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China to Promote Own Alternative to DVDs, EVD 410

Posted by michael
from the play-it-again-chang dept.
supermanksu writes "Seeking to compete on its own terms in the lucrative entertainment industry, China announced a government-funded project Tuesday to promote an alternative to DVDs and 'attack the market share' of the global video format." This has been an ongoing project.
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China to Promote Own Alternative to DVDs, EVD

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  • ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fjordboy (169716) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:38PM (#7506684) Homepage
    First we have region encoded dvds so we can't watch dvds from out of our country or "zone" ... and now we won't even be able to fall back on "reverse engineering" our dvd players to play these things! Ugh. Just what we need, more complexity in an already needlessly complex market.
    • Re:ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sillybilly (668960) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:05PM (#7506885)
      In fact I welcome such a move - if it's free for everyone to make their own home movies, without having to pay royalties for mpeg2 compression patents, and you can still fit the same amount of movie in a DVD, then why not? I hope the players will have hardware to play EVD movies, and if so, I'm a consumer, whatever is cheaper/better for me I take it, no matter where it comes from. Why is it that we have free bzip2 and ogg vorbis and similar compression methods, but for video we all must pay royalties. The tmpgenc program used to be a complete freeware, used to do mpeg2's for svcd's and dvd's for free, but the mpeg consortium got on the author's case so now he must collect payment for his program, now you only get 30 days evaluation time. Hey if someone wants to give me something equivalent or better for free, I'm not gonna be stupid and say no.
    • Re:ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:08PM (#7506904)
      > First we have region encoded dvds so we can't watch dvds from out of our country or "zone" ... and now we won't even be able to fall back on "reverse engineering" our dvd players to play these things! Ugh. Just what we need, more complexity in an already needlessly complex market.

      This is Tuesday. China's the Good Guy today.

      Seriously - an alternative to DVDs that supports HDTV and has no copy protection, region control, or licensing (CSS) restrictions. How bad is that? If DVD had been invented by geeks, that's what DVD would have been!

      Seems this is just the logical successor to VCD or SVCD. It's also backed up by tens of thousands of tanks whose commanders can tell Jack Valenti precisely where to stick it.

      • Re:ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Strudelkugel (594414) * on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:28PM (#7507067)

        Maybe I'm wearing a tin-foil hat, but I sure don't believe China wants open formats. They would rather dominate the market so that they can get all of the royalty fees from other nation's vendors.

        Problem with the Chinese strategy is that they don't have any content. All the major content providers won't release their content in the China-Uber-Alles format if they can't control it. Seems to me China has to depend on indie films to carry this ball, but unlike OSS, it takes more than a few pizzas and caffeine to make a flick, unless the PRC is about to flood the world with Communist pr0n...

        • Re:ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tkw954 (709413)
          Problem with the Chinese strategy is that they don't have any content.

          I think you mean that they don't export any content. There is a huge amount of domestic video being passed around in China (Chinese movies, music videos and concerts and TV programs). Of course, since the rest of the world doesn't speak much Chinese, most of this content stays at home.

          Also, because of the mass producing pirates pushing prices down, very few legit DVDs are available. Most content is distributed in the form of cheape

        • Re:ugh (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jandersen (462034)
          "Maybe I'm wearing a tin-foil hat, but I sure don't believe China wants open formats. They would rather dominate the market so that they can get all of the royalty fees from other nation's vendors."

          Yes, you're wearing a tinfoil hat. But as we say - a thief believes every man steals. Being American, you are used to the fact that American companies and the American government want to dominate the world and rake in all the wealth they can get - that what capitalism is all about.

