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China Readies Royalty-Free DVD Format 183

Posted by kdawson
from the this-time-for-sure dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an InfoWorld article on China's new attempt to introduce a royalty-free format to rival the DVD. The article is not sanguine on China's chances of getting the EVD format used outside of its own borders (they tried once before in 2003). The submitter is more optimistic, asking: "Is this the future and the effective end of DRM — to be taken and co-opted by nation-states?" From the article: "The DVD player makers plan to switch to EVD (enhanced versatile disk) in an attempt to avoid paying patent royalties on the DVD format, according to published reports. The world's largest producers of DVD players, Chinese electronics companies would use the format instead of standards such as MPEG-4. Last week, 20 top manufacturers including Haier announced their plans to switch from DVD to EVD entirely by 2008, according to a report in China Economic News."
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China Readies Royalty-Free DVD Format, Again

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  • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:21PM (#17271838) Homepage Journal
    Could the Chinese government wind up providing the solution to DRM, through the production of a DRM machine? Now that they control the manufacturing process, it's not hard to imagine them controlling the design process as well, and implementing whatever they darn well please. No doubt the USA would make importation of EVD illegal, but hopefully Canadians would be able to get their hands on them, and create a non-black market for technology people really want.
    • ..."through the production of a DRM-FREE DVD style machine"
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Make it backward compaitble (sic), and I'm there!

      Erm, the whole point is that they don't want to pay the royalties of the DVD format. In order to be backwards compatible, they would have to do pay them.

      • "Erm (sic), the whole point..."

        Then they should make it their point to play both formats because I don't want to buy the EVD for each of my DVDs to replace it. Neither would anyone else, so they'll just have to make a machine that does both and isn't legal on the "free market".
    • Black Market (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:44PM (#17271980)

      That's one of the nice things about Canada -- we can freely buy a lot of the things that Americans can't due to retarded embargoes. We have cuban cigars at the store where I work. They're expensive, since they have to be flown in, but we have them.

      You know, for a country that spends so much time braying about its love of capitalism, Americans sure do their best to prevent any capitalism from happening. Cubans want to buy and sell their products in American markts? Sorry, no can do. Foreigners want to buy computer chips? Obviously they all just want to make nukes (forget for a moment that the computations are the easiest part of the entire processs, with or without computers...). China makes quality video players that aren't deliberately crippled? That's GOT to be banned -- using a product that you paid money for is supposed to unpleasant. Now China wants to make a quality video player that has even stronger DRM than domestic video players, and isn't encumbered by patent royalties; that's somehow evil as well. Seriously, who are the REAL communists here?

      It's sad that "socialist", "liberal" Canada embraces capitalism and free trade so much more fully than Americans, who've been duped into thinking that a "free market" means that you get to choose which state-mandated church you attend while the government works overtime to inhibit competition and international trade.

      • Re:Black Market (Score:5, Interesting)

        by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @07:44PM (#17272424) Journal
        It's sad that "socialist", "liberal" Canada embraces capitalism and free trade so much more fully than Americans.

        [sarcasm]That's right... that's why I can't buy satellite signals from Direct TV complete with HBO[/sarcasm] (both of which outshine any Canadian offering). The Canadian government won't let Canadians buy American TV services directly and there is an outright ban on HBO (they don't want to put pressure on Canadian companies and TV stations to force them to finally offer a good products for a good price).

        You see we're all about a competitive market up here. Same reason we're only now starting to see cell phone number portability being implemented at phone companies, and why I have to wait up to 8 months for an MRI even though the one at the local hospital isn't being used more than 8 or 10 hours a day because they can't afford to pay the staff to run it... while not allowing private companies to use the machines who are willing to PAY to for the privilege of giving their customers faster access. BTW, the government frowns and disallows companies from buying their own machines and offering these services. One of the reasons the only health care system in the G8 that we are above is the U.S. health care system... which is on the bottom. Don't brag about shit if it is not all as true as you make it out to be.

