July 3, 2006

BenQ Unveils First Blu-ray Optical Disk Writer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - BenQ Corp., Taiwan's top maker of cell phones and computer equipment, unveiled an optical disk writer which can handle the new Blu-ray high volume DVD storage format selling for 799 euros ($1,022) from August 2006.

A late August launch means that BenQ is one of the first electronics companies to sell a Blu-ray burner, simultaneously or even ahead of the main Blu-ray inventors and promoters Sony Corp, Pioneer and Philips.

The price of 799 euros, including value added tax (VAT), is aggressive for the first generation of Blu-ray disk recorders. Products from competitors will be priced at up to $1,500, excluding VAT.

Low prices and early availability of Blu-ray devices are important in the emerging battle for the next DVD standard. Blu-ray is competing with a format called HD DVD, led by Toshiba Corp. which has started selling a player at $499.

Blu-ray and HD DVD offer up to 50 Gigabytes of storage on a DVD sized disk. Most Blu-ray and HD DVD players will also play back and burn CDs and standard DVDs.

Studios hope the new formats, which offer the possibility to store high definition movies, will breathe new life into the $24 billion home video market.