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China optical disc standard set to play at CeBIT

Posted by iNext - 2006-03-06

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A couple of underdogs in the optical disc world are hoping to steal some of the show at next week’s CeBIT by introducing the commercial versions of low priced, red-laser based discs and players capable of storing up to 40 gigabytes of data.

New Medium Enterprises and Beijing E-World Technology will be looking to tout the combined benefits of their Versatile Multilayer Disc (VMD) and Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD) technologies, the latter of which is China’s optical disc standard. In short, they want to be the David to the Goliath efforts being made by the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD camps, which will likely be center stage again next week as CeBIT unfolds.

EVD uses MPEG-2 Main-Profile at High-Level for encoding and standard red lasers to read high-definition content, which is secured using proprietary encryption. It also uses a proprietary audio technology to support six-channel audio. However, EVD disks are similar in capacity to DVDs, making them unrealistic as a storage technology for data-rich high-definition content.

New Medium's technology should remedy that by helping EVD disks pack up to 10 layers that store 5-Gbytes each. New Medium claims to have disks capable of 20- to 30-Gbytes of storage for its high-definition, 1,080 line players. Next week, it will show discs capable of hitting 40-Gbytes. The single-sided optical discs will be loaded with feature-length films at 1920x1080 resolution and the players used will retail for $150, the companies said.

By year’s end, the companies will introduce samples of recordable media that will be followed by EVD/VMD recorders in the first half of 2007.

NME is also planning to roll out about 50 movies from Bollywood in the VMD format by the end of the year, and has access to about 2600 Indian titles through its partner Eros Group. NME also has content agreements in China, Russia and South America.

For several months now, E-World has worked with New Medium, a U.K.-based company with R&D operations in the US. In December, E-World agreed to sell a 69 percent stake in itself for $8.5 million and 40 percent of NME’s shares. The new company will be called NME-World when the transaction closes this month.

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