        That said, I agree that Canada is WAY more capitalistic than almost every American thinks. Just because we have a failing single insurer health care system and believe in paying for safe injection houses instead of water filtration plants (Vancouver's 2 weeks of boil water advisory because a rainstorm screwed up the water system for 2 MILLION people) doesn't mean we don't like capitalism. It just means we don't want to sell American products to Canadians because that would make us uncomfortable when we were America bashing. Meanwhile, we would rather have a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with China who will sell us anything and won't buy a damn thing from us except lumber and oil (if we would sell it... which the liberals here would be OK with because they have no problem with the trade deficit or China's human rights abuses since they are trying so/too hard to be understanding of their values while forgetting our own). Yeah yeah and a few other token things they buy... 60 Billion dollar trade deficit. People here don't want to get on China's bad side because we don't want to lose out on that big potential market. But so far all it has us is 60 billion dollars deeper in debt every year... and that is just from Canada. Time for some equalization. Starting to rant against idiotic notions that trade with China is all good... must stop now.

        • watch next week (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The high level economic talks with the US and china which are going on right now are down the shitter, bad. I know this news from the past couple days barely registers with the "gaming" crowd here, but the adults who watch things can verify what I am alleging, at least the signs are there. There is NO happy news coming out of those talks now, none, because china has everyone by the short and curlies now-something they didn't 20 years ago but DO now. china is sitting on over a trillion bucks which *they don'
        • I have to wait up to 8 months for an MRI even though the one at the local hospital isn't being used more than 8 or 10 hours a day because they can't afford to pay the staff to run it... while not allowing private companies to use the machines who are willing to PAY to for the privilege of giving their customers faster access. BTW, the government frowns and disallows companies from buying their own machines and offering these services.

          Okay, I'll never get an MRI anyway, but I don't get this: why is Canada

          • by Dun Malg (230075)

            I don't get this: why is Canada so fucked in the head on this? I like socialized medicine, where everybody gets a base level of care, but I want the option to get additional coverage.

            If "the rich" are allowed to buy their own additional medical care at private clinics and hospitals, then you'd see an exodus of the best and brightest doctors to the higher-paying private system. This leaves the "public" system full of the leftovers, the Dr Nick Rivieras. You basically end up with an even worse version of our county hospitals here in the US. A few dedicated idealist doctors toiling in a great vat of underfunded mediocrity. That's the theory, anyway.

            • Simple solution there: increase the supply and cull the Nick Riviera's of the world. Of course, we've got a system where everything is private - if some level of insurance was provided to anyone who could fog a mirror (and many who can't - this is a hospital), would all the hospitals run away? In your real life example, would allowing people to pay for use of the big magnetic donut drive the best away from the public sector? Would it allow the hospital to buy another big magnetic donut, or would they not, s
      • by L0rdJedi (65690)
        They have Cuban cigars around here too (LA and San Diego area). It is the importation of Cuban cigars that is illegal, but the seeds can be imported all we want. So the stores import the seeds and grow the tobacco here. Problem solved.

        So much for your example.
      • by msobkow (48369)

        I agree it's nice to have a government that remembers their place in society, especially the legal contracts that took all those decades to work through the system. :)

        If the Chinese manufacturers didn't participate in the DVD and follow-on format specification meetings, then they obviously have to pay royalties or license fees to use the format.

        But there is nothing illegal about them creating a competing format. There are already two competing DVD follow-on formats -- who is to know in advance which w

      • "Americans" don't "do their best to prevent any capitalism from happening". I think that many "US" companies do their best to make sure that the rules fall in their favor. "Americans" that I know mostly want a good product for a fair price...no matter where it comes from. Unfortunately, in the US many, if not most, politicians are beholden to special interests. Businesses have the deepest pockets and therefore the politicians legislate in their favor. Let's not bash all of the folks of a country when t
        • The American people have all the say they need. They CAN have things differently -- all they have to do is:
          a) Not vote Democrat. If possible, have your local Democratic candidate stuffed into a small box labelled "AIDS Queer" and shipped to Texas for a ceremonial shit-kicking.

