Cheaper Blu-ray Coming Your Way

One of the biggest barriers for any solid technology to gain the acceptance of the mainstream consumer is price. Those who have seen Blu-ray movies on a 1080p display know what a leap they are over DVD, but until prices fall below a certain point, consumers won’t buy in.

Blu-ray-making companies Panasonic, Philips and Sony are currently working with other patent holders to establish a one-stop-shop license, which will cover essential patents for Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD.

Aiming for an introduction in the middle of this year, the license program will be offered by a new independent licensing company that will be a single point of contact for licensees, greatly reducing the burden on licensed companies that would otherwise have to report to multiple patent pools. The companies involved estimate that royalty rates for Blu-ray Disc products are expected to be at least 40 percent lower than the current cumulative royalty rates for individual Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD format licenses.

What does that mean for the consumer? Hopefully lower prices. For companies, the new rates for Blu-ray Disc products will be $9.50 for a player and $14.00 for a recorder. The per disc license fees will be $0.11 for a read only disc, $0.12 for a recordable disc and $0.15 for a rewritable disc.

Gerald Rosenthal, CEO of the new license company, (formerly the head of IP at IBM and more recently CEO of Open Invention Network, said "by establishing a new licensing entity that offers a single license for Blu-ray Disc products at attractive rates, I am confident that it will foster the growth of the Blu-ray Disc market and serve the interest of all companies participating in this market, be it as licensee or licensor."

We love our high-definition movies, and we hope to see more affordable Blu-ray product across the board later this year.

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