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'No significant price cut before Christmas' for BD players

The German Blu-ray Association has releases new figures from the GfK market research group showing Blu-ray discs took 85% of the German high-definition video disc market in the sixth week of the year, this February and Blu-ray players had 68% of the market. In a short spike, sales of HD DVD players rose to almost 60% of the market in the fourth week, due to stock being sold off cheaply.

However, the industry is warning consumers seeking bargain Blu-ray players not to expect significant price cuts before the Christmas shopping season at the end of the year. “We don't see big price drops in the next four to five months. Around Christmas, we can expect more dramatic price decreases," says Michael Langbehn, spokesman for the German Blu-ray group and Panasonic Germany, in an interview with Reuters.

Panasonic will start selling its DMP-BD30 Blu-ray player in Germany at the end of this month for €499, half the price of its first Blu-ray player selling in this market.

But Langbehn said it would take two to five years for a mass market to develop, leading to further big price cuts. "When we are really in mass production, I think we can easily hit prices of €300 or lower," he said. "The market will develop in the next two to five years. Maybe by then it will be 50-50 Blu-ray and DVD."

Sony Electronics CEO Stan Glascow seems to be more optimistic. In an interview last week in New York, Glascow said that prices of Blu-ray players will reach as low as $200 in 2009.

The support of hardware makers for the Blu-ray format is also expected to play a significant role in the pricing of the players. However, the Blu-ray Disc Association, which oversees the Blu-ray standard, has not given licences to any Chinese manufacturers, due to concerns they could join the market and offer cheaper Chinese-made Blu-ray players. (Source: CDA letter)

Story filed 10.03.08

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