          b) Not vote Republican. If possible, have your local Republican candidate locked in a cage and forced to Go-Go dance for the homeless insane at a drug-rave to an all Marilyn Manson club mix.

          c) Not vote for any politician that bre
          • I have to treat most of your post as a humorous rant. As such, I can agree with most of your points to a certain extent. You are spot on for a lot of your "things not to do". However, you don't tell us how to accomplish what you think voters should do. Most times it is a matter of voting for the lesser of two evils. You don't really want to vote for either/any candidate because they both/all suck. What is the solution to that? Campaign reform would do wonders but the people who can implement campaign
      • by drsquare (530038)
        It's sad that "socialist", "liberal" Canada embraces capitalism and free trade so much more fully than Americans

        CD tax anyone?
        • Hey, the CD Tax is basically just a national subscription to a music download service called "The Internet". We pay a small fee on our media and get to download as much music as we like to fill that media up.

          Well, not really. But for all intents and purposes, that's how the levy plays out. It's just a shame that the levy monies don't actually go to artists, but rather to the CRIA or whatever the hell they're calling themselves these days.

      • I know I'm asking a lot in asking Slashdot readers to be realistic, but I'll try. I find it amusing that a few people say "The US will just make it illegal to own such players." Really? What evidence do you have for this? It's not currently illegal to import foreign DVD players, even ones that have been modified to overlook region codes. You're giving Hollywood an awful lot of power here.

        Secondly, let's just say for sake of argument that there are no problems to import EVD players. I buy DVDs of Chine
        • If the player does anything whatsoever to evade any kind of copy protection (including techniques as feeble as region coding), then it is illegal in the US courtesy of Bill Clinton's masterpiece -- the DMCA. So the US doesn't HAVE to ban Chinese players that work around region coding: they are already covered by existing legislation.

          But if you're not sure, look at what happens to US stores that try to sell DVD players and gaming systems with non-US region codes. They get DMCA complaints filed against

    • We may see the Chinese embrace open source, in part because it is more in tune with the communitarian nature of their society, but primarily because it will give their mass maunfacturers a competitive edge. There is a built in tension between hardware manufactures and content providers---the easier it is for a platform to share content, the more consumer appeal that platform has. Embracing royalty free formats is in keeping with the open source philosophy----even if their motives are entirely opportunistic.
      • by shmlco (594907)
        "We may see the Chinese embrace open source..."

        Why the heck do people always have to "embrace" open source? Why can't they just use it? What kind of sick love-fest are you guys running here? ;)
        • by tigga (559880)
          Why the heck do people always have to "embrace" open source? Why can't they just use it? What kind of sick love-fest are you guys running here? ;)

          It's just a religion, nothing new...

    • There are different kinds of backward compatible out there
      • Can you play existing DVDs on an EVD player? (No, they're not paying the royalties for the codec, and maybe other components.)
      • Can an EVD player read the data format for existing DVDs so you can send the data to a computer that has codecs? (Probably not, but maybe?)
      • Can you install new firmware, either by downloading or plugging in a chip, to add new data or codec functions in the future and stay forward-compatible? (If they're smart, yes, beca
    • Ban EVD from America? Won't someone think of the investors!

      Now here's an interesting math question.

      If the RIAA/MPAA bullet train shot out of Wall Street down the global Commerce Railway in 1997 and the Chinese EVD bullet train shot out of Beijing to careen down the Silk Road... ... how long will it be before these two trains collide?

      God, it's nice to see the Devil and Satan going mano y mano...
    • by NitsujTPU (19263)
      No doubt the USA would make importation of EVD illegal.

