Blu-Ray beware

China’s answer to next generation optical discs has fnally had its first production line opened and earned itself a new name. CBHD (China Blue High-definition Disc) was developed in China by Shanghai United Optical Disc. It has some advantages over BluRay, mainly in the cost area. It is cheaper to license, and less than one third the cost to gear up a factory to produce them.

The disadvantage they have is the same one HD-DVD ended up with, they have no support from any of the major hollywood studios. This may be less of an impediment to getting a footprint in Asia though. I am sure that a large number of the Chinese movie makers will have no problems with writing to this standard. I am also sure that there will be a burgeoning trade in porting high definition movies to this standard within Asia, despite the illegality of that practice.

Given that the war for the next disc standard will be fought in the PC rather than the home theatre there is still a lot of questions to be answered about how well either product is going to work as a data standard. I would suggest that BluRay will likely have inbuilt restrictions to the way we can record HD content to it, regardless of whether it is fair use or not. If CBHD will allow us to record in HD to it and play it back in any device that might be enough to grab it some marketshare when these discs become mainstream.