Always thought that China would never accept Blu-Ray due to the high cost of licensing, and thus high cost of discs and players.
Well, China has been attempting a few formats over the last few years that are under their control and don’t require them to fork out on cost fees to licence holders outside their country. The latest is CBHD. Formerly known as CH-DVD and rebranded probably following the demise of HD-DVD. New photos have emerged of the players and there’s a stunning similarity to certain Tosh HD DVD players!
Apparently CBHD is almost identical to HD DVD with the exception of the licensed components, so mainly the codecs used. How similar their own codecs are is yet to be established, but it does mean the discs will be incompatible with HD DVD.
What does that mean for the rest of the world? Probably not much initially. HD DVD owners however may find that a firmware hack to turn their players into CBHD players is not beyond possibility, opening up the player to the CBHD stock of titles (which Warner has already signed up for at least).
The more interesting possibility comes down to the fact that Chinese manufacturers make the base components for a lot of western kit that gets re-branded into known names with Japanese logos on them (with inflated prices). This means the potential some day for multi-format players that could play everything and probably support HD DVD/CBHD as well as Blu-Ray and others. Much like how cheap DVD players these days support a wide array of formats, old and new. Hopefully like DVD players, region free hacks for Blu-Ray will be widely available (the lack of which is the major factor that stops me buying Blu at present).
Doesn’t do anything for reviving HD DVD in the west, though does open up a market in cheap discs from China. I suspect there will be a number of restrictions to prevent export though as Hollywood would rather the rest of the world pays the massive premium for Blu-Ray instead (at whatever the local maximum price is thanks to region controls).