      Why?
    • by bigdavex (155746)
      If they make the player backward compatible with DVD media, they would have the same liabilities regarding royalties as making a normal DVD player. So I don't think there would be any point.
    • I'm reminded of the book Distraction where the Chinese, and others, effectively crush the economic power of the US by totally ignoring all estern copyrights, patents, etc and making the content available for free over the Internet. I think if China followed that example they could destroy DRM and make a killing in hardware and software. Start with the software version of the players first and release all the content and then when they've kicked the feet out from under the US they could set their own market
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ""Is this the future and the effective end of DRM -- to be taken and co-opted by nation-states?""

    No. This is an economic end-run around the DVD forum.
    • No. This is an economic end-run around the DVD forum.

      Economics probably play a big part in the decision, but really it doesn't matter why they did. It's more significant they CAN do it. They make all our DVD players, who's going to tell them they can't? A country that owes them 100's of billions of dollars? Hahahaha! Right.

      I predicted this would happen years ago when we outsourced almost all our electronics manufacturing to the Asian rim, though I didn't see this coming. I'll bet the MPAA is reac

  • People's *VDs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:23PM (#17271856) Homepage Journal
    Even China's "avant garde" [reference.com] attack on formats which don't fill China's mafia government Treasury is behind the vanguard of the Internet. The way to do half of what China is trying is to just release the DRM-free EVD format on the Web. Codec plugins, players, and encoded content (all open source so we can tell the Chinese haven't included any trojans). Even dual DVD/EVD-R HW, so we can backup our DVDs to EVDs, with PC connections so we can move our content across the Net. EVD would quickly dilute DVD, especially if cheap Chinese HW preferred EVD for features like sharing.

    The other half, which that strategy wouldn't do, is lock us into some Chinese format instead of DVD. We might not pay Chinese crony corps royalties this generation, but there's no way to stop them from using some lockin on the next gen, like when they increase density for HD-EVD, or some other creepy strategy they learned from the current Euramerican masters of the game. Releasing the format as a data format in open source rather than a HW format (ie. discs only) means that their attempt to upsell would be just another fork, which the rest of the world could ignore in favor of anyone's alternative upgrades.

    I think DVD Jon [wikipedia.org] should start giving code to some real "maverick" Chinese manufacturers right away.
  • Lets do it ! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by johnjones (14274)
    ok lets do it

    I'll buy a EVD player

    no DRM great back to VHS.. I'll even pay a bit extra for the option it can play my old DVD collection

    Frankly blueray etc can just plain go away...

    regards

    John Jones
    • Back to VHS? Did you ever try to copy a VHS tape?

      VHS had (well, has) very effective DRM. (Although technically it was ARM)
      • by Vegeta99 (219501)
        Not if your old crap VCR didn't have the automatic gain adjustment! =)

        I did have a few wally-world type VCRs that were pretty good at ignoring Macrovision
    • by Shakrai (717556)

      no DRM great back to VHS.. I'll even pay a bit extra for the option it can play my old DVD collection

      It's funny that I scanned the first group of posts and didn't see anybody else mention the 'D' word. The studios want DRM. The studios control which format the movies will be released on (i.e: no VHS of Ep III). Therefore, I would assume that all other issues are big fat moot points. The studios aren't going to release movies in a format that they can't control.

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:27PM (#17271866)
    This EVD concept sounds cool at I like the fact that it is royalty free. At the same time I'm weary of anything proposed by such a huge human rights abuser. I also wonder if the loss of chinease DVD market will affect our cheap 20$ Wal-Mart DVD players?
    • by j35ter (895427)
      At the same time I'm weary of anything proposed by such a huge human rights abuser.

      But at the same time you buy Chinese goods at Wal-Mart & Co.?
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:28PM (#17271878) Homepage
    If the EVD players are sitting on the shelves in ASDA for £24.95, the public will buy EVD players and demand EVD discs. It's just that simple.

