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Sony signals fall in Blu-ray, HD DVD hardware prices

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Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players look set to get cheaper now that Sony has formally begun selling blue-laser diodes, a key component of machines that can read the two next-gen optical disc formats.

Sony has been manufacturing blue-laser diodes for some time, but its output is believed to have gone entirely to meeting the giant's own demand for Blu-ray Disc drives in its PlayStation 3. Yesterday's announcement, made in Japan, that it will start punching out 1.7m blue-laser diodes for third parties means it's now able to meet its own needs and have that number spare.

A dearth of blue-laser diodes hindered Blu-ray Disc's roll-out in 2006, as Sony focused on producing sufficient numbers for the PS3, and rival producers Nichia and Sharp ramped up diode production to meet the needs of Blu-ray and HD DVD drive makers.

Nichia expects to reach 2m units a month by the autumn, EETimes reports, while Sharp expects to hit 500,000 a month by the end of the year. Sony said it's targeting output of 5m units, but it didn't provide a timescale.

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