate name though

    China Blue was the working name of the character played by Kathleen Turner in Ken Russell's 1984 film "Crimes of Passion". By day a sportswear designer, by night a hooker.

    "Although we may run out of Pan Am coffee, we will never run out of TWA tea."

    Paris for the usual reasons

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh how serious some folk are... "joke", look it up.

    They've been talking about this Chinese HD format for some time, if it does finally make an appearance and its compatible with current HD-DVD players and aren't region locked then great, I look forward to the flood of import discs, if not theres really no relevance as nobody outside China will buy it.

  31. dom


    Before any hidef disc format can re-invent the video wheel, fat pipes and chips will be the order of the day.

  32. Luther Blissett

    One stone. Two birds. Watch

    Protect G7 IP. Knock the PRC a bit. Wars are fought to ensure "recurrent revenues". The bigger the revenue stream, the bigger the war.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @What about . . . EvilGav

    With a third of the world's population at their door and the Indian subcontinent around the corner....what do they give a cr@p about selling it around the world. Sad part is to think that they went arse over and put in their own drm garbage.

    @I don't understand - ac: "it has better copy protection for movies (which is a good thing, means the studios will reduce the amount of anti piracy messages on "...surely you jest...come on scotty, beam us all up, NOW!

    Why, oh why, would anyone ever buy screw-ray (tm) when the monkeys that make the discs and the monkeys that make the machine can change the drm any time they want and kill your machine and discs so you can't use them? HELLO!

    Would I like a high-capacity long-life inexpensive cd-size disc to back up data? Sure, who in their right mind wouldn't. Now if some enterprising company would just put one to market.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Why, oh why, would anyone ever buy screw-ray (tm) when the monkeys that make the discs and the monkeys that make the machine can change the drm any time they want and kill your machine and discs so you can't use them? HELLO!"

    Methinks you have been reading Xbox forums again.. None of the above it even remotely true...

  35. Eduard Coli

    Peoples Liberation media format for movie presentation

    Perhaps the benevolent and tranquil CPC is worried that studio will shutoff profitable piracy using DRM and other decadent and insidious means of duplication control.

  36. Kit Temple
    Thumb Up

    China Standard

    I think this is great for everyone.

    - Chinese standard HD pirate disks would not 'leak' out to other countries and cause IPR problems outside of China. Most pirates wouldn't bother with the expense of making pirate DVDs for export, and the government could crack down heavily on those that do.

    - China can then get less bother on the IPR issue. If Western IPR was stuck on all DVDs and enforced properly there would be a lot of unhapiness in China. No-one would be able to afford DVDs anymore and a popular source of entertainment (and also English language learning) would be snatched away from everyone.

    - Chinese manufacturers can start up with lower entry barriers to serve their local market, and then be able to grow into offering Western technology to Western markets.

  37. Futaihikage

    Shouldn't matter much

    This is just like how China still has stand-alone VCD players while the rest of the world had DVD playesrs. Very few people here in the US knows what VCD, CVD or other standards were besides, VHS and DVD. So it'll be the same with HD generation, you'll have DVD , Blu-Ray in the US and maybe Europe and you'll have China and their disc format. It should cause that much of a stir.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...surely you jest...come on scotty"

    Well, no not really. If it's very very hard to copy a disc, very few people will do it. If very few people do it, they won't need to warn everyone not to do it. Pretty simple really. And let's be clear, this isn't targetted against scamps giving a copy of a film to a mate, this is targetting people making 1000's of copies to sell for a fiver down the market. Which I don't think anyone here is trying to say is alright. And if you do, please come out and say it soon so we can discredit everything you say from now on.

    "Why, oh why, would anyone ever buy screw-ray (tm) when the monkeys that make the discs and the monkeys that make the machine can change the drm any time they want and kill your machine and discs so you can't use them? HELLO!"

    Hahaha - that's right. If you don't follow Sony's new world order they will magically write animal porn and goatse all over your favorite movies and make your BluRay player turn into a chicken.

    Seriously tho, even if you are guillible enough to believe something like this, what makes you think it isn't the same on HD-DVD? It does have DRM on it you know. Just because it's worse than BluRay's DRM (along with all the other specs) doesn't mean it's not there. Just like HD-DVD's do have region encoding, they just didn't turn it on to appeal to, well, anyone by that stage. HD-DVD and BluRay are pretty similar in what features, DRM, encoding etc. they have. BluRay is just slightly better at all of them.

  39. Charles King

    We don't need no studios

    Am I the only one who thinks that the Chinese are putting copy-protection on their CBHD merely so they can say to the rest of the world, 'Look at the copy protection! See how we're fighting piracy! Really! Now sod off and stop bothering me, I have a load of disks to copy before the shop opens.'