    Not convinced? Then look at where the el-cheapo DVD players come from now...
    • by westlake (615356)
      If the EVD players are sitting on the shelves in ASDA for £24.95, the public will buy EVD players and demand EVD discs

      and if the only legit import EVD pressings available are out of Hong Kong and Bollywood? with soundtracks in Mandarin and Hindi? no James Bond, no Harry Potter?

      the format has no market in the West unless Western content can be licensed. on a massive scale.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gordonjcp (186804)
        Right. So if you cannot get cheap Chinese DVD players any more - because they're making EVD now instead, and in fact EVD is cheaper because they're not paying a licence fee - the cost of players goes up. So, there are less people buying DVD players, less of a market for DVDs, and people buy the cheap EVD players and buy pirated EVDs that are straightforward dubs of DVDs for a couple of quid a time from a guy down the flea market.

        Either way, the DVD Consortium needs to stop pissing consumers off with regio
        • by tigga (559880)
          So if you cannot get cheap Chinese DVD players any more - because they're making EVD now instead, and in fact EVD is cheaper because they're not paying a licence fee - the cost of players goes up. So, there are less people buying DVD players, less of a market for DVDs, and people buy the cheap EVD players and buy pirated EVDs that are straightforward dubs of DVDs for a couple of quid a time from a guy down the flea market.

          Then people will buy cheap DVD players made in Taiwan, Malaysia,Indonesia, Mexico -

        • Nobody will buy EVD-only players in the West, and it won't make any differnce to them anyway. It might be different for the chines market, but it's just not worth a new technology for western customers. I heard that DVD-licenses were quite high, about $8 per player. Of course this is going to piss off the chinese manufacturer, who makes about $2 on a player, but unless Players are going to drop in price to about $10 (which won't happen, transportation alone will liekly cost more), western customers won't gi
        • by westlake (615356)
          So if you cannot get cheap Chinese DVD players any more - because they're making EVD now instead, and in fact EVD is cheaper because they're not paying a licence fee - the cost of players goes up. So, there are less people buying DVD players, less of a market for DVDs, and people buy the cheap EVD players

          You need only cheap labor and the capacity for precision manufacturing to build a competitive DVD player. The Chinese OEM isn't going surrender his prime export markets by shipping EVD to the West.

          the DV

      • and if the only legit import EVD pressings available are out of Hong Kong and Bollywood? with soundtracks in Mandarin and Hindi? no James Bond, no Harry Potter?

        You've obviously never been to Hong Kong where legitimate VCDs can be purchased right next to their legitimate DVD releases in the original English. Why would this be any different for EVDs? These are VCDs put out by the American movie studios for the Hong Kong market, and yes, they're in English, because that's what the market demands.

        Virtua
  • by Tyler Eaves (344284) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:38PM (#17271942)
    People, by and large, do not care about the DRM or region coding on DVDs. It doesn't effect them. The DRM on DVD's is quite mild compared to much of what is floating around. Unless the major studios and distributors supported this (not likely) this will never gain anything even resembling market success.
    • by kanweg (771128)
      Perhaps people don't care, perhaps they do. I don't know. I do know I DO. I want all my stuff legal. But my Mac allows me to run my own region only (yeah, I can change a couple of times, but then he ends up with the one that refuses to play my other DVDs). I want to have a movie (Tucker, the man and his dream). I have ordered it at a store, but can't buy it here in Europe. In the US it is available, but then I have the DVD region problem. The only solution, which I don't want to consider, is to pirate. I we
      • by bky1701 (979071)
        Save an iso image and mount it. Or reburn it... I think you can change the region in the ISO. There may also be a way to hack the hardware into being all regions (ie DVD-rom BIOS flash).
        • by jZnat (793348) *
          In RPC2 drives, I think the drive outright refuses to read an out of region disc.
      • Check out the Mac forum of rpc1.org [rpc1.org]. There are a few apps and the possibility to flash your firmware to make it region free. I'd try the apps first.
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @07:14PM (#17272156) Homepage Journal
      In Europe, a significant number of DVD players are hacked to allow playing US DVDs. US DVDs are imported because the EU versions are too often inferior quality or delayed from the US release.

