updated 09:45 am EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
SonyNEC Sees Cheap Blu-ray
Computer-oriented Blu-ray drives should quickly drop in price to where such drives are easily practical for both desktops and notebooks, SonyNEC Optiarc says. The joint venture estimates that desktop Blu-ray combo drives, which can only read the HD format but can burn DVDs and CDs, should reach the key $100 price point by the holidays this year. Slim drives for notebooks will be more expensive to build but should still reach the $150 price point, according to the device maker.
A definitive estimate for full Blu-ray burners isn't given, though estimates put the prices at between $150 and $200 for desktop and portable versions of the technology. The roadmap also doesn't explain whether this will include slot-load drives, which are essential to some designer notebooks such as Apple's MacBook line; a small Sony laser is planned for manufacturing at the same time.
The cost reduction is widely considered essential to widespread adoption of Blu-ray, which for now remains several times more expensive to support than conventional DVD and has often been excluded from low-priced systems, particularly portables. Dell currently claims to hold the record for the least expensive Blu-ray notebook with a special configuration of the Inspiron 1525 but does so by using a low-cost Broadcom media chip that allows the Texas PC maker to use a low-power CPU and pass on a dedicated video chipset. Most other Blu-ray notebooks are priced significantly above $1,000.