          As for Chinese films - I have
    • DVD player royalties is approximately US$5 to $10, depending if you are part of MPEG LA, 3C or 5C consortium. China manufacturers pump out more than 30 million DVD players a year, so imagine the massive outflow of cash to US companies holding the DVD patents.
      EVD uses the same media format as DVD (ie. two 0.6mm polycarbonate discs with reflective layers read out using a coherent light source), so they still have to pay royalties to Time-Warner, Philips, Sony, Matsushita, Thomson-RCA, Toshiba etc for the disc
  • Not good enough (Score:4, Interesting)

    by r_glen (679664) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:38PM (#7506689)
    I don't think it's wise to force everyone into a new, irrelevant (unless you own an HDTV) format just to avoid paying American royalty fees. It took forever for people to fully embrace DVDs, even with all the benefits over VHS. This is not a great enough leap forward to be successful anywhere.

    Also, the acronym EVD ("enhanced versatile disc") seems extremely contrived to sound just like 'DVD'.
    • Re:Not good enough (Score:3, Insightful)

      by agutier (471583)
      I don't think it's wise to force everyone into a new, irrelevant (unless you own an HDTV) format just to avoid paying American royalty fees.

      Doubt they will force everyone, it will be enough for the format to be adopted domestically. As long as they market a combo DVD-EVD player, and push for releases of content on EVD in China, then what does it matter if you purchase this format or that?

      DVDs are already segemented acording to their region, which might end up making it easier to introduce a regional DVD
    • So, you imagine a high percentage of the Chinese population already have DVD players? We're talking about a 1.3 billion population here not California, the national savings would be inordinate.
      • Re:Not good enough (Score:4, Insightful)

        by twistedcubic (577194) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:08PM (#7506910)
        I agree. A country that has 20% of the world's population has no business throwing all its money away to foreign monopolies. China can create its own standards, and have the rest of the world adopt them (and not vice-versa) becuase the foreign businesses couldn't resist the money-making opportunity. If China were buying Microsoft licenses at the same rate per populace as in the U.S., then they would be sending Microsoft enough money to buy a few countries of its own.
        • In two or three years China is going to be the second largest economy in the world. In ten it will be the largest, it's going to happen, I can't understand anyone thinking that they have to grab apron strings. China is a huge market, go with the flow or get caught in the undertow.
    • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Su||uSt (151462) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:50PM (#7506776) Homepage Journal
      Wuh?!

      "It took forever for people to fully embrace DVDs"

      Were you not born until CD's had already replaced casset tapes? The DVD format was the most quickly adopted new media format ever. CD's were around since (I think) the late 1970's, relatively easy to get a hold of by the early-mid 80's, but not really fully adopted until the early 90's. That's around 15 years from invention to full adoption. It took DVD's something like 4 years to do that.

      Then of course there were the superior formats that were never adopted (read: laserdisks).

      Anybody old enough to know how long it took tapes to become common over LP's or eight tracks?
      • I would imagine tapes went quicker; there were very few cars manufactured eight track players, and probably none with LP's.

        It is notable that many retail places no longer even sell movies on VHS, but still sell music on cassette.
      • tapes to become common over LP

        That has, as far as I know, never really/fully happened. LPs had a better reliability than tapes for pre-recorded media. CD replaced LP, not the tape.
      • Re:Not good enough (Score:2, Informative)

        by thermopile (571680)
        This is getting off topic, but ....

        Billy Joel's "Songs in the Attic" was the first album ever released on CD, way back in 1981. One could argue that CD's didn't really catch on until 10 years later.

        DVD's were supposed to flood the market for Christmas 1996, but didn't quite make it in time. That's right, kids, 1996. The titles were originally released in Japan: Blade Runner, The Assassin, The Fugitive, and Eraser. (yechhh) Then the first ones in the US were on March 19, 1997, and were IMAX remakes

        • And I would consider DVD's to have been ubiquitous by 2000, 2001 at the latest. Your grandma might not have had one, but she probably has bought a new couch in 20 years either.
      • Re:Not good enough (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @09:21PM (#7507425) Homepage Journal
        "The DVD format was the most quickly adopted new media format ever."

