DVD Industry Insider Report - Making a Buck With Burners
While brand name "producers" can make a few cents profit on their DVD burners based on their name and reputation, the people who actually assemble the units - BenQ, Lite-On, AOpen, MSI and a few others -- are only able to sell on the basis of price. But most of these Taiwanese producers saw the writing on the wall and were able to make their own DVD recorders (DVRs) and earn a little better margin.
The units without hard drives in them went nowhere so now all DVRs also have hard drives. Consumers, speaking with their credit cards, are saying the more drive capacity the better. In 2004, more than 15 million DVRs have been sold and over 70% contain a HD. While the units started out with 20GB drives, demand quickly dictated that people wanted 40-80GB drives and we're seeing a lot retail action for the 250-300GB HD-based units. HDs continue to be the backbone of most applications.
The great thing is that once people start using a DVR they stay with it. According to Forrester 60% of the people who have these devices use them all the time and (surprise) they skip 92% of the ads.
This entertainment server evolution hasn't gone unnoticed with the PC manufacturers and the first of the year we'll see PCs that look like DVRs with brains, huge memories (500+GB), network capabilities and more. The biggest challenge for these producers is understanding what CE manufacturers already know - you don't leave the unit run all the time (MS solution to the warm-up problem), it has to come on instantly (that means a Linux kernel) and it has to be whisper quiet.
The second challenge for the PC manufacturers will be to resist MS "influence" to ensure the system in the living room is really a PC first. Too many seem to forget that PCs have only penetrated about 50% of the homes and that number has remained relatively constant despite the ready availability of $200 - $300 "computers."
Next Year's Winner
Wonder what the next great storage solution will look like? Here's a big hint - it will be Blue. More specifically Blu!
The Forum, NEC or Toshiba probably won't concede but it certainly appears that if you want to be at the leading edge in your neighborhood you'll be buying a Blu-Ray burner next year. More than 90 firms have climbed aboard the Sony/Matsushita bandwagon - along with HP, Dell, JVC, Samsung, LG, Pioneer, Philips and 90% of the CE manufacturers. (check the initial products)
The association's position - BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association) is that it is the right thing to do for content owners and consumers. You believe that then we've got some swampland we want to sell you.
But when the technology hits the street it will be good for the content owner (Sony and all of its content). Don't pull out your credit card just yet though because the initial burners (now selling in Japan) will be about $2000 and discs (25-30GB) will be $35 apiece. Then too you'll also have to buy a new player and so will all your friends.
Translation…expect DVD to be here for years!
Most Drives Still Spin
Synonymous with timeshifting TV programs, TiVo was the first company to get serious about non-computer use of HDs. Since then home AV use has developed so rapidly that now they are used in everywhere…car navigation systems to the latest cellphones and everything in between. Apple's iPod music player's HD can hold as many as 15,000 individual selections, presuming you have the time and energy to transfer that many tunes from around the globe.
Hard drives come in many sizes, capacities and versions. The recording medium is a metal or glass disk, coated and recordable on both sides. The platters can be as small as 20mm (0.8 inches) and as large as 130mm (the good old 5¼-inch). Most however are 65mm (2.5-inches) or smaller.
Most drives have multiple platters - 2,3,4. In 2003, it was estimated that about 360 million platters of all sizes were produced for about 250 million individual drives (see growth chart). This means the "average" drive contained 1.44 platters.
Much of the development work in disk drives over the past ten years has been in increasing the areal density and improving the magnetic heads that write and read the data. The areal density of a hard drive has jumped from 1GB/sq in five years ago to today's 100-150GB/sq in. Two orders of increase (100 times) is amazing and engineers say they can improve capacities 100 times or more in the next five its easy to see these little suckers aren't going away.
Cheap huge capacity drives will become the home network entertainment solution this coming year - wired or wireless. Think of a small enclosure sitting on top of your home theater with all of your music, photo albums, personal videos, archived TV series and movies stacked up waiting for you go pick and choose your favorite at will.
Under a grand? Wait till CES!!
Billion dollar question is will be can you do it all with the remote or is someone going to "suggest" you continue to use the tired old keyboard?????
Sometimes we tend to listen too much to the "logic" of engineers !!!