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China unveils fleet of 'HD DVD killer' players

EVD exports to begin next year

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Chinese consumer electronics companies yesterday kicked off a second attempt to establish the country's alternative to DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc as the nation's favourite format. Called Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD), is essentially a DVD that uses a more efficient content compression system.

China launched EVD back in November 2003 as a home-grown format that would leave its consumer electronics free of the hefty licensing fees they pay to foreign firms for the rights to produce DVD-branded kit. However, EVD failed to make much of an impact, and since October 2005, China has been claiming the format will not only make headway against rival technologies but become the market leader in China come 2008.

The pitch now is that EVD will not be an alternative to DVD but its successor - essentially it's been repositioned as an alternative to HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Technology provided by London-based New Media Enterprises, which has been touting a format it calls VMD (Versatile Multi-layer Disc), to provided a storage capacity sufficient for HD content but read using standard red lasers rather than blue.

To get it there, some 20 CE vendors yesterday unveiled 54 EVD players, China's Xinhau state news agency reports. Among the suppliers were the Haier Group, one of the world's biggest white-goods makers, and TCL Group, which manufactures kit for France's Thomson, owner of the RCA brand.

The EVD Industry Alliance claimed these and other local hardware manufacturers will stop producing DVD players and shift to EVD. Exports of EVD players will begin next year, the organisation said. ®

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