        To be fair, the difference between CD's and cassettes is not as big as the difference between DVDs and VHS. CDs were nice because they were higher quality and you could instantly skip to other songs, but they were trouble to jog/travel with. DVDs are higher visual/audio quality than VHS, but they're also smaller (CD's weren't as compact as casettes) and they have extra bonus features that VHS couldn't hope to do.

        CD's were an upgrade to casettes with tradeoffs, whereas DVDs are a much larger upgrade to VHS with much fewer in terms of tradeoffs. It's not all that surprising that DVDs took off.

        EVDs are higher resolution and may be cheaper, but is that enough to be adopted? Boy do I doubt it.
        • Re:Not good enough (Score:3, Interesting)

          by WoTG (610710)
          I'd also toss in the technological differences between the time CD's were launched to the time DVD's were launched. CD's were the first shiny little 5 inch disks to be produced. A whole lot of technology and factories had to be developed to bring the prices down. In contrast, DVD's piggy backed off of a lot of the previous work. It's the same physical size, and the same general stamping technology. At the player end of things, most of the mechanics and a chunk of the firmware is the same.

          Another fact
    • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fishbonez (177041) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:50PM (#7506779)
      The market in China is mostly VCDs with pirated DVDs being mostly for tourists and the high-end local consumers. It seems like they are positioning the EVD as a local alternative to DVDs. It'll probably replace VCDs as the local format of choice.

      I suspect the EVD might actually be endorsed by the big US media companies. If the country responsible for a lot of piracy uses a peculiar local format, it essentially makes those discs region encoded. Of course the manufacturers in the US and Europe would also have to agree not to support the format for it to be effective at stemming piracy.

      • Can anyone here see EVD discs being the new piracy media of choice? It's the same media as DVDs, so a DVD-ROM could read it. And, since there seems to be less encryption, some OSS developer will have an EVD codec out quickly.
        • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mclove (266201) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @09:34PM (#7507499)
          Absolutely, in fact this is almost certainly the plan these manufacturers have in mind.

          The pirates are always happy to pursue any moneymaking opportunity they can find; within a few months of their introduction, pirated DVD's were already almost as widely available as VCD's, and no doubt once people start buying EVD players the same thing will happen.

          Then, once people have EVD players and widely available disks, legitimate movie companies will have no choice but to adopt EVD; otherwise, they'll have a base of millions and millions of consumers who have no choice but to buy pirated EVD's. And considering the pragmatic-to-a-fault attitude of the Chinese courts and legislators towards such matters, I suspect that they'll give the studios a hard time about cracking down on pirated EVD's until legitimate alternatives are available. Yes, since they're not well-protected those EVD's can then be easily pirated as well, but since that's already true about DVD's it hardly makes a difference at this point (and will probably translate to further cost savings since there's less sophisticated decoding hardware required, perhaps even allowing them to use older and cheaper processes for chip fabrication etc).

          So this could be a real coup for the Chinese - single-handedly force the studios to adopt a poorly-secured, proprietary video format just to stay in the market.

          Don't look for these to show up in the US, though; DVD players are already way too common, so they'll never show up officially, and considering eBay's sheer and utter spinelessness towards MPAA legal threats it's doubtful we'll see them show up there either.
    • Yes but you're missing the bigger picture here..

      China has developed a new compression system. With the licensing restrictions on mpeg and mp3(Geesh just look at what you gotta go through to watch DVD's under linux) this could lead to a new popular standard, just because it doesn't have the draconic licensing restrictions that mpeg and mp3 have.

      It goes even deeper than just a disc, set top 802.11 video recievers, sattelite transmissions, with no licensing needed.
    • Re:Not good enough (Score:2, Interesting)

      by The Munger (695154)
      It took forever for people to fully embrace DVDs, even with all the benefits over VHS.

