The DVD Forum, the international DVD standard authority, has given Chinese engineers the go-ahead to look into developing a next-generation DVD format which will compete with Sony's Blu Ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD standards.
Last month China announced plans to develop its own format in a bid to eliminate the need to pay licensing fees to foreign companies. The DVD Forum has now agreed that a study can be carried out to test the feasibility of a China-only format, according to news network NewsFactor.
The format will be based on, though not compatible with, HD-DVD technology and is due for release in 2007. According to Lu Da of the government-backed National Disc Engineering Center, the format will offer higher definition, better sound quality and more effective means of combatting piracy than Blu Ray and HD-DVD.
It will also support Audio Video Coding Standard video compression technology, plus MPEG2, MPEG4 and Windows Media Video 9.
This is not the first time China has attempted to rival foreign formats with home-grown technology - in 2003 Enhanced Versatile Disc was launched to compete with DVD. But although the government lent strong support to the project, a group of Chinese DVD player manufactuers launched legal action against the format developer and the new format failed to take off.
Meanwhile, storage giant Maxell has been busy showing off the technology which will probably eventually replace all of the "blue laser" DVD technologies (which include Blu-Ray and HD-DVD); the firm last week showed off a holographic disc capable of storing 1.6 terabytes (1,600 tigabytes), and with theoretical access times faster than any other disc technology ever created, including hard drives.
The Maxell technology, which has been developed in partnership with InPhase Technologies, is not expected to appear in any practical form until 2007, however.