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Thursday, March 06, 2008
CeBIT 2008: Blu-ray Sees 300-euro Player in 2-5 Years

Consumes seeking bargain Blu-ray video players should not 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," Michael Langbehn, spokesman for the German Blu-ray group and Panasonic Germany said on Tuesday.

Panasonic will start selling its DMP-BD30 Blu-ray player in Germany at the end of this month for 499 euros , 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 euros 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, Mr 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 are 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 licenses to any Chiense manufacturer, who could strp in offering cheaper Chinese-made Blu-ray players.

Figures from the GfK market research group released by the German Blu-ray group show Blu-ray discs with 85 percent of the German high-definition video disc market in the sixth week of this year, in February.

Sales of HD-DVD players rose to as much as 60 percent in the fourth week, as stock was sold off cheaply. By the sixth week, Blu-ray players had 68 percent of the market, according to the GfK statistics.

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