      I was a reasonably early adopter of DVDs. But it was more for the toy factor. What are these benefits over VHS?
      1. Higher resolution video
      2. Higher resolution, multi-channel sound
      3. Extras

      You know what I think? That's not a huge list. How's this for a list:
      1. I have to pay for all of my old stuff again. Not so bad - it's a new format, someone has to be paid for the conversion
      2. They're fragile. You can drop a VH
      • Re:Not good enough (Score:3, Informative)

        by jpmkm (160526)
        2. They're fragile. You can drop a VHS cassette onto concrete - don't try this with your DVDs

        Have you ever actually done that? VHS cassettes consist of a few big pieces of plastic that snap together. Drop that on concrete and there is a good chance it'll break apart. Drop a small, light piece of plastic, nothing happens. Maybe a few scratches, but so long as you don't throw it on the concrete there won't be any major damage.
        • A friend of mine was very disappointed when he took home a copy of From Dusk Till Dawn and it fell onto the road from his hand. It was still in its case and yet the force was enough to make it (visibly) crack from the middle to about half the radius of the disc. He wasn't real happy about that.

          I'll let you try this one out: crack the corner off a VHS video and try playing it. Sure it will get dust in it quicker, but I'm pretty certain you'll be able to play it still.
      • Re:Not good enough (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Simonetta (207550)
        Thank you for taking the time to list the good and bad points about DVDs.

        I got a DVD-ROM for my PC about ten months ago and have been getting DVD disks exclusively from the public library since then.

        Here's what I like about DVDs:

        -clear sharp image on PC monitor.
        -ability to copy the movie to hard disk so that I can watch it for 15 or 20 minutes at a time over several days or weeks after returning the DVD to the library.
        -ability to get the text dialog as subtitles from the movie into a text file.
    • by l810c (551591) *
      Also, the acronym EVD ("enhanced versatile disc") seems extremely contrived to sound just like 'DVD'.

      They should make it sound more 'Chinesey' like their Fireworks and Food:

      'Eternal Visual Delight'

    • by Pac (9516) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:13PM (#7506943)
      just to avoid paying American royalty fees

      Let me try to explain it here. Avoiding paying royaties to US and EU is a major component of any sensible comercial or industrial policy in a developing country. in market the size of China's any cent not leaving the country is a cent to be invested in a million of important things to the Chinese population.

      Incidentally that is also one of the major reasons for countries like Brazil, India and China to be seriously looking at Open/Free Software - in the medium and long term, the savings in royalties not send abroad usually justify any short-term problems that may arise.
      • Oddly enough, you forgot to mention Japanese liscensing fees. It just so happens that it is to Japanese companies that one must pay DVD liscensing to, not American nor European.
      • by michael_cain (66650) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @11:34PM (#7508171) Journal
        Avoiding paying royaties to US and EU is a major component of any sensible comercial or industrial policy in a developing country.

        Just out of curiousity, what do the licensing fees run per DVD player? I can buy a bottom-end player for less than $40 at Circuit City or Best Buy. That has to cover the cost of the original manufacture in the Far East, shipping to the US West Coast, transport to Denver, and the fixed costs of the retailer (floor space, etc). I'm guessing the licensing fee is $1, $2? What will it cost China to develop a complete standard that does not infringe on any of the international patents -- $10M? $100M? I know China is a potentially large market, but that's a lot of sales. I suspect that there are more political motives afoot.

    • irrelevant (unless you own an HDTV)

      You can get HDTVs in the 40-52inch range for around $1000 today, provided you don't have a problem with rear projection. I don't think it's going to be irrelevant much longer, especially with the FCC pushing it so hard.

  • Horrywood (Score:4, Funny)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:40PM (#7506701) Journal
    Oh well, I'll just have to do without all those great movies made in China.
    • Two words:

      John Woo.

    • Re:Horrywood (Score:2, Insightful)

      by syrinx (106469)
      i feel compelled to point out that it's Japanese that doesn't have the L sound in their language, causing Japanese persons to say words with an L with the closest thing they can come up with, that is, R.