    VCD was a huge format in China as the players were dirt-cheap and it was easy to transcode movies onto it. How many movies were officially released on VCD?

    CBHD is obviously designed to fill the same niche but with better quality to support the aspirations of China's growing middle class. Whether the studios support it or not is completely immaterial.

  40. Levente Szileszky
    Paris Hilton

    "Entry-level Blue-Ray players have also sharply declined in price..."

    "Entry-level Blue-Ray players have also sharply declined in price as the format gained traction worldwide and HD-DVD became extinct."

    Ehhh WTF?

    Is the author stupid or high or both?

    It's happened quite to the contrary, check the facts, pal..

  41. tony trolle

    what next ?

    buffet china blue; cheaper and bigger 30 cm discs like Laservision

  42. Finn

    @First one to make 50GB+ data media under $2 a disk, wins.

    No, first one to imbed the standard to a popular game console, thus automatically selling gazillion players for his standard and creating a demand for it, wins.

    Oh, wait! Sony already did that!

    Nobody, not even Peoples Republic can or will compeate with that, no matter what the 'specs' say.

    If Microsoft had made HD-DVD standard in their X-Box 360, instead a aftermarket add-on, we might actually see some serious competition, but M$ doesn't own the rights for the HD-DVD format, so they had little reason to do so.

    Sony on the other hand does own the rights for the Blue-Ray format, so their decision to combine that to Playstation 3 was about as obvious as sun rising from east and about as sure winner, as they sold 10 million Blue Ray players/game consoles to very same customers who watch most movies. So the actual race has ended 1998, when Sony revealed the specs of PS3 and anything short of giving out 20 million players for a different format will not change the outcome.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Anything but Sony

    Choosing between the Chinese (who are destroying western industry) standard and Sony (who is the embodiment of pure evil), I think I'd actually have to opt for CBHD. Hopefully they let Microsoft, Toshiba, and the others jump on-board so we don't ever have to see the day that a Bluray drive comes out for the 360. Or for that matter, so I can have the option to enjoy high-definition movies without waiting for Bluray's (hopefully non-Sony) replacement to arrive.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anything but Sony

    "Sony (who is the embodiment of pure evil)"

    Why exactly? Don't get me wrong, I know they're bastards. But what is it exactly thats bad about them that Microsoft is so great at? Microsoft is just as bad as Sony, seriously.

    "don't ever have to see the day that a Bluray drive comes out for the 360"

    Because having the option to have a BluRay drive would be just terrible. No-one cares about your Microsoft Defence Force rubbish. But don't worry, Microsoft are far to proud to ever back down and give the consumer the choice to buy the current video standard. Rest assured, they will continue to shaft you.

    BluRay won. You can accept that, or you can carry on bawwwwwwwing about it on the internet. Nobody cares either way. If you hate it that much wait 10 years for "BluRay's replacement"

  45. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton

    No no no

    The winning format will be whichever one the pr0n industry uses, and that industry runs on discretion.

    Beta wiped the floor with VHS, quality-wise; but Sony insisted to control too many aspects, demanding that dealers and repairers be registered and approved; a process which involved many probing questions. Whereas JVC and friends would quite happily supply machines and spare parts to anyone with the money.

    When it has to be working as good as new before the wife gets home, ready availability of spare parts, assembly and wiring diagrams and no questions asked are important considerations.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A J Stiles

    It's been many, many moons since the VHS/Betamax war. Yes, the porn industry swayed that battle in the favour of VHS, but a little thing called the intertubes has been invented since then. It is made of 99% porn, and 1% fail.

    This battle is already won. Done and finished. Look in a shop next time your in your local town center. There has already been a very large investment in BluRay, far too much for it to ever fade away again. It is here to stay, and over the next 3-5 years, DVD's will start to dwindle just like VHS did.

  47. Andy Bright

    I disagree

    I believe the interweb is split evenly between WoW, pr0n and botnets.

    bisexual female rouge lfg to do some nasty ddos..

  48. Gis Bun
    Thumb Down

    A hit in China, elsewhere, probably not

    The real advantage will be that the players for CH-DVD will be quite cheap [which will force BlueRay players to drop prices]. The Chinese government will definitely bach CH-DVD over the imperialist designed [but probably Chinese made] Blue Ray players.

    Problem is that with no Hollywood or game company backing, what will they be used for? It is suppost to have better copy protection. But to protect what if you can't get a game or movie on it?

    And remember - don't lick them!

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