Selling any sort of media is tough in China due to piracy.
Blu-ray Disc has yet to take off in China due to a couple of factors. One being price, with Blu-ray players costing many times that of a DVD player. Pirated movies in China are predominantly on DVD and cost just a fraction of what a legitimate copy would cost.
Even pirated high-definition movies that are meant to play on Blu-ray players are pressed on regular DVDs. Such DVDs contain recompressed and downsampled versions of the original encode from a Blu-ray Disc, but possess image quality noticeably better than regular DVD thanks to using a more advanced codec.
But Blu-ray Disc may have more than just piracy to contend with in cracking the Chinese market. China now also has its own high-definition disc format called China Blue High Definition (CBHD), which is backed by the China High-definition DVD Industry Association (CHDA), as well as the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center. Interestingly enough, the technology shares similarities with HD DVD, so CBHD is also backed by the DVD Forum.
Like HD DVD, CBHD discs have a capacity of 30 GB and can use existing DVD production lines. According to Gizmag’s report, the CHDA boasts: “(The) CBHD disc can be compatible with the DVD disc in physical format so that they can share production lines. It is well known that China is the country with the largest yield of DVD discs. Chinese manufacturers produce around ten billion DVD optical discs every year, which is about 30 percent of global yield.”
Does this mean that movie pirates will take to CBHD better than it has to Blu-ray Disc? After all, legitimate or not, producing a Blu-ray Disc requires new production hardware.
Consumers, on the other hand, will definitely need new hardware. CBHD players are expected to cost 40 percent less than current Blu-ray Disc players, largely thanks to the difference in licensing fees.
Gizmag reports that Warner Bros. is on-board the format with plans to release 100 CBHD titles in China this year, such as the Harry Potter, The Golden Compass and Speed Racer selling for between $7.25 and $10.15 (50-70 Yuan).