      I wanted to get an EVD (or was it HVD?) player back when they tried it, but there were less than ten discs in Chinese that I could find online, and I could not find any information on subtitling. At any rate, the JVC D-VHS format was more successful than EVD/HVD.
    • by metamatic (202216)
      I'm not so sure about that.

      I'm not buying HD-DVD or Blu-ray until I can get a region free player.

      My family have region-free DVD players, because we like to be able to send each other disks as gifts.

      There may be a lot of Americans who never watch any non-US TV or movies and don't know anyone outside the US, but people in the rest of the world travel more.
    • by joeljkp (254783)
      Yes, but what if China went one step further, and created its own SACD or DVD-A standard, sans DRM? Or its own HD-DVD/BluRay? That's when things will become interesting.

  • irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oohshiny (998054) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:46PM (#17272004)
    It's kind of ironic that China should restore free enterprise and free market competition by providing an alternative to the artificial DVD oligopoly.
  • G'luck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The consumer wont buy any DVD player if there is no content. And since Sony owns a bunch of movie studios, g'luck

  • What is this, the pre-20th century or something? Nowadays, we call them "COUNTRIES".
    • by hey! (33014)
      Nope. Countries -- states -- nations. All different things. One is geographic, the other political, the other cultural.

      Sorry, we were being pedantic here, weren't we?
  • Academic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kev_Stewart (737140)
    Haier is a fairly arrogant company to start with. I once found a critical safety defect in one of their refrigerators, yet they wouldn't accept it until I'd sent them a video demonstrating the obvious defect. That was a few years ago when I was inexperienced at dealing with Chinese companies.

    What I didn't know back then was that Chinese businessmen will often make bold statements knowing full well that it's bullshit. He knows that YOU know it's bullshit too - yet it's considered rude to call him on it.

    I thi
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Charcharodon (611187)
      Stop imagining, it's already happening now. I've set up over 20 media computers this year for friends. Just did one today, and have three more that are waiting for me to come over and show them how it's done.

      Even outside of the PC things are happening in the now. The next gen Tivo's are on the way, that are not only set up to record scheduled shows, but download and store on demand content as well.

      The new format war was already being won while HD-DVD and Blue-ray were still in the crib. I can see me

      • by evilviper (135110)
        The new format war was already being won while HD-DVD and Blue-ray were still in the crib. I can see media centers going mainstream once 1TB drives hit the $200 mark sometime next year.

        Let me know when hard drives + bandwidth are as cheap as a little round piece of plastic with a metallic coating.
        • Let me know when hard drives + bandwidth are as cheap as a little round piece of plastic with a metallic coating.

          HD's are already alot cheaper than a DVD's in space, money, and transfer time. The only advantage a DVD has is once it's scratched up it makes a nice coaster or frisbee.

          Oh yeah HD are already available, are continuously being upgraded and are not made by any companies that end in -ONY, which will always make them cheaper overall.

          The only way DVD's are currently cheaper than HD is in price, but there are many things more valuable than money, such as time and convience. Try crunching the numbers on how

          • by evilviper (135110)

            HD's are already alot cheaper than a DVD's in space, money, and transfer time.

            A little physical space isn't much of a premium.

            "money"? How is that different than "price" which you mention below?

            Transfer time is a non-issue, as I can't watch my movies much faster than realtime anyhow.

            Oh yeah HD are already available, are continuously being upgraded and are not made by any companies that end in -ONY, which will always make them cheaper overall.

            In no way are hard drives cheaper than even the latest disc forma

  • by jelle (14827) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @07:22PM (#17272208) Homepage
    My main question is, is there an open source EVD codec available anywhere? A 'Royalty free codec' with the goal of fast widespread adaptation should be accompanied by such a thing, shouldn't it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ettlz (639203)
      Theora [xiph.org].
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        After a little research, it appears Theora is probably able to play on EVD players, but Theora is a superset of VP3 and will eventually contain information that will make it not play on EVD players.
      • Theora != VP6.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @10:18AM (#17276860) Journal
      My main question is, is there an open source EVD codec available anywhere? A 'Royalty free codec' with the goal of fast widespread adaptation

      The AVS codec has been available in ffmpeg/libavcodec (and so, any program that uses libavcodec) for quite a while now.

