DVD recorders lower in cost as Taiwan ups output

DVD recorder manufacturers in Taiwan are moving up production as tumbling prices encourage consumers to replace aging tape-based recorders, Reuters reports.

Analysts said companies such as Lite-On IT and Mustek Systems will sell four times as many DVD recorders in 2004 than in 2003 after retail prices halved in the past year.

That will make Taiwan the second largest supplier in the $4.3 billion industry behind Japan, where companies such as Matsushita Electric Industrial (maker of Panasonic-branded electronics), Sony and Toshiba control half the global market.

Lite-On Technology, Taiwan’s largest DVD recorder manufacturer and a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores, expects to ship one million units this year, up from 100,000 last year. That would increase revenue 20 percent to 25 percent to 1.6 billion, the company said.

Lite-On IT produces optical disk drives for computers and diversified into DVD recorder manufacturing last year.

DVD recorders offer higher quality pictures than videocassette recorders, and the discs take up less storage space and are easier to search through. But DVD recorders have also been prohibitively expensive for most consumers, until recently.

The average selling price of a basic DVD recorder in Taiwan is now around $180 — still much pricier than a nonrecordable DVD player at $30, but down from $360 in mid-2003, according to Taiwan’s Market Intelligence Center (MIC). Estimates are that prices could fall to $100 in the first half of next year.

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