The battle of next generation optical storage media has finally drawn its curtain while the major eight image pictures in the United States claimed to fully support Blu-ray Disc format. The new named storage market has taken off to drive the whole business and marketing strategies. Shortly, the total global production volume of Blu-ray Disc has reached to 30 million pieces by 2008. While the unit price of Blu-ray Disc has rapidly slid down to US$ 2 or $3, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has estimated a significant climb of total production volume to achieve 152 million disks by 2010. This figure is expected to generate more than 280 million Blu-ray Discs in 2011 as well. With such a huge business potential as well as prospective high-definition entertainment market ahead, the Asian biggest and global leading ICT exhibition - COMPUTEX TAIPEI - is the must-visit platform to picture the latest digital storage media trends and developments.
Strong Taiwan BD Supply Chain
Looking back to COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2009, we have seen quite some Taiwan suppliers showcase numerous Blu-ray products. Among all, RITEK and CMC both represented the latest Blu-ray Discs product ranges at the show ground. RITEK has also announced to launch its BDA certified 50GB Blu-ray Disc in the second year of 2009. Apart from some Japanese companies, RITEK is not only the first manufacturer in Asia who has the capability of supplying BDA standard Blu-ray Disc, but also the only permitted disc provider in Taiwan. Meanwhile, two of the top three BD player manufacturers including Hitachi LG Data Storage (HLDS) and Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions Corporation (PLDS) also introduced 4X BD Slim serial and 8X BD Combo to grab the market attention. Lite-On, who has cooperated with Philips, is expected to benefit from BD patent cost with better price advantage in the long run. Quanta Storage Inc (QSI), however, has to relay on its mother company Quanta Computer Group to maintain its global No. 1 NB supplier status to deliver stable BD demand.
While key components such as chipset and spindle motor account for more than 25% of total cost in the whole process of BD player manufacturing, Taiwan suppliers who have advantages in cost control as well as flexible production line are expected to become the key force to increase new product adoption rate with affordable price in the end market. Companies who have involved in BD technologies and innovations are chipset pioneers Mediatek and Sunext Technology; spindle motor supplier Delta; BD player providers QSI, BenQ, PLDS, ASUS; disc manufacturers RITEK, CMC, Daxon as well as software developer Cyberlink. The complete supplier chain in Taiwan means lower cost in BD hardware and software too.
Taiwan Suppliers in BD Industry
Source: Topology Research Institute, 2009/8
Otaku Economy to Accelerate Future Growth
The global financial storm has deeply impacted the overall purchasing power in every sector. While many researches found people tend to stay at home and spend their leisure time indoor, demands for home entertainment have also increased nowadays. The so-called Otaku Economy (Stay-at-home Economy) suddenly becomes the new marketing term that many retailers have launched different special promotions to meet these emerging customers’ needs. The biggest on-line retailer Amazon, for example, recently presented discounted BD format movies. Some of these bargain BD movies were new blockbusters. The market is expected to drive out new buying force especially when the tag price drops below US$40.
In Japan, some suppliers also introduced several BD Players cheaper than 50,000 Japanese Yen. Following the step of Sony in 2008; Sharp, Panasonic and Pioneer also launched a variety of entry-level options with the price ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 Japanese Yen by 2009. Nevertheless, high-end BD Player such as the forth generation Pioneer BD Player with the highest 48bit Deep Color technology will also be announced in the third season of 2009. The price of this top model is therefore between 50,000 and 80,000 Japanese Yen. Researches also indicated that more than half of consumers in Japan have shifted to BD formats. The BD market in Japan has generally built up its stronger adoption rate as well as competitive cost efficiency than other markets.
Fun with 3D Home Entertainment
The vital function of BD Live with Internet support further connects BD with online content suppliers, multi-media service providers, network solution providers as well as associated industries. Customers are able to communicate with Internet easily via LAN-input embedded BD Player. This great on-demand feature allows users to view high-definition digital TV programs or movie images with just a click away. Panasonic has taken the lead to embed YouTube and Amazon Video on Demand reception functions into its BD Players too.
Moreover, Hollywood film makers have committed to taking the advantage of BD Live to develop with Bare Eye View 3D technology to enhance the added-value of BD Players. The market is further forecasted to grow up with Hollywood film industry too. Our future life will be fully surrounded with PCs, NBs, online games, gaming machines, Internet TVs as well as instant chatting. Traditional household based marketing concept is no longer enough to describe individualized consuming behavior. BD related products will extend the next generation lifestyle with unprecedented imagination.
BD in 2009 has certainly stepped into a year of large-scale production. COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2010 (June 1 to 5) thus is expected to cover a full range of BD solutions not only BD Disc, BD Combo, BD Player but also related consumer electronic products such as stereo systems, high-definition LCD TVs, projectors, PCs, NBs as well as wireless communications, fiber optics, Internet content service providers and video streaming platforms. The power of BD surely accelerates global ICT industry into a new era.