Sub $200 Blu-ray reader in the plans for Sony

As the driving force behind Blu-ray disc (BD) technology for optical discs and drives, Sony has announced its plans for a Blu-ray reader (no burning capabilities) to retail for less than $200. With the increased size and clarity of computer monitors, more people are watching movies and even television through their computers. In fact, the laptop is fast becoming the business travelers’ portable entertainment system.

Even though prices are dropping on BD players, including the Sony PlayStation 3 and optical writer drives, they still retail in the neighborhood of $500 plus. So introducing a BD reader at less than $200 gives anyone with a HD computer monitor the ability to save over 50% off the cost of traditional BD players.

This is also big news for the duplicator field as in most manual tower CD and DVD duplicators, they are equipped with 1 reader only drive and multiple writer drives. The reason being is that the reader is typically much less expensive than the writer drives. In addition, having a separate drive devoted to reading only, reduces the wear and tear on the writer drives. Up to this point, there have only been BD writer drives on the market so all BD duplicators required a writer drive to act as a reader for at least one run. That increases the overall cost and lowers the productivity for BD duplicators if a drive is being tied up as a reader instead of being able to make copies. By having a low cost BD reader, it makes the BD duplicator far more efficient and prolongs the BD writer drives lifespan while keeping the unit in a respectable price range.

As for HD DVD, they still have yet to introduce a reader or writer drive for the duplication market. Even though there are prototypes on display at various CE trade shows, none have hit the market or are slated to be released within 2007. This is putting the HD DVD camp farther and farther behind the BD camp in terms of reaching the independent video market and the highly lucrative medical, education and financial field for data storage. Maybe that’s not the markets they are courting at this time, but in the end, they will be big factors in who wins the format war.

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