April 26, 2006

BluRay At A Store Near You

The first BluRay drives, one of the two technologies trying to take over for DVD, are starting to hit the market. There will be, I believe, somewhere in the neighborhood of three movies released on the first day and the first drive will cost $850. That's right, $850 to play discs that cost $30 and offer a bit of increase in picture quality, but only if you're HDTV is extremely new, like within the last six months.

What this also means is that whatever it takes to play BluRay discs is not cheap technology and that the PS3, which plays BluRay movies as well as playing next generation video games, has got to be extremely expensive. Either that or they are using substandard parts in the machine in order to keep its retail price in line with the norm for game machines. One final possibility is that the PS3 will be the normal price for game machines, somewhere between $200-$400 at launch, but that Sony will take extreme losses on each machine sold.


Unknown said...

With every new piece of info that comes down the pike, my fears that the PlayStation has no future get stronger and stronger.

Seriously, if someone at Sony were deliberately plotting to annoint Microsoft's XBox as the new leader in console gaming, they wouldn't have done a single thing differently.

Unknown said...

oops, I meant the XBox 360, if that wasn't obvious already.

Noumena said...

Well, there's also the fact that the first products using any new technology will be a lot more expensive than later products. And this isn't just because newer things take their place on top of the pile. The TI-86 graphing calculator, for example, has increased in power a fair amount over the last ten years, remains the most popular and readily available graphing calculator on the market (more powerful calculators are only used by professionals, but almost everyone who takes a college math class buys a TI-86), yet has gone from $150-$200 to $75-100. Similarly, the $60 DVD player I bought last year works slightly better than the one a former roommate paid $250 for five or six years prior, but the difference between the two was subtle.

As a product 'matures', competitors appear, investment capital is seen as less risky and hence easier to secure, engineers develop more cost-efficient methods of production while making tweaks to improve the design, and so on, all of which contribute to a lower cost to the consumer.

That said, I'm not sure I can think of any successful product whose sticker price has dropped 80-90%.