      While I can't claim to know much about all Chinese languages, at least some of them have the L sound, so they probably have no problem saying "Hollywood", even if they have a comical accent.
    • Re:Horrywood (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kamapuaa (555446)
      Nothing to match the quality of, uhmmm...

      1. Elf
      2. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
      3. Matrix: Revolutions
      4. Brother Bear
      5. Looney Tunes: Back in Action
      6. Love Actually
      7. Scary Movie 3
      8. Radio
      9. Tupac: Resurrection
      10. Mystic River

      Some of the best movies out there are Chinese. Check out Wong Kar Wai's movies, Jet Li's movies, Sammi Cheng's movies - different genres but great shit. In addition, Chinese audiences are more open to foreign movies than Americans - VCD shops will sell top

  • So, China will have its own proprietary format, with no-one outside the country really caring much - the global market is far larger than the chinese one. Seems to me this is just another control mechanism over the media and modern culture...

    Simon
    • seems to me just a higher quality vcd replacement they don't have to pay license fees when manufacturing players(or whatever) for.

      .
    • "Seems to me this is just another control mechanism over the media and modern culture..."

      By trying to (legitimately) avoid DVD patents and regional encoding, it seems to me like they're trying to avoid control mechanisms over the media and modern culture.
    • China, at 1.3 billion people, is 20% of the world's 6.4 billion.

      That's enough to sustain their own format, and to attract interest from foreign media providers.

      If India was to team up on the EVD, they'd have 35%!

    • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:11PM (#7506931)
      Yeah, the domestic Chinese market is only 1/4 the world market, or 4 times larger than the American domestic market.

      How on earth do they expect this to fly with a highly patriotic and semi captive market of only a billion or so people?

      It's madness.

      And certainly no one here on Slashdot would feel inclined to adopt the standard if the Chinese choose to make it competitive by releasing it as an open standard ala the CD.

      We just love attempts to "DVDize" the Compact Disc.

      What would be wrong about taking the format out of the hands of the MPAA and DVD Consortium? Just the fact that it comes from China?

      Like the compass, silk, lacquer, gunpowder and noodles?

      A good idea is a good idea. I think an open video format is a good idea. If that's what the Chinese are up to I'll go at least one round of The East is Red with them.

      KFG
    • ...the global market is far larger than the chinese one.

      If nobody else wants to be the market leader in just China, I'll volunteer. It will be a struggle selling to a market with over a billion people but I'll struggle along somehow.

  • WoO! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Americans can start selling home-made $3 Chinese EVDs! Turnabout, etc.
  • Ongoing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hi_2k (567317) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:45PM (#7506736) Journal
    This has been an ongoing project. Newspeak for "Yeah, this is a dupe, I know it, but gosh darn it I'm gonna post it anyway!"
  • Good news! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rex Code (712912)
    Other formats that China has backed in the past include things like VCD, SVCD, CVD (China Video Disc, an SVCD-like format in NTSC resolution), and others. These tend to be no-nonsense unencrypted formats that are easier to write software to produce (look how much more free software exists to burn VCD/SVCD/CVD than DVD), and are supported by most Chinese DVD players (APEX, for example).

    This will help keep the ability to produce and distribute content within reach of everyone, instead of just the large medi
  • by Eberlin (570874) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:47PM (#7506752) Homepage
    "It was developed by a company called Beijing E-World Technology Co. Ltd. using video-compression technologies licensed by On2 Technologies, an American company."

    At quick glance, the license doesn't seem "open" which means you'll end up with another controlling factor one way or another...and someone will have to come up and battle with a different version of deCSS. If that is the case, it can't be good.

    Secondly, DVD has a heck of a market share. I suppose if anything has a population to take a chunk out of market share, it would be China. However, from observation, it would be difficult to budge the hold that DVD currently has.

