Blu-ray licensing changes offer hope for cheaper players and discs
February 27, 2009 Even though Blu-ray has claimed the honors in the format war with HD DVD, it has failed to set the world on fire in terms of widespread adoption. One of the major factors for this slow uptake can be attributed to the high prices of not only Blu-ray players and recorders, but also the discs themselves. But plans announced by Sony, Panasonic and Philips to create a simplified licensing process for Blu-ray discs could see this change.
A new license that will include all necessary patents will be established and will be handled by a new, as yet unnamed company to provide a one-stop shop for companies looking for rights to make Blu-ray burners, movie players and discs. According to Sony the move should result in a reduction of at least 40% in the costs of the licenses themselves. The partners expect a license to cost USD$9.50 for a read-only Blu-ray device and $14 for a burner. Discs will cost 11 cents for read-only discs, 12 cents for write-once BD-Rs and 15 cents for rewritable BD-RE discs.The creation of the one-stop is designed to avoid the problem DVD player manufacturers faced of having to negotiate deals with three separate organizations representing various patent holders.
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The new company will be based in the U.S., but will have local branches in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The new company is due to be established by mid-2009 so hopefully we’ll see some price reductions in Blu-ray hardware and discs not too long after.