Ritek to start mass producing BD-RE discs

Ritek plans to start making Blu-Ray Disc Rewritable discs in Q3, a small but important step to driving down disc costs for users.

Taiwanese disc maker Ritek plans to start mass producing BD-RE (Blu-Ray Disc Rewritable) discs as well as HD DVD-RE (high definition) discs in the third quarter of this year, a small but important step to helping reduce the cost of such discs for users.

A handful of Taiwanese companies dominate the disc mass production business, including Ritek and rival CMC Magnetics. These companies license disc technology from developers and then spin out as many of the discs as they can in a bid to drive down the cost of each disc and earn as much revenue as possible.

Initially, however, BD-RE and HD DVD-RE discs will still be pricey. The average cost per disc will remain around US$10 in retail outlets, despite production costs of around US$5 per disc, said Eric Ai, a Ritek representative. Prices won't likely come down until other mass disc producers in Taiwan win accreditation to make the discs, and ramp up volumes.

Each single-layer BD-RE disc has a capacity of 25G bytes, enough to hold three hours of terrestrial digital high-definition TV, or six hours of standard TV. HD DVD-RE discs can hold around 20G bytes of data, while DVD discs hold 4.7G bytes.

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