Thursday, March 22, 2007
Now, Sony is trying to reassure consumers that its Blu-ray players- which are considerably more expensive than HD-DVD players- will fall in price over the next few years. Blu-ray players start at about five hundred dollars- in the form of the Play Station 3 video gaming platform which has a built in Blu-ray player- and climb up to about one thousand dollars. By contrast, HD-DVD players top out in price at about five hundred dollars. Sony is now saying that in three years, Blu-ray players could drop to three or four hundred dollars.
In addition to predicting the coming decrease in price, Sony officials pointed out that conventional DVD players took a few years to fall in price to a comfortable level. While this is true, it doesn't exactly encourage confidence in the Blu-ray format. While it's true that conventional DVD players eventually did fall in price, it's entirely possible that the Blu-ray format won't survive long enough to follow suit- after all, the DVD format could take it's time to settle in as the dominant video format because it didn't have a competing format breathing down its neck. If anything, if Sony wants to be competitive it should lower the prices of its Blu-ray players now- even if Sony loses money in the short term. Sony simply doesn't have the time to allow prices to fall on their own if it wants to have a decent shot of becoming the format of choice.
The lack of business acumen that Sony has displayed in general with the Blu-ray format is unfortunate because in many technical ways it's superior to Toshiba's HD-DVD format. While HD-DVD can only encode fifteen gigabytes per side of its discs, Blu-ray can encode twenty five gigabytes per side. Considering that (just like conventional DVD's) both of these formats can be used with computers for archiving data and producing video discs, an extra twenty gigabytes of storage capacity per disc (both sides) is a pretty attractive feature.
One development that could put Blu-ray on top is the fact that hackers have figured out how to break through the security features on HD-DVD's so that they can be copied. Although a lot of experts expect that Blu-ray might not be far behind when it comes to the efforts of hackers, movie studios are steering away from HD-DVD because of fears of piracy. On the other hand, maybe a glut of cheap HD-DVD discs on the market will encourage people to buy HD-DVD players and put Toshiba in the superior position. Only time will tell how any of this will work out.