Panasonic, Philips & Sony To Simplify Blu-ray Licensing

Sony, in conjunction with Phillips and Panasonic, has announced plans for collaborating with various Blu-ray patent holders in setting up a “one-stop shop” that would deal with all the licensing processes of the Blu-ray technology.

The license shop, which will include all the necessary patents of Blu-ray, along with CDs and DVDs, will make its debut sometime around in the middle of this year, and it would have its headquarters in the US with satellite branches in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, the companies announced.

The new licensing company will be headed up by Gerald Rosenthal, an ex-chief of IBM’s intellectual property division, the companies added.

Commenting upon the significance of the new licensing company in enhancing the acceptability of the Blu-ray format, Rosenthal said in a statement, “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”.

However, the three companies will have to persuade the other members of the Blu-ray licensing group, which comprises of some of the consumer electronics heavyweights, including Samsung Electronics, Sharp Corporation, LG Electronics, Hitachi, and Thomson.

The new planned licensing rates for the Blu-ray technology will be $14.00 for each Blu-ray recorder, $9.50 for each Blu-ray player, whereas manufacturers will be charged 11 cents on making each Blu-ray disc, 15 cents for each rewritable disc, and 12 cents for a recordable disc.

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Our Comments

This is the boost that many were expecting. DVD is still a very powerful format thanks to the very low cost of devices and the equally low royalty. On an entry level £20 DVD player, this amounts to 80p, around nine times less than on a Blu-Ray player. Media plays an equally important role and it is puzzling that rates haven't gone down even more. A single recordable DVD disc costs as much as the royalties that blank media manufacturers are expected to fork out for EACH recordable Blu-ray disk they sell.

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