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HD an Increasing Concern for PCs

2 Jan, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

PC drives will increasingly become high-def enabled and will represent a $2 billion take for PC manufacturers by 2012, according to firm ABI Research.

Though the market for high-def disc drives is in its infancy, both Toshiba and Sony have made it known that high-def drives will eventually be included in all their PCs.

“ABI Research expects high-definition drives to bring in revenues of about $2 billion by 2012,” principal analyst Steve Wilson said. “Of that, about two-thirds will be accounted for by universal drives, which can play either format. Few universal drives are sold today, partly because of their higher price. But those prices will fall to about the same as Blu-ray players by 2009, and we forecast universal player sales to exceed Blu-ray the following year.”

ABI Research data shows currently 30% of consumers use DVD for data storage on their PCs, and because of the higher capacity of high-def discs, the market is there for HD DVD and Blu-ray storage as the next thing for consumers.

Consumers' choice for high-def when it comes to a PC purchase seems to be secondary, according to PC industry experts. With digital video cameras going high-def as well, “having the ability to keep it in 1080p from end to end is very important,” said Tony Jasionowski, group manager for Panasonic.

PC panelists at the recent High Def 2.0 conference in Los Angeles agreed that the need for high-def isn't the first concern for consumers when buying a PC. But it is becoming increasingly important. The ability to transfer high-def data into a computer, and burn a high-def disc at the end, is becoming paramount.

“We've seen quite a migration,” said Boris Teksler, senior director for Hewlett Packard's intellectual property licensing group. “[We're almost] having computers that end up in the stereo cabinet.”

Xavier Lauwaert, Sony's product manager for VAIO product marketing, said: “They're looking for a PC first. And then, as a subsequent calculation, a high-def storage device. The onus is on us to reverse that trend.”

Lauwaert got a laugh from the crowd when he suggested that right now, most consumer high-def involves “two-hour boring wedding videos.”

Jasionowski, speaking specifically about Blu-ray, said the PC companies must keep in mind that Blu-ray was developed “not just with the studios in mind” but as a storage and recording device as well.

“Look at [Blu-ray's] capability [for managed copies, recording and storage] and marry it to the YouTubes of the world,” Teksler said.

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