      It is NOT, however, royalty free. They intend to keep the fees lower than other codecs, but that's all.

      For royalty-free video, you have a few to choose from:

      Dirac/Snow: Very impressive codecs at the range of bitrates (slightly better than even h.264), but even more CPU-intensive, and both (sadly) perpetually unfinished.

      MPEG-1: actually does quite well with modern encoders like libavcodec... At lower bits/pixel rates (eg. 720x480 @600k) , it often looks better than MPEG-4/Divx. At higher bitrates, MPEG-4 slowly starts looking a little bit better than MPEG-1, but it's still rather competitive. It's only near DVD bitrates that better MPEG-4 encoders look obviously better (sharper details) than MPEG-1 (where MPEG-2 will likely outperform MPEG-4, anyhow).

      VP3/Theora: Blocky, distorted mess, in most expert opinions (IMHO, that's slightly harsh). Does okay at very low resolution (320x240) and tiny bitrates (~300k), but not impressively well even then.

      MJPEG/NUV: High-speed, but needs extremely high bitrates to be watchable at all. Competitive, perhaps, with MPEG-2 at DVD bitrates.

      Royalty-free audio codecs:

      MPC/MP+/Musepack: Very good quality, and very fast. Lowest selectable bitrate ~60kbps. Not yet designed to fit in a A/V container with video (not packetized) but can be done in non-standard, non-compatible ways.

      Vorbis: CPU-intensive. Mostly good quality, but completely blows-up on certain sounds. Uncommonly supported. Fits in very few containers (Ogg and MKV).

      MP2: Supported everywhere. Anything that can play MP3 can play MP2 as well. Pretty good at 128kbps and above. Surpasses MP3 quality when approaching 192kbps.

      • by Comsn (686413)
        say what? mpeg4 asp is not royalty free. the mpeg-la group owns it.

        MPC, also known as Musepack (formerly MP+), a derivative of MP2;


        and

        Thomson Consumer Electronics controls licensing of the MPEG-1/2 Layer 3 patents in many countries, including the United States, Japan, Canada and EU countries. Thomson has been actively enforcing these patents.
        • by evilviper (135110)

          mpeg4 asp is not royalty free.

          I only mentioned MPEG-4/Divx in comparing it to MPEG-1 (which _is_ patent-free). What were you reading?

          MPC, also known as Musepack (formerly MP+), a derivative of MP2;

          "MP2"... MP3 != MP2

          Thomson Consumer Electronics controls licensing of the MPEG-1/2 Layer 3 patents in many countries

          MPC is NOT a derivitive of MP3.

          If you would have done the most basic search, you'd have found detailed reports of MPC's former and current patent-status.

    • For decoding :

      according to the wikipedia [wikipedia.org] article, libavcodec [wikipedia.org] has decoding ability for VP6.

      For encoding :

      other /. have pointed out that Theora is VP3 based, can be asked to use a VP3-compatible mode and apparently can be played on a EVD player.

      Thus far, I counldn't find anything about a open source EAC implementation.
  • by NekoYasha (1040568) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @07:35PM (#17272346) Homepage

    The EVD "hype" has been here (in China, that is) for like, ages.

    It is interesting that though the Chinese media has a lot of news about EVD's being better than DVD and being a national pride (as present international standards are mostly made by western countries and companies, China desperately needs its own standards to be more powerful in the intl market), there are seldom any mention about how exactly is EVD better than other formats, i.e. the technical specs. Moreover since EVD is less known outside China (and maybe inside China too - the computer magazines here talks about Vista and Blu-ray and HD but seldom EVD) compared to western Hi-Def formats, I am made curious: how is EVD, and can it do 1080p?

