The Forward Versatile Disc has won support from manufacturers of optical drives in China, and the first FVD players will be launched in Taiwan and China by the end of this month.
The news was announced by Der-ray Huang, the chairman of Taiwan's Advanced Optical Storage Research Alliance (AOSRA). Huang is also deputy director of the Opto-Electronics & Systems Laboratories under the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).
The FVD format differs technologically from the DVD standard in physical format, compression (encoding) and decoding, and content protection and therefore is not subject to DVD royalty charges, Huang pointed out.
In addition, the FVD format has adopted Microsoft's WMV9 and WMA9 compression algorithms, which have lower royalty charges of US$0.10 than the US$2.50 charged for MPEG-2 compression, or US$0.25 charged for MPEG-4 or H.264 compression, Huang indicated.
The soon-to-be-launched first-generation FVD discs will have a storage capacity of 5.4-6GB for single-sided discs and 9.8-11GB for double-sided discs and will support resolutions of up to 1280Χ720, Huang said. Second-generation FVD discs will have a capacity of 15-16GB and support resolutions up to 1920Χ1080i, Huang noted.
FVD players will be sold at a tentative retail price of about NT$5,000 (US$149) in Taiwan and about 1,000 yuan (US$121) in China. FVD has also attracted the support of Taiwan providers of digital content and several movie publishers in China, Huang indicated.
In addition to marketing in Taiwan and China, AOSRA plans to display FVD products at international exhibitions, including the 2005 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) scheduled for January 6-9 in Las Vegas, Huang said.
So far, companies supporting the FVD format include leading optical-disc makers CMC Magnetics, Ritek and U-Tech Media and optical-disc-drive makers Lite-On IT, BenQ, Quanta Storage and Mustek Systems.