The new format has been developed the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center (OMNERC), a laboratory inside the Tsinghua University, and is based on the same basic specifications as Toshiba’s HD DVD. Furthermore, it seems that the two formats are compatible: CD DVD discs will run in HD DVD players and HD DVD discs will work with CD DVD machines.

CD DVD machines are scheduled to hit the market next year. There are no details available, but it’s safe to assume that the new players will be available mainly in China and perhaps in other Asian countries. Should the Chinese government wanted to try its luck on the Western markets, then the deal with DVD Forum (the regulatory committee in charge of overseeing DVD and HD DVD) would’ve been impossible to reach. Having a rival on its turf is not something to be embraced by the HD DVD camp.

Officially, the new format will feature more copy protection features and it’s meant as a way to fight piracy, an ever-growing phenomenon in China.

At first it was Blu-ray versus HD DVD, the HD VMD format came along and now CH DVD is also joining the party (sort of). Who’s next?