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Makers Want to Enforce, Simplify Blu-ray Licensing

Blu-ray Disc is slowly and steadily growing its share of overall video discs sales in North America and globally, but it’s the “slowly” part that has some key manufacturers itching for more business, and faster.

Panasonic, Philips and primary Blu-ray proponent Sony are teaming up in an effort to grow the 1080 standard’s implementation and perhaps lower prices at the same time—which still hover well above standard DVD for both players and discs. Their approach is through the licensing process, where they want to set up a “one stop shop” license system and the three firms are inviting fellow Blu-ray competitors to join up.

The establishment of a new licensing entity (which, in effect, will operate as a new company) single licenses for Blu-ray Disc products will be offered to CE makers “at attractive rates,” according to the head of the new entity, Gerald Rosenthal.

The group also plans to challenge unlicensed Blu-ray products. License revamp proponents believe royalty rates can be at least 40 percent lower than the current “cumulative royalty rates” for individual Blu-ray, DVD and CD format licenses. With lower licensing fees and fewer unlicensed products, the Blu-ray industry’s version of the trickle-down theory is that any savings might be passed along to consumers.

New product license fees would run $9.50 for a player and $14 for a recorder unit. (Per-disc license fees would be $0.11 for read-only, $0.12 for recordable and $0.15 for rewritable discs.)

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