Prices for blank Blu-ray discs are set to fall sharply as cheaper manufacturing methods take over, a maker of disc drives forecast Wednesday at the CeBIT trade show in Germany. ( dpa )
The long battle over the standard to succeed the DVD was won last month by the Blu-ray camp, with Toshiba conceding there was no future for its HD DVD technology.
Thomas Nedder, chief executive of Sony NEC Optiarc Europe, a joint venture company that makes Blu-ray drives, told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa that a price of just 5 euros apiece for blanks was realistic in the near future.
Currently the discs cost 20 to 30 euros apiece, making high- definition movies an expensive amusement.
Ralf Wolf, marketing chief, admitted that HD DVD had been technologically more advanced HD DVD, but said Blu-ray had now caught up.
Demand for the drives as data storage devices has picked up in the personal computer industry, which is showing new products at the March 4-9 fair in Hanover.
Nedder said the drives industry was expecting a big upturn in demand for both players and pre-recorded discs now that the standards battle had been settled, but it was too early to offer precise forecasts.
Current forecasts were based on analysts' research in November, before movie studio Warner Brothers threw its backing behind Blu-ray and Toshiba suddenly acknowledged defeat.
"We were surprised at it ourselves," said Nedder, saying he thought the matter had been settled by US retailer Wal-Mart's decision to stop selling HD DVD movies.
Wolf was gracious to the loser, saying, "HD-DVD was technically more advanced for a long stretch of the way, but Blu-ray has now achieved a similar position."
The HD DVD developers had repeatedly leaped ahead with supplementary functions such as a Picture in Picture (PiP) function that showed an inset windows with a different video.
Vendors say the standards battle dissuaded many shoppers from buying either blue laser technology, with consumers fearing they would be left with an obsolete device. That has proved the case for HD DVD buyers.
Consumer electronics makers say the Blu-ray victory should end that reluctance.