    I'm thinking along the lines of Ogg Vorbis vs. MP3 -- with Ogg being free (though I'm not sure the EVD will be a free format) and MP3 having the market share. Ogg may have crept up in terms of getting hardware/software support, but it's still not dislodging the majority of MP3 users even though it's of a higher technical quality.

    I suppose any disruptive technology to run interference on DVD would be a Good Thing(TM)
  • Haven't they been attacking DVD's by pirating the living hell out of them for some time now?
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:48PM (#7506760) Homepage Journal
    . . . calls on President Bush for a preemptive nuclear strike.

    "This isn't about marketing dominance or intellectual property rights," said the movie industry mogul, "They hate our freedom!"
  • Ogg Theora! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:52PM (#7506798) Homepage
    My first thought was "I hope they are going to use Ogg Theora for this." Then in the article text it said that they have been "developed... using video-compression technologies licensed by On2 Technologies". Folks, Ogg Theora is based on the On2 compression technologies!

    The Chinese market is huge. Many DVD players are made in China. It seems very likely to me that the EVD standard will at least carve out a niche for itself. Potentially, it will have sufficient impact that all future DVD players will be made EVD-compatible. It ought to just be a matter of putting some more stuff in the ROM of the DVD player. It this really is based on Ogg Theora, there will be no fees or royalties to pay.

    Of course, the MPAA will probably drag their heels about releasing Hollywood movies in EVD format. But I would love it if there was a widespread standard based on Ogg Theora, so I could burn my own discs using nothing but free software and know that my friends have players that can watch the discs.

    steveha
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:53PM (#7506802)
    I don't see EVD being much of a issue outside of China because it does not offer any advantage to consumers (DVD has HDTV plans too). Unless China wants to spend $100 million (or more) marketing the new format to Western consumers, they aren't going to get any market share here. Even in China, it will be an uphill battle. I don't see why Chinese consumers would buy the more expensive format, unless they are Patriotic and have money to burn. Also, I'd bet that media production has reached critical mass for DVD. How will China convince pressing plants to adapt to EVD?
    • I don't see EVD being much of a issue outside of China because it does not offer any advantage to consumers

      Reduced patent encumbrance means cheaper players and media. Everyone wants that (except the MPAA and the MPEG consortium).

      Basing their codec on an open source one means that we'll have the ability to play these under Linux without breaking the law (and perhaps even encode our own material without uber-expensive authoring software (or breaking the law)).

      No region protection means we can buy the
    • I don't see EVD being much of a issue outside of China
      You are right, it is not.

      Unless China wants to spend $100 million (or more) marketing the new format to Western consumers
      You don't get it, they want to adopt it for their internal market.

      Even in China, it will be an uphill battle
      Unless the government ban all other media. Don't forget also that almost zero DVD players are out there in China. At best, they have VCD players.

      I don't see why Chinese consumers would buy the more expensive format, unl
  • No Comment (Score:5, Funny)

    by Catharz (223736) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:56PM (#7506818)
    A spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

    They probably had to get a couple of people in to help them off the floor after they fell out of their chair laughing.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @07:59PM (#7506843) Homepage Journal
    This is getting really stupid. How many 'standard' media formats can we handle?

    It will all end up a big unuseable jumble if this trend isnt stopped...

    While im not for 'one vendor' ideas, 'one standard' IS good.... ( oh, and make that standard open.. )
  • Something new to add to my spam filter.
  • Solid state? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:07PM (#7506898) Homepage Journal
    Or at least with minor moving parts like a tiny mirror or such?
    IMHO following the "disk" trend is a mistake. CD and DVD could have been made i.e. rectangular, with drive that would just sweep the laser ray over immobile surface. Cheaper, faster, less error-prone... and less resembling a vinyl record, so Sony decided it should be round and rotate instead, so people would prefer to buy it.