    A quick search dug out a quite official-looking site for EVD: (Chinese only... apparently they have an English version, but the database is down. Note I'm not making any assurance that this is indeed the official site).

    From several articles on the site we can see that the EVD standard uses DVD discs (format D5 and D9) as media - wow, I didn't know that, no wonder never have I heard the data capacity of EVD -, supports 720p and 1080i (not as much as the western Hi-Def formats), and utilizes MPEG2 and ExAC (custom audio coding standard) as compression algorithms. And there is, indeed, a copy protection scheme.

    The site also metioned about a even lesser-known NVD and a Taiwan standard, FVD .

    When I first heard that they've made a format called EVD, I thought that "it's just 'DVD++'". Today I know that E officially stands for Enhanced. But to me, it's just DVD++.

    • ...and utilizes MPEG2 and ExAC (custom audio coding standard) as compression algorithms.

      I ask myself, what exactly is the advantage for China then? If they use MPEG2 vor video compression, they still have to pay royalties if they want to sell those players anywhere outside China.

      According to this [wikipedia.org], an MPEG2 decoder has a one-time licensing fee of $2.50. I couldn't find anything about the DVD standard itself - does anybody know how much the total license fee for a DVD player is?

    • by evilviper (135110)

      I am made curious: how is EVD, and can it do 1080p?

      China's hype exceeds it's grasp. Their claims of AVS (their video codec--NOT MPEG-2) being better than h.264 while being computationally simpler, are the exact opposite of reality. The quality/bitrate is (AT BEST) slightly lower quality than MPEG-2, and all while being as CPU-intensive as h.264. That's not exactly a winning combination.

      Also, the AVS videos samples they've provided contain suspicously little noise, which is very atypical, and either indic

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can't believe that the EVD is going anywhere. In Beijing, at least, there are DVD hawkers on every corner, and 2 or more DVD stores in most neighborhoods. It could be that my own precious Chinese made DVD player (which plays everything- any region DVD, VCD, CD, DivX, MPEG-2 and 4...) also plays EVD. But considering that the main source of DVDs on the market are foreign films, pirated as bit-to-bit copies off the original DVDs, I doubt that many new films will appear in the new format. (Actually, you c
  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @10:05PM (#17273428)
    I will believe it is a Royalty-Free, Open standard when I see it.
    I have seen some mention of China releasing the spec, but is that to vendors only?
    And is there really no DRM?
    I will buy an EVD player and some discs if they are HD, and the specs are open, and no effective DRM is used. After all, I want to play the discs in Linux or whatever future device I want.
    Otherwise, I'll stick with the last effectively-open standard, DVD.
    DRM or private specification is the path of the Laser Disc.

  • by nighty5 (615965) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @10:30PM (#17273602)
    Just remember that this is all about the manufacturers and not the consumers.

    Whatever savings are made in the use of EVD or some such will be digested into a larger profit for the manufacturers.

    Not saying its a bad thing, at the moment the market is so competitive that manufacturers make an abysmal profit margin.

    Considering a large majority of the players are made in China, its no surprise.

    The biggest challenge for China isn't the technology for the politics behind it, with the very powerful corporations who own the rights to DVD will lobby to the governments to stop EVD from becoming anything important. Its all about the content, and the holders of it.

  • The submitter is more optimistic, asking: "Is this the future and the effective end of DRM -- to be taken and co-opted by nation-states?"

    Since the nation-states enforce many of the provisions of the DRM, at least those related to copyright provisions, and since also, they make laws to prohibit private parties from doing so(that would be vigilante), the nation-states are already on board, if not technically, co-opted for DRM. Now one of the nation-states, thinks the deal the others decided it would get is not good. Not sure it really qualifies as a new type of co-opt. It's basically a contract renegotiation, nothing to see here, except "E

  • Everything seems to play my video file formats these days anyway. Why come up with a new format for a physical disc? DVD's are going to go away anyhow.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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