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Toshiba prices up Blu-ray Disc patent portfolio

Pools tech resources with Warner, Thomson and Mitsubishi

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Consumer electronics and entertainment companies Mitsubishi, Thomson, Toshiba and Warner Bros have together begun charging for their intellectual property that is "essential" to Blu-ray Disc players, drives and recorders.

The four firms' pooled technology also extends to Blu-ray kit that incorporates DVD functionality, including hybrid BD/DVD media, they said. It also covers components that decode and encode the data stored on Blu-ray discs - and the discs themselves.

The new tariff would add at least $7 (£4.62) to the price of a DVR with a built-in Blu-ray recorder, $5 (£3.30) to the price of a combo BD player/DVD burner of the kind found in many PCs these days, and $4.50 (£2.97) to the cost of a BD player, such as the PlayStation 3.

Licenses for the patent portfolio will be available for products that comply with the Blu-ray Disc specifications as maintained by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), the four said.

Individually, the fees are not large, of course, but they are likely to amount to substantial revenues for the four companies and their BD4C Licensing Group offshoot, which will collect and share the royalties.

BD4C will be operated by Toshiba which, having once opposed the Blu-ray format with its own HD DVD offering, has, in the years since it killed the failed format off, leapt into the BD world with renewed vigour.

It asked to join the BDA in August 2009, and its second, entry-level BD player will be out in the UK in May.

The companies said the BD4C Licensing Group "reserves the right to adjust the rates as necessary to encourage the broad participation in the programme by interested companies with essential patents".

That's a call to other relevant IP holders to add their technology to the pool. ®

Category Royalty
BD-Video Disc $0.04 per disc
BD-ROM Disc $0.04 per disc
BD-R Disc $0.065 per disc
BD-RE Disc $0.09 per disc
BD/DVD Hybrid Disc
(including BD/DVD Hybrid
ROM Discs and BD/DVD
Hybrid Video Discs)
$0.08 per disc
BD Decoder $1.00 per decoder, with an annual cap of $10,000,000
BD Encoder $1.50 per encoder, with an annual cap of $15,000,000
BD-Video Player $4.50 per player
BD-Video Combo Player $6.00 per player
BD Video Recorder $7.00 per recorder
BD-Video Combo Recorder $6.00 per recorder
BD-ROM Drive $4.00 per drive
BD Recordable Disc Drive $6.00 per drive
BD-ROM Combo Drive $5.00 per drive
BD Combo Recordable Disc Drive $5.00 per drive

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