    I still hope some next generation media won't follow dumb marketing trends and prefer efficiency over "legacy looks", but it seems China failed my hopes this time.
  • If they don't, I'm all for them.
    If they do, I don't care at all.
  • by Effugas (2378) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:14PM (#7506952) Homepage
    I looked into this a bit [afterdawn.com]. Apparently Chinese manufacturers are starting to balk at the ~$350M going out to Japanese DVD patent holders, and the government is listening.

    Remember -- fifty years ago, Japan tried to colonize Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is still pissed.

    Anyway, the video codec appears to be On2's VP5 and VP6 -- which, being much newer codecs than MPEG-2, support HDTV resolutions and DVD bitrates -- supposedly with quality as good, if not better, than Microsoft's solution. (Caveat: I was not impressed with VP3, the algorithm open sources by On2 and being tweaked heavily into Ogg Theora.) Not said is what's being used for the audio codec. While audio compression and video compression are two very different things, it's problematic when the two are grown utterly separate from one another. DVD has this problem -- MPEG-2 and AC3 (Dolby Digital) have slightly different frame sizes, making it much more awkward to edit accurately.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
    • EVD sounds superior (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zymano (581466)
      EVD can display hdtv which dvd can not. The picture quality is 5 times better !

      I think this is a good thing. If Hollywood doesn't support it then maybe independents producers might. A HDTV recordable version using blue lasers would be very cool.
      • by Grishnakh (216268)
        This sounds like it might end up causing yet another technology rift between the US and Asia, with Asia having better stuff.

        Back in the days before DVD, all we had here in the "advanced" US was VHS. Terrible resolution (much worse than even NTSC is capable of displaying), tape instead of disc, etc. Asia, OTOH, had the VCD, and later the SCVD. But Hollywood didn't like VCD so it never happened here.

        Now, if my prediction is right, we Americans will be stuck with crappy DVD, with region coding, commercial
        • Eh?

          First off, VCD isn't really any better quality wise than VHS. VCD is digital, so you don't get analog errors and wear, but it has only half the temporal and vertical resolution.

          VCD didn't fail in the states for any reason other than that it didn't provide any better customer value than VHS. VCD won in Asia since it's a cheaper medium to counterfeit. In general, Asian audiences also seem more willing than US audiences to accept lower quality for lower price for video. Have you looked at many of those au
  • In communist China, DVD makers pay you...

    Ok, sorry.
  • Finally! Something we can crack and pirate stuff from them!
  • by rabtech (223758) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:18PM (#7506989) Homepage
    If China wants to make DVD players, TVs, and so on that don't try to strip my fair use rights away from me in some vain and nebulous "fight the pirates" scheme, I'm all for it.

    Hollywood and their bullshit can go jump in a lake.
  • by l33t mn!ml (714756) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:22PM (#7507015)
    Hey at least they had the taste not to call it "XVD".
  • If China is willing to be less anal about encryption/protection/etc than the US, then there are too things I foresee:

    a) It can be happily embraced by the linux/open-source/etc community, and anyone who doesn't want to get sued for actually trying to do something with their disc that wasn't in the "box" the creators intended

    b) The movie companies will hate it, and probably not use it, for the reason in (a)

    Didn't see a whole lot about the encryption/etc on the disc, perhaps I just overlooked it though.
  • The rollout of the long-planned project, known as EVD, or enhanced versatile disc, was timed to coincide with the beginning of what China calls the "golden sales" period - known elsewhere as the Christmas shopping season

    Ahhh yes, the golden sales period... when carolers go from house to house singing the praises of Chairman Mao.

    Makes me feel all nostalgic and sentimental.

  • Bravo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:31PM (#7507092)
    Only in Asian countries, where there is true technological freedom, can one hope to innovate to such a degree and blow open a new market. It is too bad that the US and EU, in their anti-innovation and pro-corporate protection mindset, is closed to new ideas.
  • Oh dear :/ (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cloud K (125581) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:31PM (#7507097)
    Am I being thick, or does this mean a possibility of a scenario where a reader/burner is:

    DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, EVD, EVD-R, EVD-RW, EVD+R, EVD+RW?

    Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible. Fragmentation of a so-called 'standard' is a bad thing IMO :(

    Try getting salesmen at PC World (UK) to try and explain *that* drive!
    • by Xeger (20906) <slashdot@NoSPaM.tracker.xeger.net> on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:58PM (#7507294) Homepage
      Because of technical peculiarities, the EVD format will not support the proper R/RW profiles for recordable versions of the media. Under pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America, China has announced that it will only support EVD-W and EVD+W formats.

      The difference between R, RW and W is that with R and RW you can Record and ReWrite the disc, respectively. But with an EVD-W disc you can ONLY write to the disc. Once the disc has been written, you can never read from it again.

      Copy protection, hell. You can't copy what you can't read!
  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday November 18, 2003 @08:32PM (#7507098)
    real project name PDVD -- People's Democratic Video Disk
    *duck*
  • by cabalamat2 (227849) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @02:03AM (#7508814) Homepage Journal

    China wants to manufacture DVD players, without having to pay $17 for every one it manufactures. So they invent their own system, EVD, which is similar to DVD but uses completely different file formats, video/audio encoding algorithms, etc, so no-one can complain they're infringing patents. Maybe they also have a capability to interface with a computer, for data transfer. They then get loads of films released in EVD format - this'll mostly be Chinese-language films for the China and Taiwan markets. (There might be films for other Asian markets: Japan, Korea, India, etc). Maybe there will be some USA or European films as well.

    The main people buying EVD players will be in Asia, and diaspora Asian communities in Europe and the USA. The DVD manufacturers can't complain, since it isn't infringing their IP. Nor can Holywood. Then, as if from nowhere, REOM images appear on the Internet that when downloaded and put into an EVD player, make it able to play DVDs. Of course, the EVD manufacturers make public noises about how naughty it is to download these ROM images, and illegally play DVDs...

    ...but at the end of the day, they've managed to make DVD players without paying the $17 a go license fee, and not only that they are better than official DVD players: they are all-region, allow you to skip adverts, and play EVDs as well. The MPAA have a fit and issue lawsuits right, left and center, but by the time the suits are all settled, EVD has massive market share (at least in Asia), and even if illegal to sell in Europe and the USA, there are loads of players being smuggled in.

    I've no idea how accurate this scenario is, it's just a guess.

  • by taweili (111177) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @02:50AM (#7508983)
    China's domestic A/V markets is estimated to be US$20 billions this year but, in reality, it's only $2 billions due to the pirating. Fighting pirating is difficult in China while pirated CD sales are providing the mean to feed large group of people in a country with 250M unemployed.

    Realizing cracking down the pirating is not possible in short term, the large medias companies such as Disney has been pricing their products closed to the pirated copies. A legit Disney DVD costs about $3 while the pirated costs about $1.

    Waving out the royalty fee for DVD would help the media companies to close the cost gap between legit copies and pirated copies.

    Moreover, Chinese manufecture about 50% or more of DVD players for export. They haven't complaining about paying royalty on that but they want EVD to be used domestically to avoid paying DVD royalty for domestic market.

  • by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @04:56AM (#7509314) Journal
    China to create own air
    Posted by icup

    In a move to fight anything promoted by the West, China has revealed plans to create it's own air.

    "Western air is just too... western" says Director of Foreign Affairs Kim Woo. "Chinese air should have a more traditional feeling to it."

    Kim Woo continues "China has more people any any other country, we can do whatever we want without taking orders from Western influence, including making Chinese air."

    "I like the idea," said one Chinese citizen, "I live in China, so I should breath Chinese air, right?"

    Although no details have been revealed about the distribution system of the new Chinese air, inside sources say it will be bottled like water and priced at roughly $1 USD per quart. Bottling is likely to take place in the US.

    Plans are also in the works for Chinese water.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

Working...