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China has DVD plan

New system based on high-definition discs

China plans to have its own DVD standard on the market by 2008 to break foreign companies’ monopoly on DVD manufacturing.

Lu Da, deputy director of the National Disc Engineering Center, a government-affiliated research group, told the official Xinhua news agency that the new Chinese DVD format would be based on the high-definition DVD format but would be incompatible with existing HD DVD systems.

China produces 70%-80% of the world’s DVD players and carries major weight in influencing consumer attitudes.

The Chinese format will produce higher definition, better sound and safer copyright protection, Lu said. “With such format and related standards we could have our own voice in the DVD industry,” he added.

Currently, Chinese DVD manufacturers pay licensing fees to overseas patent holders, which accounts for around 40% of the cost of each DVD player, Lu said.

Announcement comes after some of China’s biggest DVD makers, including Amoi Electronics and Changhong, said this week they would develop DVD products using Toshiba’s new HD standard. It’s not clear what impact the new Chinese format would have on this decision.

Toshiba and Sony, with its Blu-ray standard, have been battling to establish their competing high-def DVD systems as the next